The Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants (CSMD) is a member society of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD). You join the GSMD through the CSMD, and become a member of both. Why Mayflower membership?
Complete the worksheet with as much information and sources as you can, and email it back to the Co-Historian. Don’t worry if you lack sources. It isn’t expected that you will already have your line fully documented at this time. The Co-Historian will send your worksheet to the CSMD Historian, who will confirm the validity of your early generations, provide sources as far as he can, and assess how easy or challenging your line will be to prove. The Historian will return copies of the complete annotated worksheet to you and the Co-Historian. The worksheet will tell you what documentation is required to complete the membership requirements which will make your quest much easier. The Historian can usually tell from the dates and geographic areas you are dealing with whether you may have a problem obtaining the records needed for specific generations. Once he is confident that your line doesn’t appear to have any problem areas, you may wish to continue with the application process and pay the application fee of $55.50 (CAD). Contact our Treasurer for payment details.
All application fees are payable by cheque or money order. If you decide to continue with the application process after the Historian has reviewed your lineage, $55.50 (CAD) is payable to CSMD. Once you complete the entire application process, the Historian sends your application to the Historian General in Plymouth for approval. Your $75 (US) fee made out to “GSMD” must accompany your application.
Note that we offer a family member rate of $75 (US) for those who share parents or grandparents of one of our current members.
Once your lineage has reached the approval stage, our annual dues of $45 (CAD) are due. Details here.
Previously approved relatives
If a relative has previously joined the GSMD, let us know. We will obtain a copy of that relative’s paper on your behalf and if it is well-documented, it will be invaluable to you in documenting your lineage.
If you don’t know if a relative has previously joined the society, let us know and a synopsis of your line will be sent to Plymouth to have them check for a previously approved, well-documented paper that matches your line.
Please note: the preliminary review form on the GSMD website is not an application; membership is approached through each member society directly, not the GSMD. You may wish to complete a preliminary review form yourself to have the GSMD do a search for $25 (US) for a previously approved well-documented paper.
Documenting Your Lineage
Each member society, including the CSMD, follows these same requirements as set forth by the GSMD.
Once the Historian has assessed your line and provided sources as far as possible, our Co-Historian will work with you as you gather your documentation. The process of documenting your Mayflower line can be rewarding. It can also be challenging. When the Co-Historian feels that you have gathered all the necessary documentation, she will send all of it to our Historian for approval. If all is in order, the Historian will send you your final application for your signature. When you return your signed application to the Historian, it must be accompanied by the remainder of the application fee, $75 (US), payable to GSMD. Your application will then be sent to Plymouth for final approval by the Historian General. Note that this approval process can take several weeks or months.
Sending Your Documentation
We require one copy of your documentation, sent by regular mail to our Co-Historian. Please do not email documents in attachments. Please…
- don’t send everything you know about your ancestors — this is time consuming to review and weed out unnecessary sources that are not helpful in proving a lineage
- don’t send pedigree charts, pictures or a written history of your family
- don’t make notations on the copies of your documents (use post-it notes to add notes, or to number them according to generation). Only copies of documents that are necessary to prove the lineage are kept by the General Society, all other papers will be disposed.
The following documentation requirements are applicable to each partner society, as set forth by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants:
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 Mayflower Families through Five Generations Project/Silver Book Project of the General Society and its 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, we do. Don’t forget to check out Application 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.). Send us copies only. Original copies are not required and should stay with your records. Note as well that the copies of your documents don’t need to be certified.
4. One copy of all documentation must be submitted to the Co-Historian. These will eventually be deposited in the files of the General Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Please don’t email your documents 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 birth/marriage/death records are not available, will other primary sources and secondary sources be considered. Examples of each follow in order of preference:
- Vital records of birth, marriage and death (long form records)
- Church records
- Family bible records (include title page, with name and address of owner)
- Marriage bonds and licenses
- Mortality schedules and 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
- 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/marker photos
7. Events that occurred 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. 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.
We have an extensive library collection of Mayflower-related books that may also assist you.
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. Data found at familysearch.org 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 found online are acceptable.
12. Transcripts and abstracts of records, such as typed or handwritten accounts of census records, are generally not acceptable — we need 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.
This is perhaps the only part of the membership process that may differ between each member society, therefore these comments pertain to the Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants only.
Once the CSMD Historian is confident that you have completed the documentation requirements, he will complete your final lineage paper and mail it to you for your signature. When you return the signed application, we request that you also email a photograph (head shot) of yourself along with a short bio, both of which will be added to our membership database. We also ask for payment for the remainder of the application fee, $75 (US) payable to GSMD (General Society of Mayflower Descendants). Your lineage is then approved by the CSMD Historian and sent (along with your documentation and cheque) to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth for final approval by the Historian General.
Plymouth then notifies the CSMD Historian of the approval of the new member and the new member is notified of his or her acceptance. We ask for the first year’s dues at this time, $45 (CAD) payable to CSMD (Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants).
The CSMD Historian provides Plymouth the new member’s CSMD membership number. It takes about a week for the Historian General’s office to email the CSMD Historian the new member’s General Society membership number and a copy of their approved lineage paper. The membership package, including a copy of the approved lineage paper, GSMD membership certificate and latest newsletter, is then sent to the new member, along with the Governor’s official welcome. This entire process can take four months.
In addition to the General Society certificate you will receive upon your approval, you may also wish to purchase a CSMD membership certificate which is available for $5. Please provide the Historian your current mailing address if you are interested in purchasing a CSMD membership certificate.