Family Ties to New England

Rockport, Maine

During an early summer trip to the US, we spent a few days visiting friends in Maine via Boston. Knowing my interest in genealogy, one friend joked about my settler-colonizer ancestors resting eternally in the cemetery near his house. After doing some research, his comment turned out to be half-in-jest. Some distant cousins are buried there.

Given my interest in history and genealogy, I decided to do some research lite on the founders of the various towns we stayed in or passed through and other notable people in the region. Robert Thorndike (1730-1834), the (European) founder of Rockport, formerly Goose River Village, is a paternal 6th cousin eight times remove. This was our short-lived home base.

Here are some others in A-Z order:

Leon L. Bean (1872-1967) is a paternal 6th cousin three times removed. Our common ancestor is Jacob Cooke, son of Francis, Mayflower passenger. I’m a direct descendant of Jacob and Damaris Hopkins, daughter of Stephen Hopkins, also a Mayflower passenger, and Leon is a descendant of Jacob and his second wife Elizabeth Lettice. I’m also related to Jacob’s mother Sarah Swett, a descendant of Cooke/Hopkins. (This means that LL Bean’s mother was also his cousin.)

William Alden Farnsworth (1815-1876) is a paternal 6th cousin five times removed. We visited the art museum founded by his daughter Lucy.

Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1566-1647), the British proprietary founder of Maine, is a maternal 2nd cousin 12 times removed.

John Thomas (1742-1776), Thomaston namesake, is a paternal 2nd cousin nine times removed. Our common ancestor is Richard Warren, a Mayflower passenger.

Henry J. Knox (1750-1806), Knox County namesake, is a paternal 9th cousin four times removed.

Dr. Joseph Warren (1741-1775), the namesake of the neighboring town of Warren, is a paternal 5th cousin six times removed.

NC Wyeth (1882-1945), who spent the summers on a nearby island, is a paternal 7th cousin three times removed.

Farther south, in Boston, here are some folks with whom I share a few strands of DNA.

Samuel Adams (1722-1803), who is buried in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground, is a paternal 4th cousin seven times removed.

John Hancock (1737-1793), who is buried in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground, is a paternal 11th cousin once removed.

Robert Treat Paine (1731-1814), who is buried in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground, is a paternal 2nd cousin eight times removed. I’m a direct descendant of Gov. Robert Treat, a common ancestor, and a paternal 9th great-grandfather.

George Francis Parkman (1823-1908) is a paternal 5th cousin six times removed.

William Pynchon (1590-1662), founder of Springfield, MA and author of the “New World’s” first banned book, is a paternal third cousin 10 times removed. 

John Winslow (1597-1674), buried in King’s Chapel Burying Ground, is a paternal 9th great-uncle. He’s the brother of Mayflower passengers, Edward and Gilbert. (The latter returned to England.)

Finally, we bought some Bassett’s ice cream in my home state of Delaware. Knowing the middle name of the founder, Lewis DuBois Bassett (1828-1906), which is in my extended family tree, I had to look him up. It turns out he’s a paternal 6th cousin four times removed. Our common ancestor is Louis DuBois, Sr. (1626-1696), a founder of New Paltz, NY. (W.E.B. Du Bois is a distant cousin.)

For a critical perspective of family genealogy and US history, have a look at this essay From New England to Vietnam: Settler Colonialism in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Here’s one that offers more of a cultural perspective: A Vietnamese tradition inspires a genealogical journey.

Shalom (שלום), MAA


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