Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: British Origins of U.S. Colonists

Finding the UK parish where your ancestors lived is one of genealogy’s most difficult tasks for some of us. If your family came to America before 1837 when civil (government) registration was required, you must rely on the church records in a parish.

This week I found a slim but very helpful book by the famous genealogist, William Dollarhide.
Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629-1775. Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest Genealogical Services, division of AGLL, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-877677-69-8
He suggests “if an American today has a British ancestor who arrived during the colonial period, there is a very high chance that he was part of one of these four waves of migrations.”
·         From East Anglia came the Puritans to New England during the Great Migration, 1629 to 1640.
·         From the West Country came the cavaliers and their servants to the Chesapeake, 1641 to 1675.
·         Quakers from the North Midlands came to the Delaware Valley, 1675 to 1715.
·         People from the English-Scottish borderlands came to the rural areas of the colonies 1717 to 1775.
If you know where your colonial ancestor lived in America, you can begin to pinpoint where he came from in Britain.
During the Great Migration about 21,000 Puritans came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Although they came from all counties in England, over half came from East Anglia; Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex plus Cambridge, Hertford, Huntington, Lincoln and parts of Bedford and Kent.
Another group of Puritans came from the west of England where the counties of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire meet. Their beliefs were less strict and their customs different from the East Anglicans so they moved on to Connecticut, Maine and the Island of Nantucket once on this continent.
If you check my post on 2 Oct 2013, you will find information from a book by J.R. Smith about American connections in Essex, England including John Winthrop and William Pynchon, Puritans in New England, but he also highlights other Essex men in the Delaware Valley and Virginia. For example, William Penn was born in Wanstead, Essex.
Next post: Details of the Quakers and other groups of British colonists who went to specific places in America.

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