The surname of GOMER was a baptismal name 'the son of GODARD'. This personal name obtained a strong footing in England, and has left a large number of descendants. It corresponds to the German GOTTHARD. Originally the name was composed of the elements GOD (good or god) and HARD (brave, hardy and strong). The name was popular in Europe during the Middle Ages as a result of the fame of St. GODDARD, an 11th century bishop of Hildesheim, who founded a hospice on the pass from Switzerland to Italy that bears his name. This surname and the variant GODARD are also borne by Ashkenazic Jews, presumably as an Anglicization of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. 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. Early records of the name mention GODARDUS de Clakesbi of London in 1160. GODARD de Thurton of the County of Norfolk was documented in the year 1273. Simon GODDARD of London ibid. Symon GODHIRD of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Joseph, son of Joseph GODDARD, was baptised at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1716. The name was taken to Scotland by settlers, and Robert filius GODARDI, was one of an inquest made at Peebles in 1262, and appears to be one of the first of the name on record there. William GODARDE was a charter witness in 1320. James GODARD was the burgess of Aberdeen in the year 1493. The name is now very rare in Scotland. There was an ancient Saxon family who settled at a very remote period in counties Hampshire, Norfolk and Wiltshire. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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