Question of the Week: Have you found a Mayflower passenger or Puritan ancestor in your lineage?

+74 votes

The roots of the Thanksgiving tradition in the US are often attributed to the Pilgrims who arrived in the Plymouth Colony aboard the Mayflower. You can use the Relationship Finder Quick Links to see if you may be related to one of the original passengers.

Maybe you've found that one of your lines descends from the larger group of Puritans who arrived in New England a little later. The Puritan Great Migration Project is working to identify and document these families.

Share the stories you've discovered, and be sure to check out the projects. There is some great work happening!

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
The Mayflower project profile for Prust showed up on a GEDcompare rematch. There is another profile for Degory Priest which includes speculative information on him.  Maybe this is typical of duplicate profiles which are guarded zealously.
I took the liberty of inserting a spousal link in my line to Thomas Rogers and a parental link in the line to Degory PRUST.  These were outside the Mayflower protected time frame and so far no complaints.

I searched several times with GEDcompare for any DENISON profiles in their HOWLAND line.  I guess my mistake was in not starting with Mercy GORHAM and working forward in time.  I submitted proposed merges to fix my new duplicates and most were approved immediately.
I tried the list of Mayflower passengers on relationship finder.  The most outrageous positive is the one about descent from Brewster through the Lees of Virginia. I was surprised to be told my ggm from Maine is a Francis Cooke descendant. It came up also with a Constance Hopkins.  For sure there are connections not according to silver book.
I had a couple a few years ago; cannot locate them now.
My Husbands side goes back to Valentine Rowell, Hampton, Shaw, Colson,Joanne Pinder,Milner, Currier, Osgood, Ipswich , Essex MASS, Amebury MASS and Mancetter Warwickshire, England.
Hi, I just checked and the relationship finder says I may be the 10th great granddaughter of John Billington. Way Cool. I know I am a direct descendant of Edward Bumpas who arrived just after the Mayflower on The Fortune. I am going to do some work to see if I can go from Thomas Bowen back regarding the confidence of the lineage.

Eleine Bishop Gordon
Edward(Bumpas-7) is my 7th ggf.  His greatgrandson Jackson-21057 is a Mayflower Bradford descendant (the only Mayflower line on my paternal side).
I am directly descended from many Mayflower passengers...2 lines from Francis Cooke, 3 lines from Richard Warren, Francis Eaton/Christian Penn, Peter Browne, Frances Billington/Christian Penn, Samuel Eaton/Martha Billington, Samuel Fuller (brother of Edward), John Howland/Elizabeth Tilley, James/Mrs. Chilton, Stephen Hopkins/Elizabeth Fisher/Damaris Hopkins, and Edward Doty. No one in my (living) family knew about this until I stumbled upon it this past winter. Also, clearly genealogy was not really important to anyone in my family as none of these lines have been proven past the 6th or 7th generation. I am working on my GSMD application...fairly certain most of these are legit (they mostly go through 1 or 2 people), so just need to gather a few more birth/death certificates for the app.
Hi my name is Frances Billington (maiden name) I live in Australia and have always wondered if there is a link to the Mayflower in our family from before they left England.
Many of the Mayflower Families have associations which keep information on the family. They often have results of DNA tests.  You would need a male relative to take the dna test.  Then you would get a compare with the Mayflower branch of the family.

106 Answers

+15 votes
Yeah I found this dude to be a grandparent recently.

