Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thomas Going Research - Part I

My Going – Goin – Goins Line

I have been researching the Going/Goin/Goins family, off and on, since the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.  I have corresponded with many researchers about our family – Warren Tyndale Faulkner, Leon Meyers, Arlee Gowen, Cyndie Goins Hoelscher, Jack Goins, Tracy Hudgins (formerly Hutchison) and most recently, Sandra Loridans, Dianne Thurman and Beverly Nelson – just to name a few.  For the past 10 or 15 years my cousin, Troy Goins, and I have worked together and made many research excursions to the areas surrounding Claiborne County, TN, Randolph County, NC and most recently several counties in Virginia. 

Our most distant, proven ancestor is Thomas Going, c. 1729-1797, of Randolph County, NC.  We believe Thomas must have come to North Carolina from Virginia.  Most of the Virginia counties that we’ve researched were along the North Carolina border trying to see where he may have lived prior to settling in Randolph County.  A few years ago we located his will, dated February 7, 1797 (Randolph County Will Book 2, p. 37) which listed our Burton as one of his children.  P. G. Fulkerson wrote that Burton “came to Lonesome Valley (in Claiborne County, TN) from N.C. about 1835.” 

Troy and I have long believed that Thomas Goin (old Tommy), the American Revolutionary War soldier of Claiborne County, TN, was an older son of our Thomas Going in North Carolina, an older brother to our Burton.  There has been much research on “old Tommy” of Claiborne County but no one had been able to locate his father.  We attended the memorial service for Thomas Goin on October 10, 2009 at Pleasant Point cemetery, in Claiborne County, Tennessee, hoping to meet some of his descendants who might have a genealogical link to our Goins line, but we struck out. 

On one of our excursions in February 2010 Troy and I went to the library and state archives in Nashville, TN to do some research on our genealogy.  We ran across a book that had a chapter on the Goins family.  It was by Beverly Nelson in Littleton, Colorado and had our Thomas Going in it!  I found her phone number online and called her to order a couple of her books.  She only had two left and I ordered them both for Troy and I.  Bev has done extensive research on the Goin(s) family and also written articles for the Gowen Research Foundation newsletter.  She believed, as Troy and I did, that “old Tommy” and our Burton were brothers, sons of Thomas Going of Randolph County, NC.  Over the next few weeks she kept urging me to contact Jack Goins of Rogersville, Tennessee and participate in the Goins Y-DNA project. 

I finally decided to order my Y-DNA test kit in March 2010 and got my results back in April.  Sure enough – I was a match with several of “old Tommy’s” descendants – including Pat Goin Jones and Sherry Goin whom I had met in June 2010 at the Melungeon Historical Society conference in Sneedville, Tennessee.  When I forwarded my Y-DNA results to Bev Nelson she was beside herself.  Later, in August, she located Wilson Goin’s Civil War claim which listed Sterling Goin as Wilson’s second cousin.  (Tracy Hudgins had sent me a copy of Wilson’s Civil War claim a year earlier but I had not made the connection between Wilson and Sterling.)  Bev is a descendant of Sterling so she immediately made the connection.  She put this information alongside my Y-DNA results and called it the “smoking gun” in solving the mystery of “old Tommy’s” father – our Thomas Going of Randolph County, NC!  Combine the DNA results and Wilson’s Civil War claim – that’s pretty conclusive evidence. 

Troy and I decided to focus our attention on finding Thomas Going’s parents and his place of birth.  We had assumed he was born and raised in Virginia.  We had seen where some of “old Tommy’s” descendants believe he was born in Brunswick County, VA so we decided to make that one of our stops.  We had planned on returning to the state archives in Raleigh, NC after visiting some of the southern Virginia counties surrounding Brunswick County.  After visiting with Bev we decided to also swing on up to Fairfax County, VA on that trip.  We weren’t just grasping at straws when we decided to go to Fairfax County.  When I visited Bev in her home last September she had shared some information she had found on a John and Mary Keife Gowen, with a son Thomas.  It was a deed where they were buying land in Fairfax County.  She had suggested that we try to locate the original deed.  

In October 2010, on our way to Virginia, we visited Granville County, NC because we had seen where a Thomas Going had paid taxes there in the 1750s and 1760s.  We found the records but weren’t able to make a concrete connection with him.  We spent a couple of days in Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Brunswick and Greensville counties in Virginia and did find some information on the same John Gowen which Bev hoped we would find in Fairfax County.  From there we headed to Virginia Beach, but not for genealogy purposes.  We had to give our wives a break from the research (which they are not interested in) in order to preserve their sanity.  From there we had to move on to Raleigh, NC because our time was running out.  On our way to Raleigh we did have the opportunity to visit a couple of libraries in Southampton County, VA. 

On October 15, 2010 Troy and I got to see the ACTUAL will of our Thomas Going that he had written in February of 1797!  It is in the state archives in Raleigh, NC.  I can’t describe the feeling of looking at a document that one of your ancestors had written 213 years earlier!  I took a picture of it and then got an official stamped copy of it.  We never made it up to Fairfax County on that excursion.

In December of 2010 Pat Goin Jones, Sherry Goin, Troy and myself started planning a trip to Fairfax County, VA for the summer of 2011.  I had learned of the Genealogy Jamboree that was scheduled for Cumberland Gap, TN so we planned our Virginia trip to coincide with the Jamboree. 

In June of 2011 we spent a couple of days at the Genealogy Jamboree in Cumberland Gap before heading to Fairfax County, VA.  It was a very informative genealogy seminar and among the speakers were Jack Goins, foremost Melungeon researcher and Roberta Estes, foremost DNA expert. 

Our first stop in Fairfax County was the courthouse and I immediately asked for John and Mary’s deed that was dated 1740.  She told us their records only dated back to 1742 and my heart sank!  However we were able to locate it in about 10 minutes, along with three other deeds for John.  The indenture had taken place in 1740 but wasn’t recorded until 1743, thus they had a copy of it.  There was also a deed for a Thomas Going dated 1743.  It’s not likely this was our Thomas as he is suspected to have been born around 1730.  However it may be another ancestor that we haven’t connected with yet.  The next day we went to Prince William County, VA and found more information on John and Mary Gowen. 

We returned from that trip with nearly 500 pages of information from the various Virginia counties.  We now have the task of going through all of it and sorting it out.  We have no concrete evidence as of yet, but we believe this Thomas, son of John and Mary Keife Gowen, may be our Thomas Going of North Carolina.  If we can prove this we will have gone back two more generations because one of the deeds listed William Gowen as the father of John Gowen. 

In future articles I will trace our family movements from Randolph County, NC to Claiborne County, TN and points beyond.

Eddie Goins