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Anyone who arrived in Plymouth as a passenger on the Mayflower is considered a Pilgrim, with no distinction being made on the basis of their original purposes for making the voyage. Proven lineage from a passenger, approved by a Historian General, qualifies one to be a member of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
More than one hundred years ago, a group of descendants of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, saw the need for a national society to honor their memory. The intention was to remember these Pilgrims who established Plymouth Colony.
Today there are tens-of-millions of individuals descended from these brave souls. It is the goal of The Mayflower Society to join together people who share this heritage and to carry on the memory of our Pilgrim ancestors.
The group of 102 passengers who crowded aboard Mayflower for the crossing was not homogenous. Many of the passengers were members of the Leiden congregation, but they were joined by a number of English families or individuals who were hoping to better their life situations, or were seeking financial gain. These two general groups have sometimes been referred to as the "saints" and "strangers".
Although the Leiden congregation had sent its strongest members with various skills for establishing the new colony, nearly half of the passengers died the first winter of the "great sickness."