Spotlight on Female Ancestors #2 ~ Mary Brewster and Susanna White 2 of 4

Susanna Jackson, my maternal 10th Great Grandmother, was born in 1595 in Nottinghamshire, England. She and her father were English Separatists who fled religious persecution in England under King James I for their non-conformity to the dictates and practices of the Church of England. They came to Holland in 1608. There she married William White in 1612 in Leyden, Holland, and they had a son, Resolved. In 1620 William, Susanna, and Resolved boarded a ship that would take them back to England to join 101 other passengers embarking on a voyage to the New World aboard the Mayflower. Susanna was 25 years old and a little over 6 months pregnant when they began the trip on September 6, 1620..

Mary Brewster Statute

Mary, my paternal 11th Great Grandmother, whose maiden name has not been verified, was born in 1569 in Nottinghamshire, England. She married Elder William Brewster about 1593 in England, and she accompanied her husband and 3 young children to Leiden, Holland in 1608. Here they had at least 3 more children. William, Mary and their 2 youngest children also made the trip back to England to make the trip on the Mayflower. Mary was about 51 years old.

There were 3 pregnant women aboard the Mayflower and Susanna no doubt kept close company with matronly Mary Brewster, her family’s friend and neighbor from back in Scooby, England and in Holland. It must have been a great comfort to her. The ship arrived in Cape Cod Harbor on November 21, 1620. Because of the rough waters only the men were allowed to leave the ship, while the women and children were confined to their place on the middle deck of the Mayflower.

Peregrine White Cradle

On December 10, 1620, Susanna gave birth to a son aboard the Mayflower. They named him Peregrine, meaning a traveler or pilgrim. Peregrine White was the first Pilgrim child to be born in the New World. By the time all of the passengers made it to land, winter had blown in and made life miserable because of a lack of shelter. That first winter, death claimed 52 members of the group with the greatest loss being among the women with over three quarters of their number dying. The extremely high mortality rate among women is probably explainable by the fact the men were out in the fresh air, felling trees, building structures and drinking fresh New England water; while the women were confined to the damp, filthy and crowded quarters offered by the Mayflower, where disease would have spread much more quickly.

Susanna’s husband, William, died on February 21, 1621, along with the family’s two young man servants. Being left a widow with 2 young boys she remarried a few months later to fellow Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow, whose wife had also died had first winter, on May 12, 1621. Their marriage was the first marriage at Plymouth.

By the end of the summer of 1621, only four women, Eleanor Billington, Elizabeth Hopkins, Mary Brewster, and Susanna White, would remain alive to care for the Colony’s fifty surviving men and children. These four brave women faced some incredible hardships and heartbreak as they tried to make a new life in a new land. They had to be very strong, not just physically but also in their faith to withstand those first couple of years as the caregivers to so many people. I am proud that Mary and Susanna were two of the four.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

My Ancestors Signature #9 ~ William Brewster

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 10th Great Grandfather

Man's Silhouette

Signatures William Brewster 1620 Mayflower Compact


From the Mayflower Compact  1620



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday Salute ~ Josiah Winslow ~ King Philips War

josiah Winslow paintingJosiah Winslow, my 10th great-uncle, was born on May 22, 1629, in Plymouth Massachusetts Colony to Edward and Susanna (Jackson White) Winslow. Both of his parents came to Plymouth aboard the Mayflower. Both of his parents lost their spouses during the first winter in Plymouth and married on May 12, 1621. Josiah had several half-siblings as a result. He married Penelope Pelham (1633-1703) in 1651 in Marshfield and had the following children, Elizabeth Winslow 1663-1738 and Isaac Winslow 1671-1735.

Josiah was educated at Harvard in Cambridge Massachusetts. He then became the assistant Governor of Plymouth Colony from 1657 to 1673. In 1656 he succeeded Myles Standish as commander of the colony’s military forces. He also served as Plymouth’s Commissioner to the New England Confederation from1658 to 1972. He became Governor of Plymouth in1673 and served until his death earning accolades for establishing America’s. first public school.

In 1675 and 1676 Winslow was a military commander during the action against Native Americans known as King Philip’s War. As governor, he signed the colony’s declaration of war and also issued a famous statement denying the Indians had a legitimate grievance against white settlers in New England “because the Pilgrims had honestly bought their land.”

Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag. had maintained a long-standing alliance withKPW Soldiers top the colonists. Metacom was his younger son, and he became tribal chief in 1662 after Massasoit’s death. Metacom, however, did not maintain his father’s alliance between the Wampanoags and the colonists. The colonists insisted that the peace agreement in 1671 should include the surrender of Indian guns; then three Wampanoags were hanged for murder in Plymouth Colony in 1675 which increased the tensions. Indian raiding parties attacked homesteads and villages throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine over the next six months, and the Colonial militia retaliated. The Narragansetts remained neutral, but several individual Narragansetts participated in raids of colonial strongholds and militia, so colonial leaders deemed them to be in violation of peace treaties. The colonies assembled the largest army that New England had yet mustered, consisting of 1,000 militia and 150 Indian allies, and Governor Josiah Winslow marshaled them to attack the Narragansetts in November 1675. They attacked and burned Indian villages throughout Rhode Island territory, culminating with the attack on the Narragansetts’ main fort in the Great Swamp Fight. An estimated 600 Narragansetts were killed, many of them women and children, and the Indian coalition was then taken over by Narragansett chief Canochet. They pushed back the colonial frontier in Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Rhode Island colonies, burning towns as they went, including the town of Providence in March 1676. However, the colonial militia overwhelmed the Indian coalition, and, by the end of the war, the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies were almost completely destroyed. On August 12, 1676, Metacom fled to Mount Hope where he was killed by the militia.

Old Winslow burial Grounds signJosiah Winslow died on December 18, 1680, in Plymouth and is buried in the Winslow Burial Grounds there.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.





Saturday’s Dilemma ~ Sometimes All You Need Is A Little Advice

Mayflower-IIWith the upcoming 400-year anniversary of the Mayflower arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts I thought it would be a good idea to start writing blogs about my Pilgrim ancestors. I want to publish them as a series later in the year and I am striving for absolute accuracy, if possible. I am excited about this endeavor.

Here is my dilemma, one of my female ancestors has some controversy over her correct maiden name. To be honest, I have had both of her “proven” names listed on my tree at different times. I have done my own research and I have found credible evidence for both names. I have scoured through all of the Mayflower websites that I can find, as well as numerous books and publications. These have also been divided on her name.

2 people arguing

Because of my uncertainty of the correct one, I have been verbally attacked and harassed about the name I have associated with this ancestor. No matter which last name I have on the tree, someone who believes the other name is correct gives me a hard time about it. I always try to respond nicely, explaining why I have this particular last name listed and confessing that I have gone back and forth with the 2 names. I know you can’t please everyone, but until I find definitive proof, I will not take a side in this issue.

Question markSo, I was thinking yesterday, after my latest confrontation, that I may add a “second” wife to my ancestor. In other words, add the same wife with the other last name. I had thought about just putting both names on the existing one, kind of like Smith/Jones but I know in doing this it will wreak havoc with any hints I may receive. I would add the documentation for the “second” wife so when it is viewed a person can understand why I have it this way.

Has any of you done this with an ancestor before? If so, how did it work out? Any other suggestions?



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Prosperity ~ Susanna Jackson, From Exile to Governors Wife ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #8

england_wales_1644Susanna Jackson was born in 1585 in Scooby, Nottinghamshire, England. Not much is known about her early years. We find Susanna living in Leiden, Holland in 1608, along with her father Richard Jackson and a group of people who had fled there trying to escape the wrath of King. They had been labeled heretics because they rejected the official Church of England.

Here she met William White who had also fled the persecution. They married in 1612 Edward Winslow Founder of Marshfield critical inforand had their first son Resolved in 1616.  William and Susanna were part of a congregation along with William Brewster and Edward Winslow who ran a printing press putting out anti Church of England booklets. This activity caused tensions between England and Holland, so the entire group was asked to leave. They had no choice but to returned to England. On September 16, 1620, William, Susanna and Resolved boarded the Mayflower headed for the New World. They arrived in the Bay of Massachusetts on November 11, 1620. While docked in the Bay waiting for the scouting party to find a suitable place to begin building their homes Susanna gave birth to their second son, Peregrine, aboard the ship. He was the first English born child in the colony. On December 20th they finally left the Mayflower and started to build their homes. On February 21, 1621, William White passed away along with several other inhabitants.

HS MayflowerA few months later, Susanna married Edward Winslow who had been widowed soon after arriving in Plymouth. Their marriage was the first one in Plymouth. They had 2 children, Josiah 1628 and Elizabeth 1630. Edward was a very prominent man and he soon became Governor of Plymouth Colony in 1644. He was also appointed one of the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England and he made many trips to England representing the Colonies. In October 1646 he left on his last mission as the agent of Massachusetts Bay and did not return for the remaining nine years of his life. Susanna died on October 1, 1680, at the age of about 85!

