Timothy Caleb Golden, aka Bill, c1808-1878, Haralson County, Georgia

Golding / Golden / Goulding et al Family History on Facebook

Timothy Caleb Golden, aka Bill Golden, c1808-1878/9, born in Georgia is often listed in genealogies as having unknown parents or the wrong parents. He passed away at some time before 1 Feb 1879 at Bremen, Haralson County, Georgia — this date is when an extensive probate of some 37 pages was filed.

These Goldens and their descendants can be found in records as Golden, Goldin and Golding.

Timothy married twice with approximately eight children with each wife:

Elizabeth Ann White, 1810–1850
— and —
Armanda Catharine Turner, 1831–before 1920

>> Factoid: Some of these descendants moved and raised families just down the road from my own Goldens in Dora, Alabama. Our two Golden families are not related.


If the preacher doesn’t come around too often, then you just need to wait! … Otherwise it will take an Act of the Georgia Legislature to legitimize your child’s birth … =^)

Georgia took wedlock and ‘out of wedlock’ very seriously.

Even today, various family genealogies differ on who the father of Timothy Caleb Golden was, but the Georgia Legislature announced its decision back on 31 December 1838: Caleb Golden and Nancy Beasley were Timothy Caleb Golden’s parents.


In an annual rite that occured well into the next century, end of year legislation announced the legal fathers of some Georgia-born. This was often the only proof of birth and parentage until 1919, when birth certificates were first issued.

>> Factcheck: About Timothy Caleb Golden: He is often listed as the son of Richard Golding (1744 GA – 1788 SC) and Susannah Wilmoth. Not so. Two recent DNA tests indicate that Caleb’s male descendants are haplotype ‘G2a’ … multiple male descendants of Richard Golding shows that his line is ‘R1b’.

YDNA Testing

YDNA testing of two male Golden descendants show that this Golden line is ‘G2a G-M201 SNP G-Z29424’. Both males are G-Z29424.

>> Seven other FTDNA tests match STRs but tests do not indicate G-Z29424; normal for older or less than 67 marker tests.

About G-Z29424: This DNA SNP is believed to have originated in what we call The Black Forest of southern modern Germany about 1100 BC. This was home turf to what was then a large Celtic population … which later migrated to the English Isles. What was left resides in a very small area of modern Wales.

We often associate Ireland with being Celtic … but G2 is actually rare in Ireland. The overwhelming majority of Irish males are Germanic R1b or Scandanavian I1. Based upon DNA and other history, the Celts were of Iranian / Persian origin with migration across Turkey, across the northern Mediterranean into southern modern Germany then across France into the English Isles.

The highest concentration of G2 … of UK/Ireland descent … comes from Wales, and from one specific area of Wales.


Legitimate or Illegitimate?

From a modern perspective, this may seem to be an irrelevant question since T. C. Golden grew up in in his parent’s household.

Until 1980, Georgia considered any child born before its parents were formally married to be illegitimate … AND … and they were still deemed ‘illegitimate’ even if the parents later married.

In Georgia from 1789-1863, you did not have a legitimate marriage and children were not recognized as legitimate unless a Marriage Bann had been performed.

Real Life in the Good Ol’Days: If you were born before your parents legally married, and one or both of your parents died then a younger ‘legitimate’ sibling could argue in court that you were not entitled to any portion of the estate — and they would probably win that argument. (Death and wealth does strange things to people’s motivations).

A Marriage Bann required that a public announcement be made publicly and in writing ‘for at least three’ Sabbath days that a man and woman planned to be married. Only then could a minister or a justice of the peace marry you.

To be sure, quite a few people decided not to follow the rules, just held hands, kissed and had kids.

1980 and Georgia’s Laws on Legitimacy Change

A 1974 court case challenged the notion of ‘legitimate birth’ in re Pickett, 131 Ga. App. 159, 160, 205 S.E.2d 522, 523 (1974).

The Georgia legislature operated until 1980 under Old English Common Law that it had the right the fix this situation by blessing and declaring a child legitimate through formal public proclamation.

>> Oddly, Georgia does not recognize Old English Common Law marriages.

Since 1980, if you fall into the category of ‘illegitimate’ then you can kinda, sorta fix this if both parents agree that you are their child: no Act of the Legislature required, but a lawyer may come in handy.

There remains some strangeness about this law; there have been subsequent court cases since 1980, such as Riggins v. Stirgus, 319 Ga. App. 790 (2013). See this source for legal explanations.

Here is a brief history of marriage laws in Georgia since the Revolutionary War era: view PDF file.

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.