Just a quick post to update you on where I am after another three weeks on my Mayflower Society quest. The quick answer: I spent two weeks hearing nothing from the California Historian of the Mayflower Society, and making depressingly little headway on my own. I sent off more requests for birth and marriage certificates and made relatively little progress (I did make a few small discoveries that I’ll share with you below).
And then—bam!—the long-awaited letter from the California Historian arrived with my worksheet and a handy three-page guide to proving my Mayflower line and preparing my lineage papers. I say “bam!” because that guide indicated that I might already have everything I need to establish my line. The standard of proof, while tough, is nowhere near as tough as I imagined it would be.
The guidelines stated,
Citing only one secondary source for a whole generation is inadequate. Try to locate at least one or two primary records for [each] generation.
I thought I’d have to document every birth, death, and marriage in each generation with primary records. Not so, apparently. They do state, however, that
Certificates are required by The Mayflower Society for every birth, marriage, and death (including spouses) from c1906 to the present.
But getting certificates for these more recent generations are pretty straightforward.
Going back to the time before the California Historian’s worksheet arrived, here are the few small discoveries I made.
I found a record of the 1822 marriage of Solomon Noble and Dorcas Vinton on page 122 of the Tolland County (Connecticut) church records (it’s the top entry below):
This day Solomon Noble and Dorcas Finston were joined in marriage by me. Willington Novr 28th 1822. Hubbel Loomis.
I also found a notice of Solomon Noble’s death, but it lacks details about his family:
Finally, I found a family history by Reuben H. Walworth (1864) that is entitled Hyde genealogy; or the Descendants in the Female as Well as the Male Lines: From William Hyde, of Norwich, with their places of residence, and dates of births, marriages, &c., and other particulars of them and their families and ancestry. On page 452 of the first volume of this work are the following facts about Alonzo Bailey’s birth, his parents, and his (second) marriage to Catherine Noble. Even though this book was published in 1864, the research on this branch of the family appears to have wrapped up in 1857, so none of Alonzo and Catherine’s children are included (they were born in 1858, 1860, and 1863). A portion of this page is shown below:
I’ll be interested to learn what sorts of published genealogies are considered sufficiently authoritative for the Mayflower Society. As the people shown above were people that the author directly communicated with in preparing this volume, I’m hoping that this will be considered acceptable proof (with censuses, etc, to back it up). If so, this provides evidence for Catherine Noble’s parents (although not her birthdate), for Alonzo Bailey’s birthdate and parent, and for Alonzo and Catherine’s marriage.
Finally, I called the Willington Town Clerk and asked for three birth certificates and two marriage certificates. I still haven’t heard back from them, but it’s only been a couple of days.
So here was my Mayflower Society visual scorecard right before I received the California Historian’s worksheet:
And then I got the letter from the California Historian. Since I was pretty darned close to having all the required documents for the post-1906 family (except for my mother’s birth certificate) and because it seemed like I might have enough to document the remaining generations, I sat down and started assembling the documentation in the required format (two paper copies of original, unaltered documents; plus a single copy of a filled-in worksheet) to see just how close I was. After about four hours, everything was done and every box on my checklist was ticked.
Since I was about to head out on a five-day road trip, I figured I’d just send in the worksheet and documentation as they were. In the best case, I’ll hear back from the Historian that a couple of events need to be more robustly documented. In the worst case, I’ll hear back from the Historian that I misread the guidelines and that the documentation requirements are indeed as difficult as I thought they were going to be before I received the guidelines.
Update—I mailed off my supporting documentation last Thursday morning, on the way out of town.