Millions of Americans can trace their roots to passengers on the Mayflower. These 102 individuals came to the New World in 1620 to worship as they felt convicted or to seek a better life. Without any clear ties to New England in my family tree, I never realized I was descendant of a Mayflower passenger — until earlier this year.
I visited RelativeFinder, a website by the BYU Family History Technology Lab, and entered my username and password for FamilySearch. From this information, RelativeFinder searches for famous people in your family tree. The search is based on the shared family tree at FamilySearch, which is notoriously incorrect (at least for me) most of the time. As I waited for the results, I reminded myself to treat anything that popped up as complete fiction.
At the top of my list was George Soule, Mayflower Passenger, my 10x-great-grandfather.
But as I looked at the links between George Soule and myself, it looked surprisingly…correct?! The family trees of Mayflower passengers are well-researched by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and compiled into volumes that document at least the first five generations. Soule researchers have extended their lineages to seven generations on some lines in the Mayflower Families in Progress (MFIP) “pink books.” It is these books that listed George Soule’s descendents through Elizabeth Soles, born August 2, 1795, in Bladen County, North Carolina, who married Phillip Lemuel Faulk and migrated to Pike County, Alabama. These are my confirmed 4x-great-grandparents!
So this Thanksgiving is special to me, knowing I have a direct connection to a man who came to this land for religious freedom and a better life. George Soule landed at Plymouth as a servant of Edward Winslow, survived that first harsh year, and was one of the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving. After completing his indenture, George married, began a family, and amassed modest estate through hard work. Read more about George Soule on his Wikipedia page, at American Ancestors, or through his family association, Soule Kindred in America.
I have several family members who read my blog, and I’m sure they’re asking themselves, “Am I also a descendant of George Soule?” Here’s my line from the previously-mentioned Elizabeth Soles:
Elizabeth Soles (who married Phillip Lemuel Faulk) >
Mahala Elizabeth Faulk (who married James S. Fowler) >
Rebecca Lurana Fowler (who married James Monroe McKaskle) >
Lula McKaskle (who married George Washington McMurry) >
my grandmother Ethel McMurry Horne
There are hundreds of descendants of James Monroe McKaskle and Rebecca Lurana Fowler in and around my home community of Liddieville, Louisiana. If you are a descendant of one of their children — Mary Frances McKaskle, Charity McKaskle, Martille McKaskle, Nancy Bell McKaskle, Lula McKaskle, or Willie Keiffer McKaskle, Sr. — congrats, you’re also a Mayflower descendant.