Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mayflower Ancestor James Chilton and Daughter Mary Chilton

Yesterday, I shared a story about an ancestor who arrived on the Mayflower: John Howland is a paternal ancestor of mine. I also have maternal ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower.

My 12th great-grandfather, James Chilton, was the oldest passenger on the Mayflower, having been born about 1556, likely in Kent, England, making him about 64 during the voyage. There are records showing baptisms for ten children of James Chilton between 1586 and 1607 in Kent, however historians don't agree on his wife's name. Their youngest child was Mary Chilton, baptized at St. Peter's, Sandwich, Kent, on May 30, 1607, making her 13 years old during the trip.

Courtesy: Wikipedia
The family were Separatists and lived in Leiden, Holland, for a few years. Yet only James, his wife, and his youngest daughter, Mary, sailed on the Mayflower to the New World.

James was a signer of the "Mayflower Compact," the first governing document of the colony, which was signed aboard the ship on November 11, 1620.

It is said that Mary Chilton was the first European woman to step ashore at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Mary Chilton's Title to Celebrity: investigated in behalf of a descendant of John Haward, minimus, by Charles Thornton Libby, published in 1926, can be found at and at The author explored various sources for the Mary Chilton story. On page 6, the author notes that the earliest form of the story was written down in 1769 by a second great-grandson of Mary Chilton:
"Mary Chilton was the first European Female that landed on the North American shore; she came over with her father and mother and other adventurers to this new settlement. One thing worthy of notice is that her curiosity of being first on the American Strand prompted her, like a young Heroine, to leap out of the Boat and wade ashore."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Mayflower Ancestor John Howland - 52 Ancestors #48

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Thankful. November 26 was Thanksgiving in the U.S. and genealogists think about their Mayflower ancestors at this time of year.

Four years ago, I shared the two Mayflower lines that I know of at Mayflower Passenger Ancestors.

Only as an adult did I learn the story about my ancestor John Howland falling overboard and almost being lost at sea on his trip across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower.

He was born sometime in the 1590s likely at Fenstanton, Huntington County, England, to Henry and Margaret Howland. He traveled on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Governor John Carver, who died soon after the Mayflower's arrival.

William Bradford, who became Plymouth Bay's governor and was a signer of the Mayflower Compact, kept a detailed diary, which is the only primary source account of the Mayflower voyage. It includes the following account of how stormy it was and of John Howland's miraculous rescue:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Charlie Pyle, Athlete - 52 Ancestors #47

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Sporting: Do you have a relative who was involved in sports?

I have written about my dad before, at Sports Center Saturday ~ Dad and golf.

Dad was active in other sports, too. He loved ice skating and played hockey at Brooks School and for the year he attended Princeton University. (See Daily Princetonian Now Online for more about his activity there.) He also taught all of his children how to skate (though I haven't been on ice skates in probably thirty years; I did not inherit his athletic abilities). He even participated in father-son hockey games when he was in his late 50s and early 60s!

I love the description in the following article about a prep school hockey tournament, from his senior year at Brooks, describing him as "flashy Charlie Pyle." If I read this right, Brooks beat Pomfret 3-2, with Dad providing an assist and a goal.

Will Cloney, "Belmont Hill, Thayer Reach Title Round;
Brooks, Gov. Dummer Other Hockey Winners in Private School Tilts."
Boston Herald, 3 January 1942, col. 6. Online archives. GenealogyBank. has a U.S., School Yearbooks database which includes just a couple of years from Brooks School, one of which is 1942, Dad's senior year. Following is his yearbook entry which shows that sports (Soccer, Hockey, and Baseball) were his extracurricular activities.

Brooks School Bishop, Graduation 1942 issue, page 18.

Dad is second from the right in the front row in the picture of the hockey team:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Permelia Christian Ashby Hall - Changes - 52 Ancestors #46

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Changes: Highlight an ancestor that went through many changes or that you had to change your research strategies to find.

Pamela (Christian) (Ashby) Hall is an ancestor who went through many changes AND I have to change my research strategies to find more information about her.

I have written about this third great-grandmother previously. I first mentioned her in my Surname Saturday ~ Ashby post, then shared the U.S. Census records I found her in at Kentucky ~ Looking for a Crack in the Brick Wall.

I find her listed as Pamela, Permelia and even Amelia in various records. She was born about 1802 or 1803 in Kentucky. I have not confirmed her parents in primary sources, though there are online trees that name parents for her. I need to change my research strategies to find out more about her parents and siblings, by exploring different kinds of records, probably probate records or land records, as well as exploring her "FAN Club," a research strategy that involves researching her friends, associates, and neighbors. There appear to be a lot of Christians in Hopkins County, Kentucky, which would be a place to start. (There is also a Christian County, Kentucky. Could she be related to the man for whom this county is named?)

I also need to learn more about history and geography of western Kentucky.  Here is a map (courtesy of Wikipedia) with the counties I need to learn more about in color.

Kentucky Counties, color added by me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New Landing Page For My 32 Third Great-Grandparents

With yesterday's post about my third great-grandfather, Samuel Greele(y), I have now written at least one blog post about each of my thirty-two third great-grandparents.

I have created a new landing page, which you can see at the top of this blog no matter what page you might be viewing on the blog.

The ancestors are represented by their ahnentafel number. Each name is linked to a blog post about him or her, and these posts often include links to additional blog posts about that person or the family.

I have included my fourth great-grandparents where I know them.

If we share third great-grandparents, we are fourth cousins (or closer).

I am hoping that this will be a useful tool as I explore my DNA matches going forward. Instead of explaining my ancestry in each email that I send or that I reply to, I can direct possible genetic matches to this page here at my blog.

Take a look - do any of these names look familiar? Could we be cousins close enough to share a significant amount of DNA? Let me know! (And let me know if you have tested at FamilyTreeDNA or

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Samuel Greeley (1783-1861) - 52 Ancestors #45

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is ... pick your own theme, so I get to write about another third great-grandfather - one of the many ancestors named Samuel Greeley (or Greele) in my ancestry. (See Surname Saturday ~ Greeley (Greele) of Salisbury, Massachusetts for the ancestral line.)

Samuel was born on July 2, 1783, in Wilton, New Hampshire, to Samuel Greeley (the one who was killed by the fall of a tree in 1798 and is buried in a haunted cemetery) and Olive Read. He was the second of their six children.

He attended Harvard College, graduating in 1802. He married four times, fathering three children.

He married first, Lydia Maria Sewall, on May 3, 1812, in Marblehead, with whom he had:
   Abigail Greeley (4 Feb 1814 - 10 Feb 1814, in Marblehead, Massachusetts)

He married second, Louisa May, on October 19, 1823, in Boston, with whom he had:
   Samuel Sewall Greeley (11 Oct 1824, in Boston - 8 Mar 1916, in Chicago)
   Louisa May Greeley (1 Jan 1827, in Boston - 7 Oct 1903, in Chicago)

He married third, Marie Antoinette Paine, on October 18, 1831, in Boston, and fourth, Sarah Emerson Follansbee, on October 8, 1844, in Newburyport. His first three wives predeceased him.

He lived primarily in Boston, where I find him in the 1840, 1850, and 1860 U.S. Censuses, but apparently lived on the North Shore in Marblehead and Swampscott at various times in his life. 

I don't know if he was a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, but there is an obituary for him in the Register, Volume 15 (1861), pp. 360-361.

There is also an obituary for him in the Farmer's Cabinet, a New Hampshire publication: