When you become a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, established in 1901, you also become a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, established in 1897.
To become a member, you must prove that you are a descendant of one or more of the passengers aboard the Mayflower, the ship that landed in Plymouth, New England, in December of 1620. The fifty-one Mayflower passengers known to have descendants living today are:
Mary (Norris) Allerton
Mrs. James Chilton
Mrs. Edward Fuller
Samuel Fuller (son of Edward)
Elizabeth (Fisher) Hopkins
Joan (Hurst) Tilley
Benefits of Membership Include: learning about your family history as well as about the broader historical context your ancestors; having your genealogical records recorded and safely preserved by the Rhode Island Society as well as by the General Society, in Plymouth; contributing to the perpetuation of the memory of our ancestors and adding to what is known about them; the opportunity to attend meetings and events featuring special guest speakers & guides; becoming acquainted with others with whom a common heritage is shared; opportunities for travel to places of historical interest as organized by the General Society; and the possible opportunity to contribute to the strength of the Society as a member of the Board of Assistants. Members also receive the General Society publication "The Mayflower Quarterly" and may enjoy free use of the General Society library, in Plymouth.
Establishing a Mayflower Lineage
Proving a Mayflower lineage can be challenging. It is a substantial undertaking to compile documentation that proves a line stretching from 1620 to the present. To establish a Mayflower lineage, complete documentation is required. The line is to be supported by primary source evidence that clearly proves the connections between the generations. Secondary sources should be viewed as "last resort" substitutes in cases where primary sources cannot be located.
Applicants are to make a reasonable effort to locate primary source evidence. This includes searching probate, land, military and other records if birth marriage and death records can not be found or do not prove the connection between generations.
New applications must include complete documentation for any portion of the lineage not already well documented. For each individual in the lineage, primary source evidence in support of the birth, marriage and death should be supplied. This evidence must prove parentage. For the most recent three generations, in addition to all applicable birth, marriage, and death certificates (or records), documentation is required for divorces, additional marriages, adoptions, and name changes. Name changes and additional marriages in earlier generations must also be accounted for.
Additional Information on Documentation Requirements may be found in the section on "Sources" and in the section on "Application Procedure." Please review these sections.