Wednesday, 27 May 2015

If April Showers Bring May Flowers....

Lady Banks Roses on trellis in Helen's garden

If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?  Pilgrims!

My daughter told me this joke recently, and of course, it is the perfect genealogy joke! Hope you enjoy! Since we are still in the month of May as I write this, I thought it a good time to live out this joke and explore my Mayflower ancestors! As a girl from the Southern United States, it never dawned on me that I might have had ancestors who arrived in America on the Mayflower, but I did! (Jamestown being Southern, was more likely and also true.) Today we are talking about the Pilgrims, my Pilgrims, and maybe my May flowers as well, since I am a gardener. In fact, gardening and genealogy are two of my greatest passions.

I don’t know about you but in my opinion, passion and flowers create romance. Moonlight, with gardenias, moon flowers, and roses-- set the mood. Maybe that’s exactly the scene poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was thinking of when he wrote the poem The Courtship of Myles Standish.

Painting of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1907

The poem tells the love story of Priscilla Mullins and John Alden of the Mayflower. Priscilla’s parents, William and Alice Mullins and only brother Joseph all died during that first severe winter in Plymouth. Orphaned, young Priscilla caught the eye of newly widowed Captain Myles Standish, who asked his friend John Alden to propose marriage to her on his behalf!  Priscilla responded with that famous line, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”  John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, real people, did indeed marry, and became my tenth great grandparents! It is so amazing to me, so incredulous to learn that this poem was based on fact to begin with, and that these pilgrims were actually my grandparents! The relationship chart goes like this:

John Alden (1599 - 1687) and Priscilla Mullins
are your 10th great grandparents
daughter of John Alden
daughter of Elizabeth Alden
daughter of Elizabeth Pabodie
daughter of Ann Rogers
son of Sarah Witt
son of Abner Harbour
daughter of Moses Harbour
daughter of Joyce Harbour
son of Nancy J Houchins
daughter of Walter Houchins
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

Can't you just visualize John and Priscilla strolling through the garden, the nighttime air filled with the romantic scent of roses, moonlight dappling their path...aaaahhhh...genealogy, gardening, moonlight and romance...can it get any better than this!

 Flower pictures are from my own garden.


  1. Cute way of sharing your genealogy. Love the pictures.

    1. Thanks Fran! I am learning a bit about historical fiction and genealogy, and wanted to try a spin at thinking of their story! I appreciate your noticing! Helen

  2. This is such a fun and wonderful post. Well done.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you Carol, i had fun writing it as well. Thanks for sharing. Helen

  3. A very different post but beautifully written, with lovely photographs
    Family History Fun


    1. Dear Sue Scot, Thank you very much, I was trying to tell a story and yet let it be genealogical as well. One of my lifeling friends in Richmond, Virginia is named Sue Scott. I always think of her when I see your name! Thanks for reading and commenting! Helen


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