Surname Saturday: GOTHARD

The Gothard family are part of my maternal ancestry.

Mary Gothard (1847-1931)

The most recent Gothard in my ancestral line was my Great Great Great Grandmother Mary Gothard (pictured) who was born in Witcham, Cambridgeshire in 1847.

Her parents were William Gothard and Sarah Hawkins, and she had eight known siblings.

My Great Grandmother remembers that the surname was spoken sometimes as ‘go-therd’. This makes me wonder whether the surname is an occupational one with ‘go-therd’ being to goats, what ‘shep-herd’ is to sheep. Whatever the origin of the name, I’ve only been able to push the Gothard family back (so far) to this William Gothard, born in 1816.

In a must-be-related branch of the Gothard family from just a few miles away, descends a photographer – Warner Gothard.

His work was so highly respected that he opened 4 ‘Day and Electric Light Studios’ in Barnsley, Dewsbury, Leeds and Halifax. He pioneered the ‘Montage Postcard’ and became a photographer for the British Royal Family.

A blue plaque has been erected in Barnsley on the shops and offices that he erected in the 1920s, and to commemorate his achievements and his gift of Seckar Woods to the people of Barnsley and Wakefield.

Common variants seem to include: Gotherd, Gothard, Gottard, Goatherd.