Thanksgiving is ideal to remind family members of their early American heritage.

thanksgivingAs Thanksgiving approaches we are reminded of ancestors who have paved the way before us. Whether we have ancestors who were a part of early American historical events or not, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to share family history with our relatives.

The key is to make the information interesting and accessible to everyone. Plopping a huge pile of pedigree charts on the Thanksgiving table and inviting everyone to take a look is not exactly ideal. The following is an example of an email that we sent out to family members just before Thanksgiving to teach them a little bit about their ancestors and share our family history. Think about your own family and what would be the best way to share information with them this holiday season.

“Dear Family,
As Thanksgiving approaches, just another reminder that the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Grandmother Helen Parsons Allen are direct descendants of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, who sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620! As Darley and Helen’s descendants, we have not only a wonderful pioneer heritage, but also a great Pilgrim heritage.

We descend from Joseph Alden, who was the second son of John and Priscilla. He was born about 1627 in Plymouth Colony, and married Mary Simmons. Their youngest son was John Alden, who was born about 1675 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He married Hannah White, and they settled in Middleboro, Massachusetts. Their daughter, Hannah Alden, was born in 1709 and married Thomas Wood. Thomas and Hannah’s son, Lemuel Wood, was born in 1739 and married Rebecca Tupper. Lemuel served in the Revolutionary War, so we also have a Revolutionary War heritage. Lemuel and Rebecca’s son, Andrew Wood, was born in 1783 in Middleboro, Massachusetts. The family moved to New York, where Andrew met and married Azubah Adams. Their daughter, Clarissa Wood, was born in 1814 in New York. She married Benjamin Cooley, and they moved to Michigan. Their son, Andrew Wood Cooley, was born in 1837 in Michigan. Andrew went west, joined the Church, and married Ann Hazen in 1870. Their daughter was Inez Cooley, who married James Parsons and was the mother of Helen Parsons Allen.

You can learn more about Pilgrim history at, and you can even take a virtual tour of the actual house of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins at

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Love, Richard and Ann”

Submitted by Richard and Ann Allen

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