Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not A Loyalist After All

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.


Anonymous said...

Funny -- I was thinking about this topic with respect to my own family this past week. Although I have a Mayflower ancestor and a Methodist bishop many-greats uncle, the rest of my family is seriously nonreligious.

There must be a recessive gene in the lineup.

PresbyG said...

Interesting, QG...My husband is also directly descended from a couple in that 'second wave' after the Mayflower...deep New England English Reformed(Puritan)roots he has...

I do have Loyalists on Mom's side...from Connecticutt and spied for the British , had a Letter of Marque from the King and was a privateer.
The other was an officer in a Loyalist regiment. Both wound up in New Brunswick after the Revolution. Both were also successful middle-class merchants and businessmen who couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about...since they had no particular grievance with the Crown. PresbyG

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

All the ladies on my mom's fraternal side qualify for the DAR, though my mom and I never joined. Don't know about being Loyalists. At this point in history I don't believe it gets you any special perks any where. Like being able to cut in line at the bank or something.

I do know that we weren't always Presbyterian, since my maternal grandparents were rumored to be among the first communists here in the U.S.

Interesting stuff, family histories. Chances are we're, all of us, likey 80th cousins or some such.

Anonymous said...


I'm glad to see that we can still correspond after that near-miss with you being in a Tory family! :)

Anonymous said...

Did I write that one of my direct ancestor's brothers was the foreman on Martha Washington's estate before she married George? That was exciting news to me. Ain't genealogy fun? And I agree with PG that we are all related somehow.