About Our Society

General Society of Mayflower Descendants

Founded in 1897, The Mayflower Society, or General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our national headquarters is on the campus of the historic Mayflower Society House in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts. Membership requires proof of lineage from one of the passengers who travelled to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Our educational mission includes telling the story of the Pilgrims as well as maintaining the highest standards possible for genealogy research into the lineage of the Pilgrims. We operate a genealogy research library at our Plymouth headquarters and publish the GSMD Silver Books, a series of genealogy books that follow the descendants of the Mayflower passengers.

GSMD Mission Statement

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants, GSMD, is committed to education and lineage research on the journey of the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and their lineal descent. The Society provides education and understanding of why the Pilgrims were important, how they shaped western civilization, and what their 1620 voyage means today. 

GSMD Statement of Values

 GSMD is committed to:

• fulfilling its mission

• embodying the highest standards in all of its endeavors and maintaining its role as a leader in the world genealogy community

• promoting new scholarship, research, and publications

• encouraging a passion for history

• offering the content of its unique collections in ways that ensure it is intellectually accessible and broadly and freely available

• creating programming that engages a broad and intellectually curious audience

• encouraging the establishment of additional state and foreign membership societies which share GSMD’s mission and vision

• ensuring an institutional culture that reflects respect for staff and its work and for GSMD’s history and traditions

• ensuring GSMD’s financial strength

GSMD Vision Statement

GSMD has demonstrated over a century of dedicated effort to raising public awareness to the ideals and traditions established by the Pilgrims in order to ensure public commitment. As the preeminent authority on the legacy of the Pilgrims, GSMD will continue to play a crucial role as the best source of information and education to raise public awareness and increase the public understanding of the importance of the Pilgrim’s lives and legacies. In so doing, GSMD will:

• Preserve, protect, and interpret The Mayflower Society House property, its surrounding gardens and a sizeable collection of decorative arts, antiques and artifacts of historic significance relating to the Pilgrims and their descendants;

• Collect and maintain research materials relating to the history, culture and genealogy of the Pilgrims and their descendants housed in the Mayflower Library facility located on the grounds of The Mayflower Society House property, which is open to genealogists, historians and other researchers;

• Publish historical and genealogical research by professional genealogists and historians to establish authoritative biographical, genealogical and historical information relating to the Pilgrims and their descendants;

• Actively participate throughout the world in local community planning and coordination with other nonprofit organizations which have similar missions and goals;

• Provide active participation with member societies, established in accordance with GSMD standards, and with the approval of GSMD. Each chapter shares the mission and vision of GSMD and membership is limited to individuals who can establish direct lineal descent from a Mayflower passenger in accordance with standards and procedures established and administered by GSMD;

• Solicit financial support of donors;

• Enhance public awareness and support through educational publications, programs, historic tours, logo sales, scholarships, and initiatives to encourage GSMD chapters in similar efforts;

• Maintain financial and organizational independence;

• Administer revenue producing programs, such as tours of The Mayflower Society House, the retail sale of publications and other program-related merchandise and membership dues paid by each constituent organization.