For President's Day I wrote a post about the widespread practice of naming children after presidents, a practice which has largely fallen out of fashion. In this country, presidents are held in particularly high regard. Their faces decorate our money and their monuments and memorials define our nation's capital. Still, there is probably only one figure in American History who, though never president, rivals even the greatest presidents in fame, Benjamin Franklin.
Not surprisingly, many Americans have been named after him, including my third great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Wood (1847-1896). However, since this is a post about surnames, let's take a look at the name "Wood". Although many surnames have obscure origins, others hide nothing. "Wood" is clearly of English origin, which in my family's case is supported by the fact that Benjamin's father, John Wood, was a native of England who immigrated sometime in the first half of the nineteenth century. The meaning is also clear; it probably originally indicated the place where the bearer of the name lived or customarily worked, that is a wood or forest.