The Anselm Name

Names as Clues in Genealogy Research

Genealogists often use names as clues to the relationships between families. Often, the surname of the wife, or a given name from her ancestors, will be introduced into the line as a middle name, or even a given name. In this respect, the various Goodman lines I have focused on in this report contain the name Ansel, Ancil, Anselm, or some variant, since it occurs in every documented generation of my direct ancestry since 1750. Or, they can be directly related to the first Goodmans of Wales. In this way, you could say that I have been working from both ends toward the middle, in an attempt to establish an unbroken lineage from the earliest known Goodmans to my generation, and specifically for my direct ancestors.

There are certainly many more Goodman lines in America than the ones I have focused on here. However, I the ones I have included all have some defining characteristic that I believe defines them as kin to my direct lines.

Where I have included non-Goodman surnames in this report, it has been primarily to better establish a pattern of strong inter-family kinship, which was the norm for the pioneer families that migrated to and settled America, since many cooperative hands were needed to surmount the difficulties they encountered. Generally, these sources include: marriages (of course), christenings, wills, common militia service in a specific location, immigration and passenger lists, land records that include information about adjoining families, tax rolls, and later, US Census records. I did not limit my research to the Goodman name alone, but as I discovered significant other families, I did some further research on those. However, with few exceptions, I limited these researches to those facts that bear, more or less directly, to the Goodman lines.

Etymology of the Name Anselm

From my uncle, Frank Goodman, via e-mail: “I found in my Britannia World Language Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary: Anselm (an’selm, Ger. an’selm) A masculine personal name. Also Ansel (an’sel). French Anselme (an-selm’). Italian Anselmo (an-sel’mo). Latin Anselmus (an-sel’mus). The name in Germanic means ‘divine helmet’ or ‘protection from God.’ Salem was the original name for Jerusalem. It also meant “protected by God.” The Germanic prefix, an- means toward or near, and the prefix ab- means away from or far. The name could have meant ‘near Salem” (an Salem), since it originated from Germanic. The name Salem means ‘peace’ which is also salaam (Arabic) or shalom (Hebrew). Jerusalem is still referred to in Arabic as Salaam (Salem)”.

The Name Anselm in Early History

The name Anselm and variants, appears as early as about 945 AD, when Anselm, Count Of Noyen was born. He was married to Adelaide, of Oltigen. Their daughter was Ancilia, of Noyen, born about 975. (ref. LDS GEDCOM #2780, submitted by Zack Joseph Lee). In the LDS GEDCOM #3385, submitted by Paul DeBry, several Ansel names occur. Anselm De Garlende was born to Guillaume (William) De Garlende, of Garlende, France, about 1063. Their daughter was Agnes De Garlende. Descendants of this lady include Phillipe I, King of France, and many other royal lines of Europe and Britain.

St. Anselm of Aosta was a Catholic monk and priest of Italian birth. He was Abbot of the monastery of Bec in Normandy, and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to March 22, 1109, when he died. He was the reluctant appointee of Rufus, who was William II, King of England. Rufus was the son of William I, “The Conqueror”, the Norman king who won England in 1066 at Hastings. Anselm was already elderly when appointed to his post, and he had already declared for one of the two contenders for the papacy. This, and his philosophy of the relationship between church and state, often placed him at odds with Rufus for his loyalty first to Rome and the Pope, and only then to the King. Anselm was exiled by Rufus in 1097, but returned after the death of Rufus in 1100, and at the request of his successor, Henry I. Details of Anselm’s life

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Eadmer, a monk at Christ Church, Canterbury, and confidant of Archbishop Anselm, wrote much about this Anselm and his times (“Historia novarum in Anglia” c. 960-1122, ed. G. Bosanquet, “Eadmer’s History of Recent Events in England“, Philadelphia, 1965). Anselm was considered “First among English bishops”, at least as far as the Normans were concerned.

A later English bishop, also named Anselm, studied at Canterbury, and took his name from the Archbishop St. Anselm.

Another Anselm, who was a nephew of Archbishop St. Anselm, was Abbot of Rome.

No Anselm Goodman names were found in my limited search of IGI records for Wales or England.

The Anselm Name in Goodman Lines

I have been working on the theory, that the similarity and frequent occurrence of the Ansel/ Anselm/ Ansolom/ Anslem/ Anselem/ Anslow/ Absolom names is a lead to a possible connection to our family lines. This is a quite unusual name, and makes establishing a connection with our direct lineage much easier. Many records of the time, including census and tax lists, as well as court and church records were produced by low paid, and probably under-educated clerks, using phonetic and colloquial spellings, and word-of-mouth, and the subject individuals probably could not even spell such an uncommon name accurately themselves. Therefore, I believe that it is likely that many of these names are in fact the same, and simply written incorrectly, or illegibly. Or, at least, the names were incorrectly given by the subjects, based on their oral history. As a result of this, I found the following references that appear to tie in with our family line, by way of that particular family given name.

The name Anselm probably came from one of the families that married into ad/or were closely related to the Goodman families of Virginia in the early to middle 1700s. Of those, Anselm Bailey served with a William Goodman in the Surry County Militia in 1687, and there was another Anselm Bailey in New Kent County. Anselm Clarkson of Louisa County served as a Virginia Ranger during the French and Indian War, as did Bartelot Goodman, also of Louisa County. Anselm Bugg was a close neighbor of Robert Goodman in Lunenburg County in the 1750s.

The Ansel/Anselm name occurs in several Goodman lineages:

  • The line of Ansel Goodman b ca 1752, of course, and for several generations in that line.
  • My line, beginning with Anselm Goodman born 1802 in E. TN, son of Amos I. Goodman, and continuing through several generations.
  • Line of Charles Goodman of Albemarle County, presumed son of Samuel Goodman of Hanover/Louisa County, who had son Nathan, who named one of his sons Ansalem Goodman, and Charles son Jeremiah Goodman named a son William Anselm Goodman.
  • Line of John Goodman of Germany and Tennessee, from about 1800-1850, which also contains several Ansel/Ancil names. Whether this John Goodman line is connected to the other is still subject to debate.

Given the common origins of the Charles Goodman line in Hanover/Louisa County, it seems most likely that the Anselm name came into the Goodman family of Hanover/Louisa County VA well before 1750.


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