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  • #35 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: Spotting Easy-to-Trace Lines, Part 2

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Continuing my “QuickSearch” guide to easy-to-trace lines, for 18th-century or pioneer ancestors check the 3-vol. DAR Patriot Index and the various pension indexes and abstracts by V.D. White (Revolutionary abstracts esp.), census indexes (through 1860, often 1870, sometimes later), and mugbook indexes discussed and listed in chapter 8 of J. Carlyle Parker’s Going to Salt Lake City to Do Family History Research (3rd ed., 1996). For these military, census, biographical and a few other “pioneer” sources see my brief essay on the subject in The American Genealogist (TAG) 72 (1997): 399-402.

    For 17th-century New England forebears of your “pioneer” ancestors, check C. A. Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (microfilm ed. in 7 reels, 1979; book ed., without references, but with a wives and surname index, 1985; CD-ROM version in preparation), a listing of all 37,000 married couples in 17th-century New England, and all references to either partner in everything published through 1960. New England immigrants through 1633 are covered in R. C. Anderson’s The Great Migration Begins, 3 vols. Publication of a second series of this last project, covering immigrants of 1634 and 1635, begins this fall with a volume covering A and B surnames.For origins abroad of early New England immigrants check English Origins of New England Families From NEHGR, 6 vols. in 2 series, H. F. Waters’s Genealogical Gleanings in England, 2 vols., and Register 150 (1996): 454-61 (a bibliography of origins studies published in the Register, 1984-96), plus the works by Torrey and Colket listed above, and the second section of Mrs. Worden’s subject index for TAG, vols. 1-60. I have also published some bibliographies by immigrant of early settlers of Rhode Island and Middlesex Co., Mass., and of Mayflower passengers and royally-descended immigrants, and contributed to such a bibliography for Sandwich, Mass. families. The bibliography of early Middlesex Co. testators appears in the July 1999 Register, and my other surname bibliographies are listed on the last page of that article.

    For Mayflower ancestors, check firstly the 18 volumes of “silver book” Genealogies of Mayflower Families for Five Generations, plus the “pink pamphlets” of four-generation preliminary studies for future “silver book” volumes. These books and pamphlets cover all passengers except John Howland, the progeny of whose two eldest children is covered in two five-generation volumes by Elizabeth Pearson White (the progeny of another child, Mrs. Ruth Howland Cushman, is covered in the Isaac Allerton volume, and five generations of the progeny of other children appear in a useful but undocumented 1970 work by Mrs. Curtis J. Hunter). Other Mayflower works of import include Genealogies of Mayflower Families From NEHGR, 3 vols., Mayflower Source Records From NEHGR, E. A. Stratton’s Plymouth Colony: Its History & People, 1620-1691, the several GPC works by Susan E. Roser (VRs, deeds and probates from The Bowman Files, plus Mayflower Increasings, a three-generation study of the progeny of all 23 passengers), and the 45+ vols. of The Mayflower Descendant, until recently edited by Alicia Crane Williams.

    For New England problems that remain after all of the above sources have been exhausted, try three large databases - the Mormon International Genealogical Index (use the Ancestral File with caution), the American Genealogical-Biographical Index (200 vols. to date, through Wilson, esp. useful for references to the Boston Transcript genealogical column, the best query source in American genealogy) and, although it is mentioned above and should already have been used, the 6-vol. set of every-name indexes to the Register. If you find nothing in any of the above sources or these three databases, my best advice is to “give up” on printed sources for awhile and turn to documentary records in archives, courthouses and town halls.

    A few “QuickSearch” sources for a few non-New England areas may also be in order. Suggestions for the mid-Atlantic and Southern states appear in columns 16-18 and 28-30. Post-1840 “ethnic” topics are treated in column 9. If your ancestors were 18th-century Germans, check the works of Hank Jones (Palatines, to New York esp.) or Annette Burgert (immigrants into Philadelphia around 1750 esp.), plus various post-Roots single-family genealogies as well. For the 19th-century Irish, check Famine Immigrants (7 vols., to NYC 1846-51), The Search for Missing Friends (8 vols., transcriptions of advertisements published 1831-1920 [vol. 8 is at press]), and among the Society’s microtext holdings, the Spinning Wheel Survey of 1796, Griffiths’ Valuation and the Tithe Applotment Books, which three sources together act as a kind of substitute census for Ireland, 1800-1840.

    If your ancestors are French Canadian, check the compendia by Jetté and Tanguay, the 47 vols. of Répertoires (baptisms and marriages) to 1765, and the Loiselle (covering 540 parishes) and Drouin marriage indexes. For other 19th-century groups, Germans to America (60 vols. to date, arrivals after 1850), Italians to America (11 vols.), and Migration from the Russian Empire (6 vols., mostly Polish and Jewish) cover immigrants to NYC from Germany, Italy and Russia through the early or mid-1890s. Works by Robert Swearinga, Gerhard Naeseth, Rabbi Malcolm Stern, and Mary Voultros cover 19th-century Dutch, Norwegian (to 1850), Sephardic Jewish (to 1840), and Massachusetts Greek immigrants (1885-1910). If recent ancestors have belonged to the English gentry, especially to the “roving” gentry or civil service in Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, or elsewhere in the British colonies, check Burke’s Family Index for surnames in Burke’s Peerage, Landed Gentry, or other Burke’s works, and the bibliographies (of English pedigrees published through 1975 or so) by George Marshall, J. B. Whitmore, and Geoffrey Barrow. Descendants of the last Plantagenets are covered, with some gaps, in Ruvigny’s Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal, 5 vols., reprinted by GPC in 1994.

    For royal descents check my 1993 compendium, The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants (RD500, with additions in the summer 1996 issue of NEXUS), the 1996 first edition of Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists by David Faris, and the most recent editions of Ancestral Roots (7th), Magna Charta Sureties, 1215 (5th), and Royalty for Commoners (this last on the ancestry of the children of Edward III). A second edition of David Faris’s work will appear later this year, and a second edition of my RD500 is scheduled for 2001. Don Stone has compiled wonderful charts on our likely ancient lines (to classical Greece, Egypt, Persia, Rome, and Asia Minor), and H. M. West Winter has outlined, in 10 vols. at NEHGS, 16 generations of the descendants of Charlemagne - to about 1250-1300.

    After tracing much of your New England and other ancestry, I hope you will look at my other volumes on notables - American Ancestors and Cousins of The Princess of Wales (1984), Ancestors of American Presidents (1995), and Notable Kin, Volume One and Volume Two (1998-99). Most readers with 50+ Great Migration New England ancestors will find between 50 and 100 famous distant cousins in these works, and many readers with Tidewater Virginia forebears will find several dozen. Once again, I hope this “QuickSearch” survey of printed sources that often allow us to trace half or more of our ancestry easily, proves helpful to many readers. In my next column I shall return to a survey review of interesting kinships in Notable Kin, Volume Two, and discuss some ancestors of Yankee inventors and artists.
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