Though it’s estimated that about 35 million Americans are related to the passengers of the Mayflower to some degree, it’s a little rarer to have a direct line to one, and no easy task to be able to prove it.
My interest in ancestry began as a youth when first laying eyes on the handwritten diary of Great-Great-Grandpa Smith, my maternal Grandmother’s maternal Grandfather. Eventually, bound copies were made for all immediate family members since the original was rapidly deteriorating with age. The diary covers his 3 year duty as a Union soldier and describes in detail all of the events from enlistment to mustering-out that occurred with his outfit as well as battles that his unit took part in. Names like Tunnel Hill, Buzzard’s Roost, Resaca, the great battle of Chickamauga and the Atlanta campaign.
On the back pages of the diary was a list of all members of his Company and a tree of immediate family members at the time it was written.
Approaching middle-age, the enthusiasm in genealogy continued to grow and I started using on-line sites to assemble all of the branches of the family tree. Then in 2009, I started my own genealogy site, which has garnered interest from several family members, some distant and some fairly close, who found references to the site through online searches.
About 3 years ago, I received an email from a relative in Missouri who found my genealogy site while following-up on some stories passed down through her branch of the family regarding ancestral association to passengers aboard the Mayflower. Through her research, she found that she was indeed related to 5 passengers on the ship and informed me that I probably was as well.
With the help of her findings, I was able to get a start on my own Mayflower research resulting in a well-documented direct line transcending 12 generations to those 5 passengers.
All of the relations are through my Father’s maternal side, Grandma Dowell (nee Woodbridge), whose Father was William Weston Woodbridge. It didn’t take much digging to note that the Weston surname itself is a clear indication of a direct link to the original colonial families, and through considerable diligence, I found not only the direct line to the 5 passengers mentioned in the email but indirect ties to at least 7 others.
My research shows indirect relations to William and Alice Mullins with their 2 children, Priscilla and Joseph, John Alden and Myles and Rose Standish. The 5 direct ancestors are George Soule, Jonathan Howland, Jonathan Tilley and his wife Joan and daughter Elizabeth.
Descendency from 4 Mayflower passengers over 13 generations:
John Tilley married Joan Hurst and had Elizabeth Tilley.
Elizabeth Tilley married John Howland and had Hannah Howland.
Hannah Howland married Jonathan Bosworth and had David Bosworth.
David Bosworth married Mercy Sturtevant and had David Bosworth Jr.
David Bosworth Jr married Priscilla Shaw and had Elizabeth Bosworth.
Elizabeth Bosworth married Jonathan Weston and had Elijah Weston.
Elijah Weston married Sarah Payne and had Almira Weston.
Almira Weston married William Woodbridge and had William Weston Woodbridge.
William Weston Woodbridge married Anna Stevens and had Theodore Henry Woodbridge.
Theodore Henry Woodbridge married Lillian Amanda Knights and had William Weston Woodbridge.
William Weston Woodbridge married Ollie E. White and had Mildred Mae Woodbridge.
Mildred Mae Woodbridge married Omar David Dowell and had Anthony Reed Dowell.
Anthony Reed Dowell married Nancy Jayne Mitchell and had Stephen Anthony Dowell.
- – Mayflower passenger
- – Revolutionary War veteran
- – Civil War veteran.
Confident of the results of the work on the “Mayflower Project”, I submitted a preliminary application with the above listing to the Mayflower Society Indiana chapter to be reviewed by the organization’s historians. The Missouri relative that provided the initial spark for this endeavor has already been verified, so I’m feeling quite sure of approval.