Esther/Hester Mahieu (mtDNA)

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status summary

As of 30 Aug 2017

  • Page created for Esther/Hester (Mahieu) Cooke
  • recruitment of individuals who are mtDNA descendants of Esther/Hester (Mahieu) Cooke. Folks who are direct mtDNA descendants of Esther are encouraged to contact Raymond T. Wing (email wing.genealogist AT gmail DOT com)



Given the fact Esther/Hester was married about Jun 1603 and her last child was born circa 1626, it is believed she was born circa 1582-1585.[1] Esther/Hester was the daughter of Jacques and Jeanne (Unknown) (le) Mercier.[2] The family were originally French Walloons from the Lille, Flanders (at that time part of the Spanish Netherlands, but now part of Normandy France).[3] The family moved from Lille to Canterbury, Kent, England. Whether they moved before or after Esther/Hester was born is unknown. They later moved to Leiden, Holland shortly before Esther/Hester's marriage.[4] She was married to Francis Cooke in Leiden about 30 Jun 1603.[5]

It is said the Cooke family went to Norwich, Norfolkshire, England in 1606 [6] but were back at Leiden in early 1607 [7] Francis Cooke, and his eldest surviving son, John, emigrated to the New World aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Esther/Hester and the rest of the children stayed behind, but came over in 1623 in either the Ann or Little James. The Cookes spent the rest of their life at Plymouth Colony. Francis' simple will gave his entire estate to his wife with no provisions regarding how the estate was to be divided after her death. On 8 Jun 1666 the widow and children wrote out an agreement to divide the land at Rocky Nook (now Kingston) into five shares, with the eldest son, John receiving two shares, and the other children receiving one share apiece.[8] This is the last known record of Esther. It is presumed she was deceased before her younger son wrote his will in Dec 1675.

  3. Edward Winslow, "Hypocrasie Unmasked" version available online at:
  4. Her marriage record called Esther of Canterbury
  5. MD 8:48-49
  7. ibid.
  8. Anderson, The Great Migration Begins I:469, citing PCLR 3:73

mtDNA results (J1c2)

According to the Mayflower DNA project at Family tree DNA[1] the project currently[2] has two members who apparently trace back to Esther/Hester.[3] Both members are reported to fall under the J1c2 mtDNA haplogroup with the following HVR [4] mutations:[5] HVR1 C16069T, T16126C, A16129G, G16153A, T16187C, C16189T, T16223C, G16230A, T16278C, C16311T and HVR2: C146T, C152T, G185A, A188G, C195T, G228A, A247G, C295T, C462T, T489C, 522.1A, 522.2C, 309.1C, 315.1C[6]

These results fit perfectly with the classification of J1c2. The family has one additional mutation (HVR 1 G16153A) which may create a subclade of J1c2 sometime in the future.

  2. as of 30 Aug 2018
  3. One of the two individuals only reports their maternal ancestry back to Sarah Downing 1770-1859. It is unknown if this individual has a verified umbilical/mtDNA line back to Esther/Hester Mahiew
  4. Hypervariable region, see Wikipedia article
  5. FTDNA does not publish the coding region mtDNA results for privacy reasons
  6. One of the two individuals has a heteroplasmy at T204Y

mtDNA Descendants

Esther/Hester and Francis had seven children: one infant (sex unknown), a daughter Elizabeth who died young, two sons, and daughters Jane, Hester & Mary

    Second Generation:

Jane (b1613-b1650/1) married Experience Mitchell aft May 1627 in Plymouth. They had one son & two daughters, Elizabeth (c1628-c1684) and Mary (c1632-1699)

Hester (b1620-c1672) married Richard Wright 21 Nov 1644 Plymouth. They had four sons & two daughters, Esther (c1649-1717) and Mary (birth, death and whether married is unknown)

Mary (b1627-1714/5) married (Lieut) John T(h)omson 26 Dec 1645 Bridgewater. They had six sons & six daughters. Mary (c1651-1734), Esther (1652-c1706), Sarah (1657-1730, never married), Mercy (c1671-1756, never married), Elizabeth (1653/4-1716/7, married Thomas Swift and is said to only have had one son) and Lydia (1659-1741/2 married James Soule. While they had three daughters, the mtDNA line eventually died out).

    Third Generation:

Elizabeth Mitchell (c1628-c1684) married John Washburn (II) 6 Dec 1645 Duxbury. They had seven sons & four daughters, Mary (1662-1722), Elizabeth (1665-1741/2), Sarah (c1675-1746) & Jane (b1678-b1698)

Mary Mitchell (c1632-1699) married James Shaw 24 Dec 1652 Plymouth. They had one son & two daughters, Mary Shaw (1659/60-1722) & Ann (1680-1680). Mary married 2) John Jenney but they had no children.

Esther Wright (c1649-1717) married Ephraim Tinkham 1678. They had four sons & two daughters, Martha (c1678-1758) & Mary (c1691-1751) While Mary had three daughters, none of them had any surviving daughters.

Mary Thomson (c1651-1734) married (Capt) Thomas Taber Jun 1672 Dartmouth. They had eight sons & five daughters, Lydia (1673-1723), Sarah (1674/5-1735), Mary (1677-1753), Bethiah (1687-1758) & Abigail (1693-p1785)

Esther Thomson (c1652-c1706) married William Reed abt 1675 Weymouth. They had four sons & five daughters, Bathshua (c1676-1722), Mercy (c1678-1737/8), Mary (1684-b1759), Hester (c1685-1721) & Sarah (1693/4-1750)

External links

Caleb Johnson's Mayflower History blog on Francis Cooke

wikipedia article on Francis Cooke

Francis Cooke Society

Find-a-Grave memorial for Hester

General Society of Mayflower Descendants

Hester Cooke profile at (a genealogy site)

Family Tree DNA Mayflower Project mtDNA results