Mayflower Society applications can get expensive. I get it. Not only are you dealing with the application fees, you may have certificate costs of several hundred dollars – and that’s before you decided to hire help from a professional genealogist.
If you have a budget, there are a few things you can do to make the process less expensive:
- Don’t apply on a whim: It can be easy to believe you have Mayflower ancestry simply based on the family story. Unfortunately, not all of them are true. Sometimes you’re just chasing down the wrong branch of your tree; sometimes your family has claimed someone of the same name. As most societies require a preliminary application fee, doing some advance research to ensure that your line is likely accurate can save some money.
- Do Mayflower Lineage Match: The Mayflower Society offers a way to check to see what information is already on file – and thus, what documents you would not need to provide again. There is a fee, but it’s equivalent to about three certificates. If it turns out someone’s already documented your entire line, it will be a big money saver.
- Don’t buy certified copies unless you have to. GSMD does not require certified copies. Older vital records are often available through online databases. Use Ancestry for Pennsylvania records; FamilySearch has many others.
- Ask questions: Sometimes you only need help with a single issue. Ask – and be up front about budget. For short questions, a historian may be able to assist or refer you to a professional. (If it will only take me a few minutes to answer an email, I can often answer a quick question for free.)