The New Bedford Public Library offers a link to the Digital Commonwealth collection that focuses on the city with images also of Acushnet, Fairhaven, and Westport. There are two sections, photographs and rotogravure images from the old newspapers. There are plenty of images from the late 1800s, including entire grade school and high school classes, a GAR unit, and sports teams, many of them with the names of the individuals. I plan to start mining that for Mayflower descendants and will post what I find, but don't wait for me to find your ancestor. Check it out for yourself.
The official policy is now online. To find out what it takes to join the Mayflower Society using DNA evidence, go to the GSMD site and near the top, on the right, hover over the word "Join" and then click on "Resources." Then click on "GSMD DNA policy" and a file will download to your computer. Though I did not see mention of specific DNA test providers it is clear that you MUST use one that reports 37 markers - at the least - and gives you a report that is essentially a string of 37 (or more) numbers and states which genetic haplogroup you belong to. The ads you see on TV in which people announce that they "just found out" they are part Irish or part Native American or part Whatever are not adequate if that is all they say. Neither are the reports that say you are "5th cousin" to So-and-So Famous Person. The numbers tell the story with DNA tests, not a cute graphic. You must also prove the entire rest of the lineage the traditional way (with vital records & other official documents) and have only the one point in question. You must get some other male who has already joined on that line to take the test, and then you take the test if you are a male. If you are female you must get a very close male relative (brother, father) to take the test and then document their relationship to you. So, if your application is in Limbo over one sticking point that you think could be resolved by a male (Y) DNA test, check this out. Be aware that you are asking to join someone else's association. You do not get to substitute some other test or do something different because it is easier or cheaper for you. You must follow the organization's instructions (which are the result of nearly a decade's research.) If you have any questions, ask the GSMD first.
Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are the two presidents whose February birthdays were combined, sort of, to make one federal Monday holiday we call "President's Day." Neither were Mayflower descendants but some of Lincoln's very distant relatives who stayed in Massachusetts did eventually marry into Mayflower families. In honor of President's Day I have posted images and write-ups on three Lincolns who were descendants of pilgrim Richard Warren. None of them look like Abraham Lincoln at all, but from what I see online he more closely resembles his mother's family. There is one image of Thomas Lincoln, the president's father, and you can view it on wikipedia with the link below. The caption next to the image states that it is in the Lincoln Memorial University archives (Tennessee) but I did not find it on their site and presumably they hold the copyright, so I did not post the actual image. Thomas has the same squarish, fleshy face of the 3 Massachusetts Lincolns in the Warren section. Happy President's Day!
A recent email from the Winthrop Society to its membership stated that they are proposing a change to their bylaws that would expand the window of membership eligibility to 1640, the outbreak of the English Civil War. Discussion and a vote will be held at their annual meeting in Washington, DC on April 15th. Currently the cutoff is December 31, 1635. This is a very welcome change.
The Winthrop Society is a lineage group for descendants of the early Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers (as opposed to Plymouth Colony, which consisted of Cape Cod and modern-day Plymouth and Bristol Counties - roughly - plus some disputed areas of Rhode Island. There is a map on wikipedia under "Plymouth Colony" showing the line of demarcation.) The Society is named for Massachusetts Bay Colony governor, John Winthrop, he of "city upon a hill" fame. Winthrop led the first fleet of ships that brought Puritan settlers from England to what is now Boston and environs. There is no complete list of settlers who arrived in the Winthrop Fleet or the many ships that came to the Colony over the next few years bringing Nonconformist English settlers. (Nonconformists were Protestants who did not wish to conform to the state religion, the Church of England.) The process of joining the Winthrop Society, like other historical lineage societies, helps people learn their personal family history and in the process learn American, European, even World history at the micro level vs. the macro level (kings, presidents, wars, political movements (Reconstruction) large-scale social events (the Great Depression), etc.) typically taught in schools.
The Winthrop Society's stated intent is to compile (eventually) a complete list of settlers, make up a bibliography of relevant books, to identify the English origins of each settler or family group, to create a database with this information, and to publish their findings in their quarterly newsletter. To my knowledge, that last item is the only thing they actually do, but it's something. Perhaps by being more inclusive the Winthrop Society can achieve the size and resources of its neighboring group to the south, the Mayflower Society, and like them publish more substantive original scholarly works. If the vote in April favors the motion it would be a step in that direction.
If you, like me, are looking for pictures of ancestors, I encourage you to cast a wide net, think outside the box, etc. and consider medical history web sites. Without meaning to sound gruesome, you can sometimes find a photo of someone whose case was interesting enough to medical professionals of the 1800s to warrant a photo. Some of these wound up in textbooks or archives and there are sites now that have such images. For example, the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library of Yale University has a collection of men wounded in the Civil War and amongst them was Sgt. Samuel C. Wright of Plympton, a Cooke & Soule descendant. The National Library of Medicine has a Digital Collections section with portraits, including one of Allerton, Soule, Cooke, Hopkins, Warren descendant Laura Bridgman of Vermont. She was a blind-deaf student taught to read and sign at Boston's Perkins Institution for the Blind decades before the birth of Helen Keller. She befriended Annie Sullivan, who would go on to be Keller's teacher. Medical schools existed as early as the mid-late 1800s in Alabama, California, Colorado, Washington DC,, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia. Their archives are worth a look.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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