Saturday, January 9, 2010

On Being a Pilgrim.....Almost

I began searching my genealogy at the age of 20, much earlier than most start looking at their family tree. My grandfather always repeated family history and when I showed an interest, he gave me one of those books with blank family trees and pages where you can write in your own family information.

This was long before everyone had access to the Internet and all the genealogical information available there now. Back then, and now to some extent, you still had to visit Town Halls, join genealogical associations that shared information and tramp through cemeteries looking for ancestors. I picked away at it over the years. I was in no rush. I figured I had a lifetime to search and they certainly weren't going anywhere since they were already dead.

My grandparents' knowledge only went back a couple generations and most of that, especially when it got interesting, was pretty speculative. Like my grandmother telling me that there was an American Indian woman in her family. I've traced most of her line back to 1635, no Indians in sight. We had one who was killed by Indians but I don't think she even knew of that. I did find one woman who was supposedly Creole and came from some island in the Caribbean. If that's true, she probably adds a little "color" to my ancestry in more ways than one.

The most important and exciting discovery I have made to date is that I am a direct descendant of Rev. John Robinson, Pastor to the Pilgrims. Yes, those Pilgrims.

For years I had been stuck at my great, great, great grandfather Joseph Robinson despite my best efforts to trace his lineage. A few years ago after putting a query on a genealogy bulletin board I was contacted by a woman, also a Robinson descendant, who sent me my full Robinson lineage back to John Robinson born 1552 in England. His son, also John, a minister, left England and settled in Holland in 1609 with a group of English Puritans, some of whom would later become The Pilgrims.

In 1620, you will remember, 102 set sail on the Mayflower for the New World. Reverend Robinson, however, stayed behind with the rest of his congregation with intentions to join them at a later time in what they thought would be Virginia. Unfortunately he never made it to the New World. He died during a plague in Holland in 1625.

Isaac Robinson, son of Reverend Robinson and his wife Bridget White, was born in Holland, in 1610. In 1631, at the age of 21, Isaac sailed to America on the ship, Lion.

By his first wife, Margaret Hanford, Isaac had five children; he had four more children by his second wife, Mary Faunce. Isaac’s son Peter had 15 children and his grandson fathered 12, so the Robinson influence was well established in America.

Fast forward 336 years from when the Mayflower actually landed in Massachusetts Bay Colony, and you'll find me, a ninth-generation Robinson born on this side of the Atlantic.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, I'm a Pilgrim.......almost.


Just Breathe said...

That is fascinating information!

DUTA said...

" I figured I had a lifetime to search and they certainly eweren't going anywhere since they were already dead".
The thing is that those who might have some solid information on the dead, also die in the meantime when we, the searchers think we have all the time in the world.

Anyway, your story about your being ninth generation Robinson is very exciting.

Michele said...

I love doing genealogy. It's like investigative and mystery all rolled into one.

BONNIE K said...

That sounds very interesting, to finally get that missing puzzle piece.

kaye said...

so fun! My grandfather is Governor William Bradford of the Pilgrims--yes those pilgrims. Ever since I first did a family tree project in 4th grade I've been proud of that :)

Shauna said...

Oh Sandy, how cool to find that out. I've always wanted to research my family tree but never knew how to go about doing it. I'm also afraid that I would run into so many dead ends. My grandparents are gone and my parents don't seem to know too much about their grandparents.
I really enjoyed reading your post!

Robin said...

How fascinating. I wonder what's lurking in the recesses of my own family tree...

Jay said...

How interesting! Even if you didn't find a Native American in your ancestry, you have Pilgrims!

I haven't traced my family that far back yet, just to the 1700s (just!) but I'm still searching for the Polish ancestor I'm supposed to have! Funny how these family rumours come about, isn't it?

Anvilcloud said...

I have a vague interest in the past too, but haven't done too much about it. A few years ago, I poked around at and found a name or two, but I didn't get very far back. We also have Robinsons in the background but not your line apparently as they seem to have some from Ireland quite a bit later.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Too cool! You're an original!

MissKris said...

My 'claims' to fame are Hannah Dustin...there's a statue of her somewhere in Massachusetts, I believe. I also had an uncle way down the line who played the organ in Westminster Abbey. He's buried there, too.


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