PROVING YOUR LINEAGE
If you think you may be a Mayflower descendant, we encourage you to research your family tree. Your goal is to locate documents that link each generation back to the Mayflower.
For each person in your lineage, you need documents showing a name; date and place of birth, death and marriage; and a connection to parents. It is important that you make photocopies of each document and record exactly where you found it. The Handwritten copies are not accepted.
Begin by interviewing your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even family friends. Often, other family members have already completed some of the work.
When documenting, start with yourself and your parents and work backward. Birth certificates, death records, marriage licenses, and divorce decrees—known as "vital records"—have been kept by individual U.S. states since about 1900. When you research beyond 1900, many sources are still available: newspaper-published birth, marriage, and death notices; wills; census, court, military, immigration, pension, and cemetery records; and even records found in old family Bibles. The internet offers tips and resources for locating these items.
You will probably need to locate documents for at least 7 generations. When you get within 5 generations of your Mayflower passenger, the research is complete and published in Mayflower Families Through Five Generations. Our historian can supply this information.
Discovering your ancestors—whether they came on the Mayflower or not—will help you learn more about yourself. After all, they made you. We encourage you to learn all you can.