Recorded in a number of spellings including Gatch, Getch, Gotch, Goach, Goacher, Godsir, Goucher, Gutcher, and probably others, this interesting surname is a nickname taken from a medieval phrase of welcome. It can be either English or Scottish, the derivation being from in England "gode chere", from the Old English "god" meaning good, and the Old French "chier", meaning face, to transalte as "Goodface", although the actual phrase was "Good cheer". The alternative is the pre-medieval Scottish "gudsyr or gudschir", and pronounced "gutscher". Whether found in England or Scotland, the term was generally taken to mean "grandfather". Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic rolls and registers of the medieval period include: Thomas Goudsyre in the register known as the "Calendar of Plea and Memoranda" for the city of London in 1384, William Goacher, a christening witness at the church of St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, on November 16th 1680, James Gotch, who married Mary Fenwick, at St James church, Dukes Place, london, on September 27th 1692, and Thomas Gatch, who was christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 11th 1701. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Willelmus Godechere. This was dated 1343, in the "Exchequer Rolls" of Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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