- Recorded in over seventy spelling forms ranging from the French Theodore, the Welsh and Romanian Tudor, the Italian Teodori, and the Portugese Teodoro, this ancient European surname with some royal antecedents, is of Greek origins. It derives from Theodoros, a compound containing the elements "theos", meaning god, plus "doron", a gift, hence; "God's gift". Given such a religious connection, it is hardly surprising that according to the Church Calendar, the name has been borne by no less than twenty-eight saints, and in consequence was popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. This was particularly so during the period in the 12th and 13th centuries when the Christian Church underwent a religious revival. In England the name was never so popular, but has long been associated with Wales and the border counties, in the baptismal and later surname forms of Tewdwr and Tudor. These names may date back to as early as the 6th century a.d. This was when the first Christians arrived from Ireland to convert the pagans to the ways of the righteous. Early examples of the surname recordings include John Tewdre, who in 1334 was recorded in "The Subsidy Rolls" of the county of Kent, England, whilst in Germany Michael Theodor was recorded in the charters of the town of Hartenstein, in 1557. The association with royalty comes through Owen Tudor, the grandfather of the later King Henry V11 of England. He was clerk of the wardrobe to Catherine of Valois, and was unfortunate enough to be captured at the battle of Mortimer's Cross, England, in 1461 and beheaded. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced taxation. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.