Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Mayflower?? You're Kidding!

It has been my impression, in the years I’ve been interested in genealogy, that the gold standard for prestige was if you descended from someone who came over on the Mayflower. That was fine, but it didn’t have anything to do with our family. In 2000 we discovered two ancestors who were involved in the Plymouth Colony during its first twenty-five years, and we figured that was as close as we would get. One of those was Anne Hutchinson, who made her way into the history books and to an expressway in the Bronx, as well as her daughter Susanna, the only one who survived the family massacre by Indians.

This past spring my fellow genealogist in the family, my nephew Matt, discovered a new branch of ancestors that we hadn’t known about. I wrote about them in my July 2 blog entitled Of Roots and Names. You may remember it was a line with the unusual name of Consider Tiffany. Matt has been working hard firming up the research on the line and getting it entered in our database.

This afternoon I was browsing back through the tree, noticing some of the female lines that brought other names into the tree. Suddenly, a name caught my eye. Ruth Brewster. Brewster?? There was a Brewster on the Mayflower. Surely not…. But one click and two generations later there it was – there HE was. Consider Tiffany’s wife Naomi was a great-granddaughter of Ruth Brewster, the grand-daughter of William Brewster who came on the Mayflower! He not only came on the Mayflower, but he became a top leader of the colony.

I’m still shaking my head over it, and fascinating stories are already coming to light…Ruth’s young father losing his first wife and their three children before the Mayflower ever sailed, and William Brewster’s children who came with him on the ship being two boys named Love and Wrestling. Now there are some names for characters in my Tangled Strands story -- NOT.

But I have been seriously thinking, once again, about making name changes to some major characters—thinking about it but not yet generating courage to do it. At least two of the changes need to be made, and I’ve come up with nice family-history names that would work well. But the changes I’m thinking about would be HUGE because they are three of the most prominent names in the story. One family member is still trying to get used to the last such change I made a couple of years ago.

These would be changes to names I started out with forty years ago. Could I adjust to them? Even if I could, what about others who have been closely involved with it in recent times? One thing for sure, if I’m going to do it, I must decide and do it before anyone else reads it. Like an editor or a publisher.

Which brings me to an invitation I already have. But this blog is long enough. I’ll save that for another one. And I'll keep you posted on what I decide about the names.

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