by Phillip G. Goff, GGFA Director of Genetic Genealogy

A Goff family from Ireland that settled in Rhode Island, USA in the mid-19th century faces challenges in tracing their Irish ancestry due to the loss of many Irish records of genealogical value. Using a combination of traditional records and genetic information may overcome this brick wall.

A GGFA member traced his lineage to Peter Joseph Goff (27 August 1878 Providence Co., RI, USA – 28 November 1934, Brighton, Suffolk, MA, USA). Birth records and the 1880 census for Peter and siblings James A. Goff (1876 – 1883) and John F. Goff (1877 – 1901) establish that that Peter’s parents were Francis Goff (b. 1855 Ireland) and Maria Riley (b. 1854 Ireland).1 At this point the trail went cold.

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Phillip Goff is the co-author, along with Roy L. Lockhart, of The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia. Since 2004, he has run the Goff/Gough Surname DNA Study, which today has about 400 participants.

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