Mary Frances Golden – Source of Parentage Information

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Were William Golden and Elizabeth Ellender Golden of Lincoln, Georgia the parents of the Mary Frances Golden, aka Margaret Frances Golden?

This appears as fact in some Cotney family histories, and Golden genealogies.

However, the backstory is that this information comes from a descendant, Ted Davidson, a descendant of Zero Omar Cotney, who made it clear: Parents, William & Ellender Golden, not certain. … and “Thought to be”.

atDNA matching shows that my line of Goldens are related to Mary Frances Golden. It is easy to see how the mistake could have been made. Mary Frances Golden’s real parents, based upon DNA, were William Golden and Nellie Golden (birth name is unknown), however there was very little information on them until about 2013. Although from Edgefield, just like the Cotney family that Mary France Golden married into, William and Nellie do not appear to have left much documentary evidence behind of their existence. William and Elizabeth Ellender Golden of Lincoln, Georgia were just 40 miles away from Edgefield and appear to have been a very large family with a good amount of tax and property records.

William, Nellie and Elizabeth Ellender

A missed red flag in the various genealogies: Mary Frances’ mother was listed as Elizabeth Ellender, despite Elizabeth Ellender Golden having passed away in 1778, six years before Mary Frances was born in 1784.


Source of the William Golden and Elizabeth Ellender parentage claim comes from the last paragraph of this entry.

Frances Golden Cotney:

1820 Census of Walton Co., GA,
Frances Cotney, Page 234, Line 9, James Cotney, Page 244, Line 13,
John Pike, Page 234, Line 11
William Pike ,Page 234, Line 252,

The name “Golden” is verified from a letter from Ola Cotney, widow of Otis Lovelace Cotney. She found among his papers one which was made by his father William Arnold Cotney which read; “W. A. Cotney, my mother was M. E. Funderburke, her father Peter. My father was William S. Cotney, his mother Frances Golden”.

Frances was listed on the 1860 Census of Tallapoosa County AL in the household of William Sampson Cotney, her age was 76 and this record listed her birthplace as South Carolina.

It is not clear that her name was Margaret Frances/Frances Margaret. All information found with definite knowledge showed her name as Frances.

At William’s death his wife was listed as Margaret. From all we have learned we believe Frances was married to William. She named her first son William, was he named after his father? She and her children left South Carolina in 1820, the year following William’s death. In the 1827 Carroll County Land Lottery her children were shown as orphans.

At the time of the sale of the “orphan’s” land in Carroll County the name Margaret Cotney appears along with the other, known, children. There is no further record of a child named Margaret. Perhaps this is a signature belonging to Frances, in some way required in the sale.

There is also a possibility that she might have been married to William, divorced or separated, and William married again to someone named Margaret.

She definitely remained in good standings with the Cotney family, having moved from South Carolina with James Cotney, the youngest brother of William, and lived near him until his death about 1835.

Parents, William & Ellender Golden, not certain. Information from Ted Davidson, a descendant of Zero Omar Cotney said “Thought to be”.


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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