Nicholas Davis; his daughter Mary(Davis)Austin Aka Dodd

answered by Troy Smith G2G6 Mach 5 (52.7k points)
edited by Troy Smith
According to the wikitree relationship finder, William Bradford is my 3rd cousin, 11 times removed.
that's good enough for me (:

William Bradford is my hero
I was told that I am a descendant of William Bradford.  My 11th great grandfather
My ancestor grandmother Juliana Carpenter who married George Morton and Efreham Kempton, who was a sister in law to John Bradford, his wife Alice Carpenter who married a Southworth
+17 votes
Richard Warren through his daughter Abigail. The daughters did not come over on the Mayflower, but they descend through Richard who did. The wife and daughters came to America a little later. Then Richard and his wife had two sons born in America.
answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
Richard Warren through his grandchild, Abigail Little,who married Josiah Keene. Son Josiah Jr. [my ancestor] was the only surviving child of this union. Josiah Sr. married a second time,& had seven more children.
Descendant of Richard Warren.
+11 votes
It all started in the US with Maximilian Jowett ( and his brother Joseph who came in 1638 from Bradford, West Riding, Yorkshire, England.  Sometime after their arrival the spelling of the last name was changed to Jewett.
answered by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1m points)
I'm descended from Maximilian, too. My Rust line goes back through the Whittiers to the Jewetts. And, you're right. It was originally spelled Jowett. Have you been to Rowley? The cemetery there has lots of Jewetts.
+16 votes
I have my Mayflower Ancestor, George Soule, and then so many Puritan Great Migration Ancestors (some not so Puritan) that I've never counted them.
answered by Anne B G2G6 Pilot (974k points)
so your line is like one of the very first Americans. that would feel pretty good, I would imagine perhaps. Haha I wish, I Love America
Yes, it really does feel good.
Same here! And I still have some missing relatives to discover!
It's all about the hunt!!!!
Yes Anne B; Yes indeed. It IS about the hunt. it's about the effort to uncover these lost ancestors, and let their stories and names live again, - and then after all the sweat and tears, the payoff is when we strike pay dirt and discover a Gateway ancestor. The feeling is indescribable
+14 votes
Many of my Dorset and London ancestors were PURITANS, though only one (Richard Battiscombe ) travelled to North America (In 1635, returning to Dorset in 1650).

His brother Andrew ( ) was a Puritan, and Justice of the Peace under the Commonwealth. After the Restoration of Charles II, Andrew was Treasurer for Bridport in 1660. But he was removed from office in 1662 because he refused to comply with the the Corporation Act of 1662, which required all public office holders to attend Church of England services at least once a year.

Their nephew Christopher Battiscombe "the Martyr" (not yet on on Wikitree, but son of , was a Puritan and one of the local leaders of Monmouth's Rebellion (fighting for freedom of religion) and was drawn and quartered by "Hanging Judge Jeffries",.

Later generations remained Puritan / Congregationalist/  Nonconformist through the end of the 19th century, including a number of Nonconformist ministers in the early  19th century.
answered by Janet Gunn G2G6 Mach 5 (57.9k points)
thx for the info XD
Yes janet, I used to wonder what happened to the Puritans-Pilgroms until my genaology research discovered that it remained strong as the New England Congregational Church. My various lines continued to worship in the Puritan/Separatist/Reformed tradition right up until my grandfather was raised in Lee County Illinois Congregational Church. I found the fact that the Pilgrim/Puritan/Separatist/Reform Tradition continued strong among New England Yankees, even after the mid 19th C. movement west.ward
+11 votes
The descendants of my Puritan ancestors did not start marrying out of the tribe until the late 19th century (except maybe for some murky 18th century Rhode Islanders), so I have several hundred who arrived between 1620 and the early 1650's.

Our descent from William Brewster has never been forgotten by the family and is well documented. Our descent from William Bradford was forgotten but is also well documented. Possible descent from James Chilton is being researched.

Thanks for the timely question!
answered by B Campbell G2G1 (1.9k points)
Me too Brewster. My yankee Puritan tribe intermarried up until 1906 when my grandfather broke with tradition and found himself a Lutheran Swedish bride when traveling through Nebraska :-). One other thing that struck me is that during the PGM entire church congregations emigrated and stayed together.
Marrying withing the 'Tribe' occucured with my mother's family as well. There were two main groups, Mayflower/eastern Mass PGM famlies and a group of Hartford, CT founders which eventually migrated down river to Haddam, CT. It's amazing to me how this could have happened. I also think 'Puritan church culture' had a lot to do with the tightness of the PGM families.
+8 votes
Have only found one Mayflower passenger, William Brewster. But there are a number of PGM ancestors...
answered by
+11 votes
Yes, we are descended from the Pilgrims William and Susanna Jackson White through their oldest son Resolved.
answered by
Me too!  Love this line...Happy Thanksgiving Cuz, Renee
Oh Renee, my dear Cuz, I am so glad to make your acquaintance!!!!!  We must compare trees when we can get at it.  Meanwhile:  Happy Happy Thanksgiving. (Our Susanna Jackson White was one of only 4 grown women left to prepare that first feast --for I think hundreds).   And what a great contribution it was!!!!!!   Barbara
My White family has always (70 years) claimed we were descended from Mayflower passenger William White, but I could never prove it.  I can only get back to Amasa White, b. c. 1785, d. 1838, Sandy Creek, Oswego, NY.
Oh dear!  I do not have an Amasa White in my line but if it will help in any way, I will get busy and put my White line on WikiLeak so that you can see if that helps you in any way.  How frustrating that has to be.  I have often in other work had tough times because of the age-old practice of marriage having changed the last names of all of our women.  I am wish you best of luck!!!!!!!!  Barbara
Keep in touch and let me know if you want to see my tree.  Barbara Swimelar Kieve
William White, Susanna Jackson White are my 9th great grandparents and and their son Resolved White is my 8th great grandparent. Line of decent is:White, Hayward, Brown, Brewer, Harvey, me
Me too, - William White, Resolved White, down to SAR Revolutionary Patriot Abner Brown and his daughter Thankful Brown Brewer, - then down through the Brewers to my great grandmother. I am thankful to Wiki-Tree for this discovery because I was unaware of Thankful's mayflower ancestry
Thank you for responding.  Yours is the first and only response with this medium.
Hi Barbara; I learned that most of upstate NY was populated after the Revolutionary War when Veterans land grants (Of 160 acres) was given in payment for their service. Your ancestor was born 2 years after the Paris Peace agreement ended the Revolution. Most of the upstate NY settlers were New England/Massachusetts  Yankees moving west. However, I question if your ancestor was actually born in Oswego NY 1785 because it took years to relocate the Iroquios, purchase their lands, and then survey the plots. I believe that the land grants in wilderness area north of Kingston Ny werent handed out until 1801 - after your ancestor was born. The delay in compensating the Revolutionary soldiers was considered a scandal of the time. many Vets sold their allotments for pennies on the "dollar" to speculators because they couldn't afford to wait. Other Vets gave their allotments to their children. My great grandfather Medad Harvey  Sr. fought in the Revolution and like other Vets, he waited, raised his children,  and lived east of Indian territory in Fort Ann NY and . By the time the Veteran allotments were finally distributed, his son Medad Harvey Jr and wife Anar Buell settled in  Marcellus NY. Medad and Anar settled on the family veteran allotment, but they were both born shortly after the RW in the Fort Ann, NY area.
+9 votes
Fairly confident that we can count John and Priscilla Alden, and George Soule; also expecting to find Brewster, but less sure of that one.

I got zero results on Mayflower passengers' "Relationship Finder" link, even when extending it out for 30 generations.  Does anybody know why?

