Select Rudd Surname Genealogy

Rudd is an old English surname of uncertain origin.  It is either the name of a person who lived by a rood or cross; or, coming from the Old English rudig meaning “red” or “ruddy,” would be a nickname for someone with red hair or with a ruddy complexion.  Alternatively, it has been suggested that the Rudd name has Danish origins.  This may be the more likely explanation.

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EnglandHenry Guppy is his 1890 work Homes of Family Names in Great Britain described Rudd as follows:

“Rudd is an ancient English name which is now represented as such in Shropshire and Norfolk, and by Rood in Somerset. In the 13th century Rud was a Derbyshire name; Rudde occurred in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Leicestershire, Rude in Shropshire, and De Rude in Wiltshire.”

But the main early Rudds were in Yorkshire.

  Early sightings of the Rudd name in Yorkshire were in the East Riding and in nearby areas of north Yorkshire:
  • the first recorded was Gerald Rudd in 1189 at Moreby located south of York on the river Ouse.
  • by 1257 the name had appeared further south to Snaith near Goole on the lower banks of the Ouse.  Humphrey Rudd, possibly one of the early Rudds in Yorkshire with an Irish/Welsh pedigree, settled at Hassle nearby.
  • and by 1278 the namewas recorded further north at Burton Fleming near Bridlington and subsequently at Danby in Glaisdale near Scarborough.
Later there were Rudds further west at Killinghall and Slaidburn, close by the border with Lancashire.   John Rudd, the clergyman in Tudor times who bent with the political wind, came from this area; as did John Rudd the Virginia sea captain a century or so later. 

Rudds also extended into Swaledale and Wensleydale.  Thomas Rudd operated the Preston Moor colliery in Wensleydale in the 1620’s.

One line of Rudd vicars began with James Rudd at Kilham in the East Riding in the 1740’s, continued with his son James at Newton Kyme, and then with his grandson Eric at Thorn near Doncaster.  George Rudd lived at Worsall Hall near Yarm in the early 1800’s and was the vicar at Sockburn.  His passion was beetles and his collection can be found at the Yorkshire Museum at York.

Rudds in Yorkshire were extensively covered in
Mary Amelia Rudd’s 1920 book Records of the Rudd Family.

.  There was one old Rudd pedigree outside of Yorkshire, that of the Rudds recorded at Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire from the mid-15th century:
  • Captain Thomas Rudd of this family, a distinguished engineer and mathematician, was made Chief Engineer to King Charles I in 1640.
  • while a cousin of his, Anthony Rudd, was appointed Bishop of St. David’s in Wales and from him came four Rudd baronets.
By the time of the 1881 census, the Rudd name had spread across the country, but did show a distinctly eastern bias – suggesting that maybe the Danish or Viking origin had some credibility.

Norfolk had by then overtaken Yorkshire as the county with the largest number of Rudds.

Richard Rudde was a mercer in Norwich who died in 1562.  His line continued as Alderman Rudd was recorded there in 1632 granting bread to the poor on Ash Wednesday.  In 1728 Burlingham Rudd from the nearby market town of Holt was convicted of stealing a horse and transported to South Carolina.

Later on, the name cropped up in villages around King’s Lynn such as Grimston.  The forebears of the Tory Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd were from this village.

Hugh Rudd came from a family wine merchant’s in Norwich, established by his grandfather there in 1851.  After World War One he moved to London and joined as a partner the famous London wine merchants Berry Brosin 1920.  Berry Bros subsequently became Berry Bros & Rudd.Two Rudd generations later Lizzy Rudd is the chairman of the company today.

There was also a Rudd outpost in Lancashire, mainly concentrated in Wigan and its suburbs Aspull and Ince-in-Makerfield.  The first record appears to be Mary Rudd who married Edmund Atherton in Wigan around 1605.  Joseph Rudd was reported at Ince-in-Makerfield in 1737.

.  The Rudds in Ireland generally came from England.

The most notable of them were the Rudds of Clone House in Wexford, dating all the way back to an Elizabethan soldier of fortune from Yorkshire, Anthony Rudd, who secured leases on the land there in 1593.  These Rudds became
powerful and influential landowners in the area.

