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Application Procedure & Documentation Requirements


Application Procedure


 Contact our Historian, Susan Roser, and ask for a worksheet with which to document and track your line of descent. An electronic copy can be sent to you in either WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format.  The non-refundable application fee is $95.00, with a reduced rate of $70.00 for family of current members. You will receive instructions about completing your worksheet and emailing a copy to our Historian. After the Historian has reviewed your line and you are ready to make your application to the society, this application fee should be paid. Note that the family member rate is available for relatives of members who share the same parents or grandparents.

 Complete the worksheet, citing the sources you presently have, then return a copy by e-mail, or a photo-copy by regular mail, to our Historian.  (Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope if corresponding by regular mail.) Don't worry if you are missing sources, the whole point is to show the Historian what you have and don't have. Our Historian will use the resources in her research library to check your line, add any missing data and/or sources for your first five or six generations (possibly more) and then advise you as to what is needed to complete the documentation requirements. The Historian is available to provide advice and assistance along the way should you require it.

 PLEASE NOTE: The synopsis form at the General Society website is not an application form. Interested parties contact their state society directly for membership, not the General Society. The form at their site is for having a search done for a previously approved paper (see below).

Previously approved relatives

 If a relative previously joined the society based on your line, let the Historian know. The requirements are continually being strengthened to ensure well documented papers, therefore some papers approved in recent years may still require more documentation.  If you already have a copy of your relative's paper, a copy should be forwarded to the Historian and she will let you know if additional documentation will be needed. If you are aware of a relative being a member but do not have a copy of this previously approved paper, let the Historian know and she will obtain a copy for you.

Checking for a previously approved line

 There is a way to find out if someone else has joined the society based on your line, you can send a synopsis of your lineage to the General Society and ask them to do a search for a well documented paper that matches yours.  A synopsis form can be filled out at the General Societyís site, with your Mayflower passenger as #1. Note that the cost for this search is only $10.00. If a previously approved, well documented paper is found, you will be notified and you will be able to purchase a copy of this paper for $10.00 if you wish. Or, inform the Canadian Historian that a paper has been found and she will obtain a copy on your behalf. You will be able to use the data and sources from that paper, up to the point where your lines branch off, which means your documentation efforts will begin at this point.  If the search proves successful, this could be extremely beneficial and cut down on the number of generations you will have to document. Note that our Historian, Susan Roser will also need a copy of the paper you receive.


Sending Your Documentation


We require one photo-copy of your documentation, sent by regular mail to our Historian. Please do not email documents in attachments. Please do not bog down our Historian by sending everything you know about your ancestors; this makes it very time consuming to go through and weed out unneccessary sources which are not helpful in proving a lineage. Please do not send pedigree charts, pictures or a written history of your family. Please do not make notations on the photo-copies of your documents, use sticky notes to add notes, or to number them according to generation. Only the photo-copies of documents which are necessary to prove the lineage are kept by the General Society, all other papers will be disposed of.


Documentation Requirements


The documentation requirements are applicable to each State Society as they are those set forth by the General Society.  They include:

1.  References must be included for each and every event (i.e. each birth, marriage and death) for both persons in each generation, beginning with the third generation.  Due to the excellent work of the Five Generations Project of the General Society, and other researchers, all of the Mayflower families are represented in print for the first four (MFIP) or five (MF) generations, so these early generations are easy to document.  If you do not have access to these publications, not to worry, the Historian does. Don't forget to check out Research Tips.

2.  Of the utmost importance is providing proof of the parentage of your line carriers. Whenever they are available, we require long form birth, death and marriage records to prove each event in each generation

3.  Please keep the originals of all of your documentation (birth/marriage/death records/ certificates, etc. ) and send only photo-copies.  Original copies are not required and should stay with your records.  Note as well that the copies of your documents DO NOT need to be certified.

4.  One photo-copy of all documentation must be submitted to the Historian.  These will eventually be deposited in the files of the General Society in Plymouth, Mass. Please do NOT email your documents to the Historian as attachments.

5.  When ordering vital records, always order the "long form" records. Short form birth, death and marriage records are fancy little typed certificates which contain the bare minimum of information; what we need is the long form original record which contains much more information.

6.  References are classified under two headings:  Primary and Secondary.  Primary documentation in the form of long form birth, marriage and death records, is expected whenever the year and geographic location you are dealing with deems them available. Only when these b/m/d records are not available, will other primary sources and secondary sources be considered.  Examples of each follow in order of preference.

Primary Sources

- vital records of birth, marriage and death (long form records!)

- church records

- family bible records (incl. title pg, with name and address of owner)

- marriage bonds & licenses

- mortality schedules & cemetery records

- probate and land records

- guardianship records

- contemporary family letters and records

- tax assessments

- military or pension records

- federal/provincial/state census records showing family relationship

Secondary Sources

- town histories and family genealogies (with copy of title page)

- federal/provincial/state census records not showing family relationship

- newspaper obituaries and marriage accounts

- gravestone photos

- affidavits

7.  Events which ocurred before 1900 should be proven with birth, death and marriage records where possible. If these sources are not available, other primary and secondary sources may be considered.

8.  Since records are generally available after 1900, all dates after 1900 will be expected to be proven with full vital records: birth/death/marriage records and these records should all be "long form" records. When vital records offices will not release records, a letter stating this should be acquired from the said office and included with your documentation.

Not Acceptable Sources

9.  The Mayflower Index may not be cited as a reference as it is an index only, is not documented and is known to contain errors.

10.  The files at can be helpful for providing clues in your research, but may not be cited as a source.

11.  Family trees, indexes, website data found online cannot be cited, however printouts of actual images of records on the internet are acceptable.

12.  Transcripts and abstracts of records, such as typed or handwritten accounts of census records, are generally not acceptable - we need photo-copies of the actual records. On the other hand, handwritten family letters containing genealogical data could be acceptable if they are signed, dated and are within an early time period (i.e. pre 1900) when a primary record may not be available.


Approval Process


This is perhaps the only part of the membership process which may differ from each state society, therefore these comments pertain to the Canadian Society only.

Once the Canadian Historian is confident that you have completed the documentation requirements, she will complete your final lineage paper and mail it to you for your signature. When you return the signed application, we request that you include a photograph (head shot) of yourself along with a short bio which will both be deposited in our membership database.  We also ask for payment of first year's dues at this time. Your lineage is then approved by the Canadian Historian and mailed (along with your documentation) to the headquarters of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth, Mass., for final approval by the Historian General.

In three to four weeks, Plymouth notifies the Canadian Historian by email, of the approval of the new member who responds by providing Plymouth with the Canadian Society membership number which is issued to the new member. The new member is notified of his/her acceptance. It takes about a week for the Historian General to email to the Canadian Historian, the new memberís General Society membership number and copy of their approved lineage paper. The membership package, including a copy of the approved lineage paper, membership certificate, newsletter and copy of the Canadian Society's constitution and by-laws are then mailed to the new member along with the official welcome from our Governor. This entire process can take up to two months.

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Last Updated:  April 2013
Copyright © 2000- , by Susan E. Roser