While most families celebrate the Fourth of July with picnics, barbecues and fireworks, I spend part of the day inside watching a video of 1776, the musical that tells the story of the Continental Congress in the few days leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I love being reminded of the hard work—and heart-breaking compromises—it took to birth a nation. Many of us had families who lived through that historic year and the years of revolution that followed. I often wonder if Adams, Franklin and Jefferson had any idea that their new nation would last so long and that we would still be celebrating the day America was born.
If you haven’t managed to trace your lines back to Colonial America, I’ve found a few online databases that might help your search. One of them, called 1600s Ancestors, contains information about 26,500 Americans who lived in the Colonies during the 1600s. The data comes from lines proven by lineage societies over several years. If you locate a potential ancestor, in many cases you can contact the person who submitted the name for more information.
Other Colonial-era sites of interest include:
• Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots
• Biographies of the Founding Fathers
• Colonial Graduates of Harvard University
• Free Lookups: Pennsylvania Colonial Records, 1600s-1800s