Compiled and published by kind permission Ancestry.com from the 1891 England Wales census records
Some Famous and Not So Famous Goodby's
The Goodby Coat of Arms

James E. Goodby

A noted Scientist, Diplomat, Ambassador in the USA

My 3rd cousin 1x removed

Jeff Goodby

Advertising Company of Goodby, Silverstein & Co. in San Francisco,USA.

"Got Milk?"

My 4th cousin

Dr. Robert Goodby

Assoc Professor of Anthropology at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, USA

My 4th cousin 1x removed

Lord Mayor Horace E. Goodby

1932-34 Birmingham, England. My 1st cousin 3x removed

Prof John W.Goodby

Department of Chemistry at the University of York, England

My 5th cousin

Robert Goodby

Cor Meibion Trelawnyd The finest male voice choir in Wales

My 2nd cousin

Dr John Goodby

Sen Lecturer & Poet University of Wales in Swansea, Wales

My 5th cousin

Guild of One Name Studies

I am a registered member No.4148 with the Guild of One Name Studies in England, researching my single surname of Goodby, with variants of Goodley and Goodbey, as the name is misspelled and extracted incorrectly numerous times in the census records.

A one name study consists of obtaining, collecting and sharing general and historical facts and data of a surname wherever it is found in the world.

Under the Genealogy link, you will find my research for the Goodby name. However, I do have a few families of Goodby which I have not yet been able to link to my lines and those I have kept physically in separate folders.

Origin of the Surname Goodby

Surnames derive from four general roots: patronymic, or relating to a clan and family; topographic, implying where an ancestor lived; names of profession or trade; nicknames. Goodby falls into the latter category.

Goodby is an English name, most often found in the West Midlands.  It was a nickname for someone who made frequent use of the expression "God be with you" (Middle English - God b'ye), although not necessarily as a farewell.  The first syllable altered under the influence of parallel expressions such as "good day" and "good even", hence the  names Gooday and Gooden, and yielded  the modern English vocabulary word of "goodbye."

 Information above was researched for me by Sian Ellis, Editor of British Heritage magazine, 1993. Original copy to hand.

During the tenure of Horace Edward Goodby, as Lord Mayor of Birmingham from 1932-1934, one of the streets, in the district of Moseley, was named after him.

Goodby Road is still there to this day and I took this photo of it recently.

There are a few other markers around the city that include Horace's name.

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Distribution of the Goodby Surname

This map of England and Wales shows the distribution of the Goodby surname in 1891. The majority are located in the midlands and north of England. Today, there are approximately 173 Goodby families all over the world. Most of them I know and can put them on my tree.

My unusual surname stirred my curiosity at a very early age and, at the age of eighteen, I began to do some research in the Reference Library in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

I visited two elderly great uncles who lived not too far away in Aston. It was a Bible, that my Great Uncle Horace Goodby had in his possession, that got me started. There, inside, was a handwritten list of his parents' marriage and his siblings births and where they were born. My Aunt Joan, a sister to my dad, gave me some pages from a Vernon Family Bible that she held. My grandmother was Mabel Jessie Vernon who married George Goodby and these pages linked the Vernon family back to the 1780s.

Since then, I have been able to find links with many Goodby relatives in England, Wales, Australia and the USA.  In fact, I have about 400 Goodbys on the tree. I have researched in Parish Registers, Register Offices, census records, trade directories and Wills and found many interesting stories of the Goodby Family. I belong to many genealogical societies and mailing lists in order to further my work.

There are a number of Goodby ancestors who were Silversmiths, Goldsmiths or Jewellers in Birmingham, and some descendents still continue in that profession to this day.

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Eric Goodby

Jeweller in Birmingham, England

My 5th cousin