The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the famed Mayflower ship leaving September 6/16, 1620 and arriving in the New World on November 9/19, 1620 (different dates because of change of calendars in 1700s) is a major event coming in just four years. With approximately 28 to 35 million Americans living today who can trace their genealogy directly back to one of the 23 families, which was 102 passengers, 74 males and 28 females, of which 31 were children, who were on board the Mayflower in 1620. About 24 males in those early years produced children while in Plymouth.
There was a mixture of people on board, termed ‘Saints’ and ‘Strangers’ – which together, would become known as the Pilgrims. There were 18 servants with various families which included 4 children who were indentured servants. Those children were illegitimate (the father being Jacob Blakeway) and of Katherine More, wife of Samuel More. The children’s names were Elinor More, Jasper More, Richard More and Mary More, of Shropshire, England. Their ages on arrival to Plymouth ranged from 5 to 8 years. The only one of the three to survive the trip and that harsh first winter was Richard More who was a servant to William Brewster until 1627. Then in 1628 Richard was employed of Pilgrim Isaac Allerton, who was engaged in trans-Atlantic trading.
Of the Mayflower crew and officers was the Captain Christopher Jones with fourteen officers consisting of the captain, four mates, four quartermasters, surgeon, carpenter, cooper, cook, boatswain, gunner plus other crew members for about 30 to 40 total. They stayed through the winter of 1620-1621 before sailing back. However, half the crew died during that first winter. Those who survived sailed back to England on April 21, 1621. Only crewman John Alden, a barrel maker, remained permanently in Plymouth.
Today there is the General Society of Mayflower Descendants based in Massachusetts and founded in 1897. There are local societies in all fifty states and into Canada. The Society represents approximately 29 of those original Mayflower passengers with descendants as their members. To become a member one has to submit unassailable proof tracing his or her blood line directly to one of the passengers.
Plans have started on various ways to celebrate this 400th anniversary. A special site titled ‘Plymouth 400‘ will cover the numerous events, with the dates and locations listed. A special commemorative coin maybe issued by the US Mint. There will be many events and presentations held around the nation and especially in Massachusetts. Even in the United Kingdom, where the Mayflower started, there are many activities planned.
What better time to see if you have any ancestors that you can trace direct lineage to those original Mayflower passengers. Here is a link to the Mayflower.com site with a complete list and links to each individual. Remember start with yourself, parents, grandparents and work back. There may be some clues on each Mayflower passenger based on other people’s research. Be a part of the Plymouth 400.
Photos: The marker showing 1620; Mayflower, and the passengers at Plymouth.
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