According to the article Mayflower Descendants by Jim Faber, 25% of Americans think they are descended from the 26 surviving Mayflower passengers. Best guess is that actually only 35 million people worldwide have a Mayflower ancestor; much less that the 25%, or 70 million who think they do. The odds looked like they would not be in my favor from the outset, but that is no reason to quit!
One of the first long-lost-cousins I connected with online had grown up with the same story about John and Priscilla, which made me think that there had to be something to the story. She also had a clue, which family line the connection was to be through! That was something I could work with. According to her family source (which I later found out was the same source my grandmother had, Aunt Eliza Jane) the connection was through our 3rd great-grandmother Mary Jane Hayden.
Thanks to many different societies, organizations, and published works on the subject many of the lines are well documented and proven. My task was to connect my line into the ones already proven. Easier said than done I have to admit. Almost a year later I think I am pretty sure of my research, but not completely. I think it will take a trip to New England, or a really good genealogy library, to make me feel 100% confident in my work. I found this website just a few days ago, and it helped me confirm my line past Mary Jane.
The working hypothesis for my family line is:1. John Alden and Priscilla Mullins
2. Ruth Alden
3. Ruth Bass
4. Priscilla Webb
5. William Hayden - Revolutionary War Soldier
6. Noah Hayden
7. Noah Gilpin Hayden
8. Mary Jane Hayden
9. Franklin Willis Combs
10. Everett Combs
11. Paul Combs
12. My Dad
Of course, this little endeavor left me looking sideways at my Texan husband; the one with deep roots in New England. He had to have someone in that web of New England genealogy that could trace a possible lineage back to a Mayflower passenger. My bloodhound instincts have been working on this for well over 6 months. Finally I had a break through, and I am a little more confident in his line than mine.
The working Hypothesis for his family line is:1. Stephen Hopkins
2. Giles Hopkins
3. Mary Hopkins
4. Mary Smith
5. Mary Hamilton
6. Elizabeth Mayo
7. Slathiel Nickerson -Revolutionary War Soldier
8. Polly Nickerson
9. James Cunningham
10. Eliza Cunningham
11. Charles Greeley
12. Frances Maude Greely
13. Elsie Crabb
14. His Mother
Our families appear to have come over on the same boat! My oldest child can't wait to get to school on Monday and tell everyone. Especially the story of dear Stephen Hopkins, a Mayflower Compat signer and a Jamestown Settler. Thankfully his teachers humor his history obsession and just go with it.
Well, there it is. Anyone have any ideas, suggestions, or comments for me about how to completely prove this lineage? I have twiddled with the idea of actually going on and submitting both of us to one of the many lineage societies for the Mayflower, like the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
*wikimedia commons: Sculpture of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins: "Why Don't You Speak for Yourself, John?"
*Photograph taken by me at Jamestown archeology site, Jamestown, Virginia.