With yesterday's discovery of additional Mayflower Society resources, it would seem my research task for the month of March is already completed. All that's left would be to complete the membership application, right?
Not so fast. There may be a few tangles to straighten out in that Tilson line. Here's what happened next. Remembering that I had several DNA matches with other Tilson descendants—thirty eight, to be exact—I thought I'd use the rest of the month to straighten out my own database. After all, collateral lines can be important. In the case of this Tilson family, as it turns out, collateral lines may be our only hope for making sure we have the right Thomas Tilson...or William Tilson...or even Peleg Tilson. This Tilson line is a tangled bunch of namesakes.
That point was made clear once again as I explored my DNA matches at Ancestry's ThruLines. I was working my way through my matches who descend from Thomas Tilson, brother of my fourth great-grandfather Peleg Tilson. According to Mercer Vernon Tilson's Tilson Genealogy, this Thomas was born July 15 1767, and married Eunice Hubbell.
Their daughter Rachel—another name frequently seen in this family's genealogy—happened to be listed in the ancestry of one particular DNA match in my ThruLines results at Ancestry.com. While I had this Rachel marrying a man named Thomas Copenhaver, my DNA match's line showed someone by another surname listed for Rachel's son.
Since I only had one husband listed for this Rachel, I came to the brilliant conclusion that something was wrong here. However, realizing the Tilson proclivity to name their children after favorite ancestors, I checked my tree to see if I had recorded another Rachel married to the alternate name, Tapp.
Sure enough, there was one. This other Rachel I found in my database also had a father named Thomas, but her mother was listed as Jennet (and alternately, Jennie) Tilson. Jennet, herself a Tilson, was listed as daughter of Peleg, Thomas' brother. Do you see how this line is circling around?
I happened to notice that this other Thomas Tilson, husband of the other Rachel's mother Jennet, was himself son of someone named Thomas. And that father Thomas, husband of Polly Reynolds, was listed in the Tilson Genealogy as having been born on July 15, 1767.
But wait! I thought Thomas, husband of Eunice and father of the other Rachel, was born on July 15, 1767, too. They couldn't be birthday twins, could they?
While I was able to document the line clearly from my DNA match's ancestor—the other Thomas Tilson, husband of Jennet—I'm still tiptoeing my way through the various lines to see just where this other Thomas actually fits in. And that brings up one additional question: what if Mercer Vernon Tilson got it wrong? If that is possible, then I'm still back at square one, trying to document the connections between my own ancestors and the Tilson line. After all, if there's one mistake, it is possible that there are others. What is needed here, as always, is documentation to clear up any confusion and settle the questions.