I only have 3 generations on my wiki tree, but supposedly the Relationship Finder is based on blood (DNA), not family tree.  So I'm stumped.
answered by Anne Kimber G2G Crew (800 points)
The relationship finder is based on the WikiTree Family Tree, NOT on DNA.
Oh!  Thanks for the clarification.
Your problem is that you only have entered 3 generations on your tree. That is not f usually far back enough to connect with other people's entries. One of life's great excitements is to struggle and discover enough to enter yet another ancestor, --- and then at one special point, you discover that you have finally entered a "gateway" ancestor. Suddenly your family tree branches off seemingly on it's own because you have connected with others. That's when the Relationship finder performs it's magic for you. Hard work for you initially but the pay off  is the Wiki-Tree computer discovering all your famous ancestors and cousins :-).
+12 votes
I am a direct descendant of John Billington of the Mayflower and many Puritans who were in New England by 1635.
answered by Cindy Curry G2G2 (2k points)
I too am a John Billington descendant.
I am also a proud Billington family descendant . Our much maligned ancestor did not deserve the reputation that has been placed upon him.
Hello, distant cousins Robert Peterson and Claudia Scarbrough!
And hello to you. Where do you go from Francis Billington? I go from Isaac to Lydia who married John Washburn? Anyone?
I go through daughter Mary Billington Sabin and her daughter Sarah Sabin Kingsley.  I am in the Kingsley family for over a hundred years.
I know this is a long-ago typical,  but I am also descended from John Billington and agree that he deserved a better break than what he got for what happened.
Another late reply -- I'm also a Billington descendant; John is my 10th great-grandfather, via Francis's daughter Mercy.

 My great-aunt always thought we might have Mayflower passengers, and was always trying to find them; I'm not sure she expected the Billingtons, though!

Francis Billington m Christian Penn, Plymouth, MA
Mercy (Billington) Martin m John Martin, Rehoboth, MA
Desire (Martin) Carpenter m. Jotham Carpenter, Rehoboth, MA
Jotham Carpenter (jr) m Mehitable Thompson, Rehoboth, MA
Dorcas Carpenter m. James Bullock, Rehoboth, MA
Oliver Bullock m. Susannah Tisdale, Rehoboth, MA

And their son James Sullivan Bullock married Nancy Barrows, and moved (with most of his siblings) from Rehoboth Massachusetts to Deer Park Illinois, where their daughter, Sarah Amelia Dickinson, met a Hadley Dickinson, Henry Anderson Dickinson, and they married and moved back to Western Massachusetts.
and their son, Homer Ferry Dickinson, was my great-grandfather.
I'm a Billington descendant too, and I wouldn't want it any other way! Black sheep, mutineers, and rebels unite!
I am a Billington as well! Hi, cousins!
+9 votes
I was so hoping to find a Mayflower ancestor on my English maternal side but alas I can find none. There might be Puritan on my Riggs ancestors from Massachusetts.
answered by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 5 (59.4k points)
+10 votes
I haven't found any of the Mayflower crew in the tree, yet. But, thanks to this site and geni I have found over forty members of the Great Puritan Migration. They keep popping up as I continue working on the 1600s America. I'm actually not sure who I want to talk about first. I am completely floored by my connections to the colonies of of Massachusetts, NH and Maine. Specifically the towns of Malden and Haverhill. The town's the center of the universe. Okay notable Puritan time.

I can't link right now. So forgive me.

Dionis Stevens: supposedly had the best beer in Boston.

Edmund Greenleaf: One of the first selectmen of one of the Mass bay colonies. Can't remember right now.

Cornelius Fisher: Head of the Fisher clan. So many kids. So. many. Kids.

Thomas Emerson: Ancestor of Hannah Duston of Haverhill. I am connected to her sister. That one floored me. Lol

Reverend William Sargent.

And many more. Probably going to find more as I keep digging! This is just off the top of my head.
answered by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
edited by Chris Ferraiolo
+6 votes
John Alden (Alden-63) is my 11th Great-Grandfather from the Mayflower

.............14. Priscilla is the daughter of William Mullins [confident] <br />
This makes William the 12th great grandfather of Steven.

