Origins of New England Settlers

Your first indication that your ancestors originate in the British Isles may be  a notation in a book on American Ancestors. The New England Historic Genealogical Society (now called American Ancestors) has published a number of collective genealogies or dictionaries that describe American ancestors with origins stated or implied in England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.

Let me highlight three such works, that overlap somewhat in their coverage:

  1. Pioneers of Maine and New Hampshire, 1623-1660: A Descriptive List from Records of the Colonies, Towns, Churches, Courts, and Other Contemporary Sources. Compiled by Charles Henry Pope.New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2013. Reprint with a new Foreword by David Warren Kruger, of the original printed in 1908.
  2. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. Compiled by Sibyl Noyes, Charles Thornton Libby, and Walter Goodwin Davis. Reprint of the original edition of 5 Vols printed 1928-1939, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012 with a new Foreword by David Curtis Dearborn. Includes extracts of 400 lists with names quoted, evidence to 1699.
  3. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, before 1692. 4 Vols. Published originally 1850-1862. Reprint edition, 2008. Advertised by GenealogyBank in March 2019.

All three works are arranged alphabetically and keyed to source lists. Different information may be found in all three for specific ancestors taken from different sources. If you use all three together as you research your early New England ancestors, you will have access to the names of most early settlers along with dates of birth, marriage, and death; names of children and often their spouses; military participation, and migration patterns. In 30-40% of the time, you will discover what the sources say their origins in the British Isles were.

Begin your research on ancestors from the British Isles before 1750 in American sources so that you have some facts and tradition to build upon. Your favorite British Kingdoms genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS It is easy to attach the wrong ancestor to your pedigree when you depend only on stated ancestors from the internet. Each entry in these books gives you evidence to follow-up to ensure that you attach your own ancestors the first time around.

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