I can’t imagine how it would be to live under a King who would persecute or kill you for your religious beliefs. I have no idea how it would feel to have to flee your home and move to another country. Then having to make a 2-month trip across the ocean while you are pregnant and giving birth on the ship. The pain of losing her husband so quickly after arriving at your destination must have been devastating. But then her life turned around by a new marriage, more children and an easier life. I consider her to have been blessed with prosperity.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Two Sisters, Two Grandmas ~ Freaky Fridays #3

Mayflower-III am not sure this is an unusual occurrence or not but to me, it seemed pretty strange. That may be because it had me confused for a while. My 9th Great Grandfather Jonathan Brewster came over from England on The Fortune the year after his parents and his 2 younger brothers came over on theMayflower in 1620. He was 28 years old at the time. He got married to Lucretia Oldham 2 years later and immediately started having children. They had 3 sons and 5 daughters. This is where my confusion started.

I had been working on another genealogy site to find some missing information on my 8th Great Grandfather Samuel Starr when I found a document that mentioned the name of Grace Brewster. I figured this document belonged to Samuel since his wife’s maiden name was Brewster, so I saved it. As I continued searching, I found a few more references to Grace so those were saved also. Then I discovered a U.S. New England Marriages prior to 1700 hint that gave the name Hannah as his wife! At this point, I started second-guessing myself. Was Hannah his wife and not Grace? Was he married more than once? By this time I was confused.

I sat and thought for a couple of minutes and decided to go to Jonathan’s page in my Ancestry tree. Scrolling down the list of children there was my answer…..Grace and Hannah were sisters! Hannah was Samuel’s wife. Grace had married Daniel Wetherell. But wait, I thought that Grace was my 8th Great Grandmother. Come to discover both Grace and Hannah are my 8th Greats as I descend from Grace and Daniel’s line also! I spent some time combing through both of their pages correcting misplaced documents.

I understand that this happened because there weren’t too many people who survived the first winter at Plymouth and this wasn’t strange for those days. For a genealogist 400 years later, it can cause a little confusion and embarrassment. Shouldn’t I have known better?


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Genealogy Oddities

question markI always find it fascinating how as we travel back in time through our Family’s history we can find so many things that seem “odd”. Odd things that happened, odd relationships and somethings that are just plain odd. I have come across a lot of really odd things through my lines. The oddest thing I found just this week.


In the past, I discovered that my Dad’s family and my Mother’s family have been crossingMayflower paths since at least the 1600s.  Two of my 10 times Great Grandfathers came over on the Mayflower together. William Brewster (Dad’s side) was the spiritual leader of the Pilgrims. William White, (Mother’s side) was the father of the first child born in this community. His youngest son, Peregrine was born aboard the Mayflower while docked in the harbor. Also, William White was one of the first to die during the first hard winter. His wife Susanna then married Edward Winslow the newly elected Governor of the Colony.

jamestownAnother odd thing I had discovered was my 9 times Great Grandfather, Captain William Powell (Dad’s side) arrived in America on the Third Supply mission of nine ships, which brought additional settlers and some supplies to the surviving colonists at Jamestown Virginia in 1609. My 9 times Great Grandfather Thomas Garnet (Mother’s side) accompanied William as his indentured servant. Between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies came under indentures. Indenture lasted usually between 3-10 years. They were basically slaves and were treated as such. Powell was killed by Indians in 1622. Thomas worked off his indenture by 1619 and went on to marry, have children and become an upstanding member of the Colony.

Now to the oddest thing I have discovered. First a little explanation. When I had my oldest son, I made the decision to name him after the only Grandparent I ever met. My Mother’s father John Pleasant. We called him Pleasant until he was 16 years old. At this age, he wanted to be called J.P. When I was about 8 months pregnant with my next son I didn’t have a name picked out. I knew I wanted to have his name include my Dad’s name, Douglas, I just didn’t want it to be his first name. Because my oldest son’s name was unique I wanted this little boy to have a unique name also. So, I chose Starr as his first name. I had my daughter’s name picked out since I was 12 years old. The tradition in our family was my middle name was Jane, my Mother’s middle name was Jane and the tradition went back several generations. Therefore, any daughter I had should also have this middle name. I heard the name Jerusha in the movie “Hawaii” and decided Jerusha Jane sounded good.

My children always give the excuse that I was a “hippie” (I was not!) and that is why their names were so strange. This was the easiest explanation they could come up with. During my research, I discovered that my 7 times Great Grandfather Thomas Starr and his wife Mary Morgan had a daughter and named her Jerusha. Jerusha Starr! Now they can tell everyone they are named after their 8 times Great Aunt!!!

What are some of the “odd” things you discovered in your family tree?



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.