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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancient Normans that arrived in England following the Conquest of 1066 are the initial ancestors from which the many generations of the Goodenough family have grown. The name Goodenough was given to a member of the family who was a person who's achievements were "good enough." A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character.


The surname Goodenough was first found in Cumberland where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Goodenough include Goodenough, Goodenowe, Goodenuff and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Goodenough research. Another 202 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Goodenough History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Goodenough Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Goodenoughs to arrive on North American shores:

Goodenough Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Goodenough, who settled in New England in 1686

Goodenough Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Goodenough, who landed in New York in 1844

Goodenough Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Goodenough arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1883


  • Florence Laura Goodenough (1886-1959), American pioneering child psychologist
  • John B Goodenough, American professor of mechanical and electrical engineering at The University of Texas
  • Mr. Michael Grant Goodenough, British Commander, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Sir William Macnamara Goodenough (1899-1951), Baronet
  • Sir William Edmund Goodenough (1867-1945), Admiral
  • Ursula W Goodenough, Professor of Biology at the University of Washington in St. Louis


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  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The Goodenough Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Goodenough Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 January 2016 at 16:54.

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