Golden Families that once had different surnames

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Updated 2015.07.31

Some Goldens once had different names

A surname (last name) is a hereditary name common to all members of a family, as distinct from a given name (first name).

Please keep in mind that hereditary surnames are a relatively modern invention, beginning around 1300-1400 for the British Isles and happening as recently as 1800-1870 for much of the rest of the world.

Below are some families that adopted the Golden name (or Golding, Goulding, etc.) but once had difference surnames, or are linked to different surname lineages.

Elender Eli Golden, born c1729 in Georgia, is often listed as being born to John Golding. A closer examination of what we know about this family is that Elender may well have been born or raised within the John Gwaltney and Mary (Atkinson) family. Later Golden generations may have chosen to change the Gwaltney name to Golden within their family genealogies. The first names and dates within some Golden genealogies match exactly with the Gwaltney family genealogies — but the Gwaltney version has supporting document. It is believed that Elender Eli Golden may possibly be the father of Mark Golden, Sr., b 27 Jan 1762 in Lincoln, Georgia. Very unique to the Mark Golden bloodline is that their YDNA type is ‘G2a’, which is very rare in England and Ireland but is most commonly found in Wales; Wales being the home to the Gwaltney family which immigrated to Virginia several generations before Elender Eli Golden’s birth. // I do not pretend to understand what happen or why there is confusion in this line with Elender Eli. He could well be a full Golden, perhaps orphaned and adopted. We really do not know. NOTE: I know of no YDNA test results existing for Gwaltney family members, BUT would like to be told should someone know of such testing having been done:

George Michael Fuller Golden (1868-1912) was born as George Michael Fuller in 1868 at Michigan to William and Marguerette Fuller. His occupation was as a vaudeville entertainer and he would later play a prominent role in forming a union to represent vaudeville performer interests. George would marry Ada Maxwell (b1875 London, England) and had four children: Olive Fuller Golden, Ruth Fuller Golden, Mignonne Fuller Golden, and a son George H. Golden. It is not known if George Jr lived past childhood. The sisters went on to all have careers in the film industry.

Jonathan Golden (1806-1884) was born into the Gulden family of Adams County, Pennsylvania. This family originated in Bern, Switzerland. Jonathan and some of his siblings chose to use the Golden name, while others continued to use the Gulden name. It was a large family. His parents were John (Johannes) Gulden (1761 – 1843) and Elizabeth Weber (1764 – 1816).

Looney Mayfield Becknell Golden was born May 1874 in Red River Co., Texas to Marshall Mayfield Becknell (1851–1933) and to Mary Ann Acuff (1850–1933), married in 1873 (30 Sep) at  Red River, Texas. Looney was born in 1874 and the Becknells divorced in 1875. Mary Ann Acuff Becknell would marry William Wylie D Golden (1857–1892) in 1877 (18 Dec) and Looney was given the Golden name and raised as a Golden. Looney’s children were all named and raised as Goldens. Looney married to  Willie Louise Gaston; together they had the following children: Lesley Golden, William Jefferson Golden, Albert Lee “Tom” Golden, Charles Malcomb Golden, Mary L Golden, Hurst Golden and Leo Golden. Looney died soon after the 1940 census in Fort Towson, Choctaw, Oklahoma. // NOTE: Looney’s patriarchal Becknell line tracks back to William Bicknell, born 20 Jan 1651 in Combeflorey, Somerset, England. The family name  changed from ‘Bicknell’ to ‘Becknell’ about 1750. // This Golden line has been YDNA tested.

You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden,

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