Search for Early New England Ancestors FREE in NEHGS’ Great Migration Databases

By Diane Haddad

In honor of the United States’ July Fourth holiday, the New England Historic Genealogical Society is offering a week of free access to its Great Migration online databases at starting July 1. You’ll need to set up a free guest registration with the site.

Rejoice if your ancestors were among the first Europeans to settle in New England: The Great Migration Study Project, sponsored by NEHGS and directed by Robert Charles Anderson, traces the 20,000 Europeans who crossed the Atlantic from 1620 to 1640.

(The term “Great Migration” also is used to describe another migration, the African-American migration from the South in the early- to mid-20th century.)

The nine searchable Great Migration databases include:

  • The Great Migration Begins: This database gives details on settlers in New England in 1633 and earlier. This is roughly 15 percent of the Great Migration immigrants.
  • The Great Migration Newsletter: This database contains comprises volumes 1 through 20 of the “Great Migration Newsletter,” published between 1990 and 2011. Each newsletter includes articles, book reviews, and details on useful records or one of the towns settled during the Great Migration.
  • The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Vols. I-VII (A-Y): Up to 2,500 people immigrated in 1634 and again in 1635. These seven databases cover surnames starting with letters A through Y, and provide information such as the family or individual’s name, place of origin, date and ship of arrival, and the earliest known record naming the person or family. Search results link to a sketch about the person or family from the Great Migration book series.

NEHGS’ Great Migration databases are free to search from Wednesday, July 1, through July 8. Click here to sign up for a free guest registration to, then start searching.

You can read more here about the Great Migration Study Project, including about the books and databases this research has produced. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016. Learn here about the migration itself and the types of records researchers consult.

NEHGS resources are invaluable for researching your early New England roots. These and other records are covered in the guidebook Researching Your Colonial New England Ancestors by Patricia Law Hatcher and our Top 25 Tips for Finding Your Colonial Ancestors on-demand webinar with D. Joshua Taylor.