My mother's mother's family has always claimed it's descended from William Brewster, the Pilgrim who came to America on the Mayflower. Recently an enterprising cousin of mine began tracking down that branch of the family tree. Turns out we are descended from the Brewsters and many other Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower and subsequent ships.
Leiden congregation and families
Mary Allerton, daughter (Leiden, Netherlands), the last survivor of the Mayflower company
Accompanying Isaac and Mary on the Mayflower were their three children and a servant boy named John Hooke, who was 14. Allerton's wife and John Hooke died aboard the Mayflower while it was still anchored in Plymouth Harbor during the first winter, as noted in the death lists. Both were buried in Cole's Hill. Mary died from the effects of childbirth, after giving birth to a stillborn son on February 25, 1621. Because of this birth, Mary was the first woman to give birth in the New England Colonies.
Allerton quickly rose to prominence among the Pilgrim leaders, serving as William Bradford's assistant governor during the early years of the colony. After the adoption of a more formalized governmental structure in 1624, he served again as one of five assistant governors. In 1627, he became one of the eight "undertakers" of the colony's debt and made several voyages to London to negotiate with the colony's creditors.
He was accompanied by his wife, Mary Brewster, and his sons, Love Brewster and Wrestling Brewster. Son Jonathan joined the family in November 1621, arriving at Plymouth on the ship Fortune, and daughters Patience and Fear arrived in July 1623 aboard the Anne.
When the colonists landed at Plymouth, Brewster became the senior elder of the colony, serving as its religious leader and as an adviser to Governor William Bradford.
As the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster took the part of the colony's religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.
Elizabeth Tilley, daughter (Henlow, Bedfordshire)
Unfortunately, the first winter after their arrival was extremely difficult and a number of the settlers died. Amongst these were John, wife Joan, brother Edward, and sister-in-law Ann. ... This left daughter Elizabeth the only surviving member of the Tilley family in America. The orphan was taken in by John Carver but he and his wife both died that spring. Elizabeth later married John Howland, Carver's former servant, and left many descendants.Planters recruited by London merchants
Francis Billington, son
In September 1630, after a heated argument over hunting rights, Billington fatally shot fellow colonist John Newcomen in the shoulder with a blunderbuss. After counseling with Governor John Winthrop, Governor William Bradford concluded that capital punishment was the necessary penalty. Billington was convicted of murder and hanged at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
He was the first Englishman to be convicted of murder in what would become the United States, and the first to be hanged for any crime in New England.
Samuel Eaton, son
He traveled from England with his first wife, Sarah, and their "sucking" child, Samuel. Unlike many of the Mayflower voyagers, the Eatons were never involved with the strict Protestants from the Leiden church, and their precise motivations in emigrating to America are not known.
Sarah Eaton died during the first, hard winter, and Francis remarried soon thereafter to a servant named “Dorothy.” Dorothy survived for perhaps only two or three years and Francis soon married his third and last wife, Christiana or Christian Penn.
Existing records indicate that Francis Eaton was a carpenter, specifically a "house carpenter" in the Bristol apprenticeship record of 1626. This would have certainly been an occupation in great demand as the colonists built needed structures of all sorts. He died young, though, in his late thirties, leaving four children, varying from about 13 years of age (Samuel) to perhaps 8 for Benjamin.