This surname GODBALL is of German origin, a baptismal name 'the descendant of Gobel'. The name was originally composed of the elements GOD (good) and BALD (bold and brave). The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. Early records of the name mention GODEBOLDUS (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Adam filius Godboldi was recorded in County Essex in the year 1185, and William Godebald was recorded in 1206 in County Bedfordshire. John Gobaut was documented in 1316 in Wales, and John Godebold appears in County Essex in 1317. John Godball was recorded in 1385 in County Kent. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. Registered in Germany. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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