There are a variety of heritage- or lineage-based “Society” organizations. In the U.S., for example, there are the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. After thinking about it for several years, I have just begun my application to become a member of the Mayflower Society, as it is often called. The Lineage Society of America has an extensive list of active lineage societies today.
There are a number of different reasons and motivations for joining a lineage society. Some societies offer college scholarships. For most people, it is an extension of the same reasons people engage in genealogy research in the first place. To feel a part of something larger than themselves. To discover more about their own identity and history. Because family is a treasure, and stories inspire people. True stories of your own family are even more inspirational. And when you join a lineage society, it certifies the facts of your family history.
The Mayflower Society
I wrote earlier about some of my Mayflower ancestors. The one I am most confident in is Edward and Samuel Fuller. While at RootsTech 2017 I visited with my local State Society contact. He instructed me on the process. It may be slightly different for your local chapter. Each state has its own chapter or “member society” of The Mayflower Society. You can find the contact information for your local society on their site.
I went to the Mayflower Society website and clicked on Resources to see if there was anything that would help me. I was surprised to see that Family Societies have been created for some of the original passengers. Even better, there is a Fuller Society. The Fuller Society website states:
The Fuller Society is a worldwide organization dedicated to remembering the Mayflower Pilgrim Fathers, Edward and Dr. Samuel Fuller, and all Mayflower Pilgrims through continuing research and education.
The Fuller Society was founded 25 years ago in 1992. They offer a newsletter, as well as a CD containing descendants of Edward or Samuel Fuller. The CDs are available for purchase for only $15 each.
As I have said, I believe I am descended through Edward Fuller and his son, Samuel Fuller. I began the process by simply listing the descendancy line from Edward Fuller to me. I then sent that to Gregory D. Cooke, the Historian of the Utah Society of Mayflower Descendants. He will review proven research including the “Silver books,” and previously approved applications beginning at Edward and working his way down. Once he arrives at undocumented family relationships he will contact me for evidence of my relation.
The gold standard here is vital records, such as birth, marriage and death records listing the parent-child relationship. Other types of documentation may be allowed if these are not available. To my knowledge no immediate family members or cousins have applied to The Mayflower Society. So for now, I will be gathering vital records to validate my relationship for 3 or 4 generations. Then I will wait to hear back from the Historian’s review before gathering any additional evidence.
I will let you know how this proceeds!
Have you applied to a Lineage Society? Tell us about your experience!