Tuesday, December 15, 2020

American Ancestors Collection: "General Society of Mayflower Descendants Membership Applications, 1620-1920"

 American Ancestors has a relatively new genealogy record collection, titled "General Society of Mayflower Descendants Membership Applications, 1620-1920."

The database description says:

In 1620, a brave group of 102 men, women and children sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, searching for a life of religious and civic freedom. To honor Pilgrim ancestors and keep their story alive, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants was created in 1897. Membership requires proof of lineage from one of the passengers who traveled to America on this historic voyage in 1620.

Through the years, the Mayflower Society has established a network of more than 150,000 descendants all over the world who form lifelong bonds, cherish the sacred memory of our ancestors and continue on their legacy through purpose, preservation, and education. For more information about this society you can see the General Society of Mayflower Descendants web page.

This database includes all applications and supplemental applications to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants starting from their founding in 1897 and including only applicants who were born before January 1, 1920. The database index includes; the applicant, their ancestral Mayflower passenger, and the indexed birth, marriage and death information for each generation of descendants on the application. In addition, the membership number for the general society is provided. The dates of 93% the genealogical records indexed from these applications fall between 1620 and 1920. You may find marriage and death records for dates well after 1920.

This database was created through a partnership of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, AmericanAncestors, and FamilySearch. We thank the employees and volunteers of all three organizations for amazing work to make this information available online.

The page numbers for the applications are in the format [number]:[page]. The numbers keep individual applications separate. For number 102, the first page is 102:1. The value of the Note field, presented on the Record and Transcript pages, indicates how many pages there are for that application. Most applications have 4 pages, but some supplemental applications have 2 or 3 pages.

 I wanted to see if this collection had any of my ancestors in it.  I have 14 Mayflower passengers through seven males - William White, George Soule, Francis Cooke, Richard Warren, Stephen Hopkins, William Brewster and Samuel Fuller.  Are any of my ancestors in this collection?

I started with my second great-grandfather, Henry White (1824-1885), but he was not in the collection.  However, I did find Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872), my 3rd great-grandfather, in the collection.  

I put Jonathan Oatley and his birth and death years in the search fields on the screen above, and here are the results: 

There are 15 records for Jonathan Oatley in a number of different applications.  I clicked on the first one on the list and saw:

That is the first of four images for the application for Howard Martin, descended from the Mayflower passenger of Richard Warren.

The third image starts the list of descendants of Richard Warren for this application:

Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872) is in the 8th generation on the page.  His line back to Richard Warren is listed on the page above.  I recognized every name on the page (line person and spouse - whew!).

The list goes down to the 11th generation - the applicant, Richard Martin - on the 4th image of the application.

What this means is that if I can prove to the Mayflower Society that I descend from Jonathan Oatley (i.e., from Jonathan to me in the 13th generation), then I can use the information on this application, and perhaps others like it, to join the Mayflower Society.

These specific applications are for my 3rd great-grandfather, Jonathan Oatley.  That means that the applicants on these applications are my cousins and I may be able to find their grandchildren or great-grandchildren in my AncestryDNA and other DNA matches.  

Now I need to check my other 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th great-grandparents to see if they are in this record collection.  I'll bet I find several more!

Do you have New England ancestors?  If so, you may want to check out this record collection to see if one or more of your ancestors are in this record collection.


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Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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Judy Larson Leiser said...

Hi Randy,
Do you need to be a "direct line" relation to the Mayflower Society?
Judy Leiser

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Judy,

Yes, to become a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants you have to have a direct line back to one of the passengers.