Since 1906, AKA has helped thousands of people around the globe engage in their Pilgrim heritage through Mayflower passengers John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. Through its searchable database, those who suspect they may be a descendant of the Aldens can get one step closer to verifying their lineage. The Alden Kin Search Project is an ongoing collaborative effort to gather and share information on the descendants of John and Priscilla, and contains entries for over 54,000 descendants and their spouses through eight generations… all linked back to a single family!
It should be no surprise, then, that the Alden descendants comprise one of the largest groups of Mayflower descendants living today. But they just as easily might not have been, if a young man named John Alden had decided to return to his homeland instead of staying in America, signing the Mayflower Compact, and going on to become a prominent member of the Plymouth Colony.
Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899).
John Alden was born in England around 1599, and was 21 years old when he was hired in Southampton as the cooper (barrel-maker) for the Mayflower’s voyage to America. He chose to stay, and in 1623 married fellow Mayflower passenger Priscilla Mullins. The two had 10 children together.
GSMD member Jeff Ehren of Eugene, Oregon is a proud Alden descendant who is thrilled to help keep his family legacy alive.
“I am a direct descendant of two people who fell in love and traveled across the ocean 400 years ago to a new land,” he says. “Now that’s a story.”
Alden rose as a cooper and carpenter to hold various positions in the colony government, including treasurer and assistant to the governor, an appointment to which he was regularly reelected. He also served as deputy governor on more than one occasion. When he died at the age of 89, Alden was one of the last surviving signers of the Mayflower Compact.
Broadside of John Alden's obituary (mayflowerhistory.com).
Alden was also one of the founders of the town of Duxbury, and you can visit his home today. For more information on the Alden Kindred of America and the Alden House Historic Site, visit alden.org.
If you think you could be a descendant of Alden or another Mayflower pilgrim, contact one of our 53 member societies, and we can guide you through the application process: www.themayflowersoicety.org/join.
Stay tuned for our next #FamilySocietyFriday!