I come from a long line of colonizers.

Let’s just be real about this.

dori mondon
6 min readSep 2, 2022


Very cool blue and purple object that looks like bike chain and tire spokes in a DNA pattern
Photo by JINZHOU LIN on Unsplash

My dad and I did DNA tests earlier this summer.

I didn’t meet him until I was 23 years old (I wrote a story about that a few years ago), and I haven’t really had a lot of opportunity to get to know other members of his side of the family except via social media, so I was glad that he was willing to do it and maybe help me build out some of the more gray areas of my past.

Coinciding with this, I had a genealogy moment (sign #6 that you’re getting old is having genealogy moments). My dad’s ancestors were all Levantine/Mediterranean immigrants and apparently hadn’t documented too much past a few generations, but I was able to trace my mother’s ancestry back to the 1400s.

It’s not pretty, though it sounded like it at first, because so many of us are built for attraction to the royalty trope. In my family tree there are lots of sirs, lords and ladies, including Baroness Ursula Pole, my direct connection to the wildly dysfunctional Tudors and my 11th great-grandmother. But the only reason I know this is that landed gentry kept track of this stuff as one way keeping their wealth amongst themselves.

Oh but wait, there’s more.

Eventually, some of my mother’s people wound up on the Mayflower and lived to tell the tales that followed, which most of us are probably already aware of (and if not, believe me when I say that the Thanksgiving story is a myth — again, it’s not “woke,” just well-researched history by people with access to a lot of archival material).

What follows is, in brief, a short list of some of the more standout ancestors in my family tree:

First up is Mr. James Chilton, one of the oldest on the boat and signer of the Mayflower Compact and one of the earliest to die that next winter. And my 14th great-grandfather.

Continuing on, we have Capt. Thomas Harris, House of Burgess, and my 13th great-grandfather. Born in Burnham-on-Crouch in Crixsey, Essex, England, he died at Curles Neck Plantation in Henrico County, Virginia, in 1682.

And then there’s my 11th great-grandmother, Hepzibah Doggett, who “purchased” Nantucket from the Indigenous people that lived there…



dori mondon

Compulsive storyteller. Typo fixer. Queerdo. Dog and kid mom. Digital DJ nerd. Ada Comstock scholar. I love coffee. A lot. https://ko-fi.com/djemme