Welcome to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) website!
We invite you to explore these pages to find out more about the Mayflower Pilgrims and our organization. GSMD exists to learn and disseminate information about the Pilgrims and to bring together members who document descent from that brave and committed group.
The Pilgrims were a very special group of people who came to the New World for religious and practical reasons. We remember the great faith and strong conviction of the parishioners who migrated from England to Holland and then on to the New World. They refused to follow the dictates of the Church of England and insisted on their right to separate from that body. Thus they became known as “Separatists,” and their actions began the tradition of freedom of religious conscience that we enjoy today in North America. Other passengers who came in search of a better life for themselves and their families joined members of the Separatist congregation for the journey across the Atlantic. We regard all of the Mayflower passengers to be Pilgrims, whether they came for religious reasons, economic motivation, or both.
After crossing the broad stormy ocean, it became very clear that the company would need to remain united if they were to survive in the vast wilderness. Putting aside their personal differences, they wrote a remarkable document, establishing a “civil body politic.” This document, now called the Mayflower Compact, was the first declaration of self-government on the North American continent. Its legacy lives on in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
Since GSMD was founded 120 years ago, we have insisted upon strict documentary standards for membership. Today we are one of the three largest and most respected heredity organizations in America. We have Member Societies in all fifty United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Europe. Our individual members include persons of many different faiths and personal backgrounds, united by a love of history and pride in the accomplishments of the Pilgrims. If your family research shows that you have a Pilgrim ancestor, we encourage you to contact the Member Society where you live to consider joining our Society.
Welcome aboard our website, and we hope that you find helpful information here.
George P. Garmany, Jr., MD
Governor General, GSMD