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The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 traded newfound religious freedom for harsh living conditions being unprepared for the bitter winters of New England. The Plymouth historical organization reports that two or three people died each day during their first two months on land, and only 52 people survived the first year.

Even so, today there are an estimated 10 million Americans (and 35 million people worldwide) who descend from those original passengers according to the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. This means three out of 100 people in the United States may claim descendancy from these early pilgrims. Are you one of them?

Find out by signing up for a free account with www.familysearch.org and then go to the Activities tab or section. (FamilySearch.org is the largest collection of free family history, family tree, and genealogy records in the world.) FamilySearch also allows users to connect themselves with famous people – movie stars, presidents, royalty and, yes, even passengers on the Mayflower. You can also identify relationships with athletes, renowned scientists, signers of the Declaration of Independence and others!  

Need help signing up or identifying relationships? Sisters Kropf and Campbell, local missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are ready and willing to help. As part of their mission they travel across North Dakota teaching others how to access this genealogical information.

According to them, this site can help you, not only find out who your famous relatives are, but FamilySearch can also link you to ancestors you never knew existed.

“After researching all of my great and great, great and so on grandparents through these free resources, I am so excited to meet them one day,” Sister Kropf said.

This Thanksgiving do yourself a favor. Connect with your past. Learn more about your family and call these volunteer family history missionaries at 701-333-8037 for more help. They can also meet with you online. You will be thankful you did.

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