This venerable Anglo-Scottish surname has three possible origins. Firstly, it may be a status name to describe the head of a household. As such it derives from the Olde English word "god" meaning good, and "-man", a term used in a transferred sens to indicate "head of". Secondly and in Scotland, the name described a landowner. This was a person who held his land not directly from the crown, but from a nobleman authorised so to do, by the king. Finally, it may be of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon origin. If so it derives from the personal name "Guethmund". This name was composed of the elements "gueth" meaning battle, plus "mund" protection, and was one of a range of similar names which extolled the virtues of war and authority. The latter was much lacking in those far off days. The surname dates back to the early 12th century (see below), and is therefore one of the very earliest to be recorded anywhere. Recordings of the spelling forms include Godman, Goddman, Goodman, Goudman, and Gutman. In the early surviving church registers of the city of London the marriage of Thomas Goodman to Parnell Dewey took place on May 28th 1561 at St James Clerkenwell. A coat of arms granted to the Goodman family has the blazon of per pale black and ermine, a silver two headed eagle displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Asteelinus Godeman. This was dated 1115, in the "Book of Winton", Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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