Today was the wrap-up of nonstop inquiries at the Mayflower Society booth. We had 4-8 people working the booth at all times over the four days and were still swamped. It was great to see so many enthusiastic Mayflower descendants who wanted to learn more about their lineage. I took advantages of some of the classes offered to learn more about accessing Canadian, Scottish, English, Irish, ArkivDigital (Swedish) and Masonic records; heard a cool talk by acclaimed photographer David Hume Kennerly, but didn't make it to the Dutch or Native American genealogy talks. My husband went to the Polish, Russian Empire and early German presentations plus several on using FamilySearch. There were several sessions and exhibitors related to African-American genealogy plus others on Polynesian and Chinese genealogy, Yesterday and today we hit the Family History Library for the first time and appreciate the kind assistance of the volunteers there. And two thumbs up to the RootsTech app for our phones. Every conference should have something like that. Among its many other features it lets you download the handouts from the classes you couldn't make due to the inability to be two places at one time. Flying home tomorrow, but I hope to see you at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants booth next year at RootsTech2021.
I had the privilege today of working at the Mayflower Society booth with Diane Stevenson Stone, artist AND author, seen here proudly displaying two of her creations. She made this beautiful poster and is donating the proceeds to the Mary Chilton Winslow Scholarship Fund, which helps the General Society of Mayflower Descendants send teenage Mayflower descendants to college each year. She also wrote a book based on the story of Mary Chilton, a very brave young teen and the first passenger to set foot on Plymouth Rock. Orphaned almost as soon as the Mayflower arrived she conquered her fears and the incredible challenges that the pilgrims faced (and that killed half of them the first year in the New World.) The book you can order through your local bookseller or on amazon.com, which also has a Kindle version. The poster can be ordered through the GSMD's online store, as "STAND FIRM - poster and poem." Diane's poem about the steadfast Mayflower pilgrims is printed on the back of her colorful poster. The picture on the cover of the book was used with the permission of the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, which claims to be the nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum. You can see a thumbnail of this 1877 painting, The Landing of the Pilgrims, by Henry A. Bacon by clicking on the title and the original on your next trip to Plymouth, MA. Information on the scholarship can be found here. Deadline for applying this year is April 1st, 2020.
Because it's the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's arrival in America other RootsTech2020 participants are helping the Mayflower Society celebrate. Someone brought a beautiful 8-foot-long model of the Mayflower that stands 6 feet high and is a foot-and-a-half wide. The New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS, americanancestors,org) has a big booth where they are selling some of their many books and publications AND have a terminal where people can access the Mayflower Families Fifth Generation Descendants, 1700-1880 database (under license to the GSMD the NEHGS digitized the 5th & 6th generation pages from the silver books.) Not far from us the DAR has a booth with a computer and can do lookups on their Genealogical Research System (GRS) database of proven Revolutionary War patriots and their lines, AND allows cross-checking for every descendant of the 1,000,000 women who have become members or done a supplemental application. Those are just 2 services onsite at RootsTech2020 that can help attendees with their Mayflower lineage. Attendees can fill out a lineage search request at the GSMD booth and in a few weeks will hear it straight from the horse's mouth: Is this a valid line or not? Has anyone else joined on that line? Applicants do not have to provide documentation that an earlier member already turned in, so this is a big time and money saving service.
Tomorrow: the costumed Pilgrim Procession and we hit the LDS Library for some research.
Greetings from Salt Lake City and RootsTech2020. If you came to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (aka The Mayflower Society) booth today, I was the woman in the hot pink "Hail to the Sail 1620-2020" jacket. We had lots and lots of inquiries and It was heartening to speak with so many people who believed they had Mayflower passenger ancestors. We gave them all blue "Mayflower Descendant" ribbons to stick to their name badge. (GSMD members get pink ones.) It will be even more heartening if they all do apply for membership. NOTE: If you come to the GSMD booth and fill out a paper lineage-review request form, it will be hand-carried back to Plymouth, MA and researched by the expert lineage reviewer there to see if your theoretical line is actually a known or plausible line, and then email you in a few weeks with the results. THIS IS FREE DURING ROOTSTECH2020. If you fill out their online version any other time they will charge you $75 (going up in 2021.) Given that so much of what you see online is garbage you will want to find out as quickly as possible if YOUR line is an urban legend debunked years ago but still making the rounds on the Internet -- or a genuine contender. Doing it for free is a fantastic deal. However, you have to fill it out and hand it back in before the GSMD folds up its tent and heads back to Plymouth on late Saturday to take advantage of this offer.
I'm departing for Salt Lake City Wednesday and RootsTech2020. I will be one of the volunteers at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants' booth and be in the Pilgrims Procession during the General Session (which begins at 11:00 am) on Friday. Taking part in the Procession will be 25 Mayflower descendants wearing correct period garb (meaning no hats with buckles and colored clothing, not black.) Thank you to Joyce in Casa Grande, AZ for the yards and yards of linen and wool fabric and to Katie in Bethesda, MD for the loan of the Renaissance-period corset (which goes over the clothes) and thank you both for the advice and encouragement. Please stop by the General Society's booth on Thursday & Saturday to say hi or on Thursday if you want to catch me in my garb. (I will be the one in the tan skirt and dark brown jacket.) I will tweet out items of interest while there, so follow me @DoctorMaura and find out what RootsTech is all about. It's my first time attending and I'm very curious to see what all the buzz is about.
With the addition of 5 Bramhall siblings born between 1832 & 1843, William and Mary Brewster's descendants have crossed the 200 mark. Welcome aboard, Bramhalls!
St. Valentine was NOT a Mayflower descendant, living in the 3rd century rather than the 17th. However, I am posting this as a test message because in early-mid January weebly suddenly started not linking my one-line teaser to Facebook and I want to see if that has been rectified. If it has, you are invited to read the posts you missed in January.
Speaking of the 17th century, I am working to finish a reasonably historic outfit to wear to RootsTech 2020 in Salt Lake City, where I will be helping to staff the GSMD booth and taking part in the pilgrim parade, doing my best "princess wave." Both of those activities will be a great honor and I invite you to come and get your Mayflower line checked - and say, "Good day, Goodwife Mackowski," or something like that.
Dr. Maura Mackowski is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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