Mayflower Descendants
9/28/2009
A quarter of Americans believe that they are descendants of the 26 Englishmen who came over on the Mayflower.

Did your ancestors come over on the Mayflower? A quarter of Americans believe that they are descendants of the 26 Englishmen who came over on the Mayflower, survived a harsh winter and celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Massachusetts' Plymouth Colony in 1621, according to a Scripps-Howard News Service/Ohio University poll.

But fewer than half of those who think they're descendants of the original Pilgrims can possibly be right. According to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the best estimates indicate that more than 35 million people worldwide can count at least one of those 26 Pilgrims as an ancestor. That's a huge number of descendants. But consider that one-quarter of the US population would be roughly 70 million people, twice the total number of actual Mayflower descendants worldwide.

It gets worse: The society has only about 25,000 members who've been able to document their ancestry to meet modern research requirements. For more information, see the society's Web site, a history of the Pilgrims, and links to other Pilgrim genealogy sites.

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