Monday, March 6, 2017

Mayflower Ancestors

     I finally took some time to search for my Mayflower ancestors, and was surprised at how quickly I identified them.  So many people have researched their links to the Pilgrims that there are many well-researched biographies and genealogies published on line. So unlike my usual detailed search for birth, death, marriage, burial, census and other records, in this case I accepted biographies that show they were well-researched, some posted in recent years, some published over 100 years ago.
     I don't know an easy way to explain the path of the Mayflower ancestry line in words, so perhaps the following picture will help. [Click on the image to see a larger, more readable version.]

It shows the ancestors of Grandma (Harriet) Webber extending back to six Mayflower passengers:
  • William Bradford, originally from Austerfield, England, he was repeatedly elected Governor of Plymouth Colony. First elected when 31 years old, probably because so many of the colonists, including the first governor, passed away during their first few months, his leadership and relations with the native Americans were essential to the survival of Plymouth. He was the author of historically important documents describing life in the Colony.
  • Thomas Rogers, a fabric merchant, one of the many Puritans who passed away during the first Winter in Plymouth. (A son, John, left behind in Holland, who came to the Colony ten years later, is our ancestor.)
  • John Alden, a cooper crewman whose job was to maintain the all-important food storage barrels during the long voyage across the ocean.  John was given the option of staying in Plymouth or returning to England on the Mayflower, and chose to stay.  Alden was one of the founders of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts.
  • Priscilla Mullens, only member of the Mullens family to survive the first Winter in Plymouth. She married John Alden. A famous fictional account of John and Priscilla's courtship is the subject of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Courtship of Miles Standish". The Aldens had at least 10 children and have more descendants than any of the other Mayflower passengers.
  • William Mullens, Priscilla's father, a shoemaker, and ...
  • Alice Mullens, his wife.  Their 15 year old son, Joseph, also perished during the first Winter. 
      Mayflower passengers have been extensively researched and I'll leave the biographical details to those who have recorded them so well.