Aug 10, 2021

Mayflower 400 Years: How Many People Are Related to the Mayflower Pilgrims?

Just over four centuries ago, the ship The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth in the UK to the shores of America, carrying with it a group of travellers who would go down in history. For some, these 17th Century “pilgrim fathers” are also real-life ancestors. But for how many?

There are a few estimates out there, all of them quite high. According to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, there are “35 million Mayflower descendants in the world”.

And while many Americans are proud to be recent arrivals or second-generation immigrants, making the nation a unique blend of cultures, for others there’s an incentive to claim ancestry to these early European arrivals.

Dr Lauren Working, an American historian at the University of Oxford, believes there’s an almost aristocratic prestige attached to tracing your family back to the Mayflower.

“It continues to give people a sense of the authority of shared connections with the past. There are so many jokes about America being so young and not really having much of a history.

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