“The difference in wealth and social standing the family held to others is reflected in their final resting place, being the only enclosed grave.  It is also the only boxed tomb within the graveyard, another attempt to distinguish themselves from others, even after death.”

Richard Rudd of the family fought at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and later involved himself in the South American Wars of Independence.  Anthony Rudd, a farmer, departed Wexford for Canada in 1816.  A Rudd family remained at Clone House until the early 1900’s.

The Rudd name was also to be found in Dublin and in Roscrea and Templemore in Tipperary.  Norman Rudd’s 1992 book An Irish Rudd Family covered the various Rudds in Ireland.

.  There were three main early Rudd lines, from: 
  • Jonathan Rudd in Connecticut  
  • John Rudd in Virginia  
  • and Burlingham Rudd in South Carolina. 
Jonathan Rudd was probably in Connecticut by the year 1640.  There is no record on what ship he arrived, nor from where he came in England.  This is unfortunate in that he was perhaps the progenitor of the largest number of Rudds in America.

Jonathan, according to court records, was a bit of a lad in his early years before his marriage in Connecticut in 1647.  He was from then until his death in 1658 a man of some substance in Saybrook.  His descendants settled in either New London or Windham, Connecticut in the early 1700’s before moving away at the time of the Revolutionary War or after:  
  • Zebulon Rudd had moved to Dutchess county, New York by the 1770’s.  Descended from him was William B. Rudd, a general during the Civil War.  He was appointed Quartermaster of New York in 1889. 
  • Joseph Rudd had moved to Bennington, Vermont also by that time.  His family were prominent farmers there.
  • Jonathan Rudd went to Cherry Valley in New York after the war was over.  Later Rudds were to be found in Albany where William P. Rudd started the law firm of Harris & Rudd in 1877.  
  • while David Rudd from Becket in Massachusetts was a pioneer settler in Willoughby, Ohio in the 1820’s.  He moved further west with his family to Wisconsin in 1854.  
There is confusion about the Rudd line in Virginia.  It is known that John Rudd was a sea captain from Yorkshire who first arrived in Virginia in 1663 and became master of the Hopewell which traded between Virginia and England.  He does not appear to have settled in Virginia.

A second John Rudd, thought to have been his son (although there is no proof of this), came to Virginia in 1701 with his wife Avis as indentured servants.  This John Rudd, a weaver by trade, was the progenitor of the Rudds of Henrico and Chesterfield counties. 

There is more clarity about Burlingham Rudd.  It is known where hecame from, Norfolk, and when he arrived as a young man in South Carolina, which was 1728.  However, he had been transported there as a convict. 

“Unlike most of the more than 50,000 who were sentenced to transportation to the colonies, he did not change his name and disappear into the frontier once he had completed his punishment for his crime.  He kept his name, married, and raised a family.  The name Burlingham or Burrel was in fact passed down to the third and fourth generations.” 

He made his home in what became Anson county, South Carolina.  There were later Rudd lines in Barnwell county, South Carolina and Coffee county, Alabama.

Australia and New Zealand
.  For stealing a bag of sugar Thomas Rudd was transported from London to Australia in 1790 on the Second Fleet.  He ended up a respected businessman and sizeable landowner in Campbelltown, NSW. 
His sons settled and prospered in the Murrumbidgee district.  Thomas is the fourth great-grandfather of the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

George Rudd
, a Primitive Methodist from Yorkshire, brought his family on the Victory to New Zealand in 1866.  He began farming a year later in the Greendale district of Canterbury, SI and continued farming there until his death at eighty-one in 1897.  He left a grown-up family of three sons and one daughter.

Select Rudd Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Rudd Names

Captain Thomas Rudd, a distinguished engineer and mathematician of his time, was made Chief Engineer to King Charles I in 1640.
Kevin Rudd
was Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010.
Amber Rudd
has been a Cabinet Minister in Theresa May’s recent Conservative Government

Select Rudds Today
  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous in Norfolk)
  • 20,000 in America (most numerous in Florida) 
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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