This is an English medieval nickname surname. It has two possible origins. The first is from the perpetual use by the nameholder of the phrase 'good-enough', to the point where his peer group called him by it, and the second explanation and most likely explanation is that it described a 'good lad,' one who was good enough at what he did. Nicknames represent one of the largest groups of name origins, and some etymologists claim that all names were originally nicknames of a sort. What is certain is that many surnames are associated with physical characteristics or attitudes. The derivation of this name is from the pre 7th century Olde English words 'god genoh' with 'god' meaning good, a simplistic explanation as to how religion was associated with godliness and goodness. Early examples of the surname recordings include Roger Godecnaue in the cartularly or register of Oseney Abbey in Oxfordshire, and dated 1220, whilst Hervicus Godcnave appears in the Pipe Rolls of Northumberland in 1225. In the modern idiom, the surname is recorded as Goodenough, Goodanew, Goodnow and Goodner, with as an example that of Richard Goodenough and Sarah Harrison, who were married at Canterbury in Kent, in 1667. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan Godinogh. This was dated 1212, in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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