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  • Pre-1636 New England Immigrants: A Comprehensive Index

    Linda MacLachlan

    Published Date : September 25, 2008

    List of Pre-1636 New England Immigrants(pdf format)

    Beginning with the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonists created and compiled detailed records on the settlement of New England. Genealogists have been trying to organize these sources into all-inclusive compilations for at least 150 years.2  The Great Migration Study Project (GMSP), launched by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in 1988, has superseded these works by producing “a concise, reliable summary of past research on the early immigrants to New England,” thereby reducing the amount of time which must be spent in discovering this past work, and serving as a foundation for future research.3  The GMSP’s contributions are of vital importance because earlier compilations predated the development of modern genealogical scholarship and must be reconsidered in the light of today’s genealogical standards of proof. 4

    The GMSP intends to produce biographical sketches of all who sailed for New England by about 1640, when the outbreak of the English Civil War caused the Great Migration to stop and even — for a brief time — reverse. According to Robert Charles Anderson, Director of the GMSP, those who arrived by 1635 represent about 40% of the more than 20,000 people who emigrated to New England by the end of the Great Migration.5

    Researchers will benefit from the consolidated index presented here; accessing the sketches has become more complex since they have now been published, updated and/or summarized in seven separate places:

    • The Great Migration Begins: 1620-1633, 3 volumes [hereafter GMB]. Also available as a CD and online at and

    • A supplement at the end of the third volume of the GMB contains sketches not included in their proper alphabetic sequence.

    • “Addenda et Corrigenda” at end of volume 3, GMB, corrects and/or supplements previous sketches.

    • The Great Migration: 1634-1635, published to date (six of seven volumes).

    • The Pilgrim Migration, 1620-1633, which updates all of the Plymouth Colony sketches from the GMB.

    • Great Migration Biographical Sketches published online at, 2002 through 23 Nov 2010.

    • Future Names for the Great Migration Study Project, published online at, lists the sketches expected in volume seven.

    Using the index

    • Is your ancestor in this index? If so, locate your immigrant’s biographical sketch and compare it with your own genealogical research. If you have additional information from a reliable source, email the Project at

    • Is your ancestor in this index more than once? Compare the entries to determine how they differ, and which was created later. For example, all sketches of Plymouth immigrants in GMB were updated in The Pilgrim Migration. You may prefer the GMB or Great Migration Biographical Sketches online because they may be copied electronically, but if you copy them, make sure you include the most up-to-date information, which may not be available online. Also remember to properly cite the Great Migration material when you reproduce it online or in print.

    • Do you think you have ancestors who should be listed and are not? If so, review the GMSP criteria for inclusion. For the Great Migration, 1634-35 this requires: 1) appearance in a record generated before May 25, 1636;7 2) direct or indirect implication of arrival by the end of 1635 included in a record of a later date; or 3) appearance as a member of the immediate family of a person known to have arrived by 1635.8 If you are aware of such a record, check the project’s sources, generally listed in the Key to Titles section of each published book. If your source appears to be unknown to project researchers, email the GMSP at If you are unaware of such a record, consider changing your ancestor’s immigration date accordingly.

    How to read the index

    • A name is followed by an asterisk (*) when that immigrant’s sketch has been scheduled but not yet published.

    • The “when” column lists a year between 1620 and 1635. It is generally the year of arrival, or, if that is unknown, the year by which the immigrant must have arrived if the earliest relevant record is accepted as true. For immigrants whose only record is a passenger list, the year listed is the year that ship sailed; the person may have sailed later or not at all. All date estimates are based solely upon GMSP publications, converted, where applicable, from double-dating to Old Style.

    • The “where” column lists the immigrant’s place of first residence in early New England. (The place names given were in use at the time.) A place name preceded by the symbol “~” means the place was the immigrant’s second New England residence, the first being unknown. When the first residence is unknown, possibilities are discussed in the text. A question mark indicates that the place listed is the compiler’s best estimate. It reports “Massachusetts Bay” whenever a record from that colony does not connect the person with any particular location. It reports “passenger” when the name is recorded on a passenger list and there is no evidence that the passenger arrived.

