Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at

Collection Time Period

This collection covers from the 1600s to 1992.

Record Description

The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants is a lineage based organization and as such, its members must prove their descent from immigrants who came on the Mayflower to be eligible for membership. This collection includes the following:

  • Membership documents no. 1-9730
  • Pedigree papers no. 1-9370
  • Bowman Card File Index
  • Issues of the publication, the Mayflower Descendant, beginning with vol. 1 issue 1

Lineage books and pedigree files may include copies of vital records submitted as documentation.

Record Content

The records in this collection generally include the following information:

  • Full name of applicant
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Birth dates and places of ancestors of the applicant
  • Death dates and places of ancestors of the applicant
  • Marriage dates and places of ancestors of the applicant
  • May include siblings or complete family group records

How to Use the Record

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the individual or individuals.
  • Identifying information such as their birth, marriage, or date and place.
  • Name of their spouse.

Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Research tips to keep in mind:

  • These records are generally considered secondary sources. The information should be verified in other original sources such as vital records, census records, or church records.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but is depends upon the accuracy of applicant.
  • If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for variant spellings of the names.

Record History

The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants was founded in 1896. Members of the society must document that they had an ancestor who came to Plymouth, Massachusetts on the ship, the Mayflower. There were approximately 128 passengers and crew aboard the ship when it arrived in Massachusetts in November of 1620. The genealogical collections of the society document the eligibility of members. Members of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants also become members of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Why this Record Was Created

These records were created to document the lineage of members of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, and to record additional research about the people who came to America on the Mayflower.

Record Reliability

The information in the records is usually reliable, but is depends upon the accuracy of applicant.

Related Websites

Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants

Related Wiki Articles

Massachusetts Genealogy Mayflower Genealogies

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Sources of Information for This Collection

“Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants,” database, "FamilySearch" (; from the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Braintree, MA. Descendancy Genealogical Collections . FHL digital images, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet ( September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet ( April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023