The History of the Surname
Tod is the Scots word for fox. In Scotland and the north of England a todhunter is a fox hunter. The name Todd is an altered form of the Scotch word tod. The shorter form of the name is therefore the original and correct one. The doubling of the final letter is a corruption. But at the present time everywhere unless in Scotland and perhaps even there too, the corrupt form is the more common one.
The first to assume the word as a surname was perhaps a keen sportsman. He followed the hounds, or may have been a fox hunter. Tod is a name occurring in the writings of Wycliffe, also Todman. We have other forms of the name, Todt or Todte and Todde, also the compounds Todcastle, Todenham and Todlebru.
All the Todds have originally come from Scotland; but they have come by different roads, and some of them have been a long time on the way. For centuries, driven by persecution or lured by the hope of advantage, they have been with their fellow-countrymen, descending into England, or crossing the straits into the North of Ireland.
With the practical union of Scotland and England under James I, the mutual political prejudices of the two countries began to abate. With the reformation in England and later the spread of independency and Presbyterianism their religious prejudices also disappeared. And the Scotch in England were mingled everywhere with the English. Consequently the two peoples became thoroughly amalgamated. The Todds in England have long since become thoroughly English and have lost the last trace of their Scottish heredity. With the Scots in Ireland, or the Scottish-Irish as they are commonly but improperly called, the case is very different. There the Scots have been segregated from the Irish, in a few Northern Counties; they have been strong advocates of William of Orange, and the protestant succession, while the Irish have been loyal to the Stuarts, so long as there were any to be loyal to, and since that to home-rule, or anything rather than the established government, and the Irish have been bigoted Roman Catholics, while the Scotch have been not less bigoted Presbyterians. From all this has developed a fierce antagonism, which has kept the races apart, and has manifested itself wherever even in foreign countries, Orangemen and Irishmen have "foregathered." These Todds, therefore, have no Irish blood, but are as purely Scotch as the people of Scotland itself
The arms of the Todds, or of such as were authorized to bear them were, with trifling variations, three fox heads in red, in a shield, with a fox sitting, or running away with a goose, for a crest, and the motto, "Opertet Vivere"--"One must live" (even if he has to steal for it.)
With a single exception the Todds have all come from the Highlands of Scotland. The original name of the Irish Todds was O'Shauagh, which is Irish for fox. In consequence of an early English Parliment, which compelled the Irish to assume English names, the family changed its name, the Leinster branch taking the name Fox and the northern, Todd, or Wolfson, corrupted into Wilson. It appears from this that a portion of the Irish Todds are of Irish origin. All other Todds are Scots.