Are you Virginian and Crypto-Jewish and don’t know it?

Golding / Golden / Goulding et al Family History on Facebook


There is a company called DNA Consultants that offers various tests to determine your ethnicity. They also seem to be marketing to Virginian families of old descent to take the test based upon your curiousity as to whether you might be Jewish.

A very recent blog posting on their website is entitled: Virginia Surnames and Families with Possible Jewish (and Muslim) Roots

From the lead paragraph of the above blog posting: In our continuing series of notes on colonial genealogies, we give here the the complete appendix containing all early lists of emigrants to Virginia, taken from Jews and Muslims in British Colonial America (2012).

I cannot speak to the accuracy of the listing overall. However, there is one individual listed that I probably know as much or more about than most folks: George Golding, aka Goulding.

It is also a peculiar listing as there were other Goldings involved in Jamestown. George is presumed to be the close cousin of  Mary Golding (b1595, Grundisburgh, Suffolk, England; d.23 Oct 1665 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England; daughter of Robert Golding, Esq., and Martha Judd). Mary was the wife of Bartholomew Gosnold, the Jamestown General Manager so to speak — and school classmate with Mary’s father Robert Golding, Esq.

Note: The Gosnold/Golding family was also involved in the Massachusetts Colony settlement. Martha’s Vineyard was named after Martha Gosnold, daughter of Mary Golding and Bartholomew Gosnold. Some sources also say that Gosnold named Martha’s Vineyard after his mother. All sources that I know of do agree however that Gosnold named Cape Cod as ‘Cape Cod’ due to the large amount of ___ fish that he found abundant in the area.

Here is a list of Goldings, Gouldings and Goldens that arrived in America between 1607-1699: view list.

I have long found the topic of Crypto-Jews, or Secret Jews, to be interesting.

As a Golding/Goulding/Golden family historian there is little reason to believe that any of the family were secretly Jews or Crypto-Jews: privately Jewish and publicly practicing non-Jewish religious practices. It could be. Who knows? Would like to see more information than just listing someone’s name on a list.

Do you find this a topic of interest? Stanley Hordes, considered a subject matter expert on this has authored numerous publications on the topic, and wrote the article So you think you’re a Crypto-Jew? It gives you some things to really think about.

It is indeed possible with some degree of accuracy to determine if someone descended from a partriarchal line that has ancient Jewish bloodlines. There has been a lot of genetic genealogic research on the topic.

There are also Goldings/Goldens/Gouldings (GFolks), to include myself, that are participants in YDNA testing and members of the The Golden DNA Project. There are very few GFolks that test as belonging to Haplogroup ‘J’, which is closely associated with being Jewish.

Factoid: We often hear that Jews trace their lineage via their mothers. Yes, generally true, but only since the 2nd century AD / CE. Prior to this time Jews traced their lineage via patriarchs, as does most of the world. Example: Prophesy was a savior would be born that came from the House of David, not one of David’s wives (he had 11 supposedly already by the time he took on and slew the Philistine Goliath).

There are most definitely Jewish Goldings and Goldens and Gouldings. Chances are high however that these are adopted names, adopted after 1850 or later.

An exception: Golding and Golden is a naturally occuring name among Jews from the former German area of Latvia and the former city of Golding now called Kuldiga. These Goldings did immigrate to the USA but almost all came after 1865-1870 and settled in New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

Stay curious!


You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden, Norfolk1956@gmail.com

BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.

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