Last month, GSMD hosted the 40th Triennial Congress at the Society's national headquarters in Plymouth, MA. The conference stretched from September 5 through September 10, 2014 and it was a huge success. Almost 500 Society members and guests from all over the United States & Canada travelled to Plymouth to vote on changes to the bylaws, elect new officers, and most importantly – celebrate our Mayflower ancestors!
The five-day gathering was booked solid with everything from area bus tours to family society banquets. There was so much to choose from, it's a wonder how anyone was able to decide! Highlights from the weekend included:
- Free information sessions on DNA & Mayflower genealogy lead by professional genealogist Michael Maglio
- A special display at Pilgrim Hall Museum featuring rare, first edition books about Plymouth Colony during the 17th century
- A cocktail party aboard the Mayflower II, hosted by Plimoth Plantation (Click here for pictures)
- Two Mayflower weddings at Plimoth Plantation – Priscilla Mullins & John Alden and Elizabeth Tilley & John Howland
The official start of the 40th General Congress kicked off with the Pilgrim Progress on Sunday, September 7. Society members and guests dressed in Pilgrim attire and marched in a memorial procession to honor the Pilgrims who died during the first winter in Plymouth. The parade began at the Mayflower Society House and stopped at Cole's Hill for a memorial observance before ending at the Church of the Pilgrimage, where the Opening Ceremonies were held. PCN, a community news show on PAC-TV, produced an excellent news segment on the Pilgrim Progress. Click here to watch the video.
There was plenty of fun to be had at Congress, but the real work began on Monday, September 8 with the first business session. Delegates from across North America joined together for two days of hard work and deliberation as they discussed the future of GSMD. The delegates approved amendments to the bylaws and elected the Executive Committee officers that will serve from 2014-2017. Click here to read minutes from the GBOA and Delegate meetings.
The 40th General Congress culminated with a banquet on Tuesday, September 9 in Taunton, MA. Keynote speaker Michael F. Dwyer of Brandon, VT gave an exciting presentation on the Pilgrims' story, and the outgoing Governor General Bruce MacGunnigle introduced the newly elected Executive Committee officers. See the full list of Executive Committee members here.
GSMD would like to congratulate the new Executive Committee and express appreciation for the outgoing officers who have worked so hard for the Society over the past three years.
We are very excited to welcome our newest Governor General Lea Sinclair Filson. Lea is an active member of the Louisiana partner society and has served on the Executive Committee of GSMD for many years. She served as Assistant Governor General from 2011 – 2014 and is the fourth woman to be elected Governor General since the Society's founding in 1897. We know that she will do a fantastic job leading our Society in the years ahead.
Lastly, we would like to give a huge thank you to Congress Planning Chair Judy Swan, Kathy Myers, Secretary General Susan E. Roser, and the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the 40th Triennial Congress a success. The next General Congress will be held in 2017. Until then, stay in touch with GSMD by joining our email list and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.