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400 Years in America: A Family Chronicle

Updated May 13, 2004

Pamela L Pyle

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This site outlines 400 years of my ancestors in America. My family tree has roots that extend all the way back to 1610 when Englishman Stephen Hopkins first sailed to America on the doomed ship "Sea Venture". After spending several months shipwrecked on an island in the Bermudas, he finally completed his journey to Jamestown on a ship he and his fellow castaways built from salvaged pieces of their wrecked ship. Stephen was apparently disappointed with the condition of the settlement and changed his mind about settling there. He returned to England, but gave the New World another chance in 1620. At that time, he came over on the ship "Mayflower" with his wife and children and played a significant role in the establishment of Plymouth Colony.

Other branches on my family tree trace back to three Separatist ministers - Reverend John Lothrop, Reverend John Mayo, and Reverend Francis Doughty - all of whom had been silenced back in England and came to this country seeking freedom to worship God as they chose. Other early New England surnames include Allyn, Crowell, Dennis, Geer, Kent, Lovett, Ring, Spicer, Tucker, Tyler. (See the report entitled "Ancestors of Dorothy Kathryn Priestley" for these New England names.)

Several other branches of my family tree trace back to early Virginia, to men and women who helped expand the struggling settlement at Jamestown into a successful colony. Several of my ancestors on this branch served in Virginia's House of Burgesses and were among the landed gentry of colonial Virginia. Surnames include Ballard, Berry, Ellis, Giles, Harding, Haynes, Maupin, Woodward, and others. (See the report entitled "Ancestors of James Richard Sayler" and "Ancestors of Ruby Loveda Carter" for these Virginia roots.)

I have yet another significant branch that traces back to the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland ... lands that are known today as New York and New Jersey. The ancestors on this branch helped establish the first white settlements on Manhattan Island, Long Island, and along the banks of the Hudson River. Major surnames on this branch include Blauvelt, Bogert, Haring, Hogencamp, Meyer, Smidt/Smith, Van Houten, Van Nes, Van Vorst, Waldron, and others. (See the report entitled "Ancestors of Jesse Ely Ross" for these Dutch ancestors.)

The information posted here is basically vital statistics, but I have significant research in my files. (I might also mention photographs have been included for several people listed in the index. Look for the camera icon next to the person's name.) If you discover that we are "cousins", I hope you will contact me by email. I am more than happy to share my notes and sources with you.

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