Friday, September 3, 2021

What Are You Wearing to Your Next Family Reunion?

(click on photos to enlarge)

Several years ago I began an interesting journey as a genealogist. I found out that perhaps I was descended from John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden on my maternal line. First, I successfully proved this theory and became a member of the Alden Kindred of America. (See post It’s Official! I Proved it! ) Later I was able to successfully prove my lineage and join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. (See post General Society of Mayflower Descendants Success). I also had a period costume made that helped me learn a little more about what life was like for my 9th great-grandmother Priscilla (Mullins) Alden. (See post What Would Priscilla (Mullins) Alden Think ). Last year I had plans made and tickets purchased for events in and around Plymouth, Massachusetts that were meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower. Unfortunately, due to Covid, and like many other plans made, these events were cancelled.

After learning of my connection to John & Priscilla, I hoped one day to attend the annual Alden Family Reunion the first weekend in August held on the grounds of the Alden House in Duxbury, Massachusetts. This year that plan finally worked out.

I arrived in Duxbury on Saturday morning eager to take part in 2 days of events at the Alden House. The first presentation was about a new painting of the first Thanksgiving that was commissioned by the National Association of Christian Congregational Churches as “a Gift to the Nation”.

  • This painting was meant to be a more accurate accounting of the first Thanksgiving.  Karen Rinaldo and Kevin M. Doyle discussed their extensive research about the event and the individual people involved before Karen created the painting entitled The First Thanksgiving-1621.  (There is even a legend that goes with the painting).  Karen and Kevin have co-authored a book entitled In the Wake of the Mayflower: The First Encounter that was a result of the research done for the painting and details what happened after the arrival of the Mayflower.

Other events included a Tour of the Alden House, a cemetery tour of the Old Burying Grounds in Duxbury given by the Duxbury Historian, getting souvenirs (of course) in the Gift Shop and a wonderful New England Chowder supper.

I had the amazing privilege of camping in my van conversion camper in the parking lot of the Alden House. When I woke up on Saturday morning I thought about how fortunate I was to be able to sleep on the same land that my ancestors lived on 400 years ago. How many people can say that?

 My dog, Harley, and I went for a walk on Sunday morning around the grounds and on the Duxburrow Path and to see the original Alden home site.

  • According to the sign the Duxburrow Path takes its name from a Pilgrim -era road that once ran through the land. In 1637 the Plymouth Colony Court created the “highway” to run north from Plymouth and linked to several settled homesteads and cut through the Alden property as it continued on.

I couldn’t help trying to imagine John & Priscilla and the children playing and working here in the woods and fields on this very ground. What kind of mischief did a young Joseph (my 8th great grandfather) and his siblings get in to?

On Sunday I decided to wear my Pilgrim costume, I had brought it all the way from California after all.

Sunday events included an Annual Meeting, a fried chicken luncheon, a reenactment by the New Plimmoth Gard and gathering for the family photo.

photo compliments of the Alden Kindred Society, Karen Wong Photography 
(I count about 100 people in the photo)

Meeting all those cousins of mine was such fun. Wow! Everyone was so welcoming and I learned new things about my ancestors and the times they lived in. The common question was, “Which of the children [of John & Priscilla] are you descended from?” Whenever you have the opportunity to attend a family reunion, I encourage you to do so and see what you can learn.

Harley and I spent another night on the grounds of the Alden House. After the reunion was over and everyone had left, the homestead was quiet and I had time to reflect on my amazing experience there. As night fell this was the view of the Alden House. A fitting tribute to the strength and determination of my ancestors 400 years ago.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,


  1. Wow. What a great report. Thank you for sharing. I am so happy for you. I so want to do this for at least one of my Mayflower ancestors. I know the Soule Kindred is still active.

    1. Thank-you so much Randy! I really hope you get to go to a Soule Kindred Reunion one day soon.

  2. That’s an amazing experience. How wonderful.