Select Goodman Surname Genealogy

Here are some Goodman stories and accounts over the years:

The Goodmans at Ruthin

The father of Edward Goodman was Thomas ap Edward ap Ievan Goch of Llandyrnog, a small village in Denbighshire just north of Ruthin.  Based on Edward's birth date, his father would have been born about 1456 or earlier.  He may also have been known as "Redsleeves," as goch means "the red" in Welsh.  There is some speculation that this Thomas may have been one of the Welsh bodyguards of Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. 

Edward Goodman was a prosperous burgess and mercer of Ruthin.  He died in 1560 and there was a brass tablet in Ruthin castle commemorating him and his wife Cisely and their eight children. 
He was recorded there as follows: 

"Here under lyeth Edward Goodman, burgess and mercer of Ruthin, who in the 84th year of his age departed this life on May 22, 1560." 

These Goodmans were based initially at Exmewe House and later (until the 1830’s) at Nantclwyd House in Ruthin.  The portraits of Edward Goodman and his son Gawen had hung in those houses and are now with the National Museum and Gallery of

Goodmans in Anglesey

Goodmans appear to have settled in Beaumaris about the middle of the 15th century, having probably arrived there from either Ruthin or Chester.  Early Goodmans recorded there were Richard Goodman, bailiff in 1483, and Rowland Goodman, a wine trader some thirty years later.  The Goodmans became prominent merchants in Beaumaris during Elizabethan times.  

Goodmans at Southill in Bedfordshire

The parish of Southill is located near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire.  Records of Goodmans at this parish began in 1561.  The following are some early marriage records:

Parish Church
John Goodman
Jane Shipabottam 
Nicholas Goodman
Rose Reynolds
Thomas Goodman
Mercy Reeve
Saint Mary
Nathaniel Goodwin
Mary Goodman
Richard Miller
Mary Goodman
William Goodman
Elizabeth Curtis
Saint Mary
William Stringer
Mary Goodman
Thomas Goodman
Joyce Moors
James Goodman
Elizabeth Pointer
John Goodman
Mary Gibbs
Richard Gibbs
Mary Goodman

John Goodman of The Mayflower

John Goodman of the Mayflower was mentioned in several of the early Plymouth colony records.  One story about him goes as follows: 

“Goodman and Peter Brown were cutting thatch in early 1621 about a mile from the Plymouth settlement and wandered away and got lost.  The next day the colonists sent ten to twelve armed men to seek them, going out as far as seven or eight miles, afraid that they had been captured by Indians.  Finally, after the searchers had given up, Goodman and Brown found their way back to the colony.” 

However, John Goodman died of the "sickness" in the second year of the new colony.  Thus he is not on the list of those Pilgrims from whom members of the Mayflower Society may claim descent. 

No Goodman was in fact descended from him, despite what many oral or traditional Goodman family genealogies may have claimed (including that his purported wife or children arrived on a later Mayflower voyage or on the Speedwell).  Early genealogies were often poorly researched, based on limited information, and may have in some cases been outright frauds. 

To complicate matters, there is an oft-published hoax which claimed that John Goodman was really John Dunham in disguise - i.e. that his name was in fact a pseudonym.  John Dunham was still living in Leiden after the Mayflower had departed for America and came to Plymouth sometime between 1628 and 1631.  But he was most obviously not the same person as the John Goodman of the Mayflower who had by that time died in America.

Micajah Goodman of Vigo County, Indiana

Micajah Goodman was from North Carolina, fought in the War of 1812, and came to Vigo county, Indiana with his family sometime around 1818.  He settled west of the river at the time when the Indians were numerous and wild animals abundant.  His reminiscences included killing a panther and almost killing an Indian. 

His hogs, as was the custom, ran at large in the woods.  When a hog was wanted the farmer simply went out for it as if he were looking for game.  On one of these excursions Goodman espied an Indian apparently busily engaged in skinning a hog.  Resting his gun against a tree he was about to fire when the Indian rose and held up the hide he had been removing.  It was the hide of a deer.  In killing this deer he had of course committed no trespass on the settlers’ rights. 

