My sister is doing the bulk of the Ancestry searching and collecting documentation, and the more she digs, the more interesting this whole endeavor becomes.
At first, we were surprised to learn my mother’s father, who abandoned her and her mom, went west and married again without benefit of a divorce. That means we had family out west we never imagined, and one of them did lots of ancestry work to our benefit. It traced my mother’s father’s family way back to Plymouth, MA and very early settlers. That was a surprise.
Since then, we’ve done DNA tests and discovered many more interesting things. My father’s family also can be traced back not only to the Mayflower and earlier back England, but even into France and Hugh de Payen, founder of the Knights Templar! How exciting! There are a few missing things in there, but it is largely understood Payen and even Pagan are forerunners of the Payne family name. There are some Payne’s in our US history I’d love to find a relationship to, but haven’t pinned those down, just yet.
Now, my sis has discovered that the very Mary Chilton who first set foot in Plymouth from the Mayflower when she was just a teenager is my eighth great grandmother! That’s stunning!
And a few of my ancestors were executed in the Witch Trials of early New England as well! I’m going to have to pull this stuff all together for my grandkids, who won’t be interested for a few decades at least, but how exciting!
My dad abandoned us with a completely profoundly deaf mom, and her dad had done the same. With a history like that, a childhood like that, who on earth would have thought we had such ancestry???
We are American through and through, here for centuries, and our early ancestors came from England/Scotland/Ireland and that includes France since back then, France was often in the hands of British kings. The Norman Invasion was Normans, from Normandy, which was named that because it had been invaded and ruled by “northmen” from Scandanavia….obviously. I’m learning so much!