Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants

Application Process & Documentation Requirements

The Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants (CSMD) is a member society of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD). You join the GSMD through the CSMD, and become a member of both. Why Mayflower membership?

Application Process


Parents are the key to success!  Successful applicants for membership in the CSMD need to be able to demonstrate their Mayflower ancestry by proving the parentage links from one generation to the next.  Finding the links and the supporting evidence can seem like a daunting task at the outset, and it may take a while to assemble the necessary proof.  However, many people are successful, and find the journey interesting and rewarding.  We hope this is the case for you too.

How we work with you

The Historian Team consists of a small number of volunteers.  We work interactively with you by email through a process of editing, revision and review.  Your preliminary worksheet may undergo several revisions before it's ready to send to Plymouth.  We act as guides while you develop your application, and help you set out your evidence details in the way Plymouth wants.  On occasion, we may be able to advise, but we do not carry out the necessary research.

Applicant skills needed

Access to a computer and everyday computer skills are necessary.  If you feel uneasy about computer use, you may need to enlist a friend or family member to help.   You will also benefit from having or learning about basic research skills, such as knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources.  Above all, you may need plenty of patience at times!

First contact

Please get in touch with our Co-Historian for a preliminary synopsis form.  If the information you provide for the first five generations (and sometimes more) seems valid, we will send you a follow-up email with an introductory package of the materials you will need.  This package includes a copy of the CSMD worksheet/ application form, our current guidelines and fee structure, and our format guide.

Preliminary Lineage Review

Complete the worksheet with as much information and and as many sources as you can, and email it back to a member of the Historian Team. Don’t worry if you lack sources. It isn’t expected that you will already have your line fully documented at this time. The Historian Team member will provide sources as far as possible, and assess how easy or challenging your line will be to prove. You will receive a copy of the annotated worksheet by email.

The covering memo and annotated worksheet will explain the documentation you need to complete the membership requirements.  Knowing this will make your quest much easier. An Historian Team member can usually tell from the details of dates and geographic areas whether you may have a problem obtaining the records needed for specific generations.

Once it seems that your line doesn’t appear to have significant problem areas, you may wish to continue with the application process,  If so, payment of the preliminary application fee ($55.50 CAD) is due at this point. The Historian Team will explain the payment process in the cover memo.  Or you may wish to contact our Treasurer for payment details.

Application Fees

  • All application fees are payable by cheque or money order. 
  • If you decide to continue with the application process after the Historian Team has reviewed your lineage, a preliminary review fee of $55.50 CAD is payable to CSMD.
  • Once you complete the entire application process, the Historian Team member you have been working with sends your application to the Historian General in Plymouth for approval. Your $75 USD fee with a cheque or money order made out to GSMD must accompany your application at this point.

Note that we offer a family member rate of $75 (USD), with no review fee, for those who share parents or grandparents with one of our current members.

Once your lineage has reached the approval stage, our annual membership fee of $45 (CAD) may be due. Details here.

Previously approved relatives

If a relative has previously joined the GSMD, let us know. We will obtain a copy of that relative’s paper on your behalf and if it is well-documented, it will be invaluable to you in documenting your lineage.

If you don’t know if a relative has previously joined the society, let us know and we will send a synopsis of your line to Plymouth to check for a previously approved, well-documented paper that matches your line.

Please note: the Mayflower Lineage Match on the GSMD website is not an application, it is a search for a previously approved well-documented paper; the fee is $45 USD. It is not an application; membership is approached through each Member Society directly, not the GSMD. 

Documenting Your Lineage

Each Member Society, including the CSMD, follows these requirements as set forth by the General Society.

Once an Historian Team member has assessed your line and has provided sources as far as possible, we will work with you as you gather your documentation. The process of documenting your Mayflower line can be rewarding. It can also be challenging.

If you have questions, or run into problems along the way, please contact the member of the Historian Team who is working with you.

Sending Your Documentation

When it's time to assemble your materials near the end of the process, we will ask to see them.   When the time comes, the Historian Team will outline how to assemble your documents, and where to mail them. We will need one printed copy of each piece of documentation, sent by regular mail to your Historian Team member. Please do not email documents in attachments as they will not be read.

As you prepare your documents, please keep in mind the following points

  • Don’t send everything you know about your ancestors — this is time consuming to review.  Unnecessary sources are not helpful in proving a lineage
  • Don’t send pedigree charts, pictures or a written history of your family
  • Don’t make notations on the copies of your documents.  Use post-it notes to add notes, or to number them according to generation.
  • The General Society in Plymouth keeps copies of documents necessary to prove the lineage.  All other items will be disposed of.
  • Do not send original documents, send photocopies.

