by Jnana Hodson

If you delve into genealogy or even read obituaries, you may run across references to someone as a “Mayflower descendant.” The assumption is that at least one of their ancestors arrived (and survived) the 1620 voyage to Plymouth Bay. Their lines have been carefully detailed.

More broadly, though, you’ll come across those who consider all Plymouth arrivals of the first decade as Mayflower ancestors, not that I’m finding that online at the moment. So I’ll leave it as a hearsay argument. Still, after all, the Mayflower itself made a second crossing in 1629 – one of 10 vessels to arrive there in that period – and this is where things can get confusing.

Add to that many others landing to the north in this period – at Salem, especially, and then Boston, plus a scattering at other New England ports. The region was quickly filled with settlers, including the Hiltons at Dover, where I live in New Hampshire.

These can all be long lines, some much better recorded than others.