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Friday, October 21, 2005

They Were Older and Taller Than You Think

It is the mission of The Genealogue to explode old and tired myths and replace them with new and more interesting myths. Plimoth Plantation's Myth and Reality articles—mentioned today by Dick Eastman—fit my requirements so well that only pesky copyright restrictions prevent me from passing them off as my own.

In Dead at Forty, Plantation Research Manager Carolyn Freeman Travers explains why an ancestress of mine bore twenty children, and yet lived past 103 years. As it turns out, not everyone in olden days died on their 40th birthday.

Were They All Shorter Back Then? deals with the myth of the diminutive colonists. As it turns out, they in no way resembled Hobbits.

A recommendation for future myth-busting: The claim that colonial parents were resigned to the fact of infant mortality, and accepted a child's death without the emotional trauma witnessed today.

Oh yeah, and also the rumor floating around that the Pilgrims were cannibals.

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