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  • 11 Sep 2020 2:20 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Cargo transfers

    Cargo was transferred from the Speedwell to the Mayflower in Plymouth harbour, continuing for the next few days.  John A. Goodwin notes (Pilgrim Republic [Boston: Ticknor and Company, 1888] 57) that “it was fortunate for the overloaded Mayflower that she had fine weather while lying at anchor there ... for the port of Plymouth was then only a shallow, open bay, with no protection.  In southwesterly gales its waters rose into enormous waves, with such depressions between, that ships while anchored sometimes struck the bottom of the harbor and were dashed in pieces.”

  • 10 Sep 2020 2:53 AM | Soule (Administrator)

    Why did they turn back?

    If the Speedwell had not been overmasted, both she and the Mayflower would have arrived early in the fall (probably by the middle of October) at the mouth of the Hudson River, and the whole course of New England history would have been entirely different.  It does appear, however, that most of the leaders of the community (Bradford, Brewster, Cushman, Winslow, and their families) were on the Speedwell when it started to leak; letting the Mayflower continue on its way by itself, to arrive in New Amsterdam before the weather turned bad, was not a good or viable option, since that would have deprived the emigrant community of its religious and commercial leaders (“the cheefe of them that came from Leyden,” in Bradford’s words).
  • 8 Sep 2020 3:49 PM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Mayflower Conspiracy Theories

    It is certain that the Speedwell sprung a leak in the Atlantic, causing it to return to Plymouth along with the Mayflower.  What caused the leak?  The most frequently mentioned possibility is that it was “over-rigged” and had on too much sail which caused a strain on the masts, and which then caused holes and leaks to develop.  Prior to the voyage, the Speedwell had been refitted in Delfshaven in Holland and had two masts.  Nathaniel Philbrick suggests that the crew used a mast that was too big for the ship, and that the added stress caused holes to form in the hull.  William Bradford wrote that “the leakiness of this ship was partly by her being overmasted and too much pressed with sails,” but attributes the main cause of her leaking to actions on the part of the crew.  Robert Cushman wrote from Dartmouth in August 1620 (as soon as the Speedwell returned) that the leaking was caused by a loose board or plank approximately two feet long.  There is a persistent rumour of sabotage, either by the captain or the crew, but there is no proof.  We shall revisit the question about sabotage in a few months when we look at the decision to drop everyone off in Massachusetts.

  • 7 Sep 2020 8:46 AM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Who was on which ship?

    While we know who the passengers on the Mayflower’s voyage to the New World were from William Bradford's list which he compiled about 1651 (over thirty years later), and we know that some of the passengers on the Speedwell stayed in England after the ships turned back, there is no full separate list of original passengers on the August sailings of the Speedwell or the Mayflower.  There was no passenger manifest for the two ships that has survived, or even for the Mayflower itself for its voyage: after all, who would check the manifest or passenger list once they reached Massachusetts?  The only list of passengers is the one compiled by Bradford in 1651 for Of Plimoth Plantation, for those who had made the 66 day voyage to Massachusetts.

    William Bradford and his wife were almost certainly on the Speedwell, as shown by his account of the embarkation; likewise, Edward Winslow’s full account of the embarkation (“Hypocrisie Unmasked”) also suggests that he and his family were also Speedwell passengers.  William Brewster and his family were likewise probably on the Speedwell.

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  • 6 Sep 2020 11:35 AM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    In Plymouth Harbour

    From “the Speedwell’s Log” for August 28 [o.s.]/September 7 [n.s.]: “At anchor in Plymouth harbor. Conference of chief of Colonists and officers of MAY-FLOWER and SPEEDWELL.  No special leak could be found, but it was judged to be the general weakness of the ship, and that she would not prove sufficient for the voyage.  It was resolved to dismiss her the SPEEDWELL, and part of the company, and proceed with the other ship.”

  • 6 Sep 2020 11:33 AM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Speedwell and Mayflower arrive in Plymouth together.

    The Speedwell, the smaller of the two ships (according to William Bradford, a “smale ship of 60 tune”), had sprung a leak the day before when the ships were about 100 leagues (345 miles) out, and both ships decided to turn back.  They arrived back in Plymouth harbour together today.

  • 30 Apr 2020 6:15 AM | Allison Pence (Administrator)

    Soule Kindred is sorry to announce that, due to the Covid19 situation, this year's reunion scheduled for September 11-13 in Plymouth, has been canceled. However, a "Virtual Reunion" with lots of fun online activities is currently being planned for the same weekend this September at no cost to our members. 

