Joan Hurst & Elizabeth Tilley (mtDNA)

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Status summary

As of July 8, 2016

  • Page created for Joan (Hurst) Rogers Tilley and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland
  • mtDNA results from Mayflower DNA Project
  • recruitment of individuals who are mtDNA descendants of Joan (Hurst) Rogers Tilley and her daughter, Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland. Folks who are mtDNA descendants are encouraged to contact Raymond T. Wing (email: wing.genealogist AT gmail DOT com)



Joan Hurst was baptized at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Henlow, Bedfordshire, England on 13 Mar 1567, the daughter of William Hurst and Joan Marshe.[1] She was first married to Thomas Rogers at Henlow on 18 Jun 1593[2] He died about 1595 and Joan married second, Henlow 20 Sep 1596, to John Tilley.[3] The children were all baptized at the parish church in Henlow. It is likely the family lived in the area until the couple prepared to emigrate to the New World. This is supported by the fact the youngest son (Robert) was apprenticed to a Bedford tailor, John Jones, in Oct 1617[4] as well as Joan's oldest daughter (Joan Rogers) married to Edward Hawkins at St. Paul's Church, Bedford on 27 Jun 1620.[5] Both Joan and her husband John Tilley died in the general sickness during the harsh first winter at New Plimouth.[6]

Elizabeth Tilley was Joan's youngest child, baptized at St. Mary's Church, Henlow, Bedfordshire, England on 30 Aug 1607.[7] She came with her parents aboard The Mayflower in the fall of 1620.[8] Her family was part of Gov. Carver's "household" during the first winter. Gov. Carver and Elizabeth's parents all died during the general sickness of the first winter and it is believed John Howland (Carver's "servant"/assistant) assumed the head of this household.[9] Elizabeth married John Howland circa 1623. It is believed they were the fifth marriage in the new colony (after the marriage of William Bradford on 14 Aug 1623 and before the end of the year [25 Mar 1623/4] as they were presumably a couple for the 1623 Land division).[10]

The family eventually moved to Rocky Nook (now Kingston) where her husband died in Feb 1672/3.[11] Elizabeth is assumed to have lived with her children shortly thereafter (as their home in Rocky Nook was said to have been burnt down shortly after John's death). It is known Elizabeth spent the last years of her life with her daughter, Lydia, and Lydia's husband, James Brown. They lived in "Swansey" (Swansea, MA; now East Providence, RI) where Elizabeth made her will on 17 Dec 1686[12] and died on 21 Dec 1687.[13]

Elizabeth is believed to have been buried in the Brown family plot at the Ancient Little Neck Cemetery.[14] Her gravestone was erected there in 1949 by the Pilgrim John Howland Society.[15] At the time of her death this cemetery was located in Old Rehoboth, MA, but it is presently located within East Providence, RI.

  1. TAG 52(1976):204
  2. ibid.
  3. ibid.
  4. Howland Quarterly, Mar 2006, p. 12
  5. England Marriages 1538-1973 found in both and After serving his internship, Robert Tilley was married to Edward's sister, Mary Hawkins (see Howland Quarterly article in previous reference)
  6. White, Elizabeth P., John Howland of the Mayflower: Vol. 1, pp. 9-12
  7. TAG 52(1976):198-205
  8. White, Elizabeth P., John Howland of the Mayflower: Vol. 1, pp. 9-12
  9. ibid.
  10. ibid.
  11. Plymouth Church records I:147(173)
  12. MD 3:54-57
  13. Plymouth Church Records
  14. Find-a-Grave for Elizabeth Tilley Howland


Several articles in The American Genealogist[1],The Mayflower Quarterly[2] and The Howland Quarterly[3] have revealed much information on the ancestry of Elizabeth. For the purpose of this wiki, we shall only look at the "umbilical"/mtDNA line.

Elizabeth was the daughter of John Tilley and Joan (Hurst) Rogers. Joan was baptized at Henlow 13 Mar 1567/8, daughter of William Hurst & Rose Marshe. She married first, Thomas Rogers. Rose was born about 1537 presumably in Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, England (where she married), daughter of John Marshe & Joan _____.

  1. TAG 52(1976):198-205; 85(Jan 2011):1-8
  2. MQ AUG 1991:232; NOV 1991:342
  3. HQ 71:1[MAR 2006]:10-13

mtDNA Results

We know from the results of three mtDNA tests from two different daughters of Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland, the "umbilical" line falls under haplogroup H1a1 with no extra mutations. The RSRS values for the HVR/Control Regions, as reported by, are 146T, 152T, 195T, 247G, 522.1A, 522.2C, 315.1C, 16129G, 16162G, 16187C, 16189T, 16209C, 16223C, 16230A, 16278C, 16311T.

