The Mayflower: Coming to America

The Mayflower: Coming to America
Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882). Credit: Wikipedia

Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882). Credit: Wikipedia

What do Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, Richard Gere and Noah Webster (of dictionary fame) have in common?

They – and many others – are descendants of passengers who arrived on the Mayflower, which sailed from Southampton, England in 1620, and landed at Plymouth Rock in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in November of that year

The first document of the Plymouth Colony was the Mayflower Compact, signed onboard the ship. The total number of passengers was 101 or 102, depending on the source, and the document was signed by 41 adults and dated November 11, 1620, according to the old-style Julian calendar which is 10 days behind today’s Gregorian calendar.

Not all the passengers were Pilgrims – some were adventurers, tradesmen and servants.

For more information on the Pilgrims, check out the Mayflower Society website or a Wikipedia article.

The Pilgrims, originally from England, came to America seeking religious freedom.

Their story includes some relocating to Amsterdam, and then to Leiden for some 10 years. Eventually, they decided to settle in the New World, in Northern Virginia but storms blew the ship off course and they landed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They sailed in August 1620 from Southampton, England, along with some English colonists.

They first sailed in the Speedwell, but it was forced to return to port after numerous problems. In 1620, they tried again in the Mayflower and arrived in New England just as winter began. Although the colony endured many hardships, eventually the Plymouth colony succeeded.

The group is credited with establishing religious freedom and creating the democratic foundations of America. And the first Thanksgiving is now a beloved national holiday.

If you descend from a Mayflower passenger you may be eligible to join the Society of Mayflower Descendants after documenting your descent from one or more of the passengers. Let us know if you are, in the comments below.


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  • Vicki McKinnon

    November 21, 2012

    My husband David McKinnon is descended from Stephen Hopkins – a most interesting character in American History

  • James Hintz

    November 21, 2012

    I am a descendent of Elder William Brewster.

  • Kimberly Collins Messner

    November 21, 2012

    I am a desendant from William Bradford, who came from Leiden, with his wife Dorothy May. They left there son John behind.Dorothy fell off the boat and drowned, so he remarried Alice Carpenter. My grandmother on my fathers side is how we get to the Bradfords. Perez Bradford was married to Abigail Belcher. Abigal Bradford was married to Samuel Lee.Marian Lee was married to my gggg grandpa Thomas Simmons they came from RI and MA.
    My grandmother is a Simmons- Boardman.

  • Timpanaro Salvatore

    November 21, 2012

    James White descendant from White that come from Great Britain with the Mayflower. He contract marriage with Ellen Gould Harmon.

  • Dolly L. Bartley

    November 21, 2012

    I am a descendant from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins.

  • Rita

    November 22, 2012

    I am a descendent of Richard Warren. His daughter Anna Warren married Thomas Little. My great grandmother was Sarah Little, who married my great grandfather Joab Johnson.

  • Michael Morrelli

    November 22, 2012

    I go back seven Great Grandfathers to Gov William Bradford. My Great Grandmother was a Bradford.

  • David Van Middendorp

    November 23, 2012

    John Howland is my 11th great grandfather from my mother’s side of the family (Tuttle).

  • Stephen Cob

    December 4, 2012

    John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley are my direct ancestors, 11 gens.

  • Jim Warren

    November 29, 2013

    Im from the warrens that settled in from the boat long ago I would like to find out way more who we are and how far we go back in family jim warren

  • Jim Warren

    November 29, 2013

    My grand parents were apart of that ship to as well the holts in Knoxville tn

  • Nancy Morris

    August 6, 2014

    I am a descendant of Stephen Snow and Constance Hopkins. Through the Morris’s, Cole’s, Snow’s and the Hopkins. Constance Hopkins came over on the Mayflower but Stephen Snow came over on another ship. I am also a descendant of the Knyvett’s of Buckingham Palace. Some of the Knyvetts were (Sir Knights).

  • Roberta Hanscom

    August 8, 2014

    I am a descendant of Richard Warren and Elizabeth Marsh or March. Elizabeth and 5 daughters came to Plymouth on the Anne. Mary, the eldest daughter, married Robert Bartlett. Bartlett was also a passenger on the Anne. I have my grandmother’s work on the family and am willing to share. Bartlett, Morey, Bumpass, several generations of White, Williams, Hamilton, Wills, me.