The Goodman family had been members of the New Hope Church in Sugar Creek.  They later withdrew their support because the church was pro-slavery.  Micajah’s two sons John and William instead organized a society for the Congregational Church and helped in the building of West Vigo Church which was dedicated in 1853.   Micajah followed his sons to the new church and lived onto 1873.

Guthmanns and Goodmans in North Carolina

Michael and Catherine Guthmann came to Pennsylvania from Germany with their two sons Christopher and Michael sometime in the 1720’s.  The senior male line went from Christopher to William to John Tobias, born in 1767, by which time the Guthmanns had become Goodmans and had moved to North Carolina. 

John Tobias Goodman married Margaret Nussman and most of his family were raised in the Weathers Creek area of Iredell county, North Carolina.  John died in 1842 and was buried with his wife in the old Filhour family graveyard in the woods in nearby Rowan County.  There is an extensive family tree of these Goodmans drawn by Hattie Goodman in 1925 in the Cabarrus county library.

Abraham Goodman of Shelbyville, Indiana

Abraham Goodman had been born into a poor Jewish family in Poland in 1885.  By the time he was fourteen years old, his family had saved enough money to send him to England.  He later made his way to America, working in New York City for two years as a tailor’s apprentice while attending school in the evenings.  He moved to the Midwest in 1905 and wound up in Shelbyville by 1910. 

Goodman soon became a familiar sight to county residents as he went door to door in town and throughout the county, peddling merchandise out of a horse-drawn cart.  By 1912 he was able to lease a store on South Harrison Street.  His business grew rapidly and in a few years he expanded into the second floor and into half of the storeroom north of the building. 

Goodman followed two basic business practices that contributed to his success.  He set one price for all patrons and returned cash rather than credit for items returned.  Both were unusual business policies in the early 1900’s.  At first he carried basic dime store goods.  Then he went to men’s clothing and finally women’s clothing. 

In 1916 Goodman brought something new to Shelby County, a fashion show.  In September of that year he put on an exhibition using models to parade the latest fabrics and fall styles.  He decorated his store with plants and sold no merchandise that day.  Ladies’ apparel such as suits, wraps and lingerie was displayed, refreshments were served, and musical entertainment was offered to the public.  It was a resounding success and became an annual event played before capacity crowds for decades. 

Goodman eventually sold the store to his employee Major T. Jeter.  But by that time his interests had expanded beyond the city and owned a chain of eleven department stores throughout Indiana.   He died in Shelbyville in 1950 at the age of 65 and was buried at the Beth-El Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Simon Goodman's The Orpheus Clock

Simon'a forebears in Germany were known as "court Jews" who serviced the financial needs of Germany's multitude of princely courts.  At German unification Eugen Gutmann prospered big time.  He moved his Dresder bank to Berlin, built a palace at Potsdam and became the confidant of royalty.  And he amassed art on a grand scale.

The Gutmann collection, continued by Eugen's son Friedrich, whose collection included the fabulous 16th century Orpheus clock, so named after the relief of Orpheus on the side.

"If you can visualize the chronometrically perfect components rendered in gilt brass,with a case of gold and bronze covered with intricate high-relief depictions of scenes from the legend of Orpheus in the Underworld, you have an idea of the mechanical mastery and artistic genius of this clock.”

However, Friedrich's life and possessions came under threat when the Nazis came to power in 1933.   Friedrich managed to escape to Holland while there was still time.  But he was trapped after the Nazis invaded Holland.  They coerced him into selling items in his collection for paltry sums and then foully murdered him and his wife in a concentration camp in 1944.

His son Bernard Goodman was safe in England by this time.  He spent much of the rest of his life fruitlessly hunting the lost goods.  Bernard's son Simon Goodman took up the tale in his 1995 book The Orpheus Clock


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