Getting into the Mayflower Society

by Scott Jangro on May 3, 2010

Mass Mayflower Society.png

About 25 years ago, my grandfather purchased Massachusetts Mayflower Society Life memberships for my mother, my sister and I (having himself been accepted into the Mayflower Society about ten years prior).

If I remember the process correctly, there was little to do for my mother who actually took care of the correspondence. My grandfather was in and all we needed to do was provide some easily accessible birth certificates. It took a bit over a year for the actual approval process (I’m not sure why), but there wasn’t any pushback that I recall. Just a lot of waiting.

Now I’ve got children of my own and I’d like to continue the tradition. About 8 years ago I embarked on the same process, (a) to get my daughter (my only child at the time) inducted, and (b) to document a second lineage to the Mayflower passenger William Brewster.

I provided the appropriate birth certificates and submitted the application with the $100 processing fee.

It was rejected!

It turns out that after 20 years, the Mayflower Society has become much more strict in their documentation requirements. The historian returned my William Brewster lineage papers all marked up with red stars where I was missing information. Further, even with my currently documented line to Stephen Hopkins, they cannot be admitted without further documentation.

They require all Birth, Marriage, Death and Divorce records for each person in the line. A tall order.

This was information not required for my Grandfather to get himself and two subsequent generations in. Now I’ve got three children, and more than ever I want to give them the same gift that my Grandfather gave to us.

It seems that I’ve got some work to do. And I know from personal experience, and listening to stories, that there are some pretty tough cases in the mix here.

Time has passed, and technology has advanced. We’ll see if I can’t get the holes filled. Maybe with a little help from my friends here on FamilyTreeCircles, Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

Will you follow along with me on this personal project?

I’ll be documenting in detail what I am going through. Please follow along and see if you can’t help me get through some brick walls as I attempt to complete the documentation of my lines to William Brewster and Stephen Hopkins.

At the very least, wish me luck!

Continue reading about my “Mayflower Project” here:
The Mayflower Society application process

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith May 3, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

Dr. Bill ;-)
http://drbilltellsancestorstories.blogspot.com/
Author of “Back to the Homeplace”
and “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”

Reply

Scott Jangro May 4, 2010 at 12:06 am

Hi Dr. Bill. Thanks for the welcome!

I’ve been very impressed with Geneabloggers.com from what I’ve seen so far, both the website and the active, friendly blogging community, your note case in point.

Reply

Jacky May 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I am currently trying to confirm a line to William Brewster (also John Turner, who married William’s granddaughter, Mary). Hopefully I will be able to one day apply for membership to the society as well! :)

Reply

Scott Jangro May 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Hi Jacky.

Here’s the beginning of my William Brewster line. Do we have any in common?

http://skitch.com/jangro/dnk5b/evernote

Good luck to you on your quest!

Reply

Heather Rojo May 6, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Dear Scott, I’ve been involved with the Mayflower Society for years, and here at the New Hampshire Society we never reject anyone! I don’t know who your state historian is, but here we work with everyone until their application is complete. We have had several very good volunteer historians to handle applications here, and I’m always surprised to hear that some other states have given people a hassle. Enough said, stick with it, provide a B, M, D, for all your ancestors and their spouses, and please ASK your historian for help when you get stuck! I know that NH has a teeny number of applicants compared to other states, but the role of a Mayflower state historian is to ASSIST not reject. PS. Welcome to the wonderful world of geneablogging. We will all be following your progress!

Reply

Scott Jangro May 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Thanks Heather.

I suppose a flat out “rejection” isn’t what it was. But I was handed back an application that was marked up as requiring some primary documentation for people back in generation 5 and 6 that wasn’t previously required and certainly impossible if nobody has produced them by now. These are not unknown people to the Mayflower Society.

Here’s a sample of what it looked like… http://skitch.com/jangro/dnk5b/evernote

Talk about a kick in the stomach to someone who was already in the Society and just wanted to get his daughter in! It stopped me in my tracks (and I was out the $100 application fee.)

Anyway, fast forward 8 years, which is how long it took me to muster up the gumption to try again.

The good news is that the current historian is much more pragmatic about what records are required, or even possible to obtain, but still some records are needed that they didn’t require previously. I’ve got some holes to fill starting in generation 8 (a death certificate from 1886 being the earliest.)

This, at least, seems less a sisyphean task, and one I’m happy to embark on.

I don’t want to say anything bad about anybody; the historians have been professional, if terse. But I certainly didn’t get warm fuzzies. Maybe that’s their way of keeping people from getting too dependent on them and asking lots of questions. Surely they get a lot of people who ask a ton of questions (I certainly am not one of them).

Reply

connie August 27, 2010 at 1:24 am

You & I coul have EASLIY written he exact same frustration! Back in 1990 I ws accepted into the Mayflower Socety undert STephen Hopkins. This summer I realized I also descend from William Brewster- having a Hopkins marry a Mayo. so I contacted th National Scoeity to whch she said I had to go thru my state society. I then contacted that person & gvae her my info. Showing the Brewster info. Th brewster info is EXACTLy the same as my Hokins- just sub rewster in for Hopkins on top line…then about gen. 4 n down- IDENTICAL INFO> well…they wil nOT accept my old info for a new SUPPLEMENT. a SUPPLEMENT!!! Its not like I am tryin to get a patent on a scientific discovery!! hahha Simply subsitutig Brewster fr Hopkinbs- all the realatives are EXACTLY the same….So I have contacted the Iowa vital records- only to discover they had a FIRE- DESTORYED recors- NOTHING before 1880…so…wat am I to do. I do have newpaper cluppings, photos of tombstones, etc…Bible records…nope- if there is a b/c or d/c to hae, then tht MUST be the primary source….welll…come on now….
ad ow they wantall records on myself, my parents, my grandmother, g-gr, and gg grma…not all easliy avaible…And this is what I am saying- it is the EACT SAME info…so whats the deal here…and this is for SUPPLEMENT line..not like I am trying for first time!!
oh and get thi- just this July- I WAS INDEEDaccepted into the ELder William Bewster Society…Go figure!!!! So I feel your frustration!!!

Reply

Judy Rowse March 18, 2011 at 8:10 am

Having had a long interest in history I find the idea of the “Mayflower Society” really fascinating, and I wonder if interested parties who believe they had ancestors among the early settlers to New England, might want to check out the possibilty of the Winthrop Society. Although I believe the majority of those emigrants were from the East Anglia area of England, I know there was at least one person from Dartmouth in Devon You can find the web site at: http://www.winthropsociety.com/

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: