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Its History and People 1620-1691


If you suspect you have pilgrim ancestors, consult the excellent work of Eugene Aubrey Stratton, FASG and former Historian General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants published by Ancestry in PLYMOUTH COLONY: Its History and People 1620-1691. More than a list of names, this book paints vivid descriptions of the daily life experiences of these hardy souls first to settle New England.

An interesting chapter titled "Everyday Life and Manners" describes Plymouth as a group of farm communities. Several pages explain the station in life of fishermen, coopers, wheelwrights, yoeman, husbandmen, merchants, innkeepers, goodies, and so forth. Note the photographs of 'interpreters' at the Plimouth Plantation assuming the roles, wearing the costumes and speaking the old English dialect of people known to have lived there in 1627.

Evaluate the reliability of evidence through scholarly discussions of extant primary sources and transcriptions of other documents including:

  • 1621 Pierce Patent
  • 1629 Bradford Patent
  • Bradford's Mayflower Passenger List
  • the Mayflower Compact
  • 1623 Division of Land
  • 1626 Purchasers
  • 1627 Division of Cattle
  • 1633 and 1634 Tax Lists
  • Compiled List of Arrivals between 1627 and 27 March 1634
  • 1643 Able to Bear Arms List, etc.

An extensive bibliography broadens the scope of considered sources. Quoting from page 405, Appendix C regarding Bradford's Mayflower Passenger List:

"We could deduce from some other original records, such as Mourt's relation, the names of a few of the passengers on the 1620 Mayflower, but our only complete list, if it is complete, is dependent upon the notes made by Gov. William Bradford some thirty years after the fact, presumably based on his memoranda as well as his memory. For the most part, his list is consistent with all other known facts. In one case he wrote "Richard More; and another of his brothers" when researched by Sir Anthony Wagner indicates that the brother might have been a sister. In another case he gave a group of people as dying in sickness of the first winter, but the inclusion of one name, John Goodman, on the 1623 land division list would indicate that Goodman lived longer than Bradford stated, All in all, Bradford's list has held up quite well to the test of time, and anyone contradicting the inclusion or exclusion of a given name on or from the list must assume the burden of proof from other original records."

Concerning your personal research, it is not enough to point to a pilgrim with the same last name and assume descendancy. Prove your ancestry starting with your own parents, and working backwards. Collect documents such as birth, marriage and christening records. Expand your collection of evidence through wills, land records and military records, etc.

Once each generation is documented, and you prove your pilgrim connection, you can elect to join the following lineage societies:

Plymouth Colony: It's History and People
by Eugene Aubrey Stratton
Ancestry, Incorporated
March 1997
ISBN: 0916489183

Ordering Information

Myrt :)
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