Recorded in many forms including Godel, Goden, Godin, Gohin, Gohn, Gouin, Godden, Godino, Godinho, Godineau, Godinez, and Godwin, this surname is Northern European, being found in England, Germany, France Spain and Italy. It derives from a Germanic and later Anglo-Saxon baptismal name of the pre 8th century, of which the principle element was 'god' meaning 'good', plus a varied range of suffix, most of which are simple patronymics and diminutives, or are compounds and descriptive as in the surname "Godwin" meaning good-friend. As a personal name only (there were no surnames at this time) it is recorded as Goduini in the famous English Domesday Book of 1086. The name had already achieved some popularity through the exploits of Godwin, the earl of East Anglia, whose son Harold was chosen by a council of nobles as King of England in January 1066. However the crown had in fact alread been promised to Duke William of Normandy, amd perhaps justice was done as Harold was slain by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings, after a reign of nine months. There are many early examples of the surname recording including: Heinz Godel of Cannstatt, Germany, in 1357, Petrus Goderinghe of Hannover in 1360, The first recorded spelling of the family name is belived to be that of Walter Godwin. This was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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