The docks of seventeenth century London and Bristol funneled yeomen, thieves, whores and stolen children by the thousands onto tiny, crowded ships bound for Virginia. For decades, second sons of lesser nobility, merchant's factors, and land speculators herded sickly throngs aboard, betting that the purchase of these laborers and their landrights would establish them as wealthy planters in the New World. Governor Berkeley of Virginia called them all "a wild beast multitude." Only a small fraction of the whole survived their journey and a year in America. The seasoned survivors persisted, prayed, and multiplied. For millions of Americans, today, they are the source of distant family connections.