With Thanksgiving coming up, I’ve been thinking about ways to teach my children about the history of Thanksgiving. Then I wondered if we are related to any pilgrims. Using Relative Finder, which draws upon the collaborative family tree at FamilySearch.org, I was able to quickly see that I am possibly related to several Mayflower passengers (I haven’t researched these connections). In fact, 17 Mayflower passengers are my direct ancestors, according to the FamilySearch family tree. They are in the range of 10-13th great grandparents. Their names are:
Henry Samson – 16 year old who came with his aunt and uncle Edward and Ann Tilley – Great Grandma Irma Henrie
Stephen and Elizabeth (Fisher) Hopkins and their son Giles Hopkins – related through Great Grandma Blanche Merrill
James Chilton, his wife (name unknown), and daughter Mary Chilton (both parents died the first winter) – Mary Chilton is known for being the first European Woman to step onto Plymouth rock – related through Great Grandma Irma Henrie
Edward Fuller and wife (name unknown), their son Samuel Fuller, age 12 (both parents died the first winter) – related through Great Grandma Blanche Merrill
Thomas Rogers – he and his eldest son came on the Mayflower, leaving his wife and 3 other children in Leiden. They came to Plymouth in 1630 – related through Great Grandma Irma Henrie
William and Susanna (Jackson) White and their daughter Resolved White – related through Great Grandpa Charles Rudolph Elder
William Brewster and Mary (maiden name unknown), and their daughter Patience Brewster – related through Great Grandma Blanche Merrill
My husband is also related to John Alden, the Whites, Bresters, and Rogers, according to the FamilySearch Tree. Using the Relative Finder tool to view my relationship to each of my possible Mayflower ancestors, I noticed that 3 of my 8 great grandparents are purportedly descendants of the Mayflower passengers. Some of my other great grandparents are largely descended from the Virginia colonists. Others are descended from more recent immigrants who came from England and Denmark.
To learn more about each of these Mayflower passengers, I reviewed this List of Mayflower Descendants at Wikipeida. Someday, when I research the relationships connecting me to each of these pilgrims, I can join the Mayflower Society. I have not joined any heritage societies yet, but I look forward to doing so one day.
We watched “William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving” with the Living Scriptures app on our Roku today to learn more about the Pilgrims. I like the scene about the Mayflower compact. What would it have been like, trying to convince the adventurers and “strangers” to agree to a social contract? The Mayflower didn’t make it to it’s original destination of the Virginia Colony, and some thought this meant they could live according to their own liberty with no one to command them. Luckily, they all signed the Mayflower Compact, giving the men power to vote for the leadership that the majority wanted.
The Living Scriptures episode also detailed the Pilgrims’ friendship with the Wampanoag tribe and Squanto. My daughter wanted to know if there were any pilgrims who were girls. Women only appeared in the show a couple times. I learned that only 4 of the 14 adult women survived the first winter at Plymouth. In contrast, 8 of the 9 minor females survived. One of those minor females is Mary Chilton, on my list of direct ancestors.
Do you want to find out if you’re related to the Pilgrims? Relative Finder is a simple way to start. If you are not using the FamilySearch collaborative family tree, there are other, more difficult ways to find out if you are a descendant of the Mayflower passengers, outlined in this article: Are You One of 35 Million Mayflower Descendants? Here’s How to Find Out, by Melanie Mayo at Family History Daily.
I highly suggest creating a FamilySearch account to use Relative Finder for learning if you are related to Mayflower passengers, signers of the Declaration of Independence, famous Americans, Mormon pioneers, and other notable people in history. You can also find out if you are related to a U.S. President, which I wrote about here: Are You Related to a U.S. President?
Try it out and let me know in the comments if you find out that you are a descendant of the Mayflower passengers. Happy Thanksgiving!