This is for you and for all those with the Woolner/Woolnough family name;I had posted it on this site (I think) a year or so ago, but maybe it was somewhere else.I had a lot of fun checking this out.
Origins and Meaning of the Family NameWoolner
Beginning in about the sixth century A.D., a group of Germanic tribes called the Saxons began to migrate from the Jutland area, primarily to the area of England now known as East Anglia.For almost two hundred years succesive groups arrived, conquered or otherwise displaced local peoples, and then took up farming and raising of cattle for subsistence.In the late seventh century they were joined by related peoples called the Angles and the Jutes.It is from the name Angles that England derived its name.These Germanic tribes intermingled and became the dominant culture of England, and the nobility.Over the next two hundred years they consolidated their dominant position.These Anglo-Saxon or Saxon peoples were the rulers of England, some of Scotland and Ireland and most of Wales.
Then in 1066 the Normans, led by William (in Norman French, Guillaume), the Duke of Normandy.He laid claim to the throne of England, and after defeating the Saxon King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, quickly overcame all resistance.On Christmas day in 1066 he was crowned King of England.After his coronation he and his Norman supporters set about elminating all resistance and setting up his government of his new kingdom.To assit in this task, in 1086 he commissioned the Domesday Book (sometime called the Doomsday Book) to keep track of all the lands and properties, titles of local rulers and all people and entities that owed allegience and taxes to the crown.
The Name Woolner
About 1088 the name "Vlnoth" or possibly "Ulnoth" was recorded in the Domesday Book.This is probably the earliest record of the name that would evolve to become Woolner.Vlnoth is a variation of the name Wolfnoth or Wolfnod, which means 'Wolf Daring' or 'Wolf Courage.'The connection of "Vl" or "Ul" and Wolf to the word wolf is easy to see.The term 'nod' is from Old Norse and means courage or worthy of note.By 1221 in Suffolk the name had evolved to "Wulnoth."Suffolk is the birth place of my earliest know Woolner relative, James Woolner, born about 1753.Over the next four hundred years or so, Wulnoth evolved to Woolnough.The pronounciation also changed, with the name taking on a terminal "er" sound.Sometime in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century the name began to be spelled more phonetically, as Woolner.Genealogists who have the name Woolnough have sserted to me (via email) that the reason for the change is because of the illeteracy of that particular branch of the family, rather than a desire to make it more phonetic.
Woolner Name Variations
There are some related names, including Woolnoth, Wolfner, Wolnald, Wulnoughe, Wolnowe.Another possible variation is Wolfwinhawe.Although Wolfwinhawe may be a variation, I think it more likely to have developed independently.It means 'place of the wolf's friend"from the word 'win' which means friend and 'hawe' which meanssettlement defended by a wooden palisade.
Whatever the origins and meaning, it is fascinating to trace the migration and distribution of Woolnough/Woolner families throughout the world.