This time of year near Thanksgiving one reflects on those brave souls on the Mayflower ship who came to a new land on November 11, 1620. Generally, everyone refers to all those individuals as ‘Pilgrims’ but in truth only 41 were Pilgrims. Many others were indentured servants, paid servants and hired workers to assist the Pilgrims set and run their new homeland, for a total of 102 passengers. Yet, the descendants of all aboard the Mayflower are termed as ‘Pilgrims’.
Another mistake is the term ‘Puritans’ referring to the ‘Pilgrims’. They were actually two different religious groups each with different social, governmental, cultural and religious ways. The Puritans came later to the new colony. It was the Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Native Indians.
There is an estimated today that approximately 30 million people are descended from those original Pilgrims. If you have even the slightly supposition your family lineage goes back to the Pilgrims or individuals who were on the Mayflower, if is an interesting journey of discovery to find out.
When I researched my husband’s maternal side of the family, no one had a clue that there was truly a direct link with not one but two pilgrims that came on the Mayflower. Stephen Hopkins (1581 to 1644) came from Hampshire, England. He had been on the Sea Venture in 1609 headed for Jamestown, Virginia. Staying several years at Jamestown, Stephen eventually traveled back to England in 1617. He returned to the New World with the Pilgrims in 1620 and worked with Myles Standish. It would be Stephen’s son, Giles Hopkins, also born in England and came over with the Mayflower who would develop my husband’s family lineage through his daughter, Deborah Hopkins, born 1648.
The second person was Thomas Rogers, born 1586 in Warwick, England. Thomas survived the Mayflower voyage, but not the harsh first winter and he dies in November 1621. His son, Joseph Rogers, born 1609, carries on at Plymouth and then Eastham, living until 1678. His daughter, Elizabeth Rogers, born 1639 continues my husband’s family line.
An example of a person working for the Pilgrims was Miles Standish. He had been hired by the Pilgrims as their military captain for defense of the Plymouth settlement as well as helping establish and keep law and order. There was George Soule, born about 1600 in England who was a servant to Edward Winslow. George would remain permanently in the Massachusetts area, marrying and having nine children. Still others like William Trevor, who served as a sailor on the Mayflower and died that first winter producing no children.
Review the passenger list of the Mayflower ship. In the next blog information will be covered on how to search for any family connection.