Goddard Gathering 2013
Barbados is a small nation in the Caribbean, an independent member of the British Commonwealth since 1966. The island was visited by the Spanish and Portuguese from time to time after the voyages of Columbus; through enslavement and disease, the Spanish effectively decimated the indigenous population.
In 1624 the first English ship arrived, claiming the island for King James I. Permanent English settlement began in 1627. Mariner and bondsman Capt. Nicholas Goddard, his brothers Anthony, Arthur, and William, and sister, Elizabeth, were among the early immigrants. Their birthplace is believed to be Staple Fitzpaine, Somerset, UK; if so, they likely represent a branch of the North Wiltshire Goddards.
In the colony's early years, most labor was provided by indentured men from the British Isles and Europe. As was true all over the New World, some entered voluntarily into indenture in search of opportunity, or to escape from war-torn homelands. Others (notably from Scotland and Ireland) were transported involuntarily by Oliver Cromwell's government. Contracting and supplying such indentured labor may have formed part of the business conducted by Capt. Goddard, who was established in Barbados by the 1640s.
During this period sugar cane was introduced to the island. Barbados become the foremost plantation economy in the world, and slaves began to replace comparatively expensive indentured workers.
By 1679, Nicolas Goddard owned 74 acres and 38 slaves, and was able to endow his daughter Elizabeth upon her marriage with 850 acres in the colony of Virginia. Many of his European contemporaries were less fortunate, including some members of the Goddard family. As economic opportunities shrank many left Barbados altogether. This exodus has continued over intervening centuries; many Barbadian Goddards have since dispersed around the world and lost touch with their colorful past.
Family research for these descendants presents significant challenges. Working with Richard Goddard, lead family researcher in Barbados, the Goddard DNA project hopes to identify ancestral patterns for this family. For more information, contact Richard Goddardrichgod@sunbeach.net or the Goddard DNA firstname.lastname@example.org