Moses Ray Golden (1802-1894) of Upshur County, Virginia (now WV)

Golding / Golden / Goulding et al Family History on Facebook

Moses Ray Golden

Born 2 Jan 1802 in Virginia and passed 19 Apr 1894 at Upshur, West Virginia.

Moses married Rebecca Bell Rittenhouse (1806-1900) in 1829 at Nelson, Virginia.


  • Andrew Jackson Golden
  • Sarah Jane Golden
  • Mary Golden
  • Elizabeth Golden
  • Orrifes Eleaner Golden
  • Lancelot B. Golden
  • William Henry Golden
  • Dennis N. Golden
  • Addison Benton (or Berton) Golden
  • Isaac Watson Golden
  • Jemima Susan Golden
  • William Ellsworth Golden

Who Were His Parents?

The parents of Moses Ray Golden are unknown.

Different family histories list a variety of possible parents:

  • Jacob Golden and Mary Ann Adams (YDNA R-M255; Moses Ray is Q-M242)
  • William Golden and Nancy
  • William Golden and Mary E(lizabeth) Nalley (Nallie)

Of the six family histories known to me, one lists Jacob Golden, two list William and Nellie, two list William and Nancy, and one lists none.

There appears to be no documentary evidence for any parentage.

The History of Upshur County (WV) says that Moses Ray Golden’s grandparents were William and Nellie Golden, but does not list any parents. If Mary E(lizabeth) Nalley were nicknamed “Nellie” then perhaps these were parents and not grandparents. Regardless, the only known William and Nellie Golden of this time period were living in South Carolina at Saluda, Edgefield County — YDNA types between the two families are different so these Goldens are unrelated.

What YDNA Reveals

The Moses Ray Golden descendant tested as Q-M242 and with newly available SNP testing is shown to be Q-Z780 (2018).

Q-Z780‘s parent is Q-M242, which has deep northwest Asia/northeast European roots. Q-M242 split with one line going to the Finland and Baltic region. Another branch crossed Asia and has descendants across much of the pre-Columbian Americas. Q-Z780 is the second most common branch of Q-M242 in the Americas.

NOTE: Determining that you are Q-Z780 requires that you take an additional SNP test once you are determined to be Q-M242.

Family lore has been that the Moses Ray Golden line was native American, maybe even Cherokee. An earlier test showed no native American (which largely disappears from atDNA test results within 5 generations). 2016 YDNA testing indicated Q-M242.

Q-M242 represents the YDNA line as it existed in western Siberia just before it split, going both west and east at the same time.

MAP - Q-M242

PLEASE REMEMBER: Q-M242 is not an indicator of being native American. It is widely found throughout Asia and can be found among northeastern Europeans. You need to take a specialized SNP test to determine your modern branch.

Among native Americans, Q-M242 is highest in the west, Central America and the western coast of South America. Within the USA, Q-M242 is found most often among the Navajo (>90%), Apaches (78.1%) and among Na-Dené speakers (68%), as well as Eskimos (Inuit, 80%) and the Aleut (46%), per HaploMaps Native American DNA.

Q-M242 in America

So About Being Cherokee

The Cherokee appear to be more a collection of native Americans that formed a discernible society than any group that can be defined genetically. The DNA pool has a wide variety of haplogroup mix.

However, Moses Ray Golden probably does descend from a recognized member of the Cherokee Nation: George Chief-of-All Sizemore, or his son George ‘Goldenhawk’ Sizemore. Whether these are grandfathers or uncles is less important than YDNA matching, and the Sizemore being recognized Cherokee.

Of 29 YDNA matches, 19 are named Sizemore. All matches, regardless of name, come from the central Appalachia region of Virginia, Kentucky and spreading across to northern Alabama.

A number of matches have taken BIG-Y testing from FamilyTreeDNA.

There is no shortage of Sizemore family members for which to compare DNA. George Goldenhawk Sizemore was a bigamist with as many as 51 children. Court records exist for his bigamy trial, which he did not deny.

It appears during the trial, that when the judge asked Sizemore if he was guilty of charges, his response: ‘Judge, if I was as good looking as you then I would have had even more children.’


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.