Show ContentsGoddard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Goddard is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Goddard comes 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 Goddard family

The surname Goddard 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]

In Lancashire, we find the first evidence of the Gadder variant. John le Gadder was listed here in the Assize Rolls of 1285. Later in Northumberland, Henry Gadere was listed in 1371. This variant may have been a trade name from the Middle English "gadder" for "a maker of goads" which was a spiked stick used for driving cattle or oxen. [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 Goddard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Goddard 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 Goddard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Goddard Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Goddard, Goddart, Godard, Godart, Godarte, Godert, Godderd and many more.

Early Notables of the Goddard 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 Goddard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Goddard World Ranking

In the United States, the name Goddard is the 1,822nd most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [10] However, in Australia, the name Goddard is ranked the 808th most popular surname with an estimated 4,849 people with that name. [11] And in New Zealand, the name Goddard is the 692nd popular surname with an estimated 1,030 people with that name. [12] The United Kingdom ranks Goddard as 365th with 17,095 people. [13]

United States Goddard migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Goddard or a variant listed above were:

Goddard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Goddard, who landed in New Hampshire in 1630 [14]
  • John Goddard, who landed in Dover, Massachusetts in 1632
  • William Goddard purchased land in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Thomas Goddard, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "James" [14]
  • Anthony Goddard, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Goddard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Goddard, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [14]
  • James Goddard, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1733 [14]
Goddard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Goddard, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1850 [14]
  • E B Goddard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [14]
  • R Goddard, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [14]
  • Emma Goddard, aged 21, who landed in New York in 1862 [14]
  • Matthew Goddard, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Goddard migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Goddard Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Goddard, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Goddard migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Goddard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Goddard migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Goddard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Goddard, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • Samuel Goddard, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • Elizabeth Goddard, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Cephas Goddard, aged 25, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • Martha Goddard, aged 20, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Goddard (post 1700) +

  • Robert Hutchings Goddard (1882-1945), American professor and scientist, one of the "fathers of modern rocketry," eponym of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), a major NASA space research laboratory in Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Lisa Marie Goddard (1966-2022), American climate scientist from Mount Kisco, New York, director at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University
  • Richard D. Goddard (1931-2020), American television meteorologist, author, cartoonist, and animal activist
  • Paul Goddard (1946-2014), American bassist with the Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • John Goddard (1924-2013), American adventurer, explorer, author, and lecturer
  • Samuel Pearson Goddard Jr. (1919-2006), American politician, 12th Governor of Arizona
  • Brigadier General George William Goddard (1889-1987), United States Air Force Brigadier General, and a pioneer in aerial photography
  • Charles William Goddard (1879-1951), American playwright and screenwriter
  • Charles W. Goddard, American Republican politician, U.S. Consul General in Constantinople, 1861-64; Postmaster at Portland, Maine, 1871-84 [19]
  • Charles A. Goddard, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Cheshire; Elected 1930 [19]
  • ... (Another 58 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Goddard (1868-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [20]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Bertram  Goddard (1886-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [21]
HMS Cornwall
  • Peter Goddard (d. 1942), British Sub Lieutenant Paymaster (S) aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [22]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Sidney Goddard (b. 1921), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Windsor, Berkshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [23]

The Goddard 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.

Suggested Readings for the name Goddard +

  • The Goddard Book by John W. Harms.
  • Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards by Michael Moses.

  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. Lower, 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  11. "Most Common Last Names in Australia." Forebears,
  12. "Most Common Last Names in New Zealand." Forebears,
  13. "UK surname ranking." UK Surname map,
  14. 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)
  15. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th July 2021). Retrieved from
  16. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th August 2021). Retrieved from
  17. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from
  18. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from
  19. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from
  20. Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from
  21. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from
  22. Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from
  23. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook