Surname Saturday: Wingo

WingoCrest         I ran across this surname while walking through a prairie cemetery in Lubbock County, Texas:

EllisWingoGraveMy curiosity was piqued to find out its origins.

As always there will be more than one opinion as to a surname’s origin – here are three theories:

One source believes that the name was locational in Berkshire.  Possible spelling variations were Wingrove, Winger, Wingrave and Winge.  An early instance of the name “Witungraue” (no surname) was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, which would have derived from an Olde English word – wioig (a willow) and graf (a grove).

Another source purports that the name was a variation of the following names: Winpenny, Wimpenny, Wimpory, Wimpery, Wimpeny, Wynngold and more.  Yet another source, The Dictionary of American Names, indicates that the name is likely an Anglicized version of the French Huguenot name “Vigneau.”  Their evidence for believing the surname is of French origin:

A habitational name for someone from a place so named in Vienne, or from places in Aube and Indre called Les Vigneaux, or

A status name for the owner of a vineyard, from a derivative of Occitan vinhier “vineyard”.  This is found as a Huguenot name.

The latter explanation actually seems more plausible after finding evidence offered by family historians who have found records of the Wingo surname appearing in or near Manakin, a Huguenot settlement in Virginia.  According to The Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia web site, French Huguenots began arriving in Virginia as early as 1620.  Like many early settlers, the Huguenots were fleeing religious persecution.

A quick check of census records for Ellis Wingo reveals that his grandparents were born in South Carolina.  In 1679, King Charles II sent two shiploads of French Huguenots to South Carolina for the purpose of cultivating grapes, olives and silkworms.  One family history researcher found evidence in a book called Irish Pedigrees or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation which lists the names of refugees who settled in Britain and Ireland during Louis XIV’s reign.  Louis XIV’s persecution of Huguenots began in 1685 but the name Vigneau had already been found in England long before that.  One name listed was “De Vinegoy”.

EstacadoCemeterySo it’s possible that Ellis Wingo’s ancestors may have been French Huguenots.  This is what I love about history – just one glimpse of an unusual surname on a grave stone and a little research – a little “diggin’ history”.  I don’t think I’ll ever run out of material!  Look for more articles later from my visit to historic Estacado Cemetery.

Everyone have a great day — someday it will be history!

© Sharon Hall (History Depot), 2014.


  1. My maiden name is Wingo! As a youngster, my paternal grandfather and his folks moved from somewhere in Texas to Mississippi, which is where I live now. I love it when I come across anything about my name. It’s not a common one! Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Great … I’m so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by. I wrote a few articles on the Estacado Cemetery (Quakers in Texas and Dorothy Trimmer Bryant) — there was a Wingo buried there which inspired the Surname Saturday article.

  2. My research on my family tree found that the first Wingo came to the USA about 1630 from England and settled in Amelia,County,Virginia.

    • Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I’m not sure how far my dad got with our family tree. It’s great to see more Wingo history!

    • Same here. Kenneth Wingo

    • Mine are from Amelia County too.

  3. About 10 years ago I purchases a M1 Garand rifle and was also given the accompaning bayonet. The bayonet has the name L.E. Wingo, Jr printed on the sheeth. Rifle and bayonet were bought in El Paso, TX. Previous owner stated he aquired them from Phoenix AZ. Any info os greatly appreciated.

  4. My maiden name is also Wingo (and I’ve kept it as my middle name). My dad’s people are mostly still in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He and most of his eight siblings were born in Weatherford TX. As a kid I was told by more than one family member that the name is of Welsh origins but I’ve not yet done enough of the genealogy to verify it. Will be making a trip to Scotland and Wales next fall and hope to find out more while I’m there =D

    • Interesting! Good luck with your family history search. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Awesome! I wonder if we’re related… 🙂

      • I’m thinking a lot of us might be… there aren’t that many Wingos in the states =D

  5. My husband’s mom was a Wingo. Her dad was from Texas. They know little about their family origin

    • I should put you in touch with one of the subscribers to my new digital magazine. Her maiden name is Wingo. FYI, the majority of this article has been pulled and will be included in a future issue of Digging History Magazine. Most of the content from this site has been pulled and some articles will later appear in future issues of the magazine.

      Subscriptions are easy to purchase (3-month, 6-month and one-year):

      If you’d like to try an issue, email me at and reference this comment — I’ll send you a free issue to try out. How’s that?

  6. Just now getting interested in where my last name originates, I do know my dad and his side of the family originate in Virginia, I myself live in Tampa FL with 5 more brothers by wingo and we now have children. So I’m very interested on what I may sincerely JOSHUA D WINGO

    • Thanks for stopping by! Let me see if I can put you in contact with one of my magazine subscribers (Digging History is now a monthly digital magazine Her maiden name was Wingo. Let me see what she says.



  1. Quakers in Texas: Part One | Diggin' History - […] ← Surname Saturday: Wingo […]
  2. Tombstone Tuesday: Dorothy Trimmer Bryant | Diggin' History - […] stemming from my recent visit to historic Estacado Cemetery.  You can read the first two here:  Surname Saturday –…
  3. Surname Saturday: Overhuls (Oberholzer) | Diggin' History - […] found in the historic Estacado Cemetery.  Other articles related to this cemetery can be found here, here and […]

Leave a Comment