Years ago, I only knew that the wife of my ancestor Nicholas Drew, was named Abigail. One day, I received a letter from the Delano Family organization looking for information on our Drew family. She wondered if I had proven any links between the families. There are a number of links through the generations, so the response was easy to populate with data.
A few weeks later, she responded with a letter wondering why I didn’t have Abigail Keene’s last name listed in my data. I had been looking for it for seven years without success, so her note was a welcome clue that proved to be correct. One of the greatest enjoyments in genealogy research is that from time to time, it seems like Christmas when new ancestral discoveries are made.
Finding Abigail in vital source records, it was easy to extend her ancestry back another three generations through her Little ancestry.
Thomas Little was born in Essex, England in the early 1600′s. He emigrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1630, was a member of the Plymouth Military Company in 1643 and purchased 1,000 acres of land in Marshfield, Massachusetts in 1650. On 19 April 1633, Thomas married Anna Warren, daughter of Richard Warren of Mayflower fame. The couple had nine children
There were numerous Little emigrants to America during the 1600′s. The majority of them went to Virginia and several were transported at government order. I haven’t been able to trace the Little line beyond the original immigrant, Thomas Little, who was born in London around 1610.
Apparently, he emigrated to America of his own free will but that wasn’t true for everyone. In that time in England, 150 capital crimes often resulted in a man being transported to another land. The crimes consisted of the expected crimes of murder, arson, and treason, but there were also lesser ones such as maiming, stealing a cow, cutting down trees along an avenue, sending threatening letters, and standing mute when addressed by a legal official.
Some convicts were people of quality. One gentleman of high birth, for instance, was transported for stealing books out of a library. As a child, George Washington was taught to read and write by a transported convict who had been a schoolmaster.
The residents of the countryside were especially afflicted with conviction for petty crimes that resulted in there transportation out of country. One man was transported for stealing a silver shoe buckle. Another was sent to America and indentured for seven years for the theft of a chicken.
America has always been a melting pot for people from all walks of life, even the shady criminals who took a chicken that wasn’t theirs. Blue blood is an affliction that resides in the mind. The red blood of most early American immigrants was proven true through their successful struggle to survive in a new land.