I've produced some maps based on the 1881 census, giving the distribution of the name and (presumed) variants.
The maps are at http://dudard.topcities.com/youd-name/http://dudard.topcities.com/youd-name/ Unfortunately my (free) web hosting has recently started putting up advertising pages, so you may have to kill a page every time you want to access a new page of this site. If anybody has a suggestion where else I could host these, we could try it.
The maps (england and wales, by county, and close up, by poor law district) demonstrate I believe fairly convincingly that the origin of the name is North Cheshire.
Still looking for anything about John Youd of Frodsham, early 19th century.