Are you related to one of America's first immigrants? A new "Pilgrim database" from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants will let you know for sure.
"All information in the database is derived from the original printed books published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants," the genealogical society said on its website. This is the first time the books' contents have been made available online.
Names we all remember from history class, including Myles Standish, John Alden and William Bradford, were on the famed ship, which sailed from England to the New World in 1620 with 102 passengers and a crew of about 30 people.
The database contains authenticated information on more than 59,450 people in the fifth generation of the Mayflower passengers known to have descendants. That "fifth generation" of descendants lived in the 1700s and 1800s, so the name you type in to search the database would have to be one of your ancestors who lived during that time.
There are an estimated 10 million living Americans and as many as 35 million people worldwide descended from the Pilgrims, according to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.
Although access to some of the Pilgrim database is free, the full database requires membership in the genealogical society, which costs $35 for a three-month plan.
D. Brenton Simons, president of the genealogical society, said the new database makes it "easier than ever to learn whether an individual is descended from one who planted the first permanent settlement of New England in Plymouth Colony and ultimately laid the foundation for America.”
Interest in Pilgrim genealogy is surging with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's 1620 arrival in the New World fast approaching.
Contributing: The Associated Press