This interesting surname recorded in the spellings of Gooderham, Goodram, Goodrum, Goddram, and Guthrum, is of pre 7th century Danish-Viking origins. It is derived from a personal name, originally "Gudormr", which has the rather unusual translation of "battle-snake". Clearly the ancient people had considerable regard for the name because in the spelling of "Gudram" it was the name of the first Danish King of East Anglia in the 9th century. His memory is preserved in the York street-name of Goodramgate. The surname is much later but still 13th Century, and is rare in that it is a survivor of a pre Norman Conquest (1066) personal name. After the conquest it became 'political' to adopt French names such as William or Henry. Early examples of the surname recordings include Thomas Guderam in the 1283 Subsidy Rolls of the county of Suffolk, and Thomas Goodram, in the "Musters of Norfolk" in 1577. Other examples of recordings taken from church registers include Elizabeth Gudram, the daughter of Leonard Gudram, who was christened at St. Peter Paul's Wharf, London, on November 25th 1627 and Jane Gooderam, who married Henry Taylor, on December 7th 1651 at All Hallows, London Wall. Thomas, the son of John and Elizabeth Gooderham, was christened at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London on December 4th 1765. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Godrum, which was dated 1260, a witness at Assize Court of Leicester, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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