Thursday, September 29, 2011

Research Tip : Great Migration Series Best Reference For Early New Englanders

The final volume of The Great Migration : Immigrants to New England 1634-1635 has just been released and the Local History Collection has received it's copy as a result of a Buy-A-Book gift of Judith Huber Halseth of Paw Paw.

Robert Charles Anderson
Volume VII of the second series includes families whose surnames begin with T-Y (apparently there were no Z's) and rounds out the series begun in 1999 by Robert Charles Anderson and published by the Great Migration Project of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Prior to that, a three-volume set was published entitled The Great Migration Begins : Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, also by Mr. Anderson in 1995.

Researchers will want to add these series to their Reference arsenal and consult them first when researching colonial families from these eras.  As stated in the preface, "The goal of the Great Migration Study provide a concise, reliable summary of past research on the early immigrants to New England, which will reduce the amount of time which must be spent in discovering this past work, and will therefore serve as a foundation for future research."

The first step toward attaining this goal was to identify all Europeans who settled in New England in the 1620-1633 and 1634-1635 time periods.  Meticulous care was taken to consult as many records types as could be located such as:  passenger lists, freemen lists, colony, court & town records, vital & church records, land holdings, journals & letters, book & periodic publications, and other miscellaneous items. 

Every attempt was made to establish key pieces of information regarding each subject:
  1. Origin
  2. Date & vessel of migration
  3. First residence
  4. Occupation
  5. Church membership
  6. Freemen listings
  7. Officeholding
  8. Birth, Death & Marriage
  9. Education
  10. Estate
  11. Removal from area
  12. Associations to other immigrants
  13. Children (listing each by name with brief vitals for each when known)
  14. Comments (discussion about conclusions drawn and conflicting evidence)
  15. Bibliographic Notes
Of course, all information is thoroughly cited as to from where it was gathered, creating a fabulous bibliography of sources.  Each volume has two indexes, one by surname and one by first name [something you don't see very often]. 

Thanks to the continuing gifts of Dr. Halseth, the Local History Collection houses both complete series of The Great Migration.  Researchers may view the sets anytime during the department's regular business hours.  For more information about visiting the library or the Buy-A-Book Project, please contact us.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 Street Scene, Pullman [Lee Township, Allegan County]
Postcard published by Geo. K. Taylor

Can you identify the buildings in this photo?  Are any of them still standing?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the five character catalog number with your e-mail.