The National Genealogical Society ('NGS") has selected The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia (Morgantown, PA: Masthof Press, 2003) by Phillip Goff and Roy Lockhart as the 2005 winner of its Award for Excellence: Genealogy and Family History. Phillip and Roy were on hand in Nashville, TN on June 3 to receive the award during the NGS Annual Conference banquet.

Phillip Goff and Roy Lockhart conceived the idea for The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia: A New Perspective on Their Lives in 1999. At that time, the Internet was brimming with questionable information about the Goff family and the authors wanted to set the record straight for future generations. “We wanted to write a scholarly family history that readers, regardless of their interest in genealogy, would find compelling. This book is the story of what is now northeastern West Virginia from the 1760sthrough the 1830s, as told through the lives of these four brothers,” said Mr. Goff.

With a distance of about 600 miles between them, the authors leveraged the power of technology and the Internet to collaborate on the book. To get the story right, the authors relied only on documents produced during the lifetimes of James Goff (1735 –  1834), John Turton Goff (d. 1803), Thomas Goff (1747 –  1824) and Salathiel Goff (c. 1748 –  1791), scouring public and private archives from Massachusetts to Florida. Goff and Lockhart digitized and electronically indexed nearly 1,400 documents from 1766 through 1833. With this comprehensive database of documents assembled, “the book wrote itself,” added Mr. Goff. Susana Weber of West Boxford, MA, a descendant of James Goff and a commercial artist, contributed beautiful pencil sketches that interpreted ten scenes from the lives of the four Goff brothers. The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia is fully indexed, with newly-prepared maps, original illustration, signatures of all four men, quotes from three of the brothers and photographs of one child and 53 grandchildren of the four Goff siblings.

With over 400 pages and nearly 2,300 footnotes, the book is divided into three parts. The first section recounts how the Goff brothers conquered the wilderness of western Virginia in search of land, while surviving Indian attacks and living through land disputes, slavery and personal struggles. The book continues with a genealogy of the Goff brothers, beginning with what is known about their parents and proceeding through their over 250 grandchildren. The book concludes with documentary appendices, including key court cases and surviving wills of the brothers.

Mr. Goff, a descendant of James Goff, was born in 1963 in Morgantown, WV. After graduating from West Virginia University, he joined Coopers & Lybrand in Pittsburgh, PA and later Atlanta, GA. From 1995 through 2005, Mr. Goff was Chief Financial Officer of Enterprise Capital Management in Atlanta, GA. He has recently accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer of Van Kampen Funds and relocated to the Chicago area in June 2005. Mr. Goff became interested in genealogy as a teenager as has researched his family history ever since. He contributed to The Fortineux-Fortinet Family (Fortney, Fortna, Fordney, Furtney) in America (Marceline, MO: Walsworth Publishing, Inc., 1989). More recently, he launched the Goff Surname DNA Study to explore the deeper ancestry of the Goff family. Mr. Goff has three children: Jennifer, Alex and Kevin.

Mr. Lockhart also became interested in genealogy as a teenager and has been involved since then in genealogical research. A descendant of John Turton Goff and Salathiel Goff, Mr Lockhart was born in Parkersburg, WV in 1945. He graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1962 and attended Mountain State Business College in Parkersburg. Mr. Lockhart served in the U.S. Army from 1968 through 1971, including one year in the Republic of Vietnam, and achieved the rank of Specialist Fifth Class. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Mr. Lockhart's career as a civil servant began with the Federal Power Commission in Washington DC, and continued with the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and the Treasury Department Bureau of the Public Debt, all in Parkersburg WV. He retired in 1996 and is single.
In addition to The Four Goff Brothers of Western Virginia, Mr. Lockhart has published The Springston Family (Parkersburg, WV: Privately printed, 1973), The Goff Family (Parkersburg, WV: Privately printed, 1974) and Preston County WV (Then VA) Records 1853–1860 (Parkersburg, W.Va.: Easton Printing Company, 1998). He is currently compiling several books as substitutes for the pre-1869 burned records of Preston Co., WV.