- This interesting name is an example of a surname originating from a medieval nickname. It derives from the Middle English "god" meaning good plus "barn" a child and was therefore used as a compliment for a good obedient child. The surname may occasionally be "godchild". The first recording of the surname was in the early 13th Century, (see below). One, Thomas Godbarne, is noted as witness in the 1283 Fine Court Rolls and Robert Gudbarn, appears in the 1379 Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Goodbairn, Goodban, Goodbarr, Goodbur, Goodbar, etc.. Recordings of the surname and its variants from the English church registers include; Jan, daughter of Robert and Isabell Goodgarr, who was christened on April 28th 1661, at St. Giles Cripplegate, London; the marriage of John Goodbar and Jane Whittle took place on November 23rd 1673, at Leyland, Lancashire; on September 26th 1697, Thomas, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Goodbar, was christened at St. Andrew's Holborn, London; and Mary, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Goodbur, was christened in the same place on May 28th 1699. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Godbarn, which was dated 1203, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Lincolnshire", 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.