Family Geneologist-in-Chief El Jefe was thrilled with son-in-law DK's recent interest in researching the family's geneology. With some guidance from him and using the ancient sampler that I have from my father's side of the family, DK has definitively exploded some hoary family myths.
I'd always been told that my father's side of the family were Loyalists during the American Revolution, who left New York for Canada during that time and returned later. DK has pushed the geneology back to the first family member to come to the New World to live in Plymouth Colony. This man arrived on the Fortune, which was the second ship after the Mayflower to bring English settlers to this country. Furthermore his descendants fought against the British and DK even found evidence that they were awarded pensions for their service from the fledgling American government. Instead of being eligible for membership in the Daughters of the British Empire, I'm eligible for the DAR! What a shock!
So where did that story about being Loyalists come from? We do have some ancestors who were Swiss Mennonites living in Pennsylvania at that time. Since Mennonites were pacifists we're guessing that this is the part of the family that may have fled the war for Canada--particularly since some of them stayed in Canada while those who became our direct relations migrated later to Michigan. Maybe that's the source of the story. El Jefe says that after 100 years a family's memory of its past is always suspect.
One thing remains constant in all of DK's research--the family was Puritan, Reformed and Presbyterian and active in church as well as educational endeavors in their communities. It's interesting to see that remains true of most of the descendants in the 21st century.