Typically, individuals interested in Mayflower Society membership fall in one or more of the following three scenarios:

Scenario 1: Close relative with a Mayflower Society issued number.

In this case, you have a close relative that is already approved by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants;

Scenario 2: Not an approved Mayflower Society genealogy.

In this situation, you have a mapped lineage from a genealogical source that indicates a likely Mayflower passenger, such as Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution, or another genealogical source;

Scenario 3: Eager to know if a Mayflower connection exists.

In this category, you have no or little knowledge about a direct lineage to a Mayflower passenger, and you want to explore the possibilities.

If Scenarios 1 or 2 fits your situation, it is suggested that you strongly consider using the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) Preliminary Review form. Oftentimes, the results from the GSMD Preliminary Review makes it easier as you subsequently prove lineage during the application process (see page 3).

If Scenario 3 is your case, or if you elect not to use the GSMD Preliminary Review form, you need to complete the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (SMDPA) Proposal for Membership (page 6) and Mayflower Introductory/Basic Form (page 7). There is more information later in the document about completing these complementary forms.

Further, you can find general information about the Mayflower passengers and their families, listed above, at these web sites: GSMD and SMDPA Another interesting web site is There are other Mayflower sources online and you should check with your local library for more publications.

Oftentimes, the most difficult part is just getting started. For the application process, it is easier in the beginning to start with yourself and work back through the generations to your Mayflower ancestor. Keep in mind that you are interested in gathering proof through various means for key items (names, relationships, dates and places) associated with birth, marriage, and death for each generation.

Wherever possible, it is necessary for you to provide evidence of lineage from primary sources—secondary proof is acceptable when primary sources are not available. More about the type and quality of proof or evidence is explained during the application process.                         —Do Not Send Originals: Legible Copies Are Sufficient—

GSMD Preliminary Review Form

The staff of the GSMD provides a service to assist prospective members using the Preliminary Review form online at the GSMD web site: The GSMD staff compares your proposed lineage with the approved lineage papers in their files to determine what portion of your line is already documented.

You will receive a report from the GSMD staff on their findings with instructions on how to proceed. Please remember the preliminary review is not an application. Applications for membership go through the fifty-three individual member societies.

Society of Mayflower Descendants, Pennsylvania (SMDPA) Proposal

  1. Initial Application Phase.

Every prospective member (applicant) shall complete in full a Proposal for Membership and accompanying Mayflower Introductory/Basic Form. The exception for using the Proposal for Membership and Mayflower Introductory/Basic Form is when someone seeks status as a Junior “J.” (Junior application here).

An individual pursuing a Transfer or Dual Membership only needs to complete the Proposal for Membership form.

Proposal for Membership Application

Once in receipt of the completed Proposal for Membership and Mayflower Introductory/Basic Form, the State Historian conducts basic research based on the applicant’s information. The State Historian informs the applicant of the findings. Continuing the application journey requires the applicant to gather the necessary documentation to fill the gaps identified from the last generation the Historian found, down to themselves as the last generation.

  1. Gathering Details Phase.

Using the basic research as a guide, the SMDPA Historian sends the applicant a more detailed Worksheet. At this time, the SMDPA historian may seek assistance from the SMDPA historian team and assign a team member to assist. Again, the applicant uses the Worksheet as a guide for recording the last generation matched in the basic research down to themselves.

For the Worksheet, your focus is to gather proof for each generation in five key events:

  • Birth of line carrier

  • Death of line carrier

  • Marriage of line carrier to spouse (including divorces and remarriages)

  • Birth of spouse, and

  • Death of spouse

The five elements are mandatory for each generation because records of genealogical records can get murky as one goes back earlier than the 1900s. After the 1900s, formal birth, marriage, and death certificates become prominent. For these reasons, the GSMD staff requires complete documentation for each generation.

Complete documentation (primary evidence) is a long form birth certificate, marriage certificate, and death certificate showing parents’ names for the line carrier and the spouse. This requirement exists for all births, marriages and deaths after 1900. Prior to 1900 primary and secondary evidence is acceptable. Examples of primary and secondary evidence are Bible records, transcriptions of town records, Federal Census Records, published family histories, town histories, church records, and other sources.

Note: Whereas a single primary source is acceptable, the use of secondary evidence increases the burden for genealogical proof. You must provide evidence from more than one source for the same event. GSMD may allow some exceptions, however.

When the situation necessitates, a historian team member is available to give suggestions and ideas throughout the iterative process. As the applicant seeks proof of lineage, and sometimes encounters a “brick wall;” the historian team member works with the applicant by suggesting ways to find missing records and complete documentation satisfy GSMD standards. Once the worksheet and records are in order, the applicant returns the completed Worksheet with documentation to the State Historian. Once all documentation is complete the final application phase begins.

3. Final Application Phase.

The State Historian reviews the latest information from the applicant, makes any adjustments, and prepares a final application form. The State Historian sends the applicant the final application with instructions. The applicant reviews the information on the final form, signs the application, and provides any missing substantiating documents. In addition, the applicant indicates the type of membership desired, Annual or Lifetime; he or she sends checks for the appropriate amounts to GSMD and SMDPA. The applicant sends the final application and other information to the State Historian.

Refer to the table that follows for applicable fees and dues. If the application is not accepted by GSMD, it happens infrequently, the SMDPA staff returns the applicant’s Membership Certificate Fee and Dues. The GSMD examination fee is non-refundable.

The State Historian forwards the final application and supporting documents to the GSMD Historian General in Plymouth. After a thorough review, the Historian General returns the application to the State Historian. The State Historian contacts the prospective member with one of the following results from Plymouth: (a) the application requires additional documentation; (b) the application is rejected, rationale given; and (c) the application is approved. With approval, the new member receives the approved, corrected copy—it is the approved copy with annotated corrections that the member is to use for proof during supplemental and other actions in the future.