Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two William Godwins

DNA is a wonderful thing. Family Tree DNA is for the self-starter who isn't afraid to get their hands dirty. AncestryDNA on the other hand, is geared more towards folks who want all the tiny leaves of their family tree to just fall into their lap. No shovel required.

This is fine and dandy, but some of those leaves are falling from the wrong tree if you get my drift.

One of the issues that my Godwin surname project is having is trying to go through page after page of matches to Godwins from the South East, particularly, GA, FL, and AL. We're talking upwards of three to four hundred matches, just on the Godwins alone. It seems this SE group of Godwins were a prolific bunch! Oh, and guess what? They liked to marry their cousins too, making it even more difficult to sort through their matches.

But, I digress. As I was saying... If you have taken the AncestryDNA test, then you know that many of your matches have a tree uploaded to their profile that you, as their match, have access to. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware if you've ever tried to do any research with, many of those trees are WRONG!

The two biggest errors I am finding in these Godwins trees are:

1. Everyone descends from James Godwin and Mary Parker - who IS this couple anyways? There were several message board posts and articles written in the "Huckleberry Historian" AKA the Sampson Co., NC newsletter that said so and so Godwin was the son of this couple, reference X deed. Let me tell you, this X deed does NOT exist. When I queried the author of these articles and posts, he could not procure the deed. I actually found a copy of the deed he cited and there is absolutely NO reference to any family members at all whatsoever. When I queried him further about the deed he stopped answering my emails. Typical.

2. William Godwin who married Pheriby and died in Conecuh Co., AL between 1840-1850 and William Godwin who married Winnefred and died in Johnston Co., NC in 1845 are one in the same person and they both are the sons of James Godwin and Elizabeth Dawson. This is the problem I would like to address in this post.

There are actually two William Godwins. 

Any genealogist would know this if they did the research.

William Godwin # 1:
There is a William Godwin who lives in GA and AL who is married to a woman named Pheriby. No one knows her last name. That's ok. This William Godwin died in Conecuh Co (now Escambia Co) Alabama in the mid 1840s. His parents are UNKNOWN at this time. We are trying to use DNA analysis to determine who his parents might have been.

William Godwin # 2:
There is also a William Godwin who lives in Johnston Co., NC who is married to a woman name Winnefred. Again, no one knows her last name either. That's ok too. This William Godwin died in Johnston Co., NC on 24 Jul 1845 (actually I'm not sure where this date came from, but it's "accepted."). This William Godwin did not leave a will, but there are estate files pertaining to his death on file in Johnston Co., NC from 1847. His parents were James Godwin and Elizabeth _____ [Dawson?].

If you descend from either of these two families, please correct your trees with the above information. I would like to prevent this mistake from being copied over and over again. If we can set the record straight, then maybe the CORRECT information will start to be copied.

If you would like documentation for the above information, please email me.

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