The origin of the name Gidman is not known to me but it has been a distinct surname for at least five centuries; there are English church register entries from the mid 16th century including Gydman as a variation in the early days. I have three references from before the time those registers commenced:
William Gydman was “ feloniously killed and murdered with a sword” by John Bagenalt of Uncote at “Boturton” North Staffordshire [now called Butterton, near Leek]. This is in the Plea Rolls of Henry V and the Indictments of Henry 1V which I think places it about 1413.
Henry Gydman, clothman of Cheshire and his brother Alexander [alias Childe] of Hammersmyth [now in London] are together named in the Calendar of Court Rolls for 1498 in relation to “a tenement with garden and orchard containing an acre and a half”.
In 1509 on the Pardon Roll of Henry V111 is a general pardon for “John Gydman of Southwark, tailor”; the reason for this is not known.
The Astbury, Cheshire, Church registers commenced in 1572. The earliest male baptism I have seen was there, in April 1576. It is of Hugo son of father Hugo Gidman - see below. A Hugo also had a daughter Jane baptised in 1574 but who was the mother and where did they come from?
There is a gap in the Registers during and after the Civil War. One of just four marriage entries between 1642 and 1662 is on 11th August 1653:-
Thos Gidman to Margarit Brownsward
This entry is cited in “Newbold Astbury and its History” by Rev JEG Cartlidge 1915 p 106. However a recent search by a churchwarden has not confirmed the transcription and I have to agree it does not look like Gidman.
Forty years later, on 2nd December 1693 a Thos Gidman married Maria Brownsword [When a Mary died in 1735 a nephew named is Thomas Brownsword of Eaton].
The particular area of Astbury they lived was Newbo[u]ld Astbury. By 1871 I know of only one still living there:- Mary, Widow 72 born Congleton living with her brother in law Peter Shaw, lime burner, and his wife Maria aged 75. They were nee Washington and Mary had married Evan about 1819.
My database does not include anyone with a name similar to Gidman except where I believe a census entry or a transcription was wrong. To date I have seen no evidence suggesting the following names are variations but because I do not know the origin of Gidman one or more of them may have been associated at some time:
Gidmon, Gilman, Gillman, Giltman, Gilmon, Godman and Goodman, the last being the most common . Quite a few Gilman were in Staffordshire, the county adjacent to Cheshire, and in that part of the county in which Gidman were living. They were not in Cheshire but had spread out much further South.
A suggestion that it may be from the word Guidman used by the Scots, mainly meaning husband, seems unlikely. I have searched the archive of the Scotsman newspaper and found only one reference to a proper name which was in an article referring to the first Church of Scotland assemby in 1560; one of the five ministers present with John Knox was Christopher Guidman.
Goodman seems to be the name chosen by or for immigrants to Britain and the USA to anglicise similar sounding middle European names. The largest database I have found of these names is on Jewish Gen on which there are only two Gidman, in Poland, Kieler province. Perhaps there is an error in transcription because they are the burials of two girls, in 1850 and 1861, but no other members of the family are so named; all others on the page are Gutman.
I have a copy of a Utah USA death certificate for William Gidman who died on 5th January 1944. He was 50 and had been in the States for 50 years; he was born in Lithuania. His parents were Charles Melfski and Terresa Suitage! He lived in Ogden, Utah and newspapers from there show quite clearly that he actually used the name Gedman; the typed name on the certificate was wrong!
I have not considered alternative first letters, such as Kidman. I was puzzled by an 1897 Memorial inscription for Christine Selina Gidman in Glamorgan and discovered that her birth in 1883 was in the name of Eidmann and her death registration was for Eidman.
In the following pages I give only the forenames for Gidman. Other surnames are capitalised.