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But maybe you…?

The Legal Genealogist is not a Mayflower descendant.

In fact, as far as I can tell, I have no ancestors — none — not even a single one — even born north of the Mason-Dixon line, much less linked to New England.


My German-born father and his German-born parents didn’t arrive in the United States until 1925,1 so no chance on the paternal side.

And as far as my research has taken me to date, my mother’s various lines arrived in southern Maryland and northern Virginia in the 1600s2… and they kept moving south.

So the wonderful story in my family about our Bakers — all documented Virginians — being descended from a Mayflower family? It’s just a story. Not a shred of evidence to support it whatsoever, and some really powerful DNA evidence to disprove it.3

And nobody trying to sneak in, at least not so far, in the brand new database you can find at if you want to see if maybe you are a Mayflower descendant.

Getting the data online was a cooperative effort among FamilySearch, (New England Historic Genealogical Society) and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD). A news release from FamilySearch today explains:

(I)n concert with the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower, … tens of thousands of Mayflower Society member applications (over one million images) and documented descendant family trees of the Mayflower passengers are now freely accessible online. There are an estimated 35 million descendants today of the 26 Mayflower couples that survived the first winter. The deceased generations in the applications are available online. …

The free online collection was created from two data sources—the 30-volume publication “Mayflower Families through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 1620” and the documented applications for membership in the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, submitted from 1896 to early 2019.

The data was merged to create a single representation for each pilgrim and their descendants for the time period of the late 1500s to 1910.

Working together since 2017, the collaboration between FamilySearch, American Ancestors, and the GSMD has digitized over 113,000 Mayflower Society member applications and documented family trees for about half of the 26 Mayflower couples with surviving posterity (the remainder should be added by year end).4

Now I realize the database still has some data to be added, so I can’t say for sure none of my Virginians snuck in before the DNA evidence would have ousted them, but so far at least it’s looking good: no stray Virginia Bakers in amongst the Massachusetts Winslow descendants.

So, really, I’m not a Mayflower descendant. Don’t get me wrong — I wouldn’t mind it, not one bit. It’s just that I kind of want documentation for my ancestors rather than fictional flights of fancy.

As far as Mayflower ancestry, I have to say … nope, not me.

But maybe you are…?

And you might find out — thanks to FamilySearch, AmericanAncestors, and GSMD — in this new online database

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Nope, not me…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 16 Sep 2020).


Image: William Halsall, “Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor” (1882); Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Mass., via Wikimedia Commons.

  1. Manifest, S.S. George Washington, Jan-Feb 1925, p. 59 (stamped), lines 4-6, Geissler family; “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, ( : accessed 16 Sep 2020); citing National Archive microfilm publication T715, roll 3605.
  2. See e.g. Judy G. Russell, “More serendipity,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 9 Aug 2014 ( : accessed 16 Sep 2020).
  3. See ibid., “The cousin who isn’t,” posted 8 Feb 2014.
  4. FamilySearch and Partners Digitize Mayflower Descendant Records,” FamilySearch News ( : accessed 16 Sep 2020).
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