England

England is where the names Goatham and Gotham seem to have originated, although there are now more Gothams in the US. There seem to be 3, possibly 4, distinct groups of Goathams / Gothams / Gottams who may or may not share a common ancestor. At one time the family(ies) were most numerous in Devon, where all three of the above surnames occurred, as well as a range of other spellings, although Gotham was most common and it is that surname that all descendants seem to have ended up with. All Gothams in Devon in the last century or so are descended from one William George GOTHAM ancestor, born about 1818 in Teignmouth; other lines became died or daughtered out, and/or left Devon. In Kent as would be expected a variety of spellings have been used in the past; both Gotham and Goatham were commonly used and the name has finished up as Goatham. After centuries of stuggling to survive, probably due at least in part to living in unhealthy areas where malaria was rife, the Goathams multiplied quite rapidly in the nineteenth century. A small number of Gottams / Gothams lived in parishes along or close to the northern half of the Shropshire / Staffordshire border, at least from 1616/7 when the marriage of a John Gottam took place in Gnosall. In the rapid expansion of urban area some moved a short distance to the Stoke-on-Trent area, but so did a Devon Gotham; I have not yet done more than glance at this Midlands branch so I don't know if it expanded, contracted or emigrated. A little further north a couple of Gothams were born in Clitheroe in the mid-C19th, John Francis in about 1842 and Margaret in 1861. John Francis grandson, Francis Ernest, kept the line going until his death in 1974, when the family daughtered out. I don't know how they were related to any other Gothams. Whilst most 'strays' turn up in London, there a James of Liverpool married in nearby Aughton in 1703. Maybe they were descended from him. Although in the same county, Clitheroe and Liverpool are not close (about 50 miles apart) but Clitheroe is closer to Liverpool than to any other know Gothams.


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