Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Applying to the Mayflower Society

I have to say, finding out that John Alden, Myles Standish, and Stephen Hopkins are my 11th great grandfathers made for an exciting day. That was more than a year ago, but the excitement is still here as I work towards proving my descent from the Mayflower families with solid documentation.  That is no easy task, but I believe it can be done.

One at a time, I have been collecting birth, marriage, and death certificates, cemetery pictures, obituaries, census records, county and town histories, and other records that prove the births, marriages, deaths, and family links going back almost 300 years. Thankfully, the 100 years before that (approximately) has already been researched and confirmed by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. At this point, I have a documented date and place for almost every fact connecting me back to Mercy Sampson -- an accepted Mayflower Descendant born in Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts on 15 May 1731.

I just need a couple more records before I feel I am ready to join the society.  Now, whether or not my documents are enough or need supplementation is the big question. I have contacted the Oklahoma Society of Mayflower Descendants and submitted my preliminary application.  They are in the process of reviewing the documents I have so far and will let me know what the strengths and weaknesses are.

This has been an interesting journey as I find and share information with my mom and grandmother about our ancestors' origins.  None of us grew up with Mayflower family legends. Being a "Mayflower Descendant" isn't something any of us imagined.  I discovered it quite by accident one day when I finally broke through one of the brick walls in our genealogy.

My grandmother came from a family of Iowa farmers. Their roots go deep there. Five generations lived in that beautiful state.  Most of them were Iowa born, and any exoduses away were short lived.

It is likely my 2nd great grandfather, Lee Beem (shown with his wife Anna), had no knowledge of his ancestors' Mayflower heritage. This was taken in 1905 for their wedding and is the earliest photo we have from this family line.
It all goes back to Samuel and Sarah [Whittemore] Knapp who came from Maine in 1843.  For a long time, that was as far back as I was able to trace the family.  Even now, I have no idea who Samuel's parents are. There are just too many Knapp families in Maine and not enough records for me to figure it out yet.

Sarah's lineage was unraveled after a large number of Maine vital records were added to Ancestry.com. Finding Samuel and Sarah's marriage record from Rumford, Oxford, Maine was only the beginning of the breakthroughs.   The records led me back a few generations in Maine. Town histories filled in some of the details.

Sarah was the daughter of Isaac Whittemore, Jr. and Mary "Polly" Dean.  Isaac Jr. was the son of Isaac Whittemore, Sr. and his wife Deborah Weston.  It was Deborah who was born in Massachusetts in 1758 and moved north into Maine with her parents John Weston and Mercy Sampson sometime before her marriage to Isaac in 1784.

By the way, I still need proof of John and Mercy Weston's deaths, if anyone is able to help. :)

This is just a glimpse at a long family history that could be compiled. There is so much to learn and discover!

5 comments:

Robert Wayne Moore said...

Good progress! This really is an exciting step. I think, with God's help, you are restoring legacies that could have been irreparably lost to our families. Keep going, and we'll celebrate your acceptance into the Mayflower Society! Love, Dad

Joy said...

Elizabeth,
I too, am a Mayflower decendant. My cousin did quite an extensive geneology.He passed away years ago but I will look and see if I can find the information you need. I grew up in Massachsetts and later in life I live in Marshfield, not far from Plymouth. Keep up the good work!

Elizabeth E Pruett said...

Joy, I didn't realize you live so close to Plymouth. How wonderful! I used to live about an hour away when my family lived in Franklin.

Who are your Pilgrim ancestors? I would appreciate any help you can provide. You live close to a lot of history!

Joy said...

I have quite an extensive work compiled by my late cousin. He worked on the geneology book I have for twenty five years. Sometimes there is such an abundance of information I get family overload! My Mayflower ancestors were Ezekiel Andrews 1730?-1761 and Thankful Rogers b. 1726. No death is listed, however, I may find it in other places. Many of the records were lost in a Barnstable fire making it difficult to piece together early Cape Cod families. There are 16 pages for "Andrews", my maiden name.
One of the most enjoyable childhood memories for me are my parents taking me into Boston. It was "home" to me. My Dad would always bring me to the Old North Church. The pews had gold plates with the names of pilgrims who settled in and around Boston. I now live in Michigan, but how I love Boston, Cape Cod, and Plymouth. My ancestors were sextons of the church, fisherman and oystermen to name a few professions. As this is quite long, I will send another comment if I can find any information which will aid you in your quest.
Give Anna a kiss for me, take care, God bless.

Elizabeth E Pruett said...

Joy, I loved going into Boston as a child too. We would take the train in and spend the day. Good memories!

I Googled Thankful Rogers, and it looks like she is a descendant of Mayflower passengers Thomas and Joseph Rogers. Those are names I haven't seen as many times when people talk about their Mayflower ancestors.