41st Mayflower Congress - Overview 2017

The 41st Mayflower General Congress was a great success!

Congratulations to our newly elected Executive Committee for the 2017-2020 term:

Governor General – George P. Garmany Jr., MD of the Colorado Society
Assistant Governor General – Susan E. Roser of the Canadian Society
Secretary General – Jane E. Hurt of the Kansas Society
Treasurer General – Elizabeth “Liz” W. Gaudreau of the Colorado Society
Historian General – Marjorie "Midge" K. Hurtuk of the Connecticut Society
Elder General – Rev. Dr. Thomas F. Pike of the New York Society
Captain General – Jeff Stark of the Wisconsin Society
Surgeon General – Naomi S. Mann, MD of the Louisiana Society
Counsellor General – Richard S. Gilmore, Esq. of the Massachusetts Society
Member at Large West – Lisa Pennington of the Texas Society
Member at Large East – Donald T. Studley, CPA of the Connecticut Society
Member at Large – Jane Schleinzer of the Illinois Society
(Non-Voting) Former Governor General – Lea Sinclair Filson of the Louisiana, Europe, and Massachusetts Society

Mayflower descendants from the US, Canada and Europe converged at the Hotel 1620 in Plymouth for five days of tours, seminars, presentations and business meetings. Congress business meetings were held on Monday, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Here are a few highlights from the week:

  • Celebrations kicked off with a worship service at the Fort/Meetinghouse at Plimoth Plantation followed by a breakfast buffet. That afternoon, the Pilgrim Progress marched from the Mayflower Society House to the sarcophagus on Cole's Hill for the wreath laying ceremony by the Governor General, then continued to the First Parish Meetinghouse in Town Square for the Opening Ceremony. 
  • During the Opening Ceremony, it was announced that the First Parish congregation, that morning, voted to move forward from our ‘Joint Venture Agreement’ to a Charitable Trust that will continue while we raise the endowment. Our fundraising efforts will now begin in earnest.
  • Congress approved the proposal of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and FamilySearch to digitize and index all Mayflower applications on file. This will greatly enhance genealogists’ ability to acquire source documentation and is expected to assist in increasing the number of applicants to the Society. 
  • Congress approved to follow the directives suggested in the DBVW Feasibility Study, conditional upon raising funds, to build an Annex and upgrades between the Library and Admin Buildings.
  • The Governor General’s Distinguished Service Award was presented to Muriel Curtis Cushing, Florida Society Historian and creator of the GSMD online Pilgrim to Passenger Project.
  • Mayflower author and historian Caleb Johnson publically announced exciting, new discoveries in a presentation Monday evening. Caleb, Sue Allan and Simon Neal uncovered the English origins and ancestry of Pilgrims William White, Susanna (Jackson)(White) Winslow and Dorothy May. For details see Caleb’s website mayflowerhistory.com or the most recent issue of The American Genealogist.
  • Congress approved a beautiful bronze sculpture of Governor William Bradford seated at a table that holds a candle with an eternal flame. Once completed, it will be installed in the gardens of the Mayflower Society house in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ voyage.
  • GSMD has partnered with FTDNA to use DNA tests in their database to find direct descendants and identify a line of direct descent from each of the Mayflower Pilgrims.
  • GSMD was honored to have BBC Radio Nottingham at our 41st General Congress speaking with members and sharing stories from across the pond. As a thank you, the BBC gifted a handmade quilt made by the Nottinghamshire branch of the Quilters' Guildto the Society.  
  • Congress concluded with a banquet held at the beautiful Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, MA on Tuesday evening. Speakers for the evening included former United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom Matthew Barzun and GSMD geneticist Dr. Jason Kolowski. 
  • On Wednesday evening, an exclusive banquet was held for the Governor General’s 1620 Club. Plimoth Plantation's Deputy Director Richard Pickering was the keynote speaker. GSMD honored 2017 Pilgrim Academic Research Award recipient, Pilgrim scholar Jeremy Bangs and his colleague Jori Zijlmans of the Netherlands accepted the award in his place. 1620 Club members received certificates and gifts of appreciation.

GSMD wishes to thank all those who worked tirelessly on Congress 2017 including the Meetings and Events Committee headed by Linda K. White and supervised by Treasurer General Susan Roser, the entire Plymouth staff supervised by Executive Director Dr. Walter Powell, the many volunteers and all those who spent their time and money to attend and serve the society. 

Photos of the 41st Mayflower Congress are available for download through our Flickr. Click here to look through our Congress albums >>

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