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Goldsworthy Genealogy and Goldsworthy Family History Information

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About the Goldsworthy surname

This unusual West Country name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname deriving from either Galsworthy, in Devonshire, or from the places in the parishes of Crowan and Gwennop, Cornwall, called Goldsworthy. The place in Devonshire is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Galeshore"; the name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "gagol", sweet gale, bog myrtle, with "ora", bank, slope. At a later date, the second element was assimilated to the typical West Country placename ending "-worthy", from the Olde English "worth", enclosure, settlement. The Cornish placenames are so called from the Cornish elements "gol", field, with "erewy", fair, thus "an open space where fairs were held". Some of the modern forms of the surname from these sources are Galsworthy, Golsworthy, Goldsworthy, and Galsery. Examples from Devonshire Church Registers include: William Galsworthy (1540, Parkham); Thomas Galsworthie (1558, Hartland); and the marriage of Grace Goldsworthy and Robert Pomerie on November 4th 1611, at Honiton on Otter. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name Goldsworthy depicts, on a silver shield, three gold martlets on a black bend cotised. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Gallysworthy, which was dated 1524, recorded in Hoskins and Finberg, "Devonshire Studies", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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.