Friday, July 27, 2012

The Goodwin /Goodrum Conundrum

share this: facebook
 This below is the first post from a new blog Ive just started called Past Whispers - its going to be a narrative that follows  my journey into my family's past as I discover my roots.
You can follow my new blog  at

One of the biggest conundrums Im facing in these early days of my genealogical journey is the Goodwin Family branch.
My great grandfather Phillip Goodwin was very interested and proud of his wife’s family tree but really didnt speak much to me ever of his side of the family, and I was surprised to learn recently that he had 9 brothers and sisters.
There has to be an interesting story amongst that lot I’m sure so why was he so closed about them.
His Mothers story alone is worth telling. She came alone  from Ireland at 16 in 1876 to live with her Uncle. ( Ive yet to discover who he was) . By 1880 at age 21 she had met and married her husband James Goodwin, and within the next 18 years she had at least 10 children.
Sadly in 1898 James died of Acute Pneumonia leaving her a widow, with a new farm and all those children to raise ( the eldest of whom was only 16.)
I have a copy of James death certificate and here is where the story starts to get tangled.
Print image.tif.print (1 page)

Its not easy to read but it states James parents were William Henry Goodwin Farmer, and Jane Goodwin formally Boyt.
James was 38 when he died making is birth year around 1860, but there is no birth registered in that name according to Births Deaths and Marriages…..
Boyt isnt such a common name so she was relatively easy to find.
Jane Boyt was the daughter of William Boyt who was a Fencible at Onehunga.  They arrived on the  Ramilles in 1847.
But search for a marriage between William Henry Goodwin and Jane Boyt and you will come up with nothing.
The only marriage for Jane Boyt appears to be one in 1852 to a  Henry GOOODRUM, and interestingly enough there is a birth registered in 1860 for a James GOODRUM .
DId Henry GOODRUM change his name to William Henry GOODWIN, and if so why add the William.
My mother had a Goodwin family tree which states James Father ( no name given) came out to fight the Maori Land Wars and was a member of the" “Old 4th Waikato Regiment”
There is no William Henry Goodwin listed as a member of the 4th Waikato, but there is a Henry GOODRUM
see this web page by Colin Dent who was kind enough to provide me with the information he had on Henry GOODRUM

Name Henry Goodrum
Reg. # 485
Rank Private
Company 1 (Source: land register)
Enrolled 30 Jul 1864, Onehunga
Born Gissing, Norfolk, England
Trade/calling Labourer
Age at enrolment 39
Height 5ft 8½in
Ship HMS Racehorse
Marital status Married
Colour of eyes Light Blue
Colour of hair Sandy
Complexion Fair
Religion Protestant
Relieved from service 1 Apr 1865 / 29 Mar 1866
Possession of land 1 Apr 1865 / 29 Mar 1866
Town section # 41, West Hamilton, Victoria Street (east side).
2nd lot south of Grey (now Bryce) Street
Country lot # 19, Knights' Survey, Pukete
Country lot location Hamilton/Ngaruawahia road, Te Rapa
Remarks Substitute for William Bowden Reg. # 7
Nominal & Descriptive Roll of the 4th regiment of the Waikato Militia, Microfilm BRN 173610 / FHL
287479, Hamilton Public Library, National Archives ref. AD 144/4.
Land Grants to Waikato Militia regiments, includes the Long Roll, Microfilm BRN 173606 / FHL 287480,
Hamilton Public Library.
H C M Norris, Manuscripts and Notes, Hamilton Public Library ref. Msc 0046.

Henry GOODRUM comes from Norfolk,
According to the Death certificate of William Henry GOODWIN – he also comes from Norfolk.

Im beginning at this point to feel that these men are one and the same.
Additionally Henry GOODRUM seems to disappear after  he is discharged from the 4th Waikato in 1866. There is no death registered in NZ to a Henry GOODRUM.

A death notice for William Henry GOODWIN states the following:
GOODWIN Died 9th January 1912 at Firewood Creek, Ngaruawahia, William Henry Goodwin, of old age, fractured leg and exhaustion 20 days, aged 86 years. Last seen by Dr Percy Swaseger 8th January 1912. Born Norfolk, England, in New Zealand 64 years. Married at Onehunga at age 22 to Jane Boyd. Male issue living - aged 39, 42, 45, 55, 57. Female issue living - aged 54, 66. Buried Ngaruawahia 10th January 1912.
Informant - W. Vant, undertaker having charge of the funeral.
and for Jane,
GOODWIN Died 27th August 1913 at Ngaruawahia, Jane Goodwin, household duties, female, of cirrhosis of the liver, senility and heart failure, aged 83 years. Last seen by Dr H. E. Tait 13th August 1913. Born South Wales, daughter of ..... Boyd, soldier, and ...... ...... Male issue living - 60, 55, 46, 43, 40. Female issue living - 61, 51. Buried Ngaruawahia 29th August 1913.
Informant - John William Tait, undertaker having charge of the funeral
So a search at Births Deaths and Marriages under GOODRUM brings up the following births
1858/867 Goodrum, Alice Ford 63/64 63/64
1858/868 Goodrum, Sarah (Auckland) 63/64 64/65
1860/1175 Goodrum, James (Auck) died before 1912 died before 1913
1863/2001 Goodrum, Henry (Auck) 48/49 49/50
1866 Goodrum, Samuel - Mother: Jane - Father: Henry 45/46 46/47

Then additionally under GOODWIN
1868/16085 Joseph(Mother Jane, Father William Henry) 43/44 44/45
1872 Frederick James RUssell ( Mother Jane, Father Wililam Henry 39/40 40/41

Some of the  ages dont match exactly with the ages at death so Im not really much the wiser. I’m surmising that Alice Ford and Sarah are twins based on the record numbers.
I know Sarah was a daugther of William H Goodwin based on on an except from the Cyclopedia of New Zealand about an E Moffitt whose wife Sarah Ann was listed as the daugther of WH GOODWIN.
I know that James was the son of WH GOODWIN based on his death certificate.
To confuse matters even further there was another William Henry GOODWIN who married a Jane ( Russell) in 1853  and who farmed in Kaukapakapa.

Yesterday I took a trip out to Archives in South Auckland and found the Will and Probate of William Henry GOODWIN

This will dated August 1911 leaves his estate to “my dear wife Jane Goodwin the income thereof during her life and after her death upon trust for my said son William Charles Goodwin absolutely.”

William Charles is another new name…so just adds even more mystery, and what of all his other children???
The only William I can find who might fit at births deaths and marriages is registered as a GOODWIN birth  that would fit is one born in 1865 with no mother or father name listed in the database at Births Deaths and Marriages
So this mystery continues to be a challenge for me. I suspect Im going to have to spend a lot of  money on birth and death certificates to get an answer ..if I ever do!!
More to follow Im sure…..


  1. jenny lovell7:40 pm

    Hi Lauren Im a decendent of your Janes sister the youngest susannah boyt and as ive been digging to for my lot which has been differcult for her husband william alexander price but not to worry someone out there will know some thing anyway as for your lot you are on the right track as to why henry changed his name wouldnt have a clur except maybe it was changed with someone not knowing how names where spelt which ive come across good luck with your hunting

    1. Hi Jenny - Those Boyts and Goodwins are hard to track arent they - - If I come across anything about Susannah Ill be sure to let you know