Godard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Godard family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Godard came from the Germanic personal name Godhard, which is composed of the elements god, which means good, and hard, which means brave or strong. [1]

Not all of the family emigrated to England as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae lists "Reinald, Reginald, Roger Godard or Godart, Normandy, 1180-98." [2]

The name is derived from the Germanic personal name Godhard, which is composed of the elements "god," which means "good," and "hard," which means "brave" or "strong." [1]

Another source claims the name was "derived from an occupation. 'the goatherd'; Anglo-Saxon 'gat' and 'herd,' as in cowherd, shepherd. Gothard in Yorkshire is undoubtedly the descendant of some old goatherd who took his surname from the occupation." [3]

Regardless of the two aforementioned entries, we must look to the Domesday Book of 1086 for the first record of the family. For it is there that "Godardus appears a personal name. The ancestor of the Goddards of Cliffe and Swindon are said to have been seated in Wiltshire before temp. Rich. II." [4]

"The ancient name of Goddard, which was represented by Godard in Domesday, is, with the exception of its representatives in Derbyshire, now mostly confined to the southern half of England. It is most numerous in Berks, Suffolk, Hants, and Dorset, and is also established in Norfolk, Middlesex, and Wilts. In the 13th century it occurred as Godard in Bucks, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire, and other counties. Probably some of the Berkshire Goddards are of Wiltshire origin." [5]

Early Origins of the Godard family

The surname Godard was first found in Wiltshire at Berwick-Bassett, a parish, in the union of Marlborough, hundred of Calne, Marlborough and Ramsbury. "The ancient manorhouse [of Berwick-Bassett], many ages since the residence of the Goddard family, is still remaining." [6]

" Wiltshire has long been one of the principal homes of the Goddards. The ancestors of the Goddards of Cliffe and Swindon are said to have been seated in the county before the reign of Richard II. " [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Godard de Thurton, Norfolk; Simon Goddard, London; and John filius Godard, Cambridgeshire.

The Yorkshire Poll Rolls of 1379 list Symon Godhird; Alicia Goderd; Symon Godhird; and Johannes Gaytbyrd as all holding lands there at that time. [3]

Another source notes that Godardus de Clakesbi was listed in Lincolnshire c. 1160-6, Robert God(d)ard was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for Hampshire in 1208, Wlfrich Godard in Norfolk in 1221, and Symon Godhard was listed in Cheshire in 1299. [7]

Up in Scotland, the name is now rare, but Robert filius Godardi was one of an inquest made at Peebles, 1262 and William Godarde, was a charter witness in 1320. [8]

Early History of the Godard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Godard research. Another 303 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1559, 1200, 1208, 1221, 1299, 1470, 1472, 1480, 1493, 1734, 1645, 1671, 1651, 1617, 1675, 1617, 1632, 1640, 1643, 1646, 1615 and 1634 are included under the topic Early Godard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Godard Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Godard are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Godard include Goddard, Goddart, Godard, Godart, Godarte, Godert, Godderd and many more.

Early Notables of the Godard family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Goddard ( fl. 1645-1671), English engraver, "one of the earliest English engravers, is known for a few portraits and book illustrations of no great proficiency. He engraved a portrait of Martin Billingsley, the writing master, in 1651." [9] Jonathan Goddard (1617-1675), was an English physician, Army Surgeon to the forces of Oliver Cromwell, an active member of the Royal Society. He was the "son of Henry Goddard, shipbuilder, of Deptford, was born at Greenwich about 1617. In 1632, at the age of fifteen, he entered at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, where he...
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Godard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Godard migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Godard, or a variant listed above:

Godard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Rich Godard, who arrived in Virginia in 1665 [10]
  • William Godard, who arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1665 [10]
  • Sarah Godard, who landed in Virginia in 1666 [10]
  • Joseph Godard, who arrived in Maryland in 1669 [10]
Godard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Godard, who arrived in Virginia in 1700 [10]
  • Math Godard, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [10]
  • Mary Godard, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [10]
Godard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Rene Godard, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1804 [10]

Canada Godard migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Godard Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Etienne Godard, son of François and Louise, who married Marie-Madeleine De La Voye, daughter of René and Anne, in Sainte-Anne, Quebec on 6th October 1687 [11]
Godard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Noel Godard, son of Etienne and Marie-Madeleine, who married Catherine Mineau, daughter of René and Marie-Anne, in Yamaska, Quebec on 14th January 1732 [11]
  • Antoine Godard, son of Etienne and Marie-Madeleine, who married Madeleine Dubois, daughter of Pierre and Marie-Anne, in Saint-Nicolas, Quebec on 26th November 1733 [11]
  • Francois Godard, who landed in Canada in 1738
  • Pierre Godard, son of Etienne and Marie-Madeleine, who married Madeleine Morand, daughter of Jean-Baptiste and Élisabeth, in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Quebec on 3rd November 1740 [11]
  • François Godard, son of François and Gabrielle, who married Marie Blay, daughter of Jacques and Louise-Angélique, in Yamachine, Quebec on 25th February 1743 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Godard (post 1700) +

  • Ronald D. Godard (b. 1942), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, 2000 [12]
  • Oliver C. Godard, American Democrat politician, First Selectman of Granby, Connecticut, 1911; Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Granby, 1912 [12]
  • L. D. Godard, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Texas City, Texas, 1950 [12]
  • Harvey E. Godard, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Granby, 1920 [12]
  • Harlow Godard, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from St. Lawrence County 1st District, 1849-50, 1858-59 [12]
  • H. B. Godard, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 7th District, 1854-55 [12]
  • Ensworth M. Godard, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Canton, 1930 [12]
  • Charles W. Godard, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1868 [12]
  • Aretas A. Godard, American Republican politician, Kansas State Attorney General, 1899-1903 [12]
  • Abel Godard, American politician, Member of New York State Senate 17th District, 1866-67; Member of New York State Assembly from St. Lawrence County 1st District, 1882-83 [12]
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Godard Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cervus non servus
Motto Translation: A stag not enslaved.


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  9. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  10. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  11. ^ Internoscia, Arthur E., and Claire Chevrier. Dictionnaire National des Canadiens Français 1608-1760. Vol. 1, Institut Drouin, 1958.
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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