by Phillip G. Goff, GGFA DNA Project Manager
The United States population of Goff and Gough families is dominated by descendants of the Goff and Gough families that arrived on the shores of America by the early 1700s. In genetic terms, this is called a population bottleneck (only certain families migrated to America from the British Isles) followed by the founder effect. The founder effect means that simply being in America sooner means that there are more living descendants today, generally speaking.
Gough and Goff families continued to move to America. While these families do not have the same degree of benefit of the founder effect, they have an enormous advantage in identifying precisely from whence they came in the British Isles. An example is Martin Goff/Gough, b. ca. 1836 Ireland, who migrated to the USA in the mid-1860s and settled in Cuyahoga Co., OH.
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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 over 100 participants.