General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Founded in 1897
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.
Celebrating the Pilgrim Spirit
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."