A few facts from my research of the YOUD surname since 2006, the article is also available on wikipedia.
Karl L Held
YOUD (pronounced to rhyme with either "loud" or "food") is an English surname mostly found in Cheshire and Flintshire. Variants of the surname are YOUDE, EAUDE and YOULD, however YOUDS is not part of this group.The earliest record dates from 1427 and in 1562 the name appears in Little Budworth in Cheshire.
Origin of the name
Currently little is known about the meaning or origin of this unusual and rare surname, it is not listed in any books of British surnames. This has led to theories of Huguenot, Flemish or Jewish roots which cannot be substantiated. Viking roots are a more likely possibility as the Wirral peninsula was colonised by Norwegian Vikings from 902 AD onwards. Some Viking placenames are also evident in West Cheshire. It is hoped that DNA profiling from suitable Youd descendants will prove or disprove this theory.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be John EUDE in 1427,an English soldier stationed in Rouen garrison. He is listed on a muster roll from the Hundred Years' War with France.
The surname next appears in 1562 recording the baptism of Katrena YOLDE in Little Budworth, St. Peter. Church records there start in 1561. The surname then spreads to nearby towns and villages in West Cheshire and Flintshire, becoming relatively numerous in Frodsham, Hawarden, Oscroft, Kinnerton, Chester and eventually established in Liverpool from about 1740 onwards.
Over 40 variants of the surname were recorded in the 16th and 17th century, examples are:Yewd, Yeud, Yeoud, Yowd, Yeowed, Yowood, Eude, Eaude, Ewd, Hude, Hewde etc. Today only YOUD, YOUDE, EAUDE and YOULD are in use.
Distribution of the name
According to the Office of National Statistics some 670 people named YOUD, 227x YOUDE, 104x YOULD and 11x EAUDE lived in England & Wales in 2002.
The YOUD surname has spread to many parts of the British Isles and through emigration also to USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Key emigrants of interest to family historians are:
James Youd (born 1815 Oscroft) 1849 to Utah & California
Samuel Youd (born 1808 Oscroft) 1851 to Missouri
Thomas Youd (born 1813 Tarvin ) 1851 to Utah
John Youd (born 1838 Bradley) 1865 to Connecticut
Robert Moreton Youd (born 1846 Bradley) 1880 to New Zealand
George Youd (born 1855 Bradley) 1880 to New Zealand
Fred Youd (born 1883 Waverton) 1908 to Chicago
Earl Youd (born 1889 Waverton) 1913 to Chicago
John (Jack) Youd (born 1879 Wybunbury) bef 1914 to Australia
William Yould (born 1820 Acton) 1855 to Nova Scotia
Fred Yould (born 1885 Frodsham) 1913 to Canada & USA
People with surname YOUD, YOUDE
Sam Youd (1922-2012), British science fiction writer, best known by his pseudonym John Christopher,
T. Leslie Youd (1939-), American geotechnical engineer
Edward Youde (1924-1986), Governor of Hong Kong 1982-1986
YOUD of Cheshire & YOUDS of Wirral
The Soldier in Later Medieval England
Surnames of England & Wales in 2002, ONS data