This is a most interesting surname, whose true origins are hidden in the mists of time. The name as 'Goldstraw' is well recorded in the Lancashire region from the early 19th century, and almost always at Manchester Cathedral, but prior to then hardly at all. Furthermore at the time of origination all surnames had a meaning, be it locational, patronymic or job descriptive, as the main headings. This 'origination' usually took place between the 12th and the 17th century, but this does not seem to apply to Gouldstraw.So whilst 'Gouldstraw' is a very reasonable and good looking name, it has no obvious meaning, in the sense of being a surname. The name is not job descriptive, and it seems an unlikely nickname, whilst it is certainly not a patronymic. We are left with the possibility that it is locational except that there is no such place as 'Gouldstraw'. There is however a place in Lancashire near Burnley called 'Goldshaw Booth' but originally in the 12th century, 'Goldgeofu', and it seems that over the centuries, and perhaps not surprisingly, many variations of the name developed. These include Gouldshey (see below), Goldster, (a London version) Thomas Goldster being recorded there in 1790, and Goldstraw or Gouldstraw, at much the same date. Examples of the recording include Lucas Gouldstraw, christened at Manchester Cathedral on March 11th 1810, whilst on November 21st 1841, John Goldstraw married Margaret Holland at Manchester Cathedral. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gouldshey, which was dated September 29th 1639, christened at Burnley, Lancashire, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as 'The Martyr', 1625 - 1649. 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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