The Shoemaker's Children

Eight Generations of the May Family
1567 - 1813

Fred T. May


Finding our May/Meÿ Ancestors
Get a CD of their German villages
Origin of the spelling of our family name

Copies available in Public Libraries

A book about the first eight generations of the May family that entered the Big Sandy Valley in 1800 has been published by the Gateway Press, Inc. of Baltimore, MD. Researched and written by Fred T. May, formerly a resident of Prestonsburg, Ky., this 538 page book provides extensive information about the lives and times of the family, extending from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century from a village in the Rhine Valley in Western Europe to their homestead on Shelby Creek in Eastern Kentucky. Facsimiles from original church registers that chronicle the births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths of family members document their history.

The family name in their home villages in the Nahe Valley, a western tributary of the Rhine in present-day Germany, was spelled Meÿ. Since the time of the Protestant Reformation in the Sixteenth Century, most of the men in the direct line of the Meÿ immigrants had traditionally supported their families by working as "Schuhmachers." Hence, the author refers to all of the descendants of the first known member of the family, Hans Peter Meÿ, as "The Shoemaker's Children."

Prior to revelations in this book, the descendants of John and Sarah May, early settlers in Floyd County, Kentucky, had only vague traditions telling of their immigrant ancestors or of their early years in America. We now know that on September 5, 1748, in the port of Philadelphia, a family of six (possibly seven) weary immigrants from the Rheinland Palatinate disembarked from the ship "Edinburgh" and the history of the May family in America began. The father and grandmother of John May, along with two (possibly three) of his aunts and two of his uncles, were in the group.

On January 6, 1760 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, John (Johannes) May was born, and two weeks later he was baptized in the First Reformed Church. Also born in Lancaster County were Anna Maria (his only known sibling, born in 1753) and eight first cousins, the children of his uncle Leonard May.  Leonard's children later resided in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The second part of the book tells of the "Trans-Appalachian Journey" of the family of John May from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Berkeley County, Virginia (now W. Va.) to Washington County North Carolina (now Tennessee), before they entered Kentucky and settled on their homestead on Shelby Creek in newly-formed Floyd County. The book also includes a number of regional maps, village and town plats, and drawings of churches where the Mays worshipped. Featured at the end of the book is a section on "Early Eastern Kentucky Maps." Descendants of Hans Peter Meÿ can personalize their direct line to him on the last page of the book.


The Shoemaker's Children

Questions regarding the May family genealogy can be directed to the author.

My supply of books is almost exhausted and I can no longer take orders.

I am limiting shipments to libraries only.

If you have questions click here to send me an email.

or write me at:

Fred T. May
4553 Golf Vista Drive
Austin, TX 78730

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