Five Generations Project

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Volume Sixteen, Part I   John and Priscilla through Four Generations
(including listing of children from fifth generation)


The concept of this genealogical project was first formally conceived by George E. Bowman in Boston and Herbert Folger in San Francisco in the early 1900s.  The format was an expanded version of the Alden Memorial published in 1867.  With full approval at the annual meeting of the General Board of the Society on September 19, 1959 the project was officially started. Each volume uses evidence from primary sources to document the descendants of one or more Mayflower passengers. Some of the passengers discussed are the well-known Myles Standish and John Alden. An explanation of abbreviations and titles referenced in the text and an every-name index is part of each volume. The index does not include authors or titles of reference works nor heads of military units under whom a descendant or spouse served. Married women are indexed under maiden name and married name - the latter cross-references the maiden name.

Sixteen years later the first genealogy entitled Mayflower Families Through Five Generations was published with the first five generations of descendants of Pilgrims Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller and William White; Volume 2 was issued in 1978, families of James Chilton, Richard More and Thomas Rogers; Volume 3 in 1980, family of George Soule.  Then ten years later, Volume 4 in 1990, family of Edward Fuller; Volume 5 in 1991, families of Edward Winslow and John Billington; Volume 6 in 1992, family of Stephen Hopkins; Volume 7 in 1992, family of Peter Brown; Volume 8 in 1994, family of Degory Priest; Volume 9 in 1996, family of Frances Eaton,; Volume 10 in 1996, family of Samuel Fuller, Volume 11 in 1996, family of Edward Doty, Part One; Volume 12 in 1996, family of Francis Cooke, Volume 13 in 1997, family of William White and Volume 14 in 1997, family of Miles Standish.

More recently additional volumes have continued to roll off the press. Volume 15 contains information on the family of Myles Standish, Volume 16, John Alden's family, of course, Volume 17 Isaac Allerton and finally, Volume 18, Richard Warren.

In 1986, the first in a series of booklets Mayflower Families in Progress (MFIP) was issued as part of the Project.  It contained four generations of the family of Pilgrim Peter Brown.  This was done under directorship of former Governor General Cay Lanham.  She directed the publication of four more Pilgrim families in this format: Francis Cooke, William Bradford, Edward Fuller and Richard Warren.  In 1987, Edith Bates Thomas, Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee, became Director of the Five Generations Project.  Thereafter, four generations of Samson, George Soule, Willilam Brewster, Francis Eaton and Robert Bartlett; and five generations of Edward Winslow, Myles Standish, John Billington and Degory Priest were published in MFIP format.   Mrs. Thomas also directed publication of second, third and fourth editions of MFIP, containing corrected and additional information.

The goal of the project is to present documentation from primary sources for all information and to make the material available to the general public.  With the publication of eight silver volumes in less than six years, the Society has taken a large step towards completion of the Five Generations Project. 

Material from Volume 12, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Francis Cooke, 1996.


(From Volume 16, Part I, pages xi to xiii)

This detailed information is reprinted with permission and taken from "Mayflower Families Through Five Generations", Volume 16, John Alden, by Esther Littleford Woodworth-Barnes, Prime Researcher for the Alden Family, edited by Alicia Crane Williams. It is a detailed historical document which should be read by anyone beginning a genealogical search on the Alden family.

The first Alden genealogy was written by. Dr. Ebenezer Alden.  His Memorial of the Descendants of the Hon. John Alden was published in 1867, with a supplement in 1869.  Mrs. Charles L. Alden's Alden Genealogy and Elizabeth Alden Pabaodie began appearing in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in October 1897 (51:427).  Mr. Joseph E. Alden, with his article in the Dedham Historical Society Register of 1801corrected some wrong assumptions made in the Memorial.

In the 1920's John Alden Seabury attempted to publish an Alden genealogy but did not generate the needed support.  Caroline Alden Huling, organizer of the Midwest Chapter of the Alden Kindred, introduced her grandnephew, E. Huling Woodworth to genealogy and passed to him her keen interest in the Alden family.  The Alden Kindred of New York City and Vicinity began on 1 January 1935 to publish serially the Alden Genealogy compiled by Violet Main Turner assisted by Mr. Woodworth.  This was continued until July 1945, when it was suspended because of the ill health of Miss Turner and Mr. Woodworth's removal from New York City.  Their work covered about three-quarters of the fourth generation, with names and birth dates of the fifth generation children.

Mr. Woodworth in 1934 began compiling his Alden Master Index on 3" x 5" cards, with the expectation that he could find 25,000 descendants of John Alden of the Mayflower.  This grew to include over 80,000 descendants of other Mayflower passengers in his Mayflower Register.  He had soon realized that there were at least a million descendants of John Alden and perhaps ten million Mayflower descendants living at the time.

George Ernest Bowman, editor of the Mayflower Descendant (1899-1937), had announced in 1899 his idea of tracing both male and female descendants of the Pilgrims down to Revolutionary times.  He devoted his years to gathering and publishing source material on the Pilgrims and their descendants but did not publish this as a genealogy.   In 1956, a skeleton of his findings of the first three generations, edited by Herbert K. Shaw, was published by the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants as Families of the Pilgrims.

William Bradford Browne, genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America, Inc., before April 1930 had assembled on index cards information on the first four generations including their children and their marriages, with the hope of publishing it in pamphlet form (Boston Transcript, Wednesday, 23 April 1930).  In a letter of 6 June 1941 to Miss Turner, he wrote: "I never tried to trace the daughters anyway, unless I happened to have them in my general collection of abstracts."

Lewis Edwin Neff, the Historian General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, agreed with Mr. Bowman's idea to bring lines down to the American Revolution. He realized that many genealogical problems occurred in this period of transition and that the publication of books on the descendants of all passengers would benefit many applicants for membership in the Mayflower Society.  Mr. Neff, as a lawyer, had proved many claims in the inheritance of oil lands in Oklahoma and wished to have this compilation stand up in a court of law.

In December 1958 Mr. Neff visited the Woodworths in Sarasota, Florida, outlined his plan, and asked their help with the Alden family. In January 1959 he presented his plan to the Board of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Mr. Neff again visited the Woodworths at Brevard,North Carolina, in June 1964.  At this time Mr. Neff and Esher Woodworth worked out a form similar to a lineage paper.  As soon as the forms were printed, MRs. Woodworth began transferring material from the Alden Master Index; this operation took over six months of steady work, after which the long arduous task of verifying and augmenting the data began.  Mr. Woodworth was unable to participate because of failing health.

The Five Generation Project meetings began in 1966.  It soon became evident that limiting the compilation to the facts that appear on the lineage papers would not be sufficient for a scholarly product.  Over the years changes have been made to the format project, including the addition of sixth generation children and their entire birth dates.

In the early 1980s, helpers began typing and entering the Alden family into a word processor in the accepted format. Finding it would be easier to do the work herself than try to explain exactly what was wanted, in 1986 Esther Barnes (formerly Mrs. Woodworth) purchased a word processor principally for the Alden Five Generations Project and began entering data.  In 1987 Alicia Crane Williams and Mrs. Barnes discussed the editing of the Alden family, and, after converting files to a format that could be read by Ms. Williams' computer, the first three generations were delivered for editing in April 1988.

Every source in the manuscript was rechecked by the editor and assisting researchers Ann Smith Lainhart, Neil D. Thompson, Robert S. Wakefield, Ann Reeves, and others.  Additional probate and land records and many other genealogical sources were searched to solidify the documentation for each individual and family.  Often this continued research resulted in the discovery of new Alden descendants, in the identification of spouses, or in the elimination of some incorrect lines.

Now, after more than 100 years of research and ten years of editing, the first volume of the Alden Five Generations Project is in print.  It covers only the first four generations of the Alden family through all eight children who had descendants.   Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 14, Myles Standish, published in 1997, covers Alden descendants through daughter Sarah who married Myles son Alexander.   Mayflower Families in Progress, Henry Sampson, carries on descendants who intermarried with Samsons, including births of the sixth generation.  Four more volumes will be needed to complete the fifth generation of Alden descendants: Volume 16, Part 2, will contain the fifth generation descendants of daughter Elizabeth who married William Pabodie; Volume 16, Part 3, will contain the fifth generation of sons John, Jr., Joseph and Jonathan; Volume 16, Part 4, will contain the fifth generation of daughter Ruth who married John Bass; and Volume 16, Part 5, will contain the fifth generation of daughter Rebecca who married Thomas Delano and of son David.

John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden had ten children, 69 grandchildren and nearly 500 great-grandchildren.  Every effort has been made to locate the best and most complete documentation supporting these descendants, but no genealogy is ever complete.   Additions, corrections, and donations to the Five Generations Project for further work on the John Alden family are all gratefully welcomed.

Esther Littleford Woodworth-Barnes
Alicia Crane Williams, Editor