by William David “Bill or Billy” Golden
I am descended from the Henry Roosevelt Golden family of Jefferson County, Alabama, and the Alvah Edison Norfleet family of Chesapeake, Virginia. Other families of immediate interest are the Belcher (southeast U.S.) and Styron families (mid-Atlantic region).
My Goldens supposedly got off the boat from Ireland at Savannah, Georgia, just prior to the Revolutionary War. Some migrated up through the Carolinas, Virginia (and West Virginia), Kentucky and then down through Tennessee into Alabama.
Our family lines have relocated many times over the last three or four generations. One of the challenges is that go by so many different names yet are the same family: Golden, Goulding, Goldin, Gouldrick, and even McGoldricks.
Family lore, as per Rollins Golden of Sacramento, California (1995) has it that my branch of Goldens were not Irish so much as temporary residents of Ireland. They could have been English, or Scots Irish, or they could even have been Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain several centuries earlier prior to their travels in the English and Irish isles. The Golden name has at least four major origins. If family lore is correct, then direct knowledge of Jewish family members have become lost to history.
There are such things as ‘secret Jews’ and ‘crypto Jews‘. These are Jews that passed down their heritage only to select members of their family. They did not publicly practice their faith out of fear from non-Jews.
One Golden of particular interest to me is Green Golden, circa 1840-1880 (AL, FL, GA, KY, TN, VA, WV). There were several Greens, some related and some possibly related. That is the grandfather at which I got lost. Family legend has it that he came from Southeast Kentucky and went down to Rome, Georgia, where he married an Indian woman. He and his bride then moved to Northeast Alabama and had a brood of children. Green later left the family and returned to Kentucky where he remarried and had more children. Green supposedly often visited his Alabama and Georgia kinfolk. In his later years he supposedly lived in the southeast Kentucky or western part of West Virginia, where he practiced as a folk herbal doctor.