21 November 2010

The Mayflower Passengers: Saints and Strangers

Mayflower II (replica)
The Mayflower left England in September 1620 with 102 passengers. Of this number, less than half of them were known as Separatists or Saints—people who wanted a complete separation from the Church of England. Traveling with them were the Strangers—hired men, servants, and others who wanted to start a new life in a new land. Today, the Separatists and the Strangers of the Mayflower are known as the Pilgrims.

After sailing for 66 days, the ship arrived in November 1620 at what would become known as Plymouth Colony. Within the first few months of landing, half of the Mayflower passengers died of "the great sickness."

If you can document descent from any of the passenger names preceded by an asterisk (*), you are eligible to join the Mayflower Society.

*Alden, John.
*Allerton, Isaac.
*Allerton, Mary (Norris).
Allerton, Bartholomew.
Allerton, Mary.
Allerton, Remember.
Allerton, John.
*Billington, John.
Billington, Eleanor.
Billington, John.
Billington, Francis.
*Bradford, William.
Bradford, Dorothy (May).
*Brewster, William.
Brewster, Mary.
Brewster, Love, son .
Brewster, Wrestling.
Britteridge, Richard.
*Browne, Peter.
Button, William.
Carter, Robert.
Carver, John.
Carver, Katherine (Leggett) (White).
*Chilton, James.
Chilton, Mrs..
Chilton, Mary.
Clarke, Richard.
*Cooke, Francis.
Cooke, John.
Cooper, Humility.
Crackstone, John.
Crackstone, John.
*Doty, Edward.
*Eaton, Francis.
Eaton, Sarah.
Eaton, Samuel.
Ely, Mr.
English, Thomas.
*Fletcher, Moses.
*Fuller, Edward.
Fuller, Mrs..
Fuller, Samuel.
*Fuller, Samuel.
Gardiner, Richard.
Goodman, John.
Holbeck, William.
Hooke, John.
*Hopkins, Stephen.
*Hopkins, Elizabeth (Fisher).
Hopkins, Giles.
Hopkins, Constance.
Hopkins, Damaris.
Hopkins, Oceanus; born at sea.
*Howland, John.
Langmore, John.
Latham, William.
Leister, Edward.
Margesson, Edmund.
Martin, Christopher.
Martin, Mary (Prower).
Minter, Desire.
More, Ellen.
More, Jasper.
*More, Richard.
More, Mary.
*Mullins, William.
Mullins, Alice.
Mullins, Priscilla.
Mullins, Joseph.
Priest, Degory.
Prower, Solomon.
Rigsdale, John.
Rigsdale, Alice.
*Rogers, Thomas.
Rogers, Joseph.
*Samson, Henry.
*Soule, George.
*Standish, Myles.
Standish, Rose.
Story, Elias.
Thompson, Edward.
Tilley, Edward.
Tilley, Ann.
*Tilley, John.
*Tilley, Joan (Hurst) (Rogers).
Tilley, Elizabeth.
Tinker, Thomas.
Tinker, Mrs..
Tinker, -----.
Turner, John.
Turner, ----.
Turner, ----.
*Warren, Richard.
*White, William.
White, Susanna.
White, Resolved.
White, Peregrine; born at Plymouth harbor.
Wilder, Roger.
Williams, Thomas.
*Winslow, Edward.
Winslow, Elizabeth (Barker).
Winslow, Gilbert.
--, Dorothy, maidservant of John Carver.

For further research, check out:

Mayflower & Early Families

Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History

The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony

The Pilgrim Fathers UK Origins 

13 November 2010

Early Boston record books (also known as the Boston Record Commissioner Books) online

Libraries with New England genealogy collections often contain a well-known series of Boston record books published from 1876 to 1909. Over the years, the multi-volume set changed its title (from First [Second, Third, etc.] Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston to Records Relating to the Early History of Boston), making it difficult to find the series online.

Luckily, you can view and search each volume at Archive.org. The site offers several different methods of viewing the books, such as flipping pages online, full text, and downloadable PDFs. To help you find these valuable books at the site, I’ve compiled the series list with direct links to each book online.
Remember to check each volume’s index to browse through the names for variants spellings.
  1. Boston Tax Lists 1674 and 1676
  2. Boston Town Records 1634-1660
  3. Charlestown Land Records 1638-1802
  4. Dorchester Land Records
  5. “Gleaner” articles from the Boston Daily Transcript by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch (1855)
  6. Roxbury Land and Church Records
  7. Boston Town Records 1660-1701
  8. Boston Town Records 1700-1728
  9. Boston Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths 1630-1699
  10. Miscellaneous Papers
  11. Boston Selectmen's Records 1701-1715
  12. Boston Town Records 1729-1742
  13. Boston Selectmen's Records 1716-1736
  14. Boston Town Records 1742-1757
  15. Boston Selectmen's Records 1736-1742
  16. Boston Town Records 1758-1769
  17. Boston Selectmen's Records 1742/3-1753
  18. Boston Town Records 1770-1777
  19. Boston Selectmen's Records 1754-1763
  20. Boston Selectmen's Records 1764-1768
  21. Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths to end of 1825
  22. United States Census 1790, Tax Statistics 1798
  23. Boston Selectmen's Records 1769 to April 1775
  24. Boston Births 1700-1800
  25. Boston Selectmen's Records 1776-1786
  26. Boston Town Records 1778-1783
  27. Boston Selectmen's Records 1787-1798
  28. Boston Marriages 1700-1751
  29. Miscellaneous Papers
  30. Boston Marriages 1752-1809
  31. Boston Town Records 1784-1796
  32. Aspinwall Notarial Records 1644-1651
  33. Boston Selectmen's Records 1799-1810
  34. The Town of Roxbury: Memorable Persons and Places by Francis S. Drake
  35. Boston Town Records 1796-1813
  36. Dorchester Births, Marriages, and Deaths 1826-1849
  37. Boston Town Records 1814-1822
  38. Boston Selectmen's Records 1811-August 1818
  39. Boston Selectmen's Records September 1818-April 1822

11 November 2010

Preparing for a voyage, 1620

sketch of a 17th-century ship
Imagine for a moment that you’re a pilgrim, about to embark on the Mayflower in 1620. What do you pack?

First off, you need provisions for the journey. Second, you need supplies to help you turn a vast wilderness into a home, including all the tools needed to build shelter, grow crops, and hunt for food. (Luckily, in your tight-knit Separatist community, you can share food and supplies.) Third, you need the tools of your trade, whether you’re a cordwainer, blacksmith, carpenter, or housewife. Fourth, you want to pack some creature comforts, such as furniture, bedding, clothes, books, and family heirlooms.

Gather all of these items, figure out that only a small percentage of what you need will fit in your allotted space aboard ship, pray that God will provide for you in the New World, and leave behind most of what you own and hold dear.

To put it in perspective, visit Plymouth Harbor, where the Mayflower II is docked. Built in 1957, this life-size replica of a typical 17th century ship is only 106.5 feet long. The passengers lived on the lower deck, between the gun room and the anchor winches, above the cargo hold and below the steerage room. That’s tight quarters for 100 passengers and all their earthly possessions.

Then, after a perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean and a devastating winter in which half the passengers and crew died, the Pilgrims settled a new colony where they were able to worship as they believed. And, despite the odds, they thrived.

Think about your ancestors and the hardships they endured. Then ask yourself: Do you have what it takes to step into their shoes, to face the obstacles and choices they made?