From Marilyn Monroe to Clint Eastwood and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, several celebrities and ordinary Americans trace their lineage back to the Mayflower pilgrims. And most of them are probably right. Because it’s estimated that there are about 35 million Mayflower descendants worldwide, and almost 10 million of these living descendants are located in the US.
But did you know that out of the 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower, only 51 had children?
Here are a few other things you didn’t know about Mayflower ancestors that’ll help you see if they have a place in your family’s history.
Who Were the Mayflower Pilgrims Exactly?
You probably remember this from American history class, but we’ll give you a crash course anyway.
The Mayflower pilgrims were the 102 people traveling from England to America to seek religious freedom. Contrary to popular opinion, some of them weren’t actually pilgrims but ordinary people, including many servants, families, and workers. They called themselves separatists because they wanted to separate from the Church of England and were looking for a place where they could freely practice their religion without any persecution.
They became known as the Mayflower Pilgrims because the ship they boarded was the Mayflower, while the term pilgrims were taken from a journal entry written by William Bradford, who was leading the separatists and was aboard the Mayflower.
So, to sum it up, back in the winter of 1620, the Mayflower carrying 102 English passengers docked at Plymouth Bay, and so began a society that many family trees today can trace their roots to.
Are You Related to Any of The Pilgrims?
Well, there’s a good chance that you may be related to them one way or another in your family tree. Of course, that being said, if there’s no direct lineage, you will need to put extra effort into your research.
But luckily, that’s not too difficult now that we have the “Pilgrim Database” developed by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and New England Historic Genealogy Society. The database contains extensive information on the passengers and their descendants. This included the fifth generation that was alive during the 1700s and 1800s, which can make it very easy to trace your lineage.
What Can Make Your Search Easier?
There are quite a few ways you can go about this. For example, you could start by retrieving a complete list of Mayflower passengers’ names. If you find a familiar surname, you could start by looking in that family tree branch.
Or you could search up more details about the Mayflower pilgrims—much like what you’re doing right now. The more you know about them, the easier your research would be. For example, did you know that John Alden and his wife Priscilla Mullins seem to have the most descendants? This means there is a higher probability of you being descended from them than any others, so it could be a good idea to use these little facts as leads to streamline your search.
Another way to speed up your search is to get professionals on board!
At DavisDNA And Family Research, we can help you reunite with your Mayflower ancestors—on paper, of course!
Call us to learn more.