NEHGS to Digitize the Fifth Generation of Mayflower Descendants

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has partnered with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD) to bring invaluable genealogical resources to their members.

New searchable databases—to be found—will be created from authenticated Mayflower Pilgrim genealogies and from 50 years of published Mayflower passenger scholarship from the Mayflower Quarterly as the program advances. In addition, GSMD members will enjoy generous discounts on new memberships in NEHGS, the founding genealogical organization in America.

Known as the “Silver Books” because of their distinctive covers, the Mayflower Families Through Five Generations series from the GSMD meticulously documents the first five generations of descendants of Mayflower passengers who arrived in 1620. This essential resource for studying family relationships resulting from the 25 families of the Mayflower who were known to have American descendants, has previously been accessible only in print format in publications produced by GSMD and available through the Bookstore at NEHGS. As a result of this new partnership, the fifth generation portion of these will be available online on for use in family history research by members of both organizations.

Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, made the announcement of the collaboration together with Lea Sinclair Filson, GSMD Governor General.

At a signing ceremony to commemorate the historic partnership at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, Simons stated, “We’re pleased to announce that NEHGS is partnering with GSMD to bring the fifth generation data online. We estimate that the project will include 7,750 fifth generation descendants, along with spouses and children, and approximately 150,000 birth, marriage, death, and deed records. Under the supervision of our Web team, the material will be digitized and made name searchable on by members of NEHGS and GSMD.”

GSMD Governor General Lea Sinclair Filson added, “This partnership with NEHGS will contribute enormously to the availability of our publications to family historians around the world. It will greatly facilitate genealogical research and help preserve GSMD’s history and diligence in spreading theMayflower Pilgrim story.”
The “Silver Books” series is comprised of 31 volumes, of which the fifth generation of each will be brought online as a database as the digitization is completed. Fifty passengers on the Mayflower are known to have living descendants, however, the “Silver Books” treat the twenty-five families that left American descendants.

NEHGS’ Senior Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press and Mayflower Descendant Editor Christopher C. Child noted, “When working with people on possible Mayflower ancestry, I am often searching through several volumes of the “Silver Books” to check their validity. Having the most recent documented generation online and searchable will greatly aid people seeking to verify this part of their Mayflower lineage.”

About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is America’s founding genealogical organization and the most respected name in family history. Established in 1845, it is the nation’s leading resource for family history research. NEHGS provides comprehensive family history services through an expert staff, original scholarship, educational opportunities, world- class research center, and award-winning website,, to help family historians of all levels explore their past and understand their families’ unique place in history.

A member-based, nonprofit institution serving more than 220,000 members, NEHGS is dedicated to advancing the study of family history in America and beyond, by educating, inspiring, and connecting people through our scholarship, collections, and expertise.

About the General Society Mayflower Descendants (GSMD)

Founded in 1897, The Mayflower Society, or General Society of Mayflower Descendants (GSMD), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with national headquarters in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Membership requires proof of lineage from one of the passengers who travelled to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Its mission includes educating the public about the story of the Pilgrims, as well as maintaining the highest standards possible for genealogy research into the lineage of the Pilgrims. The Society operates a genealogy research library at its Plymouth headquarters and publishes the GSMD Silver Books, a series of genealogy books that follow the descendants of the Mayflower passengers. It also operates and offers tours of the historic Mayflower Society House in downtown Plymouth.

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