Monday, November 3, 2014

Methodology Monday with the Goggins Family

Morna Lahnice Hollister skillfully weaves documentary and DNA evidence together to produce a 200-year male-line family tree for Luchion Goggins (1900-1984), in the lead article in the September 2014 National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Those struggling with African-American research, South Carolina research, or other difficult problems can learn and take heart from the tools she used to solve this one.

Key to the documentary side of the research was correlating different records to confirm accuracy or detect error. Family oral history named Luchion's father. By taking that hint to the census the author found Luchion in his widowed mother's household. Moving back, Hollister used a table to correlate four censuses and show the perplexing 1870 enumeration of the Goggins household as a dubious outlier.

Further back, documentary evidence showed that Luchion's great-grandfather and grandfather were owned by the Herndon family and that Jesse Goggins was a long-time associate and overseer for the Herndons. Y-DNA evidence established a significant probability that Jesse Goggins or one of his male relatives was Luchion's great-great grandfather.

Without DNA evidence such a connection would have been speculative. Without the documentary evidence we wouldn't even be able to speculate, let alone find the right people today to test.

Morna Lahnice Hollister, "Goggins and Goggans of South Carolina: DNA Helps Document the Basis of an Emancipated Family's Surname," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 102 (September 2014): 165-76.

Harold Henderson, "Methodology Monday with the Goggins family," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted  3 November 2014 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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