Are the Winegars Mayflower Descendants?

December 9, 2009

The Mayflower

In several of my earlier posts I have mentioned the research of my father, Donald Stephenson Winegar, who spent many of his retirement years doing genealogical research.  He labored in the years before computers and the internet, and, what today can be done almost instantly on the internet,  took him years.  In the case of Winegar Mayflower descendants, he was confident that we were descendants, but modern research leaves the issue very much in question.  In any case, what follows is a very interesting story, and it is very easy to find corroborating or refuting evidence on the internet for those who may be interested.

Deacon John Dunham (Denham) was born about 1589 in Scrobee, England.  He was among the group of Pilgrims who emigrated to Leiden, Holland.  He was married twice  and had children by both wives.  Dunham family records claim that he was wanted for treasonable activities in England, and, therefore, traveled to America on the Mayflower under the assumed name of John Goodman, a single man.  Goodman is reported to have died in the first winter and and, at some point, Dunham assumed his real name.  He was a prominent member of the Plymouth Colony and was appointed a Deacon in the church, a high honor in the Colony.

Most English settlers in the American Colonies kept excellent records, but the Plymouth Colony seems to be an exception.   Governor Bradford began writing the Plymouth Annals in 1630, ten years after the Mayflower arrived, and continued writing until 1641.  The first list of passengers did not appear until 1669, after the death of John Dunham.

Several experts report that the claim that Goodman and Dunham were the same man is completely unsupported and that Dunham probably arrived in the colony around 1632.  Those supporting the Goodman/Dunham claim of ancestry point out that there are problems if it is not true.  Goodman was granted a garden plot in 1623.  These plots were only granted to married men.  Dunham’s son John later received a special grant being one of the first born of the newcomers.  Deacon John’s daughter Abigail,  born in 1623, is reported to be the first child born in the new colony.  Dunham became a deacon in 1633, which would have been very unlikely for a newcomer. 

I do not intend to investigate this controversy.  For anyone interested in doing so, a Google search will provide abundant material.  Where do the Winegars fit in to this?  I believe that we are direct descendants of Deacon John Dunham.  Whether we are Mayflower descendants depends on answering the above question.  At any rate, we had ancestors that were in the Plymouth Colony very early in its existence.

The following traces our connection to John Dunham.

John Dunham/Susanna Kenny(John’s first wife)

Thomas Dunham/Sarah

Sarah Dunham/James Palmer

Sarah Palmer/Conrad Winans

William Winans/Sarah Hawley

Silas Winans/Elizabeth Howe

Elizabeth Winans/Ulrich Winegar   (This is Ulrich (5) born in 1783 the great-great-grandson of Ulrich (1) who brought the family to New York in 1710.

Ashbel Winegar/Mary Rease Roberts

Edwin Ashbel Winegar/Myrtie Stephenson

Donald Stephenson Winegar/ Mary Deone Daniells

Even if we are not direct descendents of the Mayflower, we do have another connection.  Ulrich Winegar (1) had a son Garrett.  Two of Garrett’s sons married sisters who were Mayflower descendants: Jacob Winegar/ Deliverence Doty and John Winegar/Elizabeth Doty.  According to Family Tree Maker, Elizabeth is the wife of my 4th grand-uncle.


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