Welcome to SMDPA

The Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (SMDPA) was organized in 1896 by two Philadelphians, Francis Olcott Allen and Edward Clinton Lee, who were members of the New York Society. The charter was issued on 14 October 1896.

Although its governing Board of Assistants has been based historically in the Greater Philadelphia area, the Society has two Colonies. The Susquehanna Colony is located in Central Pennsylvania in the greater Harrisburg area and the Western Colony is located in Western Pennsylvania in the greater Pittsburgh area. Members are invited to participate in the State and Colony levels or merely through our award-winning quarterly newsletter, The Pennsylvania Mayflower.

From the Governor's Desk - 06/29/2020

As summer begins in earnest, we are half way through 2020. To date, most events have been canceled, or held virtually including one Board of Assistants (BOA) meeting prior to COVID. I trust we will be able to get together in a safe and healthy way in the near future.

“Crafton Celebrates” is holding a drive through parade, very innovative, this Friday. It is hard to tell how many will take advantage of this outdoor event, but hope springs eternal. Many thanks to Pam Palchowski for organizing, further details on our website. It would be great to see you there!

Our Historians have supported member’s applications at a strong pace as their work has been done electronically, leading to many new members. They are volunteers that cheerfully give 100s of hours to support our growth. My hats off to them as lead by Ginny Fossa, keep up the great work!

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) recently met virtually using Zoom on June 20th. It was decided that a Congress would be held in September either in person or virtually. There are a number of topics including constitution and by-laws changes that affect when and how much to assess fees to the state societies, of which we are one of 54. That is not a misprint as Europe, Australia, Canada and DC add to our fifty US states. Congress meets every three years, elect officers, and only then can these changes be made. The GSMD executive committee has recommended fees go from $15 per member to $35 as costs to maintain services have risen and appear unsustainable. The cost to increase application fees is also on the table.

Our current yearly membership rate is $40 per adult member of which we pay GSMD $15 and have paid our two colonies, historically $10 per member. The expenses of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in Pennsylvania (SMDPA), are paid for from the residual and earnings from our market funds. The market funds derive from life memberships, gifts and savings and total over $400,000. Previous BOAs made wise decisions over the decades to insure we are in a solid financial position, regardless of what GSMD decides on fees. Other state societies are not as fortunate and are pushing back on increases. Cutting expenses and services at Plymouth may occur, if the proposed actions are not passed by a majority. The debate in September will be interesting and affect the GSMD future. It seems odd to raise fees when events have been curtailed but that is how 2020 is shaping up.

I have personally contacted the current Governor General and the nominee, Jane Hurt to advocate for a capital expense budget focusing on technology to streamline our processes. This is something only the GSMD can do as the cost upfront would be significant, but the saving and capacity increase, promise to be more than offsetting. Reaching our younger potential members with “APPS” is a game changer for communication in ways that are modern and expected. The data bases we use can also be moved to searchable formats removing some of the clutter in the Historian’s application processes. Jane Hurt, if elected as Governor General, will have her hands full, regardless of the voting outcome!

If you have an opinion or want more information on this, please contact me or Deb Georgantis-Miller as we will be either going in person or voting virtually as DGG and AG, respectfully. The Special Congress decision for in person meeting will be decided by the state of Massachusetts as they determine large gathering viability but a meeting is guaranteed either way (virtually or in person).

Our lives are so much different as routines have changed drastically. Just going to the grocery store with lines, masks, cleaning, and social distancing are the new normal. I pray your families have been healthy and strong as we move towards cures and immunizations.

400 years ago, imagine the courage and vision our ancestors used while preparing for the Speedwell and eventual Mayflower voyage, leaving so much behind for a very unsafe future. We have inherited more than we can repay, so our mission it to keep their sacrifice alive through our society using education and events.

Thank you for your membership, our BOA is striving to give you value in a year that is so unusual.

God bless you and your family!

Reed Kneale
Governor SMDPA, [email protected]


Upcoming Events

Sep 17

General Society Mayflower Decendants (GSMD) Board of Assistants (BOA) Meeting - CANCELLED EVENT

This event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Please see GSMD website for more information.

Oct 24

Board of Assistants (BOA) Meeting

SMDPA BOA Officers Meeting