This interesting and unusual surname is of English pre medieval origins. It is or rather was a nickname for a congenial companion,the derivation being from the Old English pre 7th century phrase 'god-feolaga', the latter having the alternative meaning of a partner, and as such was probably used to denote a (fellow) member of a trade guild. It is is an example of a sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to variant of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, or even resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, as well as habits of dress. The modern surname can be found as Goodfellow and Goodfellowe. Amongst the early recordings in the surviving church registers of the city of London are the christening of Allen, son of John Goodfellow, on August 12th 1599 at St. Laurence Jewry and St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, and the marriage of Christopher Goodfellow and Margaret Feazant on October 21st 1645 at St. Christopher Le Stocks. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Godfelage, which was dated 1192, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northumberland", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017