New England Historic Genealogical Society Announces Programs and Resources Commemorating the Mayflower 400th Anniversary


August 28, 2018—Boston, Massachusetts—Anticipating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower in 2020, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) will play a major role in its national and international commemoration.

“The story of what happened in 1620 is foundational to the story of our democracy and has widespread genealogical and historical ramifications,” stated Brenton Simons, President and CEO of NEHGS, in the announcement of programs to be undertaken by the organization leading up to 2020. “As the largest nonprofit involved—with more than 250,000 members and millions of online users—we have a responsibility to educate people everywhere about this historic occasion,” he said. “We will carry out our work in many different ways—through events, tours, published scholarship, exhibitions, educational opportunities, and online research resources. We have had an important stake in telling this story since our founding in 1845 and we are dedicated to helping our members and the public connect to this important moment in American history,” Simon added.

NEHGS Has Published the First Guide to the Mayflower 2020 Anniversary

In spring 2018, NEHGS published a special Mayflower edition of American Ancestors—its quarterly magazine. The commemorative issue titled “2020—Your Guide to the Mayflower 400th Anniversary” is devoted entirely to the history, relevance, and impact of the Mayflower and its passengers and crew. It is available in the online Bookstore at NEHGS at for $6.95 plus shipping.

Drawing on the extensive expertise of NEHGS staff and the contributions of partner organizations, this special issue is the first definitive guide to the Mayflower 2020 anniversary. Tours, events, resources, and organizations from the United States, Wampanoag Nation, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are represented. The issue features a definitive guide to tracing Mayflower descent and a wide variety of topics, such as understanding the Pilgrims through their home libraries and artifacts, Wampanoag perspectives on colonization, Jewish influences on Pilgrim thought, and a reader’s pilgrimage back to his ancestor’s baptismal church. In it NEHGS resources are explored, including use of the NEHGS groundbreaking Mayflower website portal along with new and classic publications.

A Mayflower Interactive Website from NEHGS

NEHGS launched in 2017—an interactive website providing extensive resources for researching Mayflower passengers and connecting family historians with Mayflower descendants. The site features a variety of databases of value to Mayflower researchers, as well as biographic sketches from NEHGS scholar Robert Charles Anderson’s Pilgrim Migration (NEHGS, 2004), the definitive work on Plimoth Colony immigrants who arrived between 1620 and 1633. A modern Mayflower descendants reader-submitted gallery—the first of its kind—is found there, as are personal statements about what Mayflower ancestry means. An interactive world map, showing the location of these descendants, and a celebrity gallery of famous Mayflower descendants are also features of the innovative website.

Key elements of NEHGS programming to commemorate the Mayflower’s 400th anniversary include:

Exciting NEHGS Mayflower Heritage Tours—exclusive tours directed by NEHGS experts that explore the sites of the Mayflower's inception and journey.

  • In June 2019 NEHGS will host a “Pilgrim Escape to Leiden” tour in the Netherlands where we will explore the old university town of Leiden, where a group of about one hundred Pilgrims under Pastor John Robinson formed a congregation and sought permission to settle in 1609. In Leiden, Delftshaven, and Amsterdam, tour participants will gain an understanding of Pilgrim life outside of England prior to the voyage to the New World.
  • In June 2020 NEHGS will lead a tour to the United Kingdom for a visit to Plymouth, Southampton, and Dartmouth, England, with world-renowned NEHGS Great Migration scholar Robert Charles Anderson as our guide. The tour will focus on the events leading to the embarkation of the Mayflower in 1620—a journey that would change the world.
  • “A New England Sojourn” in June 2020 and again in September 2020 will be two exclusive, three-day visits to historic sites in Massachusetts associated with the Pilgrims, including Plymouth, Provincetown, Duxbury, and elsewhere.

Information and registration for these NEHGS Heritage Tours is available by visiting

NEHGS Online Courses—offered by some of NEHGS’s leading Mayflower genealogy experts:

  • "Puritan Pedigrees—The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England.” Presented by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, Director of the Great Migration Study Project at NEHGS, this recorded online course explores the deep roots of the puritan migration to New England and the events that led to the mass migrations of the 1620s and 1630s. The course includes more than eight hours of recorded content. It is available at $74.95 for members of NEHGS, $124.95 for non-members at
  • "Tracing Mayflower Lineage: Resources at” Presented by Don LeClair, NEHGS Associate Director, Database Search and Systems, this course will assist those interested in learning if you are descended from a Mayflower passenger. Discover the databases and online resources at that can help you make the connection you've been looking for. From scholarly journals to compiled genealogies and study projects, you will learn how to leverage these resources in your family history research. Cost: FREE; available with registration as a free Guest Member at

NEHGS Published Scholarship—our expertise has helped family historians of all levels expand their knowledge, skills, and understanding of their family and its place in history. Significant publications will appear in 2018 through 2020 and beyond, as sources for Mayflower genealogical information:

  • Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG. In this long-anticipated new book to be published by NEHGS in November 2018, author Anderson explores the religious motivation behind the Great Migration to New England (1620—1640). He focuses not only on the Puritan leaders but also on ordinary laymen who formed a complex genealogical and intellectual network that extended across all of England and even to parts of Wales. (Available November 2018 from The Bookstore at NEHGS at
  • The Mayflower Descendant—A Journal of Pilgrim Genealogy & History: This highly respected scholarly journal is published twice a year by NEHGS with a winter and a summer issue. Edited by Christopher Challender Child—it is the leading resource leading researchers to Mayflower families and related genealogies, their origins in England and their lives and places of residence in America. Available now by subscription through the online Bookstore at NEHGS at; Members $40.00, non-members $50.00.

Upcoming Exhibits at NEHGS

“Origins & Legacy of the Mayflower,” opening November 2018 at the headquarters building of NEHGS in Boston’s Back Bay will consider the back stories of the Mayflower passengers--where they came from in England and what is known about their ancestry. The exhibit will also feature a timeline of the events leading up to and immediately following the landing.

NEHGS is dedicated to helping its membership and the public connect to this important moment in American history. The organization looks forward to welcoming members and the public at all of our programs. 2020 will be a special time to visit New England!

NEHGS, with its national headquarters located in Boston’s Back Bay, is the oldest and largest genealogical society in America. NEHGS serves more than 250,000 members and millions of online users engaged in family history nationally and around the world. It is home to a world-class research library and archive, and an expert staff. NEHGS offers an award-winning genealogical research website at with more than 1.4 billion records and maintains a publishing division which produces original genealogical research, scholarship, and educational materials, including the Mayflower Descendant, a quarterly journal of Pilgrim genealogy and history.

Media Contact:

Jim Power
Direct: 617.226.1261
Cell: 508.367.8058