The Harlan Ross May family originated in Scotland, Ireland, England, and the Balkans, with records extending back to the year 1000, and earlier. On the paternal side there are records going back to the 1600's in Scotland, Ulster, and England, and beyond. Male Mays have fought in every American war beginning with the American Revolution, and ending with the Gulf wars. The maternal side ascends to and beyond the Plantagenet dynasty in England via the Lavinghouse line. The paternal side also extends to the Plantagenets and beyond, through another of Edward I, Longshank's sons. This is the Sumrall (Somervaille) connection through a female ancestor of Garlon Rufus May. The earliest ancestors of the Male May line include the ancient kings of Ireland. The paternal side has connections with the same nobility through the Sumrall and Parker, and Warren line. Harriet Sumrall was the maternal great-grandmother on the Bishop side of the Harlan Ross May family. Fortunately, this family is one of the earliest and best researched families in the Southern United States. There is currently a "May YDNA Project" underway, that has proven the authenticity of the May ancestral research, which was started many years ago by Imogene May Boswell of Texas, a geneologist, and Mark May, of Texas.
Research was done in courthouses and state, and national archives, personally by Mrs. Boswell over a period of many years as her life's work. We are thankful for this wonderful lady, although her research shows no personal connection to this particular May family group. The Harlan Ross May family tree contains around 17,500 names, well researched.
There are several forms of the May name which may be seen in May kinsman. Among these are Mays, Maise, Maze, Mayze, Mae, and Mase, and oddly Mace, and others that may be found in land records, military records and such, but the earliest historical spelling has remained "May". This name is found in Celtic nations, England, and Germany, and France. This clan-family is part of the historic MacDonald Clan of Scotland and Ireland, The May Clan is a sept, or sub-family of that large clan.
The earliest known and proven May ancestor of this line in America is John May, the Elder, who, born in Scotland around 1700, came to the colonies from Ulster, Northern Ireland.His son, Joseph B.May who was born in 1732,who may have also been born in Scotland,and who settled first in Virginia, and finally in Richmond County, Georgia Colony. Joseph became an Indian fighter, his father, John, having been killed by Indians earlier, according to oral family history by Doctor Metticus May, of Laurence County, Mississippi, early researcher, and living links with John May, son of Joseph. Joseph went on to fight in the South Carolina Militia with Colonel Marion, the Swamp Fox, and enlisted for a second time to take his brother James' place, to serve with General Washington, in the Continental Army, and witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne.
He, several sons and daughters, and a new wife, Sarah Jane McLain traveled to Mississippi Territory in the late 1700's, via the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers, landed at Natchez, and settled around Magee's Creek in what was then Pike County, Mississippi Territory. Joseph B.May is the patriarch of almost all of the Mays in Southern Mississippi, Louisiana, and part of Texas. Because of the proclivity to produce large families, there are well in excess of a thousand descendants of Joseph,b. 1732. He died in Magee's Creek in 1829, at 97 years-of-age. His son John (the younger), and four other sons, served with General Andrew Jackson, in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, and John May was purported to have been the sharpshooter who unhorsed General Packingham, causing his death. He returned to Mississippi Territory and served in the Indian Wars which resulted in the Choctaw Removal to Indian Territory soon the