John Good [1762 - 1848] and Joan ?

[revised 4 August 2013]

Note: This page is a work in progress; there may be errors and contributions are solicited.

Birth of John Good

Our knowledge of John Good's birth is scanty and derived from secondary sources. In a settlement document dated 1792, it is stated that he was born in Thorncombe which is a parish in the northwest corner of Dorset. Even today this is a small parish of only 5200 acres with a population of about 700, half of whom live in the village and the remainder in surrounding villages and farms. We have not yet located a christening record for John.

Birth of Joan Good

We have no knowledge of  Joan Good, other than her name and the fact that she is the mother of at least the latter four children listed below.

The Family of John and Joan Good

Our knowledge of the family of John and Joan Good comes from a variety of records and is summarized in the table below


Children of John Good and Joan ?

Name Date of birth
Date of christening Marriage Information Date of Death Place of Death

Moses 1785(?)
4 March 1784[1] n/a buried 12 Jun 1786[2] Barnstaple[2]
Sarah 1785
4 March 1784[1]      
10 February 1788[1] Susan Petherbridge, 1808[6] after 1861 probably Bedminster, Somerset
10 February 1788[1] Elizabeth Brown, 1808[3]
Priscilla Long, 1849[4]
26 November 1871[8] South Norwood, Kent


[1] christenings were at the Cross Street Chapel in Barnstaple, Devon, England; dates of birth were not indicated.
[2] Devon parish registers.
[3] Parish Records, Stoke Dameral, Devon, England
[4] Registry Office, Portsmouth, England, certificate of marriage.
[5] Census of England, 1851
[6] Parish Records
[7] Birth dates were not recorded on the christening records.
[8] Death registration
[9] Settlement Examinations (see below)

The Christening Records:

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"March 4 1784 Baptized Moses & Sarah Son and Daughter of John & Joan Good"


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"Feb 10 1788 Baptized Abraham & Moses Sons of John & Joan Good"

 While not explicite in the christening records, we learn from the Volume of settlement examinations  3054A/PO 8  1783 - 1799 that Abraham and Moses are twins. The complete entry reads as follows:

"John Good, weaver, born in Thorncombe; also his wife Joan and their children Martha aged 13, Sarah aged 7, Moses and Abraham aged 4 June 1792"

From this we learn of the older daughter Martha, confirm that Moses is a weaver and, at this time before census records, learn the likely composition of the family in 1792. That Moses and Abraham are twins leads one to wonder if they were identical twins and also to wonder if Sarah and the first Moses were twins.

The Lives of John and Joan

We know that our John Good was a weaver by trade, as attested to in the settlement examinations and further supported by the declaration on his son Moses' second marriage registration.

Of some interest is the religion of the Goods. They have christened their children in the Independent church and have given them all biblical names. This would indicate that they were caught up in the religious fervor which swept England in the period from about 1750 to 1900 and during which many non-conforming Christian sects sprang into being. At the same time the use of these old testament first names for the children has led to a belief by many fourth generation descendents that the family was Jewish. As discussed in the notes on Moses Good this seems highly improbable -- and, although the belief persists, we have no evidence as yet of any Jewish affiliations of John and Joan or any of their descendents.

In the early 1800s there was great concern in England that Napoleon might try to invade. Throughout the country militias were organized to protect the country against this eventuality. In the
Militia List 1803, Parish of St David's, Exeter we find listed a John Good, weaver, age 40 with one child under 10 who is a volunteer. This is likely our John Good, but further confirmation might be warranted.

We do know that by 1808, Abraham and Moses are both in Plymouth where they marry that year. It is quite possible that the family moved there in stages and that they spent some years including 1803 in Exeter.

Our next information on John appears to be in an 1841 census record where we find him living with the Meatyard family; we have not yet established a link between John and the Meatyards.

Piece: HO107/294/0 Place: Blandford Town -Dorset Enumeration District: 1
Civil Parish: Blandford Forum Ecclesiastical Parish: Pimperne
Folio: 4 Page: 3
Address: -

    Surname   First name(s)   Sex   Age   Occupation   Where Born   Remarks  
    MEATYARD   Robert   M   40   Baker    Dorset      
    MEATYARD   Elizabeth   F   39       Dorset      
    MEATYARD   John   M   6       Dorset      
    MEATYARD   Elizabeth   F   4       Dorset      
    MEATYARD   Sarah   F   2       Dorset      
    MEATYARD   George   M   3m       Dorset      
    GOOD   John   M   79   Independent    Dorset      
    MEATYARD   Sarah   F   40   Independent    Dorset      
    SKIVINGTON   Anne   F   40   Independent    Dorset      
    GODDARD   Ellen   F   20   F.S.    Dorset      

The question arises as to whether this is  our John  Good. What we can say is that it is highly likely that this is the same John Good who was on the 1803 list; there were not a lot of John Goods in Dorset who were born in 1762.

We have located one further John Good record and that is of a death of a John Good who died in Blandford Forum in the first quarter of 1848. We will need to get the registration certificate to see if it contains further useful details.

Research in Progress:
[1] Margaret of the Dorset OPC reported that there is no record of a marriage of John and Joan in Thorncombe
[2] Kim Parker transcribed the baptisms in Thorncombe for the period 1741 - 83 and reports the following two baptisms:
  1. 20-Oct-1767; Mary GOOD daughter of John & Joan GOOD
  2. 18-Jun-1770; Joseph GOOD son of John & Joan GOOD
There are no other GOOD baptisms in this time period. If these are our John and Joan it would imply a birthdate for John around 1750 or earlier. This would not be consistent with the 1803 militia role and 1841 census records which seem to be in accord. On the other hand this seems to be the only tie of John to Thorncombe per the settlement examination

Research Required:

[1] we need to trace John and Joan to determine their vital statistics and ancestry
[2] trace Sarah Good's life -- is she the Sarah Good that married a Salmon in Portsmouth in
[4] see if there are any tradesmen lists of the 1788 era in Barnstaple which might mention John Good.


[1] The IGI of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
[2] 'Joan of Colorado' who emailed me the details of the burial of the first Moses
[3] Kim Barrett of Australia, a John Good descendant who discovered and reported to me on John Good, as noted above.
[4] Margaret of the Dorset OPC for a lookup on Thorncombe marriage.
[5] Kim Parker of the Dorset OPC for her transcriptions of the baptism Registers of Throncombe

ŠKenneth Scott and others

modified 7 May 2009
last modified 4 August 2013