Grandma Mary

She was about four when she boarded the boat in Leiden, in Holland, maybe wearing a tiny bonnet, a dark colored skirt probably made of wool to sustain the cold weather they were about to face on the long journey. She was holding her mom’s hand, a few feet behind her dad. They had always lived in Holland, but now had made this gigantic decision to move over to the new unknown continent. It was not a famine, it was not an economic move that drove them away; it was a deeply religious and spiritual resolution for her parents and their church group. They were the original Puritan setting sail on the Mayflower in 1620.

They left Leiden in Holland, stopped in Southampton in England to pick up a few more passengers for the New Land. Two languages, one boat. The Puritans, and their servants.   A few pigs, some dogs, and chickens.

The voyage, according to historians, was rough. A few people died. A couple of young men who where paid hands returned to England on the Mayflower’s voyage back. One set sail again later to the Bahamas this time, and died there of starvation with his crewmates. Lovely.

It must have been awfully scary, less maybe for Little Mary than for the adults. At that age, you just do what your parents tell you. They had brought some of their home food to make the transition into whatever new crops grew in the New World, corn of course being the most famous of them all. Were they the exact group who shared the first turkey with the Natives, culturally mandating that I eat turkey, which I don’t like, on Thanksgiving every year?

The Puritans from the Mayflower and settlers in Plymouth were a tight knit community, kinda like hippies, just a bit more strict! Although they were not the first European settlers on the new continent (contrary to what I was taught in school), they didn’t have much choice in terms of spouse. So they intermarried. Little Mary married James Cushman, who came from England a year after she did, on a different boat. They had 8 kids. When she died, at the age of 83, she was the last survivor of that faithful trip.

Mary Allerton and James Cushman’s son was Thomas Cushman. His son was Robert Cushman who named his son Robert Cushman. His daughter Ruth Cushman married Luke Perkins. They had a son, James, who had a daughter Eunice. Eunice married Joseph Morgan. Their son, Edward Morgan had a son, JM. His son, RM, had a daughter EM. EM married JH who had a daughter AH. Her son JL, is my father.

CQFD: I am a descendant of the Mayflower people!!! Let’s party!!! After a week of 5 to 10 hours of research daily, I hit the jackpot, and that’s not even what I was looking into! (I am still searching for our Indian roots).

Not so fast.

There is one broken link. I made a rookie mistake. I am still using the 2-week free trial, so I shouldn’t be too upset, but the trained scientist in me is ashamed to admit that I copied the information posted in family charts (individually posted by other members of the site), and not exclusively documents proving ancestry. In other words, when I did the research correctly, insisting on existing birth, death and marriage certificates, I have a missing link. Just one!

I tried the reverse method: going from the old to the new, which is easier since the descendants of the Mayflower passengers are clearly established, many simply found on Wikipedia. But around 2 am, I got tired. I was bummed. A bit humiliated. I went to bed pouting, and decided I would take a couple of days off this new obsession and chill. Clean the house maybe. And the genealogy gods must have agreed with me because I lost Internet for 2 days. I am posting this from Starbucks.

When I get Internet back, I am going to order a bonnet on Amazon. I deserve it!

For privacy reasons, I use initials only to identify people born or living in the 20th century. As for references, most of this information is available on Wikipedia.


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