    Stay tuned for more details on this as they evolve. For those folks who have already registered for the reunion in Plymouth, our treasurer, Russell Francis, is working on getting refunds out to you. They will come to the credit card you used to register. No contact by you is necessary at this time.

    Just a reminder: Don't forget to contact your lodging and travel providers to cancel your reservations with them. SKA is considering having an in-person reunion once it is safe for us all to travel, possibly in 2021 or 2022, so please reach out to your Board and let them know your preferences in this matter. We apologize for your inconvenience, but know that you understand.

    Be well, Cousins!


  • 20 Apr 2020 10:00 AM | Sara Soule-Chapman (Administrator)

    We are in the process of evaluating whether or not to hold the reunion in Sept. 2020 or to postpone it.  We expect to make a decision in the next month or so.  We will keep you updated.  Thanks

  • 12 Jan 2020 1:00 PM | Allison Pence (Administrator)

    The Soule Kindred Reunion Committee wishes to thank all those who participated in the logo contest for our 2020 SKA Reunion coming up this September in Plymouth. And the winner is…

    Steven Soule of Escondido, California! 

    Steven, a 14 th generation descendant of Pilgrim George, is a web designer in Southern California. He is honored that his design was chosen to represent Soule Kindred for this special 400th Mayflower Anniversary year.


    Reunion Registration will open on February 1st. Watch for an announcement on our Facebook page and on the SKA website. We’re hoping to make registration an easy process for our members, so you may register and pay with a credit card through the SKA website. Or, if you prefer, you may print off your registration form and send it with a check to the address on the form.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really excited to meet many new cousins and friends at our upcoming reunion!  So many meaningful and fun events are being planned and it promises to be a wonderful weekend to remember!

    - Lori Soule, Reunion Committee Chair (lorisoule3@gmail.com)


  • 23 Oct 2018 5:03 PM | Russell Francis (Administrator)

    Do you wonder how many other Soule Kindred members share a common Soule Ancestor with you? You may have a few closer cousins than you think.

    One of the features of our new Soule Kindred website allows members to search the lineage of other members who have a known lineage to George Soule.

    How to find other Soule Kindred members with similar lineage:

    If you are a member, login to the website, go to the MEMBERS ONLY menu item and select MEMBERS WITH ACCEPTED LINEAGE. (If you are not yet a member, please consider joining as one of the benefits of membership in Soule Kindred is having access to the Directory of Members with Accepted Lineage.)

    You’ll see an alphabetical list of members who have had their lineage accepted by our Lineage Assistance Committee. If your lineage has already been accepted, you’ll find your name on that list. Just type your name in the search box and your name and accepted lineage should pop up on the list.

    If you wish to find other members with a similar lineage, just type the name of one of your ancestors and all members with that name in their list will pop up. In the following example, I typed “Abigail Anthony” and found one member who had the name Abigail Anthony in her lineage. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this member and I share the same 4th-5th great grandmother, Abigail (Soule) Anthony.


    Are you curious how many members share one of George Soule’s children or grandchildren with you? Just type in the name of the child or grandchild and you find a list of all members who share the same child or grandchild (please see the note that follows). If I type in “Sylvanus”, I find 36 members with that name in their profile.

    Note: The search is not field specific, so if you search by name, it could be anywhere in any approved lineage, or in a member’s name. So you’ll need to go through the list of results to be sure the name is the one you’re searching for. For instance, when I did the search for “Anthony”, the list displayed a member with the name Anthony but who had no Soule descendants with the name Anthony. If you type “John”, one of George’s sons, you find 181 matches because a lot of members have the name John in their lineage that are not the son of George. Despite this flaw, I think your find this search feature very useful and a nice benefit of membership in Soule Kindred.

    Finally, if you click on a member’s name in the list, it will bring up part of his/her profile allowing you to send a message to that individual. This information is only available to dues-paying members. If that does not include you, won’t you join Soule Kindred now by clicking here.

    Just to clarify, the Directory of Members with Accepted Lineage is separate from the Family Tree Database (FTD). The FTD is a completely different database containing complete lineages of many of our members with supporting documentation. In order to insure the integrity of the FTD, your lineage must first be accepted by the Lineage Assistance Committee (LAC). The LAC will then enter your lineage in the Directory of Members with Accepted Lineage. To access the FTD you must register for a separate user account. Contact Deanna Lucas for questions regarding the FTD.


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