Goodnow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Goodnow 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 Goodnow family

The surname Goodnow 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 Goodnow family

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

Goodnow 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 Goodnow include Goodenough, Goodenowe, Goodenuff and others.

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

Migration of the Goodnow family

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 Goodnows to arrive on North American shores: Richard Goodenough, who settled in New England in 1686; Anne Goodenowe, wife of Edmund, mother of John and Thomas, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1638.


Contemporary Notables of the name Goodnow (post 1700) +

  • Isaac Goodnow (1814-1894), American abolitionist and co-founder of Kansas State University
  • Frank Johnson Goodnow (1859-1939), American educator and legal scholar, the first president of the American Political Science Association in 1903
  • David Clay Goodnow, American television journalist, former CNN Headline News anchor
  • Jacqueline Jarrett Goodnow (1924-2014), Australian cognitive and developmental psychologist
  • Christopher Carl "Chris" Goodnow BVSc, PhD, FAA FRS, (b. 1959), Hong Kong-born, Australian professor and immunologist, Professor at the Australian National University's John Curtin School of Medical Research


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lowe, 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


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