Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Mayflower Connection

"Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards."--Source Unknown

Thanksgiving Day is over for another year, but the after-effects still linger over this way. Not just that I'm still working off the extra calories I took in. Nor in the fact that I desire to be more conscious of my many blessings every day, not just one day a year. But also because of a discovery that came to my family following the day of feasting.You know how people claim that their ancestors came over on the Mayflower? Yeah, sure. Didn't everybody's?

In my case they did. Which seems to make my previous post personally a bit more significant.

I've always loved history--people's stories from the past. So imagine my delight when my dad's cousin emailed us the day after Thanksgiving with results of a genealogy search he did--one which revealed that a branch of our family is directly descended from Miles Standish. The Miles Standish of Mayflower claim, and military captain to the first Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Yep, that one. The line that starts with Standish carries down through the Wheelocks to the Binghams to the Harrises to my dad--and to me and my family then, too.

I think it's exciting anyway. The news makes me want to read up on this guy. I know the name from elementary school history books. Now I want to learn what I can about the man. I've already got a heads-up on my research by checking out Cheryl Harness' The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish and the Amazing-But-True Survival Story of Plymouth Colony from the library.

And I'm visualizing a family tree. Do they make templates that follow lines from six-or-more family branches? For you see, there's Miles Standish on Dad's side originally from Wales, then my mother's ancestor John Young who came from Scotland. My husband's mother's parents came from Poland; he traces his father's side to Germany. My little grandson on one side has maternal grandparents from Brazil and Japan; my granddaughter and second grandson have paternal grandparents in Mexico who trace their lines one direction to an indigenous Indian group and in the other direction all the way back to Spain.

Whew. My head's spinning. But I'm determined. Writing is still my top priority. But mapping out this family tree for my grandkids is formulating in my mind. I'd love to leave this heritage in some kind of visual form for them.

I plan to do just that. But not right away. After all, Christmas will soon be here.

But if Thanksgiving opened up such possibilities, what might come next?

Any family tree stories you have to share?


  1. I am happy for family restoration this year. God did a miracle for us! :O)

  2. Diane, how wonderful! We're always buoyed up when we hear stories of reconciliation. Thanks so much for sharing your good news :-)

  3. Very cool. I'm a descendant of John Cary, Plymouth Pilgrim. He didn't come on the Mayflower, but approximately 20 years later. We could be members of the DAR, should we choose to be. Have fun with your new project!

  4. Catherine, thanks for the heads up on the DAR. I just might have to check into that! Appreciate the info'. And it's fun to learn that you're a Pilgrim descendent, too :-)

  5. I love this idea of the family history (and I think it's so cool that Angelica, Adrian and Nicholas will be able to go back thaaaaaaaaat many years!!)*even though* I didn't know of jolly 'ol Miles (if he was, in fact, jolly...) Gotta go research the guy.

  6. How cool to learn about your family roots. What an awesome idea to do map out your family for everyone.

  7. My husband's family did some genealogy searching. I understand they are distantly related to Nick Nolte (the actor) and one of the French Renaissance painters (can't remember which one). As for me, I am descended from the BEST two parents who ever lived, and I have 5 great brothers and sisters, 2 wonderful sons, and the 4 most amazing grandchildren imaginable. I love history and would love to search for my "roots" but life gets in the way. Maybe some day.

  8. What a wonderful and interesting history. I often wonder what my ancestors' lives were like. My claim to fame is a relative with the last name of Gettys. And yes, they were instrumental in the origin of Gettysburg, PA. Hmm, perhaps there's a story I should write! :)

  9. I have 8 direct descendants who came over on the Mayflower....7 on my fathers side: William Brewster and his wife Mary, John Howland and his wife Elizabeth, John Tilley and his wife Joan and Richard Warren...

    Mother's Side was William Bradford...How is that for being a true Pilgrim...