Apparently English surnames were originally descriptions of people. For example, John Bookbinder bound books, Tom Williamson was the son of William, Emily Appleby ostensibly lived near an apple, and  Robert  Glassman was a man made of glass. My Scottish grandma’s family name, Cunningham, is the coolest. I am clever and tasty: a cunning ham.

By now you may have realized that people named “Goodman” or “Goodfellow” are the descendants of good people. And to get the name “Goodfellow” you must have been a really good dude (I say dude because apparently everyone was terribly sexist back in the day given that there are no names like ‘Saradaughter’ or ‘Nicewoman’). But really, you must have been way above-average good. They don’t name people who fiddled around with tools “Blacksmith”. You have to be a legitimate metal-worker. You aren’t a Watson if you’re the nephew of Wat; you have to be the son! Similarly, you have to be a really good fellow to be a Goodfellow.

Now if parents teach their children to be good or bad, we can assume that descendants of the Goodfellows are also decently good people. Sure the effect might have worn off over time, but they are probably still pretty ok. Above average, I’d guess. And because of this, you should absolutely 100% trust any Goodman you ever meet. After all, s/he is the descendant of a good man. A very good man.

My music teacher in elementary school was named Mrs. Conquergood. I think I should not have trusted her.

Advertisements