When is generational history lost?

Specifically, I’ve wondered lately how many generations typically passed before parents or grandparents failed to mention to their children that their ancestors came to America aboard the Mayflower? Had that particular ship and group of people been any more noteworthy to remember and discuss, especially at times of harvest, than any other vessel crossing the ocean?

As mentioned in the Nov 7, 2016 post, our own ancestral narrative was lost at some point, only to be discovered by my brother Jim decades ago. Recently, I have wondered if Chloe Dayton’s father (John Skiff) ever told his daughter that his great-grandmother was Hope Howland whose parents and grandparents came over on the Mayflower? If he did, he might have had some great stories!

There can be little doubt that the Skiff’s community at Worthington, MA celebrated their first harvest every fall, when Chloe was a child. That tradition had been established long before the celebration was proclaimed by George Washington in 1789 at the request by Congress, urging a day of prayer and thanksgiving. The year 1789 also happens to be the claimed year of marriage for David Dayton and Chloe Skiff.

Considering that an estimated 19-35 million people alive today are descendants (depending on how you count them), I wonder what tiny percentage are actually aware of their Mayflower ancestry and what percentage even care? As many others have already stated, it’s not really that unusual to possess Mayflower ancestry, but what is unusual is to be aware of it.


This entry was posted in David Dayton, David Dayton Junior, Howland, John Rogers, Skiff, Skiffe, Tilley and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to When is generational history lost?

  1. Ed Denne says:

    The number of descendants of specific historical events always blows my little mind. Your point is very well taken that to know is so very important. Have you read Adam Rutherford’s book “A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived?” A tough read for sure but, as a geneticist, he suggests how we are all related and related perhaps more recently than we would ever guess.


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