A Female Ancestor From the Mayflower

painting of female pilgrim There are a lot of genealogists who learn from their genealogy research that they are a descendant of a person who came to America on The Mayflower. It’s not too unusual to discover that one’s ancestors include more than one person from that historic ship. Usually, research reveals a male ancestor. It’s not as common to find that you are related to one of the Pilgrims who was female. However, one genealogist’s research revealed exactly that.

Sometimes, a family story that has been handed down through the generations will describe an ancestor who was an English Separatist, (the group we most commonly describe as “the Pilgrims” today). If you have appropriate documentation that proves your ancestor was on the Mayflower, there are genealogy societies that you may be eligible to join. Every state has some of these societies, so you can imagine how many people have been able to trace their family tree back to the Pilgrims.

Sumner Reid, age 90, is one of the people whose family stories talked about ancestors who were on the Mayflower. He began his genealogy research in the 1980’s, and discovered that he had not one, but three ancestors who were on that ship. Reid learned that he was a descendant of a man named Richard Fuller, a Pilgrim relative on his paternal grandmother’s side of the family tree. More research revealed that he also is a descendant of Edward Fuller, a Pilgrim his grandfather was a descendant of, and Richard Warren, a Pilgrim his grandmother was a descendant of. This means he has three different ancestors who were Pilgrims.

It gets even more interesting, though. It turns out that his ancestor, Richard Warren, had a wife named Elizabeth Warren. Most of the documentation that can be found about the Pilgrims mentions men, while very little historical documentation was done on the female Pilgrims. Amazingly, it turns out that Elizabeth Warren is the exception to the rule. She was reunited with her husband, Richard Warren, in Plymouth in 1623, and she brought their five daughters with her. She went on to have two more children, both sons, with her husband, before he died. She outlived her husband by 45 years, which is rather remarkable.

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