Getting on board the Mayflower

Ken Whinnem

My quest to become a member of the Mayflower Society began about three years ago. I had previously done a lot of research on my father’s side of the family, and then a relative suggested I start on my mother’s line because she believed we go back to the Mayflower. About a year after beginning my research I had a contact on from a second cousin with whom I share the same great-grandmother. We were able to communicate, and she did confirm that we were related to Governor William Bradford, the first governor of Massachusetts, who came here on the Mayflower. She was already a member of the Mayflower Society. Documenting my family history by using the book The Descendants of Governor William Bradford and using what I had obtained on up to my seventh great-grandmother, was the easy part. My cousin had this all documented and approved for her application to the Mayflower Society.

It took me a considerable amount of time and effort to get birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates through the town halls in Connecticut. Being a member of I was able to locate records not available when searching online, especially the city directories. In Connecticut you have to go to the town halls as there is nothing available online from 1870 to the present. My final contact was Laurie Behn who is chairperson of the local chapter. I worked with her through a couple of meetings where she helped me fill in any gaps in my membership application.

This was a lot of work and definitely worth it! I enjoy history and wish that I had known earlier in life about my connection to the Mayflower. My final acceptance was received November 25, 2014! Since Governor Bradford started Thanksgiving, this was very appropriate  and special to me.