"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"We're all related to Mayflower Pilgrims"

Recently I was talking at work to a colleague and she said to me "we all come from people who were on the Mayflower".  We got into the deep discussion that all people are eventually related, but that led me to think about how many Americans, myself included at one point, think that we ALL are descended from the Mayflower Pilgrims.  Those of us who are have roots in the United State understand how that's not really true and that it's truly a treat as a genealogist to discover that one is descended from a Mayflower pilgrim....or even luckier....pilgrims.  I'm not sure I made myself very popular when I said that not everyone is descended from Mayflower Pilgrims, there were many, many more that immigrated since then and people who have no English ties at all.  Of course, it wasn't said to be hurtful, just a fact.  (For some reason I keep thinking about Greek immigrants when I think about this.)

There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower when she sailed the Atlantic in 1620 and a crew of 30 to 50 men.  Sources are conflicted, but they do agree that the crew all returned with the Mayflower when she returned to England.  Half of the passengers died during the 1st winter in Plymouth Colony.  So thinking about Mayflower research, what is available out there for the genealogist to research their Pilgrim Ancestors?

 A quick Google search of  the term "Mayflower Genealogy" returned 385,000 hits.  Some sites that I've personally used include Mayflower History, Sail 1620, The Mayflower Society, Plymouth Ancestors.org and The Alden Kindred of America website which is specific to John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden as well at the most common major genealogy websites like Ancestry and Family Search.  A Google search of the some of the other surnames and the word genealogy shows that there are independent websites for most of the other pilgrim travelers with genealogy information available.  This is not an all-inclusive list by any means and there are many other wonderful websites out there to help with your research, these are just some of the websites that I've personally used.  Remember to always give credit to wherever you find your sources....nothing is more irritating than someone else stealing your hard work...not to mention the potential legal issues you can create.  (But that's a topic for another time.)

I've shared in the past my discoveries (and woes) related to my own Pilgrim ancestry.  The wonderful thing about these sites is that once you gather your research and supporting documents linking into these families there is a wealth of knowledge available online.  One thing I must remind you all....and myself....is to NOT forget offline research.  We feel so lucky that we have all this information available online to us, but there is SO much more available off line to aid in our research.  Of course make sure you always cite your sources. 

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