Mayflower Project: The Application Process

by Scott_J - 9 years, 2 months ago | Edit | View on FTC

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'll be sharing the details of the application process to get my kids into the Massachusetts Mayflower Society. I assume this process is similar for other state Mayflower Societies.

I've got one line documented and approved for my membership, through Stephen Hopkins. There's a person in that line that is a "freebie" to William Brewster, Abigail DOANE. Her father (Israel DOANE) goes to Stephen Hopkins and her mother (Ruth FREEMAN) goes to William Brewster.

Back eight years ago I decided to make the second line to William Brewster official at the same time as getting my daughter Sarah inducted.

When you apply to the Mayflower Society, you're provided with a worksheet like the ones pictured below with the documentation that they have and the documentation that they are missing (and require).

Here's first few pages of the application worksheet that was given to me back in 2002. The historian's note indicated that the Society was now requiring more primary documentation, and she marked each required document with a star.

(later generations omitted to protect the living)

What I thought was going to be merely a formality of updating the latest documents for my daughter turned into having to get death certificates for ancestors back 7 generations well into the 18th century. I also knew from my grandparents research that the town records for Orleans, MA were destroyed in a fire.

My fortitude wasn't enough to take on a project that seemed like I was set up for failure right from the start and I gave up.

Trying Again

Eight years later, much has changed. Hopefully more records have turned up in the Society's library, and if not, at least the amount of information available both offline and online has expanded greatly. So I contacted the Mayflower Society again to inquire about requirements for documenting my Mayflower lines.

The current historian explained to me that they acknowledged that it was just unrealistic to get primary documentation all the way back to the Pilgrims. What they "want" for documentation is not the same as what they will "accept". However, they do require full documentation for the last three generations, including spouses.

He put together a new worksheet for me. Note this one is for Stephen Hopkins and the above one is for William Brewster, but they are the same since generation 7 and 6 respectively.

(later generations omitted to protect the living)

Note that they do now seem to have some additional information for Abigail SNOW, Benoni BAKER, and Vickery BAKER, and he's not asking for the missing death records for Elnatan SNOW and Phebe SPARROW. (phew!)

The wildcards here will be Priscilla WALKER and Joseph BAKER up in Northfield and Brookfield, Vermont. I don't have full confidence in the availability of these records, but this certainly feels more doable.

It looks like a roadtrip to Vermont is in my near future. Fortunately, Northfield is only a three hour drive from my home in MA.

1 comment(s), latest 7 years, 4 months ago

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I am in the process of putting together my wife's documentation for DAR (application nearly finished) and then I thought I would do the same for her Mayflower ancestry. However it looks like we'll have fun as we live in little old NZ and don't have the accessibility to New England town records.

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