by Phillip G. Goff, GGFA DNA Project Manager

In the September 25, 2021 GGFA Virtual Gathering, I presented on the topic of “Instant Goff/Gough Family Tree: Using Autosomal DNA Results to Find Your Y Haplogroup.” The theme was that autosomal DNA tests from AncestryDNA, 23andme, MyHeritage and LivingDNA include YSNPs. These YSNPs can be used to connect male line descendants to one of the 33 known genetic Goff/Gough families, or form new ones. The YSNP alone places the descendant in a family tree. No other information, such as surname, location or lineage, is required. This technique was put to use fewer than two weeks later. Details in the following account are slightly altered to protect privacy while illustrating the power of a single YSNP to connect a family.

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Do you know of a male Gough, Goff, Goffe, Gaughf or Gawf who has taken an AncestryDNA, 23andme, MyHeritage or LivingDNA autosomal test? If so, their test results can help the GGFA connect descendants to the 33 known Goff/Gough families and to identify new genetic families. Please contact me at to get these results into the GGFA DNA program.

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.

Editor’s Note: A video of Phil Goff’s presentation (and others from our 2nd GGFA Virtual Gathering) mentioned above is available for viewing by GGFA members at

4 thoughts on “Instant Family Tree Connects a Descendant to His Goff Heritage

  1. I continue to come across situations where a quick peak at the YSNPs in an AncestryDNA kit could solve brick walls. The challenge is finding these Gough/Goff male kits and encouraging them to provide the YSNP data. Please contact me if you know of such autosomal DNA kits.

  2. Avatar
    Cathy Michelle Blankenship says:

    My father’s name was Michael Edwin Goff, he passed away in 1984. I also have a half brother that I’ve never met by the name of Alex Goff that i would love to meet one day. I want to know more about my father’s heritage to show my three children where we originate from…

  3. Hi Cathy, we have several Goff families that are part of the Goff-Gough Family Association, around 35 families in fact, and we would love to help you connect up with your father’s family tree. What do you know about his family?

  4. Re “Instant Family Tree,” for anyone who has taken a 23andme DNA test, I’d be grateful if you checked to see if you have any male Goff or Gough matches. If so, please take a screenshot of the kit name and paternal haplogroup and email to This is a free way to reconstruct Gough/Goff lineages with YSNPs!

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