Explore the Family Name Woods

The meaning of Woods

1. English: variant of Wood with plural or post-medieval excrescent -s. 2. Irish: adopted as a translation of Ó Cuill ‘descendant of Coll’ (see Quill), or in Ulster of Mac Con Coille ‘son of Cú Choille’, a personal name meaning ‘hound of the wood’, which has also been mistranslated Cox, as if formed with coileach ‘cock, rooster’. 3. In some cases also an Americanized form of French Dubois and Gadbois.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Woods in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Woods has seen slight fluctuations in its popularity over a decade. In 2000, it was ranked 133rd in frequency, but by 2010, it had dropped to 144th, a decrease of 8.27%. Nonetheless, the number of individuals bearing the surname Woods increased from 168,814 in 2000 to 177,425 in 2010, marking a growth of 5.1%. The proportion per 100k also slightly decreased from 62.58 in 2000 to 60.15 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k62.5860.15-3.88%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Woods

The ethnicity associated with the surname Woods also underwent some changes between 2000 and 2010, according to the Decennial U.S. Census. While the majority identified as White (from 60.68% in 2000 to 58.30% in 2010), there was notable growth in those identifying with two or more races (from 1.92% to 2.74%), Hispanic (from 1.55% to 2.35%), and Black (from 34.66% to 35.30%). Meanwhile, the percentage of those who identify as Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian and Alaskan Native also rose slightly, adding to the diverse ethnic identity of individuals with the surname Woods.

Two or More Races1.92%2.74%42.71%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.84%0.88%4.76%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.35%0.42%20%

Woods ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Woods is British & Irish, which comprises 52.5% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.1%) and Nigerian (4.8%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish52.5%
French & German20.1%

Possible origins of the surname Woods

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Woods have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom79.50%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom79.30%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom79.20%
Merseyside, United Kingdom79.10%
West Midlands, United Kingdom78.80%

What Woods haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Woods is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-L21 and R-L20, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Taylor, Thompson, Wilson, White, Allen, Robinson, Green, Brown, Thomas, Mitchell.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Woods surname are: H1, T2b, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

woodsPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Woods have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Woods" Surname 40.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Woods" Surname 28.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Woods" Surname 24.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

An allergic reaction to cats, characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and difficulty breathing.

"Woods" Surname 33.3%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Woods?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Woods are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%