On the other hand, societies for descendants of settlers
who founded a New England town during the early 1600s almost automatically
should be considered immigrants, even if they lived elsewhere in the colonies
for a few years before the founding. An example is the "Society of the
Descendants of the Founders of Hartford (Connecticut)" which requires
the ancestor be living in Hartford by early 1640.
Another society for early settlers is the "Order of Descendants
of Ancient Planters". The term "Ancient Planter" is applied to those persons
who arrived in Virginia before 1616, remained for a period of three years,
paid their passage, and survived the massacre of 1622. Their web site, includes a list of about
150 known, qualifying planters.
The most well-known of lineage societies for immigrants
is the "General Society, Mayflower Descendants".
This society has published a journal for many years, as well as a series
of books defining the known descendants of the Mayflower passengers. Among
their publications one can find the origins of those passengers, if it
has been determined.
The situation with the Mayflower immigrants is an interesting
case study in locating the origins of colonial immigrants. According to
the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, of the 104 passengers on
that ship, 26 men (and their wives) left issue from whom one can trace
descent today. Interestingly, with all the research undertaken over the
years, the English origins are known for only 12 of those 26 passengers
(and suspected for 3 more). This suggests that, no matter how hard you
research, or how good you are, you might only find the origins for about
half of your colonial immigrants.
Other societies exist for descendants of persons who
arrived on a specific ship. Two significant ones include "The Welcome
Society of Pennsylvania" for those who arrived on the Welcome in 1682,
or other ships up to the end of 1682, and "The Society of the Ark and
the Dove" for those arriving on those ships to Maryland in 1634.