To learn if you descend from a Mayflower passenger, the best first steps are to explore your family’s lineage. Tools such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org can be of great use, but use caution! Not every link to another generation has been carefully examined by previous tree builders – beware the child born before his parents or the daughter born to a five-year-old mother!
It’s best to use online resources as clues, not proof. Many times, though, you will find that generous genealogists have posted important vital records of your ancestors including birth, marriage and death certificates. If you can confirm these are your ancestors, use those as building blocks in your path back to a potential Mayflower passenger.
Vital records are your golden ticket in beginning your family genealogical journey. Many can found online or can be ordered from the county or state in which the event occurred. For Mayflower Society purposes, you need not order “certified” copies; certificates marked “informational” or “for genealogical purposes” are acceptable and may cost less.
Build your family tree one generation at a time being careful to confirm the link to parents as you go. This can be especially challenging for women whose maiden names were not recorded on Census records or other documents. If your family helped establish a new county, they may be featured in a historical book or a family genealogy book. Many of these can be found, in full, online, but be forewarned, not all are acceptable and each must be reviewed carefully.
Researching Your Mayflower Lineage - General Society of Mayflower Descendants (themayflowersociety.org)