This makes George Soule Sr the tenth great grandfather of Steven. (unproven)

According to wikitree anyway.
answered by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (161k points)
+8 votes
Henry Howland (brother of John Howland).  John Young, Elizabeth Howland Young.
answered by Mary Shelley Hough G2G1 (1.7k points)
I'm a direct descendant of John Howland. :)
Hello, Cousin!
+9 votes
I have Warren, Cooke, Church, Winslow, Hopkins, Latham & 2 more I can put my finger on right now.  Also had 2 ancestors at Jamestown.
answered by Holly Pinkley G2G5 (6k points)
+8 votes
I am a descendant of John Howland. I documented the lineage and sent it off to the GSMD for membership. I am waiting on the paperwork to return so I can join the Society.
answered by John Stephenson G2G3 (3.4k points)
+9 votes

Timely question! I was just reading The Great Migration Begins for the first time. It seems my ancestors Thomas Rawlins and Ephraim Kempton are members.  

For the Mayflower, there's a proven line to William Brewster in my family - we always give him a little toast at Thanksgiving. 

The crazy part is when WikiTree relationship-finder suggests I may also be a descendant of Peter Browne, Francis Cooke, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland, John Tilley and Edward Winslow. I think there may still be some unsourced profiles in my tree ... but workin' on it!

answered by Laurie Giffin G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
+16 votes
While working on my genealogy at, in my lineage I found two Mayflower Compact signatories that I'm pretty confident about (John Howland and  Edward C. Doty), plus there is one more that might be an ancestor, but I'm less confident about that one (George Soule I).

It appears that I also had ancestors that were persecuted by the Puritans. I descended from two elderly individuals who converted to Quakerism (Lawrence Southwick and Cassandra Burnell). They were fined for not attending the established church and for not tithing to it. They were locked up for the entire summer which further crippled them economically. The local justice decided to sell two of the elderly couple's adult children into slavery to pay the fine that had accumulated. I am descended from one of these would-be slaves:  Provided Southwick. The judge's sentence was thwarted when none of the merchant ships would agree to transport the adult children to either Virginia or the Barbados where they were supposed to be auctioned off in the slave market.

I also had a couple of ancestors who were convicted of saying defamatory things about a local, Puritan judge who threatened to bore through their tongues with a hot iron unless they recanted. I didn't even know that such corporal punishments were dispensed in the colonies, so that was a real eye opnener.
answered by Deborah Williams G2G Crew (680 points)
I too have a Puritan miscreant amongst my ancestors: Samuel Gorton, of Massachusetts and Rhode Island fame/infamy.  And I too find the Puritans an abomination!  Good old Sam, one of my favorite ancestors, was kicked out of Massachusetts by the Puritans, who then followed him to Rhode Island in an attempt to do him more damage.  He finally went back to England, where he had very good connections to the court, and got Massachusetts sorted, and Rhode Island separated!  To me he is the first true American.
I show a Samuel Gorton 1717-1777 Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island as a 5th great grandfather on the Barlow side of my family.  His granddaughter, Catherine, married Moses Barlow Jr. Sept 24th, 1807 in Sandwich, Mass.  Possibly the same person?
Hi Diane;

    Well, the bad news first....they are not the same person.

    Now the good Samuel Gorton came over in about 1633, far too early to be yours.  But the Gorton family is very well documented in the book, "The Life and Times of Samuel Gorton".  If you go to Samuel Gorton Sr. (Gorton-2) on wikitree, you will find this and many other sources for him in the sources section of the profile.  They are quite prominent in Rhode Island history, and chances are that your Samuel Gorton is a grandson or great-grandson of  my Samuel Gorton.  So do please check it out, and let me know if we are cousins. Good luck, and best regards, --Dan Sparkman-319
+6 votes
I found a direct link to John and Priscilla Alden.
answered by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
+8 votes

I am a descendant of John Howland and Desire Tilley. I have my full line and it has been approved by the Mayflower Association. Some of the surnames are: Gorham, Sturgis, Hallett, Bassett, Ingraham, Carr-West, Jaggy, Hoy, Haugen. I'm the 13th generation.

answered by Lisa Hoy G2G Crew (570 points)
I believe I am also connected to this couple through their daughter Hannah who married a Bosworth. Later the Bosworth’s married into the Weston family and one of the Weston women married one of my great, great,great grandfather on my fsther’s side of the family.

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