Documentation Requirements

The following documentation requirements are applicable to each Member Society, as set forth by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants:

  1. References must be included for each and every event (i.e. each birth, marriage and death) for both persons in each generation, beginning with the third generation. Due to the excellent work of the Mayflower Families through Five Generations Project/Silver Book Project of the General Society and its researchers, all of the Mayflower families are represented in print for the first four (MFIP) or five (MF) generations, so these early generations are easy to document. If you do not have access to these publications, not to worry, we do. Don’t forget to check out Application Tips.
  2. Of the utmost importance is providing proof of the parentage of your line carriers. Whenever they are available, we require long form birth, death and marriage records to prove each event in each generation.
  3. Please keep the originals of all of your documentation (birth/marriage/death records/certificates, etc.). Send us copies only. Original copies are not required and should stay with your records. Note as well that the copies of your documents don’t need to be certified.
  4. One copy of all documentation must be submitted to the Co-Historian. These will eventually be deposited in the files of the General Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Please don’t email your documents as attachments.
  5. When ordering vital records, always order the long form records. Short form birth, death and marriage records are fancy little typed certificates which contain the bare minimum of information; what we need is the long form original record which contains much more information.
  6. References are classified under two headings: primary and secondary. Primary documentation in the form of long form birth, marriage and death records, is expected whenever the year and geographic location you are dealing with deems them available. Only when these birth/marriage/death records are not available, will other primary sources and secondary sources be considered. Examples of each follow in order of preference:

    Primary Sources

    • Vital records of birth, marriage and death (long form records)
    • Church records
    • Family bible records (include title page, with name and address of owner)
    • Marriage bonds and licenses
    • Mortality schedules and cemetery records
    • Probate and land records
    • Guardianship records
    • Contemporary family letters and records
    • Tax assessments
    • Military or pension records
    • Federal/provincial/state census records showing family relationship

    Secondary Sources

    • Town histories and family genealogies (with copy of title page)
    • Federal/provincial/state census records not showing family relationship
    • Newspaper obituaries and marriage accounts
    • Gravestone/marker photos
    • Affidavits
  7. Events that occurred before 1900 should be proven with birth, death and marriage records where possible. If these sources are not available, other primary and secondary sources may be considered.
  8. Since records are generally available after 1900, all dates after 1900 will be expected to be proven with full vital records: birth/death/marriage records. These records should all be “long form” records. When vital records offices will not release records, a letter stating this should be acquired from the said office and included with your documentation.

    We have an extensive library collection of Mayflower-related books that may also assist you.

    Not Acceptable Sources

  9. The Mayflower Index may not be cited as a reference as it is an index only, is not documented and is known to contain errors.
  10. Data found at can be helpful for providing clues in your research, but may not be cited as a source.
  11. Family trees, indexes, website data found online cannot be cited, however printouts of actual images of records found online are acceptable.
  12. Transcripts and abstracts of records, such as typed or handwritten accounts of census records, are generally not acceptable — we need copies of the actual records. On the other hand, handwritten family letters containing genealogical data could be acceptable if they are signed, dated and are within an early time period (i.e. pre-1900) when a primary record may not be available.

Approval Process

This is perhaps the only part of the membership process that may differ among Member Societies.  The following comments apply to the Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants only.  This entire process can take two months or more.

Once the CSMD Historian Team is confident that you have met the documentation requirements, we will update and print your final lineage paper, and mail it to you for your signature.  When you mail your signed application form back to us, you will need to include a cheque or money order for $75 USD payable to GSMD (General Society of Mayflower Descendants). This is the processing fee Plymouth requires. 

Your application will then travel to Plymouth for review. The GSMD Historian General's final approval may take several months.  Upon approval, Plymouth will notify us, and we in turn will tell you.

We then will assign a new CSMD membership number to you, and advise Plymouth.  The GSMD Historian General’s office will also assign a new General Society number to you, and will email this to the CSMD Historian Team, along with a copy of your approved lineage paper.

As a new CSMD member, you will then receive a membership package, consisting of a copy of your approved lineage paper, your GSMD membership certificate,, our latest newsletter, and the CSMD Governor’s official welcome.

We may ask for the first year’s dues at this time -- $45 CAD payable to CSMD (Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants).