Nov 112014

I have not been able to find any definitive meaning or source for the name “Hurwood”.

Some reasonable conjecture includes:

If anyone has more information about the Hurwood name, please let me know.


The name, as far as can be determined, originates in the southern part of the North Riding of Yorkshire in England. The earliest recorded use of the name was by Gulielmus Hurwood who married Johannam Jeninges at Wedmore, Somerset in 1564. No verifiable connection between Gulielmus and other known Hurwoods as yet been established. The earliest traceable member of the family was John Hurwood of How who lived in the Parish of Pickhill in Yorkshire (circa 1650).

New information found by Dick Hurwood from the family tree of Swinburne shows that “John Swinburne, of Wylam, under 15 in 1545…..married secondly Isabel Booth (daughter of Robert Booth of Hurwood, County Durham)”.  In a recent email, Dick states that there “is a Hurworth-on-Tees on modern maps, but no Hurwood. I am trying to trace old place names in Durham County (which is only a few miles north of Pickhill) – perhaps it was a village that got wiped out in the plague… that might support the arrival south of a survivor a few years later??”.

Family Rumour

The most widely-spread (and plausible) family rumour says that “hur” was a diminutive or slang form of the word “hewer”: literally, a hewer of wood. This indicates that the Hurwoods may have originally been woodsmen of some description, maybe land clearers, wood collectors or of some related trade.

Bruce Hurwood (from Nova Scotia in Canada) confirms this rumour – he is descended from Frederick Hurwood, an as yet unknown part of the family.

Plausible Derivations

In the early 19th Century, there was an Earl of Harewood in the North Riding of Yorkshire. It is possible that “Hurwood” is a derivative of this name. Other similar (soundex) names include Harwood and Hurwirth.

Known Mis-spellings

Richard and Vicky Hurwood report that some Hurwoods registered in London were actually recorded as HORWOOD. Other obvious mispellings/SOUNDEX names are: HARWOOD, HERWOOD, HORWITH.

Changed by Deed Poll

The following information was sent to HFT:

“My grandfather and grandmother left russia in the 1890’s because the tsar
instituted a progrom and it was directed against jewish people. They ended up in
Rochester, New York. He was a peddler and with a wagon, he went out into rural New York
selling a variety of goods. My father and his brothers changed their name from Hurwitz to
Hurwood because they were being denied job opportunities and also because the name sounded too foreign.” G. Hurwood

This name change story seems to be backed up by information found at the “Henry Hurwitz/Menorah Association Collection”:

“Henry Hurwitz was born July 14, 1886 in a small village in Lithuania (about twenty miles from the capital city of Kovno). His family immigrated to the United States in 1891… Circa 1918, Henry Hurwitz married Ruth Sapinsky …, a native of New Albany, Indiana. … The Hurwitz’s had two sons: Henry Hurwitz, Jr. (1919-) and David L. Hurwood (1922- ). Henry Hurwitz died on November 19, 1961 in New York City.”

Henry Hurwitz was a prominent Jewish scholar in America and is not likely to be the Hurwitz talked about in the first story above. It does seem though that his son, David, chose to use the name Hurwood, which would support the idea that some people have changed their name from Hurwitz to Hurwood.

Proper Names

As you can probably imagine, the name Hurwood hasn’t been at the forefront of cartographers’ minds when naming new landmarks. Unlikely as it may seem, there is a Hurwood Plaza in Merritt Island, Florida. Anyone have any idea who this was named after?

Of businesses, there appears to be a publishers – Ellis Hurwood Ltd and another in Hartford, Connecticut, the Hurwood Company, some sort of industrial company.

Not a family reference, but interesting never the less:

Stanley Rule & Level : “Hurwood” Slotted Screwdriver.
Length: 9.00 Inches. According to the time line, the “Hurwood” line of screwdrivers and kindred tools was added to the Stanley product line with the acquisition of the Hurley & Wood Company of Connecticut in 1903. Stanley retained the “Hurwood” line for many years for one simple reason: they were the best screwdrivers made.

And from a similar source, the Hurwood Aladdin lantern:

The Hurwood Aladdin Lantern

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