Research your lineage
As many as 35 million people living today are descended from the passengers who sailed in 1620 on the Mayflower. Could you be one of them?
Proving your connection to a Mayflower passenger who lived over 20 generations ago can be challenging. We walk you through some steps below that will help you to prove your pilgrim ancestry and become a member of the Mayflower Society.
If you have already completed your lineage research, or a close family member has recently become a member of the Mayflower Society, these steps are not necessary. Simply contact our Australian Historian to apply. However, if you're just getting started, the steps below should assist.
Are you related to one of America's first immigrants? Databases and books from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants list around 60,000 people to help you find out.
Compare the names in your family tree with the names of the Pilgrims
From your family tree, eliminate those you know immigrated to America after 1620 and note the surnames of the branches of your family which could potentially extend back to the 1600s.
Compare your family names to the Mayflower Society’s passenger list to determine if you have any potential matches.
Use the 'Silver Books' to compare known descendants of the Mayflower passengers with your family’s lineage.
The Mayflower Society has documented the first five generations of Mayflower descendants in a series of books known as the ‘Silver Books’ which you can purchase from their website.
The lineages in the Silver Books typically include birth, marriage and death information for descendants into the late 1700s, so you can compare your family tree with the names of many known descendants of the Mayflower passengers. You don’t need to prove the first four or five generations connecting you to your Pilgrim ancestor, but you still need to document your connections to any ancestor you find in the Silver Books.
You may like to use the Mayflower Society’s Preliminary Review Form to document your connections as this information is needed for the next step.
Use the Mayflower Lineage Match service to verify your proposed ancestry.
To avoid doing the research yourself or spending unnecessary time collecting documents for a lineage that may not be accurate, you may like to take advantage of the Mayflower Lineage Match service.
For a fee of US$75, a genealogist at the Mayflower Society will compare your proposed lineage with their approved lineages to determine what portion of your line has been documented and to alert you to potential inaccuracies or omissions in your family tree.
The service takes about four weeks and you receive a report of the genealogist’s findings and how to proceed.
Once you've received the results and you’re confident that your lineage is likely to accurately connect you to a Mayflower ancestor, it's time to collect the necessary documentation.
Contact the Australian Mayflower Society Historian and collect any further documents to prove your connections.
Copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates are necessary for you and each succeeding generation to verify your generational connections. If a vital record does not name the parents of the individual, some other official document, such as a census report, must be included.
Our Australian historian can help you determine what documents you need to prove your lineage and prepare your final application for membership. Once you have all your documentation, you’re ready to apply.