Tracing my family back to my Spiritual Home..
Back in May 2006 I was privileged to take a trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to perform Verdi’s Requiem when I was a member of the Royal Choral Society in London.
I confess that before that trip I didn’t really even know where Cape Cod was and yet from the very first time I stepped foot there it felt like I was ‘coming home’
I returned the following year with my daughter who was 9 at the time and she instantly fell in love with the place too. We have subsequently returned to the Cape more times than I can count. I even looked to move there a few years ago and buy a guest house in Sandwich but alas I didn’t qualify for the visa.
Cape Cod has long been my ‘spiritual home’ however, it is the place where I met my sons Godmother and the place where I took Cameron for his first overseas holiday and his first (and subsequent) birthdays.
With Cam’s Birthday being on Halloween it’s always a fun time to visit.
Cameron’s 1st Birthday and Halloween 2012
I have also always had a fascination with the Mayflower ship and the Pilgrims settlers and often wondered what what the voyage must have been like leaving the U.K. on such a tiny cramped ship and sailing across the Atlantic to a basically unknown land to begin a new life.
We have visited the Mayflower replica ship which is based in Plymouth MA, Plymouth Rock (the landing place of the pilgrims). The Plimouth Plantation which is a reenactment colony settlement and been up to see the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. The whole of Cape Cod is steeped in early settlement history which absolutely fascinates me.
Georgia and Cameron at Plymouth Rock 2016
On the day I last visited Plymouth, MA with both my children in October 2016, the Mayflower (replica) sailed out of the safety of her harbour, through the Cape Cod canal and onward to Connecticut for a complete overhaul and refit.
The Mayflower sails out of the Cape Cod Canal (Sandwich) and onward to Connecticut.
Next year (2020) will mark the 400th Anniversary Sailing of the original Mayflower and numerous commemorative celebrations are already planned both in the U.K. and in Cape Cod. Indeed I have already researched what’s on and where in Massachusetts to ensure we can be there be a part of it.
In the last few weeks since being home from our travels I have been spending a fair amount of time studying genealogy and plotting a family tree on the Ancestry website and app.
I filled in as much information as I could but then asked my Mum what her Grandparents Christian names were, she was a little vague but thought her maternal grandfather was called ‘Les’ I looked for records under the name of Les Cornford in the area they lived, but nothing. Then something flagged up under my grandmothers name which was the 1911 England Census record and showed my Nana listed along with all of her sisters but which showed her father not as Les but as George Leonard Cornford.
From there the floodgates opened wide, I was able to trail back through birth, Marriage, death and census records right back to the 1500’s and one of my 9th great-grandfathers who was part of the ‘Fuller’ family from Norfolk.
His brother ‘Edward Fuller’ along with other members of the family were passengers on the Mayflower and therefore among the first British Settlers in America.
Edward Fuller was the 21st of 41 men to sign the ‘Mayflower compact’ which was an agreement for the temporary government of the colony by the will of the majority and therefore the first commitment to democracy in America.
I don’t mind admitting that making this discovery for me is more exciting than finding out I am a descendant of royalty. OK I know I am not a direct descendant of Edward Fuller – he would have been a 9th (or even 10th) great uncle, but he had two children who sailed on the Mayflower with him so it may turn out that I have long lost cousins in Cape Cod and scattered throughout the USA which is still exciting and I am proud as punch just to know I have genetic links to a piece of history which has long been important to me.
Today my ancestry DNA kit arrived, I now have the pleasant task of spitting in a tube and sending it off for analysis. I am told the results could take up to 8 weeks to come back and the matches will obviously be dependent on other people who have submitted DNA samples. Who knows what other lines of descent and connections it will bring to light, maybe I will turn out to have blue blood after all!!