Happy Mayflower Day, everyone! 398 years ago today—on September 16, 1620—102 men, women, and children left Plymouth, England, and set sail for the Colony of Virginia in the New World. They were unsure how long their voyage would take, whether they would survive the voyage, or what their lives would be like once they landed in the New World.
We now know that their voyage took 66 days, that 5 people died at sea, that the rough winter seas forced them north to Cape Cod, and that their late arrival led to the deaths of nearly half of the crew and passengers during that first winter. My 11th-great-grandfather William Mullins was among those who did not survive that first harsh winter.
Thankfully, my 10th-great-grandparents John Alden and Priscilla Mullins survived that first winter and went on to have ten children together, including their daughter Ruth Alden, my 9th-great-grandmother.
I was away in Spain on a working vacation with my wife for pretty much all of August, and I had hoped that I would come home to a letter from the Mayflower Society with my acceptance letter enclosed. I did indeed find a letter from the Mayflower Society, but it contained a copy of a letter from the National Office to the California Historian asking for more information. Specifically, they are requesting four more documents:
- A long form death certificate for Catherine (Noble) Bailey
- A long form death certificate for Lucinda Tracy (Bailey) McMurry
- A long form death certificate for Frank Ross McMurry
- A long form birth certificate for Vernon Curtis Shearer/Black
The first three should be no problem, but the fourth is an impossibility, as his birth was never officially reported or recorded. I wrote a post on this problem—“So, you don’t legally exist?”—back in April.
The process of applying for official birth and death certificates is necessary but it is neither fun nor cheap. Hopefully these will be the last that the Mayflower Society historians need to accept my Mayflower lineage. So let’s get to it!
Catherine (Noble) Bailey—Long form death certificate needed
Catherine Bailey died on December 12, 1911, in Rockville, Vernon, Tolland County, CT. The Registrar of Vital Statistics in the Town of Vernon has a fillable PDF form online for death certificates, and a certified copy costs $20.
Lucinda Tracy (Bailey) McMurry—Long form death certificate needed
Lucinda McMurry died on July 27, 1960, in Beaverton, Oregon. Beaverton is in Multnomah County, and the Multnomah County Vital Records office has a PDF version of their death certificate application online. A certified copy costs $25. The Oregon State Archives can supply non-certified copies of death certificates that are at least 50 years old, for only $10 (or $5 to Oregon residents), but for some reason they don’t have Multnomah County death records in their collections.
Frank Ross McMurry—Long form death certificate needed
Frank Ross McMurry died on March 11, 1949, in the City of Santa Barbara, California. Santa Barbara is in Santa Barbara County. The Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder’s office has a PDF version of their death certificate application online. A certified copy costs $23.
Vernon Curtis Shearer/Black—Long form birth certificate needed
Vernon Shearer (later Vernon Curtis Black) was born December 24, 1916, in Harvard, Wayne County, Iowa. As discussed in this post, his birth was never reported or officially recorded. When he went to collect his Social Security retirement benefits, he discovered that he had no official proof of his birth, so he gathered together what documents and affidavits he could, and apparently that was good enough for Social Security. But will it be good enough for the Mayflower Society? We’ll see.
I’ll mail these off tomorrow and will hopefully have them back within two weeks.