- This interesting name originated as a nickname for one who was easily satisfied and habitually said "good-enough". Alternately, it may have been a nickname for a good lad or good servant. The recording from the first source is earlier (see below). The derivation is from the Medieval English "gode enoh", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "god genoh" meaning "good-enough". In the second case, the component elements are the Olde English "god", plus "cnafa", a boy or servant. Roger Godecnaue appears in "The Cartularly of Oseney Abbey", Oxfordshire, dated 1220 and a Hervicus Godcnave in the 1225 "Pipe Rolls of Northumberland". In the "modern" idiom, the name is spelt Goodenough, Goodanew, Goodnow and Goodner. In 1667, Richard Goodenough and Sarah Harrison were married in Canterbury. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan Godinogh, which was dated 1212, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.