MIDDLEFIELD — Ken Twombly was going through some artifacts when he found a letter indicating a member of his family was on the Mayflower.
He later learned he actually had 11 ancestors on the ship.
With the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage from England to Massachusetts next year, Twombly is hoping to help other residents learn if they can also trace their lineage back to the ship.
Twombly, a member of the Middlefield Historical Society, is hosting a genealogy workshop May 9 to help residents learn the basics of doing genealogy research in hopes of helping others who may have had one or more descendants among the 102 Mayflower passengers.
The workshop will run through the basics of genealogy research. It is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the library hall, but attendance will be limited to about 20 people.
Interested attendees must call the library to register.
“This whole seminar is going to be geared toward beginners, people that haven't done any work in genealogy before,” Twombly said.
Twombly became interested in 2007 after he found a letter written by a great aunt mentioning a connection to Mayflower passenger Robert Cushman, who is said to have delivered the first written sermon in Plymouth.
After putting together research to apply to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, he found out that his family tree holds 11 ancestors from the Mayflower.
“It was not uncommon at all to have more than one ancestor,” Twombly said. “It would be more uncommon to only have one, because they all married each other, the grandchildren married each others' grandchildren, that type of thing.”
Only about half of the travelers survived more than six months.
“There were so few people and if you lived in New England in the 1600s and the 1700s, everybody was related,” said Susan D’Orvilliers of the historical society.
With the anniversary next year, Twombly thought it would be fun to celebrate the anniversary during the Old Home Days Celebration in 2020. The historical society hopes to find as many descendants in town as possible.
“So far I've come up with like eight,” Twombly said. “In a little town like Middlefield, that's a lot.”
D’Orvilliers said activities for the Old Home Days celebration aren’t fully planned yet, but the hope is to incorporate the descendants in some way.
If you already know you are a Mayflower descendant, the society asks you contact Twombly at firstname.lastname@example.org.