In addition, according to the H1 mtGenome Project the following Coding Region mutations also fall under H1a1 3010A (H1); 73G![back mutation](H1a); 6365C (H1a1). This project also dates the H1a1 clade as originating approximately 2500 B.C.E., so it is a VERY old haplogroup.

One of the mtDNA descendants results was inputted into James Lick's mthap utility. The result came up with an exact match to the H1a1 haplogroup with no additional mutations (besides the flaky 315.1C and 16519C mutations).

Thus mtDNA testing cannot be used to conclusively prove someone was a mtDNA descendant of Elizabeth Tilley, but it can be used to conclusively disprove such a relationship. In addition, mtDNA testing can be used to support a conclusion about a line being descended from Elizabeth, but additional evidence is also needed.

mtDNA Descendants

Joan Hurst had one daughter by her first husband (Thomas Rogers), Joan, baptized at Henlow 26 May 1594.[1] This daughter married Edward Hawkins at St. Paul Church, Bedford on 27 Jun 1620.[2] Edward and Joan had four sons & two daughters,[3] but only two sons and one daughter (Elizabeth, wife of William Fell) were still alive when Edward wrote his will (18 Dec 1658 proved 26 Jan 1658[/9])[4] Elizabeth Hawkins married William Fell at St Paul Church, Bedford 1 Oct 1643 and had one son and one daughter, Ann (bp. 14 Jan 1648[/9]) baptized there.[5]

Joan and her second husband (John Tilley) had Rose (bp. 23 Oct 1597, died young), John (bp. 26 Aug 1599),[6] Rose (bp. 28 Feb 1601/2), Robert (bp. 25 Nov 1604), and Elizabeth. Only the descendants of Robert (and Elizabeth) have been traced to date.[7]

Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland had six daughters, all who married and had children of their own. At least one "umbilical"/mtDNA descendant of daughters Desire & Lydia have released their mtDNA results to the public, showing where they are an exact match.

Second Generation:

Desire (c1625-1683) married Capt. John Gorham and had six daughters. FTDNA Kit #337121 descends from Desire.

Hope (1629-1683/4) married Lieut. John Chipman and had eight daughters.

Elizabeth (1631-1691/2) married Ephraim Hicks (no children) and Capt. John Dickinson (five daughters). Her eldest daughter, Elizabeth (1652-) is said to have married Caleb Wright and Gershom Lockwood. However, no contemporary record proves this relationship, so the GSMD does not currently accept descendants of Caleb & Elizabeth. If a mtDNA descendant of Elizabeth is tested, and found to be a match to Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland's DNA, then there is a chance the GSMD may accept this line.

Lydia (1633-1710) married Maj. James Brown and had one daughter who survived infancy and married, Dorothy (1666-1727). Dorothy had three daughters who married. FTDNA Kit #159230 (deceased) descends from this line.

Hannah (1637-1705) married Jonathan Bosworth and had one daughter who married, Hannah (1663-1723). Hannah had two daughters who married (Hannah & Elizabeth) but mtDNA descendants only continue from Hannah (1690-1738).

Ruth (1646-1679) married Thomas Cushman and had one daughter, Desire (1673-1762). Desire married Ens. Samuel Kent and had one daughter, Hannah (1702-1796). Hannah had six daughters who married.

  1. TAG 52 (1976):204
  2. England Marriages 1538-1973 at and
  3. England Births and Christenings at
  4. Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858, images available at
  5. England Marriages and Births & Christenings at
  6. The son John MAY have been the John Tilley of Cape Ann & Dorchester who was killed by Indians near Saybrook (now Connecticut) in Oct 1636, but (dis)proof is lacking.
  7. TAG 52:203.

External links

Caleb Johnson's webpage for Elizabeth Tilley

Caleb Johnson's webpage for Joan HURST Rogers (Elizabeth's mother)

Wikipedia webpage on Elizabeth Tilley

Wikitree webpage on Elizabeth Tilley

mtDNA results from Mayflower DNA Project

H1 mtGenome Project (results)

mtDNA Phylotree (official classification of mtDNA)

Information on H1a1 haplogroup. NOTE: This page takes a while to load.

Pilgrim John Howland Society

John Howland of the Mayflower and Descendants

Mayflower "Five Generations" Project (Silver Books)

Find-a-Grave for Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland

Y-DNA and mtDNA descendants of John & Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland