This interesting surname is a metronymic form of the Middle English female given name "Godeve", from the old English pre 7th Century personal name "Godgifu", composed of the elements "god" meaning good or god plus "gifu" a gift. The personal name may also be Godith from the old English "Godguth", "god" meaning good or god plus "guth" a battle. "Godit" (without surname), appears in the Rotuli Chartarum in 1199 and "Godith", is noted in the 1206 Curia Regis Rolls of Bedfordshire. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century (see below). Robert Guditson and John Godyeson are registered in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. On July 3rd 1680, John, son of Barnard and Lydia Goodison was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel Stepney. The marriage of Benjamin Goodison and Sarah Cooper took place at St. Bride, Fleet St., London on August 13th 1723. William Goodison married Elizabeth Harris on January 5th 1632, at St. George's Church, Hanover Square, Westminster. A coat of arms granted to the Goodison family consists of a paly of six, silver and red, and on a blue chief three silver mullets. On the crest is a peacock's head proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Godithson, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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