Things to watch out for with DNA testing

I was very excited to learn that a fellow Godwin researcher might have found a relative to submit DNA to test against other conflicting or proposed lines.  She is descended from a family that often gets mixed up with my own family, or at least the family I am trying to prove relation to.
 
Our two Nathan Godwins were born in the mid to late 1700s and resided in Sampson Co., NC prior to the turn of the century.  My colleague’s Nathan Godwin is reported to be the son of Jonathan and Rachel (Bullard) Godwin, also of Sampson Co., NC.  He wrote a will in 1821 and died in Sampson Co., NC in 1823. He was the older Nathan. I believe, however that it is actually MY Nathan Godwin who was the son of Rachel and Jonathan and I have a deed to back it up. My Nathan Godwin removed to Randolph Co., NC about 1800, following the death of Jonathan in 1791 and the sale of his lands by his widow Rachel, and Nathan and Dred Godwin in 1795.

DNA analysis would help us to determine which of the two Nathan Godwins was the real son of Jonathan and Rachel Godwin. First we would need to find a definite descendant of Jonathan and Rachel who has a paper trail, to compare our DNA to.  Then we would need two additional samples – one from my colleague’s line and one from my own line. My family’s DNA has already been submitted and has matched up with 6 other NC Godwin lines. How exactly they are related is yet to be determined. I got my colleague to agree to submit her family’s DNA.

However, then I remembered something:  Her ancestor was reported to be descended from the older Nathan Godwin who left a will in 1821. In the will, he mentioned her ancestor’s name – Handy Godwin – a grandson, son of Nathan’s daughter, Tressie Godwin. I found court documents against this Tressie Godwin for 4 children she had out of wedlock.  In 3 of the 4 cases, the fathers were named, however, the children were not named. One of those men named did happen to be a Godwin, but we are not sure if he sired my colleague’s ancestor or not.

When finding family members to participate in DNA studies you must make sure that they are a true descendant of that surname. In this case, meaning their father must have been a Godwin. It is not enough that my colleague’s ancestor, Handy was a Godwin. He had been given his mother’s surname.  We don’t know who his father was. Of course, if my colleague were interested in finding out who Handy’s father was, she could go ahead and get the DNA submitted and compare it against possible surnames (perhaps against the two other men mentioned in the court cases).

So now I need to locate another heir of the older Nathan Godwin’s line to compare my family’s DNA against in order to prove or disprove relation to him and/or to Jonathan and Rachel Bullard Godwin.

Our Godwin DNA Test Results

This is a letter I sent out to all of the descendants of Elijah Godwin (1801-1884):

Update on my grandfather’s Godwin DNA test (to the descendants of Elijah Godwin):
As you know back in Nov my grandfather, Larry Godwin, submitted his DNA to the Goodwin/Godwin DNA Surname Project. I just wanted to remind everyone that all of the descendants of Elijah Godwin are represented by his DNA test. You do NOT have to submit your own test because if you are a Godwin male, then you will have the same exact y-chromosomal DNA as he does! Y-chromosomal DNA is what is passed from father to son each generation. Each family has its own set of mutations that occur that also get passed from generation to generation – these mutations are tested and recorded by companies like family tree DNA and they distinguish between family lines.
My grandfather’s 25-marker DNA test was a 100% match to the DNA of the FIRST group of Godwins in the results table http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/goodwin/results. Our ID number is G-43

Group 1
G-4   Descendant of David Godwin b. c1740 of Bladen Co., NC
G-29 Descendant of Samuel Godwin b. c1742 of Johnston Co., NC
G-30 Descendant of Thomas Godwin b. c1745 of Johnston Co., NC
G-32 Descendant of Thomas Godwin b. c1745 of Johnston Co., NC
G-34 Descendant of Nathan Godwin b. c1807 NC (possible grandson of Nathan b.
c1760 of Sampson Co., NC thru his son Jonathan)
G-8   Descendant of Alexander Godwin b. c1795 NC d. 1881 St. Clair, AL
G-43 Descendant of Elijah Godwin b. 1805 NC d. 1884 Lawrence Co., AR

For a 25 marker test match, there is a 90% probability that the descendants of Elijah Godwin share a common ancestor in the last 10 generations with the other 5 lines above.

Elijah is the last known ancestor we can prove to be descended from. It is my belief that Elijah was the son of Nathan Godwin who was the son of Jonathan Godwin, b. 1740, md. Rachel Bullard, however this is widely disbelieved by other Godwin researchers.

So now all we have to do is try to find paper trails of familial connections with these other 5 Godwin lines of NC.

There is one other Godwin who submitted a 37-marker test to this project. My grandfather can upgrade his test to a 37 marker test and compare against the other Godwin to tighten the window of relationship. If the two 37-marker tests come back with a 100% match, then there is a 95% chance we share a common ancestor in the last 7 generations, 90% chance it is within the last 5 generations and 50% that it is within the last 2-3 generations.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

We are still looking for descendants of Wilkinson, Dred, and Wilson Ulysses Godwin to participate in the surname project to see if we can connect them to our line.

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