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Wainwright Name Study

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Surnames/tags: Wainwright Wainright Wainewright
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Wainwright is an Anglo-Saxon occupational surname derived from the pre-7th century Old English word waegnwyrhta. The prefix, waeg(e)n/waen, refers to a vehicle/wagon, common in its time as being horse-driven and four-wheeled. The suffix, wyrhta/wright, refers to a maker/builder. The earliest public record of the name dates to 1237 in Essex. There are many variations.


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This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about the surname Wainwright and its variants. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect.

Famous Wainwrights

  • Adam Wainwright (born 1981), American baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Alfred Wainwright (1907–1991), writer of guide books to the fells of the English Lake District, including List of Wainwrights
  • Arthur Wainwright (1894-1968), English footballer
  • Charles S. Wainwright (1826–1907), American artillery officer during the American Civil War
  • George L. Wainwright, Jr. (born 1943), American judge, Associate Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Geoffrey Wainwright (born 1939), British Methodist theologian
  • Harry Wainwright (1864-1925), Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Superintendent of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway
  • Helen Wainwright (1906-1965), American diver and freestyle swimmer
  • Henry Wainwright (died 1875), English brushmaker and murderer
  • Hilary Wainwright (born 1949), British socialist and feminist
  • Jonathan M. Wainwright (1792-1854), b. Liverpool, England, Americal Episcopal Bishop and father of Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II
  • Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II (1821-1863), Lieutenant in the United States Navy during the US Civil War, father of Jonathan Wainwright, Jr. (III) and Robert Powell Page Wainwright, grandfather of Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV.
  • Master Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, Jr. (III), (1849-1870), Officer in the United States Navy and son of Commander Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright II.
  • Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV (1883–1953), United States Army general during World War II, Recipient of the Medal of Honor, Japanese Prisoner of War, and the last "fighting general."
  • Loudon Wainwright Jr. (1924-1988), American columnist and editor.
  • Loudon Wainwright III (born 1946), American songwriter, folk singer, humorist, actor, father of Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright
  • Louie L. Wainwright, Secretary of Florida Division of Corrections; respondent in Gideon v. Wainwright and other famous Supreme Court cases
  • Lyndon Wainwright, English ballroom and Latin exhibition dancer.
  • Maci Wainwright (born 1990), American country music singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • Mark Wainwright, Australian academic
  • Martha Wainwright (born 1976), Canadian-American singer-songwriter, daughter of Loudon Wainwright III
  • Michael Wainwright (musician), Canadian musician
  • Richard Wainwright (politician) (1918–2003), British Liberal politician
  • Richard Wainwright (Civil War naval officer) (1817–1862), United States Navy Commander, father of Admiral Richard Wainwright
  • Richard Wainwright (Spanish-American War naval officer) (1849–1926), United States Navy Admiral, son of Commander Richard Wainwright
  • Richard Wainwright (World War I naval officer) (1881–1944), United States Navy Commander, son of Admiral Richard Wainwright
  • Rob Wainwright (rugby union) (born 1965), rugby union player, capped 37 times for Scotland (captain 16 times) and once for the British Lions
  • Robert Powell Page Wainwright (1852-1902), Major in the United States Army, father of Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV.
  • Rufus Wainwright (born 1973), Canadian-American singer-songwriter, son of Loudon Wainwright III
  • Sally Wainwright, English dramatist and television writer
  • William Wainwright, British musician better known under his artist name William Orbit. Other aliases include Wayne Wright
  • Ted Wainwright, English cricketer
  • William L. Wainwright, American politician, member of the North Carolina General Assembly

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Hello Jonathan,

I have a Wainwright branch that I've traced back to the 1700's New Jersey, including Vincent, who was in the American Revolution. Perhaps I should put a Wainwright category label on it? Also, have you seen the work done by Kathy Reed (https://jonesfamilymatters.blogspot.com/2009/07/wainwrights-in-united-states.html)

posted by Rob Neff