Thursday, September 16, 2004

May the Circle be Unbroken

I hate the word "diversity" in its current political connotation. Curiously, though, genealogy demonstrates both the "diversity" and the (now-politically incorrect) "melting pot" aspects of America.

I also hate people who, despite doing genealogical research, can't take off their blinders about the realities of human nature. In this field, we all know of incidents like this:

A: I'm researching the St Amont family of Michigan.
B: What a coincidence! I'm a descendant of the Ohio St Amonts! Possibly I have info you'd find useful.
A: (harrumphing via IM) Uh, well, I don't think so . . . those St Amonts are . . . uh, well, not white.

That's just denial.

Consider the case of Leroy Goins (1924-1983). His mother was a black woman, Hattie Bryant (1886-1944) and his father, also named Leroy Goins (1887-1946), was a white man. The union between Hattie and the senior Leroy most likely was an extramarital one. Now I don't know any currently living members of the Goins family, but they, if there are any, might well be surprised to know that Mr. Goins Sr. had a son that many would consider "black." Especially perhaps since the venue of these events was south Texas during the Jim Crow era.

But, wait, there's more!

An examination of the ancestry of Leroy Goins shows his forebears came to Texas from Louisiana (Henry Goins, 1822-1870), thence from Mississippi (Jeremiah Goins, b. 1792), thence from North Carolina, and thence from Virginia. Six generations of the Goins family can be traced back in Virginia from the mid-18th century to the early 17th century. The spelling of the name changes from Goins to Going to Gowin to Gowan to Gowen and finally to Gaeween. All of these people apparently are white except . . . Mihill Gowen (1633-1708) who was a slave and his father, John Gaeween (born about 1615), a black African. So the Goins family comes full circle.

Next: She's Spanish


Anonymous said...

Well I find this all too fascinating. I am tracing my family Goins, and fully expect to find more than most of the family wants to know. These Goins have a lot of brick walls, but I will get there hopefully soon. Who were the parents and siblings of my John W Goins?????

Donna G. said...

I'm a fan of your blog. Keep up the good work!
My genealogy blog has a different focus, but, I think, similar goals.