This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. On this day, we remember the many brave immigrants who persevered in the face of hardships to create a better life for themselves and their descendants. All Americans owe thanks to their ancestors, whether they arrived on the Mayflower or in the centuries thereafter. This is an excellent week to spend a bit of time researching your immigrant ancestors, regardless of their arrival date.
While 102 souls arrived in Plimoth in 1620, nearly half of them died the first winter in deplorable conditions that are almost impossible to imagine today. Of the survivors, only 25 family names provided descendants. If you can trace your ancestry back to one of these immigrants, you can indeed claim Mayflower ancestry.
Many families have "family legends" about being descended from Mayflower passengers. If all the claimed passengers had actually traveled on the Mayflower, the tiny ship would have sunk under the load!
In order to claim Mayflower ancestry, you must trace your ancestry back to one of the following males:
Note that the above list has the names of 26 people, but two of them were named Fuller. That gives a total of 25 surnames.
There are many Web sites devoted to the topic of Mayflower ancestry. You can find them on a Google search. However, I would suggest the following:
Plimoth Ancestors at http://www.plymouthancestors.org (this site focuses on genealogy of the Mayflower passengers plus those who followed in the next seven years.)
Plimoth Plantation at http://www.plimoth.org (this site focuses on the lifestyles of the Mayflower passengers plus those who followed in the next seven years.)
The General Society of Mayflower Descendants' Web site at: http://www.themayflowersociety.com
The New England Historic Genealogical Society at http://www.newenglandancestors.org (Note: This is a pay site.)