At the recommendation of a professional friend, Sharon Dotson, a publicist and author who lives in Houston, I’m working on a feature article to submit to a local newspaper sometime in the near future. The story’s lead asks readers to determine which of the following they would find of greater interest.
- The story told by the man seated on your left who takes center stage to proudly declare that he has recently discovered that he is directly related to Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower. Or,
- The three stories told by the woman seated across from you who reveals that she is related to William Bradford, an individual who was a mere passenger on the same ship. Pulling a worn leather diary out of her purse, she begins by reading the first entry which explains how William bribed the ship’s first mate to gain passage. The second story recounts how the crew saved a clumsy young sailor who on a calm day had fallen into the Atlantic. The last relates how he came to lay claim to be the first European to smoke tobacco.
- “By the way cousin Allan has documented that you are a descendant of 7 or 8 of the passengers on the Mayflower.“
Isn’t it fascinating that we should be thinking about the same thing at roughly the same time after living so many miles apart for so many years?
That thought aside, I have to admit that the revelation generated a fleeting, but very real sense of personal importance at least until I reminded myself of one of my fifth grade students at Hyatt — Rachel Hanks. I learned from her family not long after I quit teaching that Rachel is a direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln’s great, great, grandfather John Hanks (1680 – 1740). So much for feeling special.
Note: I recently received an envelop from Richard containing four sets of lineage charts that trace the family’s roots to four of the aforementioned passengers. Since the lineages have been certified by the Mayflower Society I thought it would be a good idea to post them under the heading Tracing the family’s roots to the Mayflower.