Application Process

Application Process

Please get in touch with a member of our Historian Team for a  worksheet to list your lineage. Complete the worksheet with as much information and as many sources as you can, and email it back to us. Don’t worry if you lack sources, it isn’t expected that you will already have your line fully documented at this time.

Parents are the key to success! Successful applicants for membership in the Canadian Society need to demonstrate their Mayflower ancestry by proving parentage of the line carriers from one generation to the next. Finding the supporting evidence can seem like a daunting task at the outset, but it is a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Some individuals may descend from more than one Mayflower passenger; however, you can only apply for one certificate at a time. For the first certificate we recommend you choose the Mayflower passenger that is the easiest to prove. After that you can apply for a Supplemental certificate for another passenger, and then another. The fees for Supplemental certificates are the same as for your first certificate (Preliminary Administrative Review fee and GSMD fee), but there is no additional CSMD membership fee.

Children under 18 do not qualify for CSMD membership. However, CSMD has a Junior Program administered by the Nova Scotia Colony. There is a one-time fee of $25 until the Junior member turns 18. Any child under the age of 18 can be registered either by their grandparents, as long as the grandparent is an approved member of the CSMD, or by their parent, if their parent is a CSMD approved member. For full details see

For children over the age of 18, they can apply for regular membership and if their parent/s or grandparent/s are already CSMD members, they will only have to provide long form documents for themselves or themselves and their parents, when they apply for membership in the usual manner. The Preliminary Administrative Review fee is not payable for Family Applications which link a child to a parent or to a grandparent). You cannot apply for membership for yourself and a child over 18 at the same time. You should first obtain a certificate for yourself and then your child can apply for one, but will only have to provide long form documents for his/her generation.

The Historian Team consists of a small number of volunteers; we work with you by email and are here to advise you, and provide support and encouragement during your journey. If you encounter challenging or problem areas, we will suggest alternative research ideas.

The Historian Team member will review your line, provide sources as far as possible, and assess how easy or challenging your line will be to prove. You will receive a copy of your updated worksheet by email, with recommendations as to what you will need to complete the documentation of your line. 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.

At this time, we will also email you an introductory package of materials. This package includes our current guidelines and fee structure and lets you know the application procedure.

Once you have received our preliminary review, 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. Payment details on bottom of the Membership page.

Please read our Guidelines for Applicants.

Each Member Society, including the CSMD, follows documentation 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.

All application fees are payable by cheque or money order and are non-refundable. If you decide to continue with the application process after the Historian Team has reviewed your lineage, a preliminary administrative review fee of $55.50 CAD is payable to CSMD.

Once you complete the entire application process, the CSMD Historian approves your application, then sends it, along with your documentation to the Historian General in Plymouth for final approval. Your cheque or money order made out to GSMD for $75 USD must accompany your application to Plymouth.

Note that we offer a family member rate with no review fee. For those who share parents or grandparents with one of our current members, we ask only for the $75 USD fee to cover the fee in Plymouth. Once your lineage has reached the approval stage, our annual membership fee of $45 (CAD) will be due.

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. In both cases, we can use the documentation found with the previously approved application which will save you time.

Please note: If you visit the GSMD website the Mayflower Lineage Match  is not an application, it is a search for a previously approved well-documented paper; the fee is $75 USD. This is the search our Historian Team can do at no cost to 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. Please do not email documents in attachments unless we ask you to do so. As you prepare your documents, keep in mind the following points:

  • Please keep your original documents and send us photocopies.
  • Please do not send everything you know about your ancestors — this is time consuming to review; unnecessary sources are not helpful in proving a lineage.
  • Please do not send pedigree charts, pictures or a written history of your family.
  • Try not to make notations on the copies of your documents. If it is necessary to highlight something, please use post-it notes and number them according to generation.
  • Please do not staple your documentation together.
  • The General Society in Plymouth keeps copies of documents necessary to prove the lineage. All other items will be disposed of.

Documentation Requirements

One copy of all documentation must be submitted to the Historian, but only after all documentation for a completed application has been assembled. You will be informed by a member of the Historian Team where, when and how to send your documentation package. These will eventually be deposited in the files of the General Society in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Please don’t email your documents as attachments unless we direct you to do so.

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 Guidelines for Applicants.

Of the utmost importance is providing proof of the parentage of your line carriers. Wherever they are available, Plymouth requires long form birth, death and marriage records which show parents names to prove each event in each generation.

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.

When ordering vital records, always order the long form records which names the parents of the Line Carriers and spouses. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Many online websites such as and host valuable information about your ancestors lineage. However you may only cite data from these sources if they contain an image of an original document.

Family trees, indexes, website data found online cannot be cited, however printouts of actual images of records found online are acceptable.

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.

Before sending to you your membership package we will ask for the first year’s dues at this time – $45 CAD payable to CSMD (Canadian Society of Mayflower Descendants