A Year of Progress - Thank you for a great 2018!

Picture12018 has been a year of auspicious change for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in preparation for the upcoming commemoration of the Mayflower voyage in 2020.

As the recognized leader in Pilgrim genealogy and research, the creation and perpetuity of GSMD has allowed for countless descendants to explore this unique heritage, cherish the sacred memory of our Pilgrim ancestors, and connect with a community of others seeking to advance the Mayflower story. 

As the year of 2018 draws to a close and we look towards the future, we are excited to share our past year of successes and experiences with you.

In 2018:

  • We changed the name of our Preliminary Review service to Mayflower Lineage Match and processed over 3,000 submissions, providing a robust stream of potential members to our Member Societies!

  • We welcomed four Family Societies to our partnership. 16 Family Societies are now endorsed by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

  • GSMD welcomed Vista Heights Middle School 8th graders this past summer and taught them about the history of Plymouth's Cole's Hill! Organized by their history teacher Aurelio Cortez, the 8th graders then placed a wreath in memoriam of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

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  • Governor General George Garmany shared preview photos of the William Bradford ‘One Small Candle’ sculpture to be placed in the Mayflower Society House garden as part of the GSMD 400th Commemoration in 2020.

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  • The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants started holding regular book club meetings lead by local historian Peggy Baker at the Mayflower Society House. The next book discussion will be In Small Things Forgotten by James Deetz on January 9. More information here.

  • GSMD presented the fourth annual Pilgrim Academic Research Award to dedicated Mayflower author and researcher Susan E. Roser during the 1620 Club Banquet in September 2018.

  • Through a partnership with FamilySearch and AmericanAncestors (NEHGS), camera crew volunteers have been on site the past year digitizing and documenting the Society's member data acquired since 1897. Out of almost 95,000, FamilySearch volunteers have captured over 77,000 member files, applications and supporting documentation for preservation this past year. The Society extends a huge thank you to the wonderful volunteer help we’ve had for preparing the files - the crew removed staples and moved over 2,000 files a week!

  • Established a 2020 partnership with Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum and announced a collaboration between GSMD and Provincetown 400. In anticipation of the upcoming commemoration, the new partnership offers PMPM membership discounts to GSMD members!

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  • Over 200 families went back in time and met with 16th-century privateers and Pilgrims during our annual Pirates Ashore weekend at the Spire Center for Performing Arts. The weekend kicked off with a free lecture Friday night by local historian and reenactor Joe Pereira.

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  • Created and implemented an audio tour of the Mayflower Society House through UniGuide, a mobile app. Members can listen to the tour here. In 2018, Members were also offered free private tours and new art pieces were added to the Member Welcome Center.

  • GSMD extended support to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in its quest to pass the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act, now pending in Congress. More information here.

  • Not only was the Mayflower Gard established by Captain General Jeff Stark and Maryland Mayflower Governor Jim Battles, but the Dress Like a Pilgrim Initiative  was passed during GBOA 2018.

  • We debuted the Mayflower Society House float in America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade! Find out how you can get involved through 2020  or check out our photo album. 

  • The town of Plymouth took a major historic step on behalf of our project to restore the First Parish Church in Plymouth’s Town Square and voted YES on a Community Preservation Grant for $2,618,000. That will repair the exterior of the Meetinghouse. Now GSMD will raise $8 to $10 million more to restore and preserve the interior.

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  • And finally, in December, the First Parish Meetinghouse congregation symbolically resigned from the National Pilgrim Memorial Meetinghouse Charitable Trust during an emotional service, thoughtfully titled "Forward Through the Ages" and led by Rev. Arthur Lavoie.  The General Society of Mayflower Descendants will become the sole owner of the deed upon approval by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

This list scratches the surface of the General Society's year of accomplishments, nevermind the tireless work GSMD Member Societies put in to further advance our ancestral legacy and expand GSMD's mission to educate using our ancestors' stories and values.

2018 was a formative time for our Society and we look forward to working with our growing membership, local and national organizations far and wide and the town of Plymouth as we prepare for the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Plimoth Colony in 2020.

Governor General George P. Garmany Jr., the Executive Committee and the staff in Plymouth wish you and your family a Happy New Year and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.

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