UNITED STATES—I found out something the other day that made me feel as if I am on my way to coming full circle in this small weird world we live in!
It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this column with any regularity: I am one angry bitch, or at least that’s what I have been told for so long that I have come to embrace it.
I am not only angry, but downright jealous and envious of people such as those LUCKY ONES out there.
People raised by parents who saw parenting as a job one ought to do when choosing to bring a life into this world. Those with parents who gave the two things that children should be entitled to because without them they cannot thrive: love and protection.
The rare occasion that I can disassociate from all of it, is glorious. One of the few things that can do it for me is bird-watching, what I refer to as bird stalking or photo-hunting…
Genealogy can take my mind off of things, but must be limited because the search for ancestors is addictive! I rationalized my latest genealogy binge as a quest to link all my Mayflower relatives to Roanoke and Jamestown for a piece of writing. That’s when something caught my attention…
When I first started this guest writing gig at Canyon News I read the Wikipedia page to see if I could glean anything about the newspaper, demographics of readers, people involved…
Thankfully there was nothing to scare me away because I can be timid or big-mouthed, depending on my mood, but I do remember reading about how the newspaper started in Orson Welles house and remember thinking, OKAY THAT’S FREAKING COOL!
…and then it slipped my mind completely.
A couple of months later I was trying to connect my Mayflower forefather Frances Cooke to the group from Roanoke and I came across a webpage dedicated to famous descendants of Francis Cooke.
This epiphany led to me renewing my desire to connect all of my Mayflower kin in an understandable way, but let me tell you, genealogy can be a real puzzle. Tortuously unending, like the naming system that dictated brothers name their 1st son after the same grandfather – when families were huge.
Look at the chart below and understand that all 8 of the children listed under each column are going to name their 1st son after their grandfather. In the case of the family on the right, ALL 8 children will name their 1st and 3rd son MARK.
Crazier than that, if John from the left married Mary from the right, they’d name their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd daughters MARY. Imagine in 1985 a human saves for a trip to England to research genealogy, finding 3 different marriage records for “Mary,” daughter of John Doe and Mary Kerley.
Without today’s interlinked documents, how likely is it that they merely picked the one that fit the year OR, something I think confusing ancestry.com records: listed the other marriages as additional spouses because it is hard for us to believe an “idiot” would name 3 daughters Mary.
Let’s not forget the commonality of misspelling among other problems Professor Nathan H Lents discusses, HERE.
For my own search, an ancestor named John White was securing charters and putting together ships with crews to help people leave England. I think this is the reason passenger lists are non-existent or “lost.” It has been a very exciting research though, and I will be writing more about them while the fiction writer in me wants to create a piece about some of the very interesting people I share blood with.
The names twisted together during that period brothers fighting over puritanism, men involved with Queen’s Anne and Mary. Barlowe (expedition) and many females marrying captains and or famous Reverends. Oldest Mayflower passenger James Chilton and his daughter Mary: who either was or wasn’t the first on Plymouth Rock. Robert and Susannah Winslow, who beat and neglected a servant to death in early America, and their relative Mary Latham – a pilgrim executed for adultery.
Last but not least, my slaughtered foremother Elizabeth White, whose sister Mary Rowlandson wrote the first American bestseller, detailing the events of her kidnapping and living among Native Americans associated with the Rowlandson Garrison Massacre.