Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mayflower Descendants: Me, Ashley Judd, and how many million others?

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching NBC's show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" on Fridays. This week they ended their second season by filming Ashley Judd's search into her ancestry. About half of the program was spent spotlighting her ancestor William Brewster, who was a genuine Mayflower Pilgrim. To watch it (and if you are related to me or to Ashley, you'll want to) click here. After viewing it, I had to go and check my notes, but yes, William Brewster is also one of my ancestors. With a strong showing from the Yankees (New England, not New York, sorry Jared...) in my family tree, it was pretty difficult to avoid having Mayflower ancestors. In fact, a huge chunk of Americans do--tens of millions, according to the Mayflower Society, whether they know it or not. Those families were prolific!
If you are a Haynes cousin, you are unusual in the fact that you actually have seven Mayflower ancestors (that I am aware of.) From my Dad's side of the family, through Grandma Pearl's family, who are also early converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I always think it is fascinating that the several-times-grandchildren of these pilgrims who came to America for religious freedom and to avoid persecution were able to exercise that freedom in joining Jesus' restored church on the earth, and then also suffer persecution for it and flee to a new land. How history repeats itself. I also wonder if, in a way, they were put in a position to claim that opportunity first because the Lord wanted to honor those brave pilgrims and their descendants.
So, which pilgrims share our blood? You're probably already familiar with some of these names.
1. Governor William Bradford, through TWO of his sons, William Bradford b. 1624, Plymouth, Mass. and Joseph Bradford b. 1627 , Plymouth, Mass. (yes, there were some kissing 2nd cousins in this case), down to their gggranddaughter Hannah Bradford who married John Kempton and joined the Mormon church with her family.
2. William Brewster, who was a leader among the pilgrims and had been imprisoned with Wiliam Bradford in England for their beliefs (watch the show, you'll see the jail cell).
3. Mary Wentworth Brewster, his wife, who came across on the Mayflower with him, along with...
4. their son, Love Brewster, who was actually born in Holland during their exile from England. He was about nine years old at the crossing. We are descendants of his daughter, Sarah Brewster Bartlett, whose granddaughter Sarah Bartlett actually married into this Bradford family we already discussed.
5. Thomas Rogers. He was one who died during the "first sickness" soon after arrival, but his son Joseph survived. Joseph was eventually joined in America by his sisters, (including our ancestor Elizabeth Rogers), who were children and had been biding their time in Holland. Elizabeth's GGG-grandson was John Kempton, who joined the Mormon church. And married the illustrious Hannah Bradford, who we've met (see #1,2,3 and 4).  Note:  It has been recently pointed out that Elizabeth Rogers may not have actually been the wife of our Walter Woodworth; there is no documentation.  We'll hope for good genealogical discoveries here.
6. Priscilla Mullins. Are any of you English majors perking up your ears yet? Maybe you will if you remember that she was the beauty who finally married...
7. John Alden. As in, "Speak for yourself John." As in the poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. John was the go-between for the tough, tongue-tied soldier Miles Standish, and it seems he charmed himself right out of a job. John and Priscilla were married in the New World and lent a considerable hand to populating it. They had ten children. Their daughter Elizabeth was also a GGG grandmother to, you guessed it, Hannah Bradford. I can see the writing on the wall. Maybe I should research little miss Hannah next!

Anyway, now that you know how much pilgrim is in you, check out a library book about the Mayflower or Plymouth Colony or the Pilgrims and do some learning. It will mean a lot more to you knowing just how much you had a stake in these heroes and heroines.