I am descended from Mayflower Pilgrim John Billington (1579-1630) through his son and daughter-in-law .
After looking at their family tree, I noticed there were a lot of “John Bullock’s” in that family – four in a direct line, to be exact. So, I decided to search for these men in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives to see what I could discover about this line.
This family of Bullock’s lived in Bristol County, Massachusetts, many of them in the town of Rehoboth, so I used the keyword “Rehoboth” to narrow my search down to the John Bullocks in the latter part of this line.
The first result in this search was an obituary for a John Bullock who was born in Rehoboth and died in Bristol, Rhode Island. After comparing the listed birth and death information to my tree, I was able to match this obituary to the fourth (and last for several generations)(1769-1876) in the line. This John Bullock was the 4th-great-grandson of Francis Billington.
The most fascinating part about John Bullock’s obituary was his age at death – an astounding 106 years old! Not a lot of people live to that advanced age.
Google puts the average lifespan for a person born between 1750 and 1800 at only 36 years old, meaning John Bullock’s long life was extraordinary, even by today’s standards.
Next, I refined my search by removing the keyword “Rehoboth” and restricting my search to just newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
This search turned up an 1869 Sun article announcing the 100th birthday of this same John Bullock. This article gave me a few more interesting details about John in his old age, such as the fact that he:
“…never drank a glass of alcoholic liquor in his life, and never had any need of or used spectacles. The old gentleman can see to pick up a pin or a needle from the floor as well as any young person.”
But what about the rest of the John Bullock’s? This time I searched again for “John Bullock” in only Massachusetts and Rhode Island newspapers and restricted the years to 1750-1800.
This search returned a notice from the Providence Gazette about the estate of John Bullock (1714-1788).
Discover interesting details about your own family trees – over generations – by searching in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.