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The Great Migration Study Project

(Massachusetts, Early New England) Permanent link

Great Migration Promotion

Between 1620 and 1640 about 20,000 men, women, and children crossed the Atlantic to settle New England. NEHGS' Great Migration Study Project, under the scholarly leadership of Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, aims to provide a concise, reliable genealogical and biographical account for each of these early immigrants.

With the recent completion of the second series, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, we look back at how the Project began. Below is an excerpt from Anderson's article "Reflections on the Great Migration Study Project" which appeared in the 2008 holiday issue of New England Ancestors (now American Ancestors).

"During my early years in genealogy, while handling typical client commissions, I was constantly faced with the problem of learning what research had already been undertaken and published for a family of interest. This search frequently consumed much of the time allocated for research, and became very frustrating.

"Thus arose the concept of a reference work for New England genealogy which would update and supplant Savage* and some of the other single-colony-based compendia. The original idea was to produce a resource which would summarize all important research which had already [been] undertaken on families who had arrived in New England during the Great Migration, originally defined as the period from 1620 (arrival of the Mayflower) to 1643 (cessation of heavy migration due to the commencement of the English Civil War)."

Click here to read the entire article.

*Refers to James Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of New England, compiled during the Civil War and an important resource for New England research.

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Robert C. Anderson

Robert Charles Anderson, FASG is the director of the Great Migration Study Project. Anderson was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists in 1978 and has served as Secretary and President of that organization. He became a Contributing Editor of The American Genealogist in 1979, Associate Editor in 1985 and Coeditor in 1993. He has been an editorial consultant to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register since 1989.

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