Show ContentsGoodenough History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Goodenough is mistakenly thought to be given to a person who was easily satisfied or whose achievements "good enough." [1]

"The original bearer was perhaps a sufficiently worthy fellow." [2] Another source claims the name was a local name derived from "Godin," the name of the first settler of an area and "hough, haugh" or "how" which meant a hill or mound. [3]

Early Origins of the Goodenough family

The surname Goodenough was first found in Yorkshire where the Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Radulphus Godenogh; Johannes Godynogh; and Robertus Gudynegh as all holding lands there at that time. [3]

While the lion's share of the family hailed from here there was one lone listing in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 in Kent. Geoffrey Godynogh was listed there at that time. [4]

Early History of the Goodenough family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Goodenough research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1686, 1682, 1689, 1743, 1827, 1743, 1750, 1786, 1845, 1830, 1875, 1830 and 1844 are included under the topic Early Goodenough History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Goodenough Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Goodenough family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Goodenough (fl. 1686), English conspirator, an attorney of bad repute, who contrived nevertheless to obtain the under-sheriffdom of London, which he held in turn with his brother Francis for some years. "In July 1682 the justices of the peace fined him 100l. because he refused to alter the panel as they pleased at the sessions at Hicks's Hall. He was to have appeared along with Grey on 7 May 1689 as a witness against John Charlton, also charged with high treason against Charles II, but both had the good sense to keep...
Another 160 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Goodenough Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Goodenough migration to the United States +

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 [5]

Australia Goodenough migration to Australia +

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

Goodenough Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Goodenough, British Convict who was convicted in Berkshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Samuel Goodenough, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Eden" on 30th September 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [7]

New Zealand Goodenough 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:

Goodenough Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Goodenough, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1883

Contemporary Notables of the name Goodenough (post 1700) +

  • Ward Goodenough (1919-2013), American anthropologist
  • Ursula Goodenough (b. 1943), American biologist, Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis
  • John B. Goodenough (b. 1922), German-born, American physicist and chemist, best known for developing the Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • Florence Laura Goodenough (1886-1959), American psychologist and professor at the University of Minnesota, best known for developing the Goodenough Draw-A-Man test
  • Erwin R. Goodenough (1893-1965), American academic and scholar in the history of religion
  • John B Goodenough, American professor of mechanical and electrical engineering at The University of Texas
  • James Graham Goodenough (1830-1875), English commodore, son of Edmund Goodenough, Dean of Wells, and grandson of Samuel Goodenough, Bishop of Carlisle [8]
  • Edmund Goodenough (1786-1845), English churchman, Dean of Wells from 1831 until his death, youngest son of Samuel Goodenough, bishop of Carlisle [8]
  • Samuel Goodenough (1743-1827), English scientist, Bishop of Carlisle (1808-1827)
  • Frederick Goodenough (1866-1934), English banker, Chairman of Barclays Bank from 1917 to 1934
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Herbert H Goodenough (b. 1914), English Cook (S) serving for the Royal Navy from Northfleet, Strood, Kent, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [9]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Michael Grant Goodenough, British Commander, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [10]

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th November 2021). Retrieved from
  8. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020
  9. 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
  10. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook