Goodman Immigrants to American Colonies Before 1700

The following Immigrants to New England, VA and the Carolinas are in approximately date order. However, in the case of passenger lists, it should be noted that not all of the ships that left for Barbados and/or the American Colonies arrived safely, one case in point being the “Merchant Bonaventure”, upon which Thomas Goodman and others embarked from London on Jan 2 1634/5. Therefore, just because a person appears on a passenger list, does not mean that they actually arrived at their destination. Likewise, just because a person was ordered transported by an English court, does not mean that they were, or that they were transported to the originally ordered location, or that they arrived safely. Emigrants who were not prisoners, and were transported by others who paid for their passage, were generally under contracts, or indentures. During the term of their contract, were personal servants, and/or worked the lands of their sponsor for a specified number of years, usually seven, to compensate their sponsors for their passage. They were often promised and given lands of their own out of the sponsor’s headright grant as part of the indenture and bargain with their transportation sponsor. 

John Goodman did come on the “Mayflower” in 1620. However, no Goodmans are descended from this “Mayflower” John Goodman. All requests from purported descendants for membership in the “Mayflower Society” have been denied by that organization. He died unmarried and childless in the sickness of the 2nd year of the Colony. The “Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700“, compiled by Frank R. Holmes, pub. The American Historical Society, Inc., New York (1923), lists two of the Mayflower passengers as John Goodman, unmarried male, and Richard Goodman. This is incorrect. John Goodman was a Mayflower passenger, but Richard Goodman came to the colony a number of yeas later. See following entries. Holmes also claims that the John Goodman who came on the Mayflower subsequently married in Sudbury, Mass., in 1656, which is also incorrect. See the John Goodman of Mayflower page for more details.

Robert Goodman is listed in the 1623 Colonial Census (LISTS OF THE LIVINGE & DEAD IN VIRGINIA, Feb. 16th, 1623) in Elizabeth City. He is also listed in the 7 Feb 1624/25 Muster, as “Robart Goodman”, age 24, a tenant on the Rent Roll of the Virginia Company, still living in Elizabeth City, VA, in the muster of John Ward, located: “beyond Hampton River Beinge the Companyes land”. See: Goodmans of York and New Kent VA.

Richard Goodman (Deacon) came from England to Cambridge, Mass. in 1632. He may be a descendant of the Ruthin Goodmans. See the Richard Goodman of New England page for more about him and his family.

Thomas Goodman was 25 years old when he departed from London on the ship “Merchant Bonaventure”, on Jan 2 1634/35. His fellow passengers to Virginia included John Dunn, Thomas Anderson, John Anderson, Arthur Howell, and John Fontaine. These names are commonly found near Goodmans in land records, and some intermarried with Goodmans. However, this ship may never arrived at its destination, as its owners, Maurice Thompson and Gregory Clement, had claimed it lost to “Dunkirkers”, privateers operating under Spanish authority, and in 1637 had won from the Crown the right for reprisals (vis: Privateer actions against Spanish shipping interests in the West Indies, conducted by Capt. William Jackson) for its loss. [Ref: “Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550-1653; Robert Brenner, 2003, p. 159]

Tymothie Goodman, age 27, was ordered transported to Barbados on 2nd of May 1635, aboard the ship Alexander.

Francis Goodman came to Virginia and is listed in the 10 Jun 1637, headright grant of Thomas Powell, of Upper New Norfolk County, and another Francis Goodman is claimed on the headright grant of Thomas Dewe (Dewey), also of Upper New Norfolk County, on 1 Aug 1638. These may be one and the same person, having been claimed twice, as sometimes happened. Upper New Norfolk County was renamed to Nansemond County in 1745, and was home of the later prominent Goodman families of Nansemond, Isle of Wight and later NC.

Richard Goodman appears on the 7 May 1638 headright grant of Thomas Burbage in Upper Norfolk Co.

John Goodman is listed on the 10 Mar 1638 headright grant of Thomas Burbage of Accomack Co., on the Eastern Shore. The will of a Jno. Goodman, perhaps this immigrant, dated 1683, is on record in Accomack Co. Thomas Burbage obtained 3,000 acres between the Occoquan and Neabsco Creek known as Burbage’s Neck, in what is now Prince William County.

Francis Goodman was in the Virginia Colony Census of 1651, in the Virginia East Shore County. He also took a loyalty oath March 11 of that year (“Wee whose names are subscribed; due hereby engage and promise to bee true and faithfull to the Commonwealth of England as it is nowe established without King or House of Lords.”), and John Williams and Walter Williams also took the oath in that county. A William Williams is also on a list of the Virginia Company, dated 16 Feb 1623, of those at the Eastern Shore.

Jno. Goodman, son of Francis Goodman, was born Aug/Sep “of the summer after the Fleet came into Virginia to reduce ye country to the obedience of ye Parliament of England” (1651/52). This Francis Goodman may have been a soldier brought to Virginia by the Fleet, or one of the earlier Francis Goodmans, or may have been a son of John Goodman, the 1638 emigrant listed above. This reference closely corresponds to the previous mention of the William Goodman, appointed by Oliver Cromwell, “to reduce Maryland and Virginia to the obedience of Parliament“. This John and Francis Goodman are likely the same John and Fran (Francis) Goodman mentioned in the following will of Richard Baily/Bailey:

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA – Early Will Abstracts. p. 93: “Bayly, Richard freehoulder 6-12-1661/10-29-1661 son Richard Bayly, jr sole heir and ex of my estate. Wf Elizabeth. Kinsmen John and Richard Hinman the sons of John Hinman dec’d. god children: Thomas Williams, Thomas Johnson, John Cuttings dau Mary Parramore, John Lesis, Richard Jones, jr one eq lamb. Son in law Philip Fisher, Rebecca Fisher the dau of Stephen Fisher dec’d John Goodman the son of Fran Goodman dec’d Wit: Edward Moore, John Fawset, Philip Fisher”.

William Goodman came to Virginia in 1651, per headright grant of Richard Coleman, of York County Virginia, 6 May 1651, lands on North side of Rappahannock River. It is possible this may have been the William Goodman of Bramham alias Bramwich, of York County, on the list of November, 1652 [18 November, 1652.], titled “The several names of those persons whose Estates are hereby adjudged to be forfeited for Treason.”. Those persons first appeared on a list of “Traytors” dated 16 July 1651, presumably royalists and/or “papists” who participated for the King in the English Revolution of that time.

Richard Goodman came in 1652, per headright grant of Capt. Henry Fleete, Lancaster County Virginia, 1 Aug 1652, lands on N. side of Rappahannock River.

George Goodman came in 1653, and was claimed on a headright grant of Thomas White and Peter Sexton, Norfolk County Virginia, 31 Mar 1653.

John Godsman (possibly Goodman), Edward Tirrell (Terrell) and Richard Bayley (Bailey) are listed on the headright grant of Joseph Crowshaw of York County, 8 Nov 1653, lands on S. side of York River. That would place them in the Surry / Nansemond / Isle of Wight area.

Richard Goodman is named in the grant assumed by Capt. Edward Streeter of Westmoreland County, 19 Mar 1657, lands on S. side of Potomac, and originally granted to Elizabeth Burbage 30 Mar 1655. This may be the same Richard Goodman named in the 7 May 1638 headright grant of Thomas Burbage, and Elizabeth may have been the wife and widow of Thomas Burbage.

Thomas Goodman was in Virginia before 1659, when he owed L.250 to Tho. Elgar in England, and Mr. Elgar appointed by power of attorney Tho. Cely, merchant of London, who was “now bound for Virginia”, to collect that debt and several others owed to Elgar by various Virginia residents. (Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Volume 10 By Beverley Fleet, p. 111, Lancaster County Book No. 2). Lancaster County was the residence of Col. Thomas Burbage, who claimed Richard Goodman and John Goodman in his headright claims of  1638, cited above.

The will of a William Goodman is recorded in England in July 1662. He was a sailor of the ship “Honor’s Desire”, and died in Virginia, a bachelor. In June 1685, Joseph Jones, miller, was apprenticed to William Goodman, mariner, for 4 years in Jamaica. This tells us that some Goodmans were soldiers and sailors, and were on the ships that traversed between England and the colonies.

Henry Goodman is one of a list of 67 persons transported by George Catchmaid, grant on N. side of Roanoke R., on the sound, on Perquimans River (NC), 1 Apr 1663. Others on the list of those transported by Catchmaid include: Roger ap Robert, Thomas Terrell, Thomas Powell, and others with clearly Welsh surnames. This land, later named as “Birkswear,”, was later sold by George Catchmaid’s heirs in England, to John Stevenson of Perquimans County in 1747.

John Goodman is named in the headright grant of Thomas Robinson and Quintaine Sherman, Rappahannock County Virginia, N. side of river, 3 Nov 1664.

Henry Goodman arrived in Maryland in 1665, where he was given land.

Thomas Goodman and Thomas Hart are listed as transported by Col. John Catlett, grant of 2 Jun 1666, N. side of Rappahannock River (Virginia).

Samuel Goodman and Walter Hart were among 12 persons transported to Virginia, according to the headright grant to Thomas Jett, dated 21 January 1666, and on record at Richmond VA Land Office. On the same date, this same list of transportees is claimed in a headright grant by a Peter Jett.

Benjamin Goodman baptized his son Samuel, at St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, VA, 27 April 1701. This was also the church of the Bethea family, several of which inter-married with the Goodman families of Hanover / New Kent in the early 1700s. In Hanover County, formed from New Kent County, the 1729 will of Benjamin Goodman, recorded May 5, 1735, lists sons Samuel Goodman, Robert Goodman and Benjamin Goodman, and wife Lucie. Although it cannot be certain, these may be descended from the Samuel Goodman who came in 1666 or before with Walter Hart, or the Robert Goodman who was in Elizabeth City in 1623. More on these families later.

Andrew Goodman and Edward Henderson are listed in the headright grant of Thomas Button, 19 Jul 1666, for 3650 ac in Rappahannock Co., south side of river.

Humphrey Goodman was among 12 persons transported by Thomas Royston, grant of 6 Feb 1667, of Gloucester County, VA.

Edward Goodman was apprenticed 18 Nov 1667 in Bristol to William Wathan, for 4 years in Virginia. Occupation was unspecified.

Richard Goodman recorded 424 ac in Rappahannock Co., N. side of Rappahannock R. by Bryry Swamp, 20 Nov 1670. 300 ac purchased from Edward Wetherborne and Gerrard Reynolds, 124 ac for transporting 3 persons. By the location, this appears to be the same Richard Goodman transported by Henry Fleete in 1652. This later land transaction indicates that this Richard Goodman lived and prospered, and probably had issue.

Edward Thelwell of Nansemond County, patented three grants in that county with his partners, on 14 Apr 1670, 24 Feb 1675 and on 29 Nov 1679. It is unknown if Edward Thelwell, a name and family intimate with the Goodmans of Ruthin, N. Wales, ever visited or lived in Virginia. One of those transported was Lewis Williams. These lands were all in the Kingsdale / Beaver Dam Swamp area, on a tributary of the Nansemond River. Other neighbors in this same area and at the same time included James Collins and William Collins, perhaps ancestors of the John Collins whose daughter later married William Goodman of Nansemond / Surry / Isle of Wight.

  • 14 April, 1670: Grant to Edward Thelwell and his partners, 250 acres near the head of the Southern Branch of the Nansemond River, adjoining Thomas Mason and Francis Wells. (Cavaliers and Pioneers II, p. 96, citing Virginia Patent Book 6:368)
  • 1675/76 Feb. – Nansemond VA Pat, BK 6, p. 595. Edward Thelwell 150 acres Up. Par. of Nansemond At land of Mr. Walter Bazeley’s orphans, now in possession of Thomas Holder, adj Thomas Mason & his own land, up the Beaver Dam Swamp.
  • 29 Nov 1679 – ???

Benjamin Goodman, a prisoner at Middlesex prison, was reprieved for transportation to Barbados in 1672. Benjamin Goodman, of St. Katherine’s, and a prisoner at London’s Newgate prison, was reprieved for transportation to Barbados 17 Sept., 1672. These are very probably the same Benjamin Goodman, simply having been transferred from one prison to the other prior to transportation. In London, Goodman’s Wharf is located on the west side of Pillory Lane, at St. Katherine’s Dock (Rocque, 1746-Dodsley, 1761). St Katherine’s Dock is immediately adjacent to and east of the Tower of London, and therefore in the same Parish as the Benjamin Goodman who was ordered transported in 1672. Site now covered by the Docks.

Some Goodman researchers assert and believe that he was the ancestor of the Benjamin (with sons Samuel/Robert/Benjamin) Goodman line of New Kent / Hanover / Louisa Counties, VA., and that he was in Barbados for only about a year before removing to Maryland, and then into Virginia. They (including myself until recently) also believe that this was a Benjamin Goodman of the Southill (and later Goldington) Bedfordshire Goodman families, for which a number of christening records are found under this name. However, in the case of the Benjamin Goodman who was ordered transported, he is specifically recorded to be of St Catherine’s parish, which was located in London, on the Thames River, adjacent to the Tower of London. There is no record of the Benjamin Goodman of Bedfordshire ever residing in London, and no reason for him to do so given the strong Goodman family presence and ties in Bedfordshire.

So, unless some specific evidence presents itself to establish that the Benjamin Goodman of Bedfordshire, christened in Southill Bedfordshire on May 12, 1639, removed with his family to St. Catherine’s Parish in London between 1662, when son Benjamin Goodman was christened in Goldington, Bedfordshire, and 1672, when he was ordered transported, and unless evidence presents itself that the Benjamin Goodman who was transported at some point brought his wife and young son Benjamin to the American Colony, then we can only assume that the Benjamin Goodman ordered transported was from an established Goodman family of London, and not from the Bedfordshire Goodmans.

A Robert Goodman, born before 1652, was one of several indentured servants or tenants transported to VA by John Page before 1672, when John Page was awarded 1900 ac and 1700 ac, by grant of 14 Mar 1672, both grants being in New Kent County Virginia, John Page, deceased, and his son, Capt. Mathew Page, are mentioned in The Vestry Book of St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent Co., on 3 Nov 1688, as is one Henry Wyatt, perhaps a descendant of the Richard Wyatt who owed a debt to Robert Goodman in 1646 in York County, mentioned previously. Mathew Page was a vestryman of St. Peters, elected on 22 May 1686, in the place of Mr. James Turner, deceased, and Charles Turner was Clerk of the Vestry at that meeting. Others listed as being transported in the John Page grant include: Nicholas Hamner, Francis Williams, and Richard Drury.

John Goodman came to New England on “The Blessing” in 1673. “The Blessing” was an English Man of War.

Robert Goodman went to New England in 1673, aboard “The Katherine”.

John Goodman was among 16 persons transported by (Mr.) Thacker, grant of 27 Sep 1678, lands on Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers (Middlesex County, VA).

Richard Goodman is listed in the register of Christ Church Parish (Middlesex Co.), on 22 Dec 1679, with 8 acres of land and 9 negroes.  Given the distances, it is unlikely that this is the same Richard Goodman listed in the 1638 headright grant of Thomas Burbage as cited previously.

John Goodman, Martha Neal, Richard Baley (Bailey), Eliz. Baley (Bayley/Bailey), transported by Lt. Col. John West, grant of 25 Nov 1679, 2500 ac in Accomack County Virginia, between Crooked Creek and Potomac River.

George Goodman is listed as one of 12 persons transported in the headright grant of Richard Booth on 20 Apr 1680, the grant being in Isle of Wight County Virginia, near Col. Bridger’s line.

Richard Goodman was listed as transported by Abraham Weeks and Hugh Williams, in their 26 Sept 1680 grant of 109 ac in New Kent County Virginia, on Ware Creek, Tasatam (sp?) Creek, called Solomon’s Garden.

Nicholas Goodman arrived in SC in October 1682 with Robert Hill and his wife. There are many records of Goodmans in the LDS databases, that claim relationship to a William Nicholas Goodman, who may also be related to this Nicholas Goodman.

William Goodman is listed among those transported by John Bryan, grant of 20 Apr 1682, for 470 ac in Nansemond County Virginia. He may have been the ancestor of the Williem/Henry/William Goodman lines of Nansemond and Isle of Wight.

Jon. Goodman and Wm White are listed among those transported on grant of John Parish, 20 Nov 1682, p. 203. 390 ac Charles City County, Beg in fork at the Old Tree Run, to Richard Bradford, to Fishing Run, &c. Trans of 8 pers. 

Richard Goodman is listed among those transported by Benjamin Harryson (Harrison), awarded 620 ac. in Surry County Virginia, by grant of 20 Apr 1684, as earlier ordered by the Court 27 Nov. 1683.

Edward Goodman and Matthew Goodman appear on a list, dated 8 July 1685, of those convicted of waging war against the King, probably the rebellion by the Duke of Monmouth, bastard son of Charles II, which failed. They were sentenced to be transported to the Americas. There were about 600 other names on the same list, of Dorset, Summerset and Devon Counties.

Thomas Goodman is listed as one of five persons transported on the 28 Apr 1691 headright grant of John Blackborne, who received 211 ac. in Charles City County, N. side of James River, in Westover Parish.

Samuel Goodman arrived in SC with Major Benjamin Waring, December 1693. This Samuel Goodman, or possibly his son, is probably the one who was JP of Bladen Co. 1743-45, and whose grants in Bladen Co. NC, on the border with SC, totaled over 3160 ac. by 1751. Was this Benjamin Waring related to the Henry Waring above?

In 1695, in the estate of Capt. John Goodman of York County, VA, two slaves were valued at 60 pounds sterling together (Records of York County, vol. 1694-1702, p. 410, VA State Library). Since this John Goodman is not listed as an emigrant, he was probably the son or grandson of one of the earlier prominent Goodmans of York County, possibly the Robert Goodman who came in 1619. This record, and others in York County, indicate that we need to further research all available and surviving York County records.

Jno. Goodman, 1696: Grant to “Mr. Richard Cocke, 975 ac Charles City County, on N. side of James River, 29 Oct 1696, p. 67. Beg. at Mr. Jno. Turner on Chicahominy Path, to place known by name of Arrow Reeds, up Fishing Run, on line supposed to be of Robt. Peake, to Thomas Murrell, &c. Imp of 20 pers. Danl. Carr, Jno. Goodman, Susana & Nicholas Lipscome, Wm. White, & 15 Negros.”… Wm White and Jno. Goodman also listed on grant of 20 Nov 1682 to John Parish, and similar locations, so Goodman add White were probably both in Charles City Parish before 1682.

In 1699, Charles Goodman was a Customs Collector in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He writes to his masters in England: (Source: “British History Online” at:

“Perth Amboy, June 27, 1699.

“May it please your Honrs.

* * * * * * I am now to inform your honrs that the ship ‘Nassaw,’ Capt. Shelly, com[m]andr, lately came from Madagascar, & since run aground on Long Island shoare near York, landed some goods in this province, of which having some informac[i]on, Saturday 24 inst, I went & obtained a warrant from a justice of peace, & took wth me a constable in order to search ye house where the goods lay in the towne of Woodbridge. The mr of the house abused the constable & denyed my authority, & refused to lett the constable break open the door to search, which he would not suffer him to doe. I immediately got a warrant from the same justice to secure ye mr of ye house, Matthew Moore, but he refused to go before ye justice to ansr his contempt, neither could I persuade the constable he had power to break open the door till I had obtaind a third warrt for that purpose, & till ye justices of peace came themselves to see it done; where I found & seized 12 small bales or baggs of callicoes & muslins, & secured ym in a chamber in the house of Mr Richd Powell, at Woodbridge, & lay there in the same chamber, & sent to Amboy for a waggon to carry them away, which came early Monday morning; people being so precise here that they will upon no consideration suffer a waggon to travell on ye Sabboth day. On Munday about one or two in ye morning, the house & chamber where I lay was broke open by about twenty persons disguised, armed wth clubbs, pallizadoes, & other weapons, of a prodigious biggness, myself threatened my life, & ye goods forcibly carried away. I have not neglected to make all possible search & inquiry, but to no purpose, for ye people here are all lawless, & have no respect to Govermt or the King’s authority, but publickly affront ye magistrates & those who endeavour to execute the law. * * * * * * *

(Signed) “Charles Goodman.”

The Virginia Company Rent Roll of 1704 lists Peter Goodman with 400 ac. in York County, and John Goodman with 275 ac in James City County. Both of these Goodmans are in the right location and time to possibly be related to Benjamin Goodman of New Kent County, and possibly also be descendants of the Robert Goodman who came to the Virginia Colony in 1619.

Henry Goodman received a grant of 256 ac in Nansemond County, 28 Apr 1711. This is probably Henry, son of the William Goodman who was in Nansemond County and Isle of Wight County before 1700. The wording of the grant indicates an area of Nansemond that later became NC.

Conrad Goodman, b. 29 Nov 1756 in Orange Co., NC, married Elizabeth in 1782 in Guilford, NC. Their issue were: John b. about 1783, Sally, David, Jacob, b. 1787, James, Jane Ann, Benjamin, Godfrey, Francis, Elijah, and Elizabeth. The name Godfrey, associated with Benjamin and Francis, further establishes the relationship of these colonial Goodmans to the Goodman families of Wales.

Several other Goodmans were listed in various later Colonial census and tax lists and militia rolls of these times. Many of these are described in more detail in the following sections. In addition to those mentioned previously, other families with early Colonial ties to the Goodmans in Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina include Lewis, Anderson, Gwaltney, Hart, Henderson, Williams, Conway and Pipkin.

Primary Sources:

  1. “Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of VA Land Patents and Grants 1623-66”
  2. “Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of VA Land Patents and Grants 1666-95”
  3. “Virginia County Records, Vol VI”, Crozier
  4. “Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666”, Greer
  5. “Eastern Shore of Virginia”, Wise
  6. “Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia”
  7. “Colonial Residents of Virginia’s Eastern Shore”, Houston and Mihalylea
  8. “English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records”, R. Cognets Jr.
  9. Price & Associates Immigrant Servants Database
  10. Various other printed and web sources


Goodman Emigrants to Colonial America — 1 Comment

  1. Hi

    I’ve been reading your posts all over the internet regarding Benjamin Goodman. I heartily concur with you: there is no proof that Benjamin from Southill was Benjamin from St Katherine’s.

    Bedfordshire & Luton Archives Service Catalogue has several records of a Benjamin Goodman living in 1702/3 but dead by 1717 in Harrowden, Bedfordshire – just down the road from Goldington and Southill see Click on the name Benjamin Goodman at the bottom of the page to see other records containing his name. I find it just as likely that these records are for the Benjamin from Southill as are the transportation records.

    “A true register of all christeninges, mariages, and burialles in the parishe of St. James, Clarkenwell” says on 25 April 1687, one Benjamin Goodman married Jane Dawson – see St. James, Clarkenwell, is 3 miles from St Katherine’s. I believe this is evidence of another Benjamin who could just as easily been the one from Southall as the one transported, in any case it is evidence of another Goodman family living in London at that same time who used the name Benjamin.

    National Archives has a probate record for a Joseph Goodman esq of St Katherine’s from December 1754, To my mind it’s just as likely that Benjamin from St Katherine’s was an earlier representative of this family as the one from Southill.

    What are your thoughts?

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