Our Family In North America

      The first known immigrant ancestors of Our Tracy Family are four English émigrés who arrived in North America on Wednesday, the 11th of November in 1620. That's right... Pilgrims, the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, etc., etc. (and as William Bradford tells the story in his History of 'Plimoth Plantation', one of those first immigrant ancestors, John Howland, almost didn't make it.)

     Those four, John and Elizabeth (Hurst) Tilley and their daughter Elizabeth and John Howland, are, as said, the earliest known of our immigrant ancestors. However, having said that, it is rumored that some of our Dutch/French ancestors (Guillaume and Adrienne Vigne) may have arrived in the New World earlier accompanying the explorer/navigator Captain Adriaan Block...

“If an old tradition is correct, though, the Vignes might have arrived in America … , even before Manhattan Island began to be settled. Indeed, Guillaume and Adrienne are sometimes credited – by a plaque at City Hall in New York City, for instance – with having been the parents of the first child of European origins to be born in Manhattan, in 1614: their son Jan Vigne (our Maria's younger brother). Some researchers have wondered if the Vignes might have been accompanying Captain Block, who after his ship (The Tiger) burned was forced to winter on uninhabited Manhattan Island during 1613-1614. According to this tradition, Guillaume Vigne was an early trader for the United New Netherland Company and had had his family with him during his several brief stays on Manhattan Island before they came to New Netherland to live. Several Vigne children were baptized in Leyden between 1618 and 1622, however, and so – unless the Vigne family returned to Leyden from America for a time during this decade, which is possible but improbable – it seems most likely that the Vignes arrived in North America in 1624. (One researcher contends that the family arrived on board The Tiger itself.)

“Moreover, the date of 1614 for Jan Vigne's birth depends on a casual estimate of his age (as "about sixty-five") made many years later, and to some eyes (including mine) the estimate itself appears to have been written as "fifty-five" and then changed. Jan Vigne seems to have been in school, and so a minor, as late as 1635, which also argues for considering 1624 as the year of his birth. Although it is true that his contemporaries often regarded Jan as the first European child born on the island, this could have been so even if the Vigne family had arrived in 1624 rather than in 1614; the point at issue is only which year they had arrived.”  --Donn C. Neal, Compiler, My Family Through History, Chapt. XI.pg.20 (http://www.donnneal.info/).

     In any case, our Tracy family has about 400 years of family history on the North American Continent and in our history 400 years covers about 13 generations. Every generation back doubles the number of potential grandparents. This means that the current youngest generation of Tracys, having four (4) grandparents in the third generation, has some eight thousand, one hundred and ninety-two (8,192) potential grandparents in the generation that was living in 1620, or in 1614... the generation that included those initial immigrants.  But not all of their immigrant ancestors are from that 13th generation... in fact many of their arriving immigrant ancestors are from subsequent generations, down to and including the fourth generation, i.e., their great grandparents. So, the number of immigrant ancestors is considerably less than that number of 8,192... but still number well over one thousand. Our website attempts to present as many of the immigrant families as we can (as if December 2017 over 250 immigrant ancestors have been identified), but there are many more still to be found and have their histories explored.

     Of course, since each generation back adds more names (and their family lines) to the pedigree it means the name “Tracy” (or "Corkum," or "Ohlheiser," or "Weygand") will apply to only one of the potentially over eight thousand grandparents of the family who were living in 1620. “Potentially” because the math doesn't take into consideration descent from a pair, or more, of cousins.

Keeping things in perspective:

    Back to the bit about the Mayflower. Four of our direct ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. Both parents of one of them died during the first year after their arrival... their daughter who had arrived with them survived and married the fourth ancestor. This young couple had ten children. Now if each of those ten children had, on average, only two children of their own, and each of those children had only two children, and each of them... and so on down through the generations to the current generation... there are now many thousands of descendants of just those two ancestors of ours who arrived on the Mayflower and lived through the first Winter. Of course until recent generations, using an average of two children per couple in the succeeding generations is very conservative.

     There were others who also arrived on the Mayflower, lived through that first Winter, and went on to raise families. Families which in some cases were also quite large - with as many as 10 to 12 or more children... many of those children also had large families... 

     Well, you can try to do the math but what this tells us is, at this point in the history of European settlement in North America, being able to say you have ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower makes you (mathematically anyway) just one of millions (some estimate as many as 35 million!) who could make the same claim. So consequently, that we have ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower doesn't make us all that special. ( https://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy-help-and-how-to/are-you-one-of-35-million-mayflower-descendants-heres-how-to-find-out/ )