I am very happy to have received my certificate of acceptance today from this group, which honors ancestors who brought specific hands-on skills with them to the New World or took up such occupations after they arrived. Skilled workers and merchants were indispensable to the survival and thriving of colonies. Artisans and tradesmen were also not all males, so this is a good way to "remember the ladies." Women were printers, poets, victualers, and so on - check out the list of trades and crafts on the Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen web site for ideas. A number of Mayflower passengers are approved ancestors - John Alden, cooper and William Brewster, printer you might know about but were you aware that Degory Priest was a hatter at some point in his life? Myles Standish and John Howland get credit for being merchants for their involvement in trading posts. Several members of the Leiden congregation worked in the textile industry while living in Leiden (William Bradford, John Tilley, Francis Cooke) and you get extra credit if you know what a "fustian worker" was. Not everyone has been claimed, though. Poor Edward Winslow, printer and author, for example, qualifies in 2 categories but none of his descendants have joined. How ironic, for the only pilgrim to have his picture painted in his lifetime. If you belong to Soule Kindred in America, you can try and make the case that young George Soule might have been a printer's helper for William Brewster and Edward Winslow and their "underground press" while in Leiden. Since you have until 1783 for your ancestor to have become a skilled worker, you Billingtons can join as descendants of young Mayflower passenger Francis Billington. Your "inner philanthropist" might be suitably motivated to join by clicking on "projects" and seeing that the group puts its money where its heart is, with significant financial support to groups like the Plimoth Plantation apprentice program, the Water Mill Museum in NY, the Museum of Old York in ME, the Willard House & Clock Museum in MA, the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts in NJ, and similar places not in New England. BEST OF ALL - THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE GROUPS THAT LET YOU TURN IN AN APPROVED APPLICATION FROM A HIGHLY REGARDED LINEAGE SOCIETY (GSMD, DAR, probably others) IN LIEU OF DOCUMENTS.
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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