    • The “vol” column lists the GMSP volume that first contained the sketch: GMB, GMBs, or one of the volumes of GM.9 The GMSP publications referred to in the index are:

      GMB The Great Migration Begins: 1620–1633
      Robert C. Anderson, 3 vols. (Boston: NEHGS, 1995)
      GMBs “Supplement” in GMB, vol. 3, pp. 2077–86
      GM 2:1 The Great Migration: 1634–1635, A-B (Vol. I)
      GM 2:2 The Great Migration: 1634-1635, C-F (Vol. II)
      GM 2:3 The Great Migration: 1634-1635, G-H (Vol. III)
      GM 2:4 The Great Migration: 1634-1635, I-L (Vol. IV)
      GM 2:5 The Great Migration:1634-1635, M-P (Vol. V)
      GM 2:6 The Great Migration: 1634-1635, R-S (Vol. VI)
      GM 2:7 downloaded 11 Dec 2009.

    • The “Online at” column identifies which sketches, as originally written, are posted on, which only posted on as “bonus sketches,” which are yet available only in book form, and which are not yet published in any form. The “See also” column lists additional sources which should be checked. “Ancestry CD” is a reminder that GMB sketches are all available electronically, a few of which are actually updated from the print publication. “Plymouth Migration” indicates that a frequently updated version of a Plymouth sketch was published in Pilgrim Migration; and the GMB version of a Pilgrim’s sketch may not include the latest information. “Addenda et Corrigenda” means that additions and/or corrections have been made to the original sketch in GMB, vol. 3. “Posted --/--/----” means that an electronic version was posted at on the date listed.

    The GMSP publications listed in the “also see” column are:


    posted [date] Great Migration Biographical Sketches online, 2002 through 15 Sep 2009

    Ancestry CD Robert C. Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 CD-ROM. ( 2000).  Also online as a database at and

    Online and
     Addenda et Corrigenda in GMB, vol. 3, pp. 2087-95

    Addenda et Corrigenda in GMB, vol. 3, pp. 2087-95


    The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633
    Robert C. Anderson (Boston: NEHGS, 2004)

    online only in PDF

    GMVols. I-IV databases at




    1Linda MacLachlan, a retired lawyer and State Administrative Law Judge, is Editor of the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society Newsletter, Special Interest Group Coordinator and Project Director of the Colonial Census Substitute Project of the Fairfax Genealogical Society and head of the New England Study Group in both societies. She may be contacted at She is indebted to the members of the Study Group who proofed this complex list: Charles Eckert, Dorothy Flores, Carl Lee, William Mather III, Kathy Steckelberg, Alice Bagwill, and Mary Tripp.

    2See, especially, James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 4 vols. (Boston 1860-62), now available with addenda consolidated at, downloaded 2 Dec 2005; and Clarence Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, CD-ROM of 12 volume manuscript (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society (hereafter NEHGS): 2001), supplemented by Melinde Lutz Sanborn, Third Supplement to Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004).

    3Anderson, Robert Charles, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (hereafter GMB), 3 vols. (Boston: NEHGS, 1995) 1: xvii.

    4Board for Certification of Genealogists, The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, Utah: Ancestry Publishing Co., 2000), 1.

    5Fifteen percent or more arrived between 1620 and 1633. Twenty percent or more arrived in 1634 and 1635. Anderson, Sanborn, and Sanborn, GM 1: xv.

    6Please note that the GSMP staff checked each source listed in Clarence Torrey’s manuscript. If a source listed in Torrey is not mentioned in the sketch, it is not because it was not reviewed by the GSMP; it is because it contained no reliable information not found in a better primary source.

    7In 1636, the annual General Court of Election occurred on May 25, and, because of the difficulty of traversing the North Atlantic in the winter, all of the men who appeared in the list of freemen at that time must have arrived in New England no later than 1635. GMB, 1: xviii.

    8GM, 1: xvii-xviii.

    9Robert C. Anderson, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635 (Boston: NEHGS). With George F. Sanborn Jr., and Melinde Lutz Sanborn for volumes 1 and 2

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