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The immigrants who flocked to New England from 1620 to 1633 have migrated again—this time, onto a CD-ROM and Internet database of profiles packed with genealogical data. They’re the focus of The Great Migration Begins, the first phase of the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Great Migration Study Project. This ongoing study aims to compile all previous research on early New England families into a “sketch” for each immigrant who arrived between 1620 and 1640. NEHGS published the first 900-plus sketches in three volumes in 1996, and now Ancestry has put this part of the project into electronic form.
For family historians pursuing a pedigree in early 17th-century New England, this tool could provide a plethora of ancestral answers. The sketches are broken into five sections:
- Immigration—Lists when and where the person came from and the first residence.
- Biography—Gives details on education, occupation, church membership, land ownership and whether the immigrant traveled to New England as a freeman or servant.
- Genealogy—Outlines birth, death, marriage and children. An “associations” category tells you if the person is related to another immigrant.
- Comments—Combines the snippets of useful information that don’t fall into other sections.
- Bibliographic Notes—Evaluates the most important sources for that particular immigrant.
Of course, all the sketches won’t have every one of these details, but most are pretty lengthy. And by putting all the known data about these early New Englanders in one place, the profiles show you what’s already been done and give you leads for further research.
The online version of The Great Migration Begins is available only to Ancestry subscribers, but you can purchase the $59.95 CD from Ancestry or NEHGS’s online book shop (where you’ll also find it in its original three-volume paper format for $125)