In 1897, a group of descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims formed the Society of Mayflower Descendants. Their intention was to provide a national organization to honor the memory of these pilgrims. One year later, on March 22, 1898, the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the District of Columbia was chartered by the General Society. There were 22 charter members in the DC Society. Today, the DC Society has approximately 430 members, about one-third live outside of the greater DC area including several oveseas.

The DC Society has four Board of Assistants meetings and four membership meetings per year. The membership meetings are scheduled for February, May, September and November. Board members report on their activities, and nominations are offered for the Board of Assistants for the coming year. The November meeting is the annual Compact Day dinner celebrating the signatures by our ancestors on the Mayflower Compact document on November 21, 1620 (using the Gregorian calendar).

Membership in the Mayflower Society has always required a rigorously proven descent from a Mayflower passenger.