Lineage Society

Common Mayflower Society Questions: Can I access old applications to see what’s on file already?

Lineage society applications sometimes contain research goldmines. There’s the attestation from someone that died decades ago or the Bible family record that’s gone missing. The old Mayflower Society applications are no different. But how do you access them?

  1. FamilySearch and the New England Historic Genealogical Society have announced a partnership to digitize General Society of Mayflower Descendants applications. Part of the database is already live on American Ancestors.
  2. Many applications have yet to be digitized, but there is a way to search what’s on file for your line. Submit a lineage match request. The results will tell you what portion is already on file and provide you instructions for order the applications in question.

Happy hunting!

Lineage Society

Common Mayflower Society Questions: What marriage records do I need to provide?

All lineage societies require some documentation of births, deaths, and marriages (if they happened). In most cases, the society requires only the record of the marriage that produced the child. The Mayflower Society is a bit different : in general, you will be asked to provide all marriage records for the “line carrier.”

Who is the “line carrier”? The line carrier is the person whom the person lines through. Say the Mayflower passenger is on your grandfather’s mother’s side. Your grandfather is the line carrier. You’ll be expected to provide copies of any and all marriage records he might have.

Does this mean you’ll only need to provide your grandmother’s marriage certificate to your grandfather? Maybe. There are two additional factors to consider:

  1. What does the member society request? Some historians will ask for all marriages for both spouses.
  2. Did your grandmother change her name again? If a woman’s death certificate is in a different married name, it’s generally best to get a copy of all marriages prior to death, just to document the name changes.

Need help? Contact us.

Lineage Society

Common Mayflower Society Questions: Who do I contact to start my application?

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants is made up of 53 member societies. There is a member society for each of the 50 states, one for Washington D.C., one for Canada, and one for Europe. Prospective members are required to apply through the member society.

Thankfully, the GSMD keeps a list of member society contact information. You can access that list here: https://www.themayflowersociety.org/join/contact-your-member-society.

Things to know before contacting the local society:

  1. You should know your likely Mayflower line. GSMD does not have the resources to find a pilgrim for you.
  2. The amount of help available to complete your application will vary by the society. In most cases, you’ll be expected to provide at least the birth, death, and marriage certificates for the recent generations. In most cases, you’ll be expected to provide any information not already on file.
  3. The GSMD will not to do your application for you. If you are unable to do it yourself, it may be time to consider professional help.
Lineage Society

Common Mayflower Society Questions: Is it too late to get a 2020 number?

The 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower is 2020, and many are celebrating with Mayflower Society membership.

Is it too late to get a 2020 number if you apply now?

Maybe. Covid-19 has pushed processing dates back. As of early June 2020, application review time was averaging about 7 months. That may speed up as the Mayflower Society is able to bring more staff onsite.

The short version: if you want a 2020 number, get your application in now – and realize you may be getting your number in early 2021.

Need help with your application or have questions? Contact us.

Lineage Society

What documents do I need to provide for a Mayflower Society application?

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants – the Mayflower Society – has among the lineage world’s most strict requirements about the documents that need to be provided in an application.

Here are the basic guidelines:

  1. The Silver Books and previous applications should be used to document any generations already on file.
  2. If a vital record could exist for the other generations (ie. the event happened after the state start recording vital records), you need to provide it.
  3. If you cannot provide it, you’ll need to get a “no record found” letter from the office that issues vital records. (That might be the county recorder, the town clerk, the state vital records office, or another office.)
  4. If the spouse the line runs through (the “line carrier”) was married more than once, you’ll need to document all marriages.
  5. For generations where vital records do not exist, you can substitute other documents to document birth, marriage, and death. Probate files, gravestones, deeds, and military records are acceptable options.
  6. Uncited family genealogies and/or local histories should not be used as the only documentation in any generation.

Questions? Contact us.