Jamestown Ancestors

On banks of the James River on May 14, 1607, 104 men and boys set foot on what would soon become Jamestown in the Virginia Colony. Nine months later the first of women and children arrived to the colony. Only 38 of the 104 original settlers were still alive by January 1608 mostly due to the hard conditions including little fresh water. One colonist stated; “There were never Englishmen left in a foreign country in such misery as we were in this new discovered Virginia.” The estimate was that Jamestownhad an 80 percent mortality rate from 1607 to 1625.

In those early years with so many deaths, the graves were unmarked, mostly so that the Native Indians would not guess that the colony’s population was in decline. There was an early time, the winter of 1609-1610—a period now known as the “starving time,” when the colonists remained within the fort area because the Indians would have attacked causing the colonists to run out of food. They had to eat then snakes, dogs, horses and event rats to survive.

The weather also hurt the Jamestown settlers. During 1606-1612 was one of the driest time periods for the area and in the winter, one of the coldest. They eventually planted a cash crop that would help save them – tobacco.

So with such bad conditions, it is a wonder that Jamestown survived.

Seeing the listing of names of people in those early years of Jamestown, as written in the 1624 census, you just might locate an ancestor.

There is the Jamestown Society could provide assistance gathering information to see if there is a link.

Photos: Males of the original Jamestown colonists with the Indians, the Jamestown fort and later the members of Jamestown (men and women) growing tobacco.

Related Familytree.com Blogs:

Ye Olde Virginia 1600s to 1960s

Indentured Servants

Descendant of Pocahontas

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