Monday, November 30, 2015

Do I Have Enough Information to Join Society of Mayflower Descendants?

After I posted My Mayflower Connections - Soule, White, Warren, Cooke, Brewster, Hopkins and Fuller on Thanksgiving Day, I received an email message from my friend, Ray Raser, former Governor of the San Diego Colony of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, saying: 

"You are invited to join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.   It is required to only document one Mayflower ancestor and as you probably know the first five generations are already proven.   With your vast knowledge of genealogy our membership would certainly be beneficial to others."

I decided that I should look through the information I have and determine what I am missing in my White line.  I think that I need proof (a birth record, a marriage record, a death record) to document each parent-child and spousal relationship.  Failing that, a probate record, a baptism record, a land record, etc. might be useful.

Here is my line, and the documents that I have for my Mayflower line from William White (1590-1621) to myself - assuming that the first five generations are "proved" by the "Silver book" for William White.  Two published works are helpful for this analysis:

A)  Ruth Wilder Sherman and Robert Moody Sherman, edited by Robert S. Wakefield, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Descendants of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth, Mass. December 1620; Volume 13, Family of William White (Plymouth, Mass. : General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997).

B)  Ruth Wilder Sherman, "Some Descendants of Jonathan White of Dartmouth MA and of Humphrey White of Glocester RI," The American Genealogist, Volume 56, Number 2 (April 1981), Pages 113-118.

The documents by generation:

1)  William White (1590-1621) - number 1 in the White book.
Spouse: Susanna --?-- (1594-1675) - wife of number 1

2)  Peregrine White (1620-1704) - number 3 in White book
Spouse: Sarah Bassett (1628-1711) - wife of number 3

3)  Sylvanus White (1667-1688) - number 12 in White book
Spouse: Deborah --?-- (1667-????) - wife of number 12.

4)  William White (1683-1780) - number 53 in White book. Will mentions son William White.
Spouse: Elizabeth Cadman (1685-1768) - wife of number 53.

5)  William White (1708-1780) - number 201 in White book.  Will mentions son Jonathan White.
Spouse: Abigail Thurston (1700-????) - wife of number 201.

6)  Jonathan White (1732-1804) - number 201-iii in White book, land and probate records discussed in the Sherman article.  Will mentions son Humphrey White.
Spouse: Abigail Wing (1734-1806) - mentioned in Sherman article.

7)  Humphrey White (1757-1814) - No birth record known.  Death information from probate record.  Land and probate records discussed in the Sherman article.  Marriage record from Massachusetts Town Records for Dartmouth, Mass.  Son Jonathan White was mentioned in his probate and guardianship records; Sybil White was appointed his guardian.
Spouse: Sybil Kirby (1764-1848) - mentioned in Sherman article.  A note from Jonathan White was listed in the probate account.

8)  Jonathan White (1806-1850) - mentioned in Sherman article.  No birth record known.  Death from certified death record in Killingly, Connecticut.  Probate records names sons Henry and Albert White, and wife Maranda.  No marriage record known.
Spouse: Miranda Wade (1805-1850) - mentioned in Sherman article.  No birth record known.  No death record known - cemetery record and 1850 mortality census record available.

9)  Henry White (1824-1885) - no birth record (approximate year derived from Oatley surname book and census records).  Death record from Killingly, Connecticut town register book.  Marriage record from Barbour Collection book - Thompson, Connecticut.  No probate record found.
Spouse: Amy Oatley (1826-1864) - birth record (approximate year) from Oatley surname book.  Death record from Killingly, Connecticut town register book.

10)  Julia E. White (1848-1913) - birth date from Putnam, Connecticut death certificate, which names parents;  Death from death certificate and obituary, which names parents.   Marriage record from marriage certificate from Killingly, Connecticut and Killingly town register.
Spouse:Thomas Richman/Richmond (1848-1917) - baptism from Hilperton, Wiltshire Civil Registration, Death record from Massachusetts Vital Records, and obituary.

11)  Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) - birth certificate from Killingly, Connecticut birth certificate, Death certificate from Leominster, Mass.  Marriage certificate from Leominster, Mass.
Spouse: Fred Walton Seaver (1876-1942) - birth certificate from Leominster, Mass.  Death certificate from Leominster, Mass.

12)  Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) - Birth certificate from Fitchburg, Mass.  Death certificate from San Diego, Calif.  Marriage certificate from San Diego County, Calif.
Spouse: Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) - Birth certificate from San Diego County, Calif., Death certificate from San Diego County, Calif.

13)  Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-????) - Birth certificate from San Diego County, Calif.

Assuming that the first six generations are covered by the Mayflower book, the problems I think that I have with documents for this line are:

*  Generation 7:  birth record of Humphrey White
*  Generation 8:  birth record of Jonathan White (1806-1850), and marriage record of Jonathan White and Miranda Wade.
*  Generation 9:  birth record of Henry White (1824-1885).
*  Generation 10:  birth record of Julia E. White (1848-1913).

Four of my Mayflower passengers go through the Henry White/Amy Oatley bottleneck and are not as well documented by me as this line is.

I'm a bit hampered by not having certain knowledge of the documentation requirements for the GSMD.  I doubt that I have enough documentation to join the Society at this time.  I may be wrong - I would appreciate any comments from my readers.

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Linda Stufflebean said...

If the Mayflower Society is similar to DAR in its requirements, aside from anything else missing, the DAR genealogist would not accept a reference to a book unless the book cited an actual source for the fact. For example, a reference to an Oatley surname book wouldn't work unless the book cited, say, a probate record giving her maiden name. (I know you mentioned her marriage record in her husband's blurb above - I just used the book reference as an example.) Each generation would be examined step by step to determine if, in fact, the descendant's information is correct.

Team Spice said...

Please keep me posted, Randy. I too spoke to the Society of Mayflower Descendants and was told to submit despite your comments, which I agree are unsubstantiated by legal documents. Since we share the same line with Julia White, I wish we could get this cleared up. This may be naive, but are there any genetic links that could be followed? My twin brother, Adam, married Karla Standish, and her family believes that a genetic test of her boys can prove her lineage to Capt. Myles Standish. Can you shed any light on the subject?

Sue Barry said...

To use a genetic test to prove the Standish descendancy must be all males in the line, so your sister-in-law breaks the chain. If she can test her father, or has a brother, it might be used to show the matching to known Standish descendants.

Team Spice said...

Thank you, Susan. Yes, she does have brothers. I'll let her know. Thanks for replying.

Enno Borgsteede said...

Randy, in the line that Geni presents for us being 14th cousins, I see surnames Farwell, Stone, Sawtell, Hildreth & Seaver in your half of the connection. Were any of these passengers on a well known ship? Just curious. There may be more connections than this one, and I haven't checked how well the Mayflower passengers are documented there, and whether any of those have a connection to me.

Enno Borgsteede said...

Geni just told that I am related to another passenger: Gov. Edward Winslow.

T said...

I have a handful of Mayflower people as ancestors, too. My questions are many. First let me say I am not interested in joining any of the societies. My questions are just because I want to know. What does a member get out of joining? About how much does it cost to prove linage? As much trouble as I've had with ancestors in general, if there is no piece of paper, how do you prove anything? I don't have the number in my head any more but there is a high percentage of people who have Mayflower ancestors. It soon won't be anything special to have a Mayflower ancestor because everyone is descended from one of them.

Ann Gulbransen, Historian said...

As a Mayflower Society historian, I think you have the essentials of what you need. the important part is linking each line carrier to his/her parents. You need to fill in as much of the rest for the line carrier and spouse as you can, but the farther back you go, the harder it is to find records. If primary records don't exist, Mayflower will let you use secondary sources like published books and journal articles to fill in the gaps. Between the birth, marriage and death certificates that you have, obituaries, wills and probate records, it looks to me (without seeing the documents) that you have made the required links between line carriers. Look at the CA Mayflower website ( for information on the process. I bet the CA historians will agree with my assessment of your documentation.

Twisted Branches of Me said...

Randy I am sure you thought of this as well but figured I mention it.... Maybe you can look at other applications they often note evidence submitted prior. I am researching my connection to the Mayflower passengers William Bradford and now Richard Warren. For twenty dollars I received copies of two prior applications of descendants of William Bradford. One was of no use to me as the line did not go past the book for me. However, the other one submitted mentioned a family bible submitted for a different application. I requested a copy. It was very faint copy of the family bible proving not just the birth of my fifth great grandfather but his marriage and the death of his parents as well. This was acceptable proof at the time given that there were not many states / counties issuing certificates in the 1800’s however, I am not sure if it still acceptable proof. Even it is not combined with census and other records I have to image it would be acceptable or at least give a viable argument.

Geolover said...

These lineages are beset by "same name = same person" problems. As always, the problem is to develop a collection of records that define each similarly-named person well enough to distinguish between them. This could include such miracles as to find an estate record (a will?) for a spouse's parent that names enough grandchildren in the right time-frame to define a family, or includes residential/land-ownership data that can clearly be attributed to one of the same-named persons. It is no easy task, and I wish you success!

Unknown said...

Can I jump in and say my direct ancestor was John Howland. So my state registra for SAR is actually the one that informed me of the lineage. So can my state Mayflower society take the information he has and use it? I can come up with a lot of other things to prove it.