Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Early New England Families Study Project" at NEHGS - WOW!!

I received the latest issue of the American Ancestors Magazine (published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston), and read about the NEW Study Project, headed by Alicia Crane Williams, titled the "Early New England Families Study Project."  The description of the Study Project is here (published 27 May 2013).

The description includes:

"The Early New England Families Study Project has been created to fill the need for accurate and concise published summaries on seventeenth-century New England families. Using Clarence Almon Torrey’s bibliographic index of early New England marriages and its recent successors as a guide, our goal is to compile authoritative and documented sketches to be published in searchable format on and, potentially, in a series of books. Following the work of Robert Charles Anderson in the Great Migration Study Project, the Early New England Families Study Project will, in the next decades, deal with more than 35,000 marriages."

Further down:

"The first sketches released for this database include the families of John Capen (m. 1637), Daniel Denison (m. 1632), George Denison (m. 1640), Edmund Hobart (m. 1632), Joshua Hobart (m. 1637), Peter Hobart (m. 1628), Thomas Hobart (m. 1629), Francis Hudson (m. 1640), and William Hudson (m. 1641)."

Here is a screen capture of a page from one of the sketches:

These sketches are available to all NEHGS members on the American Ancestors website (use the Search engine, and select the "Early Families of New England" database from the Database list).

I hope that NEHGS will add a web page that provides links to the completed sketches, and will update the sketches as they are added to the collection.

My initial reaction to this announcement last night was WOW - NEHGS is going to create family sketches for families whose parents marriage is included in Clarence Almon Torrey's major work on Early New England Marriages to 1700, but are not covered in the sketches in the other two major study projects, the Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, and Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 projects.

There were about 35,000 marriages in Torrey's work, and the subsequent revisions to it, so this will be an ongoing project for many years to come.  The article states that these sketches will be online for NEHGS members to review, and therefore can be updated if additional information becomes available.

The beauty of these sketches is that they provide source citations to original source material (e.g., town records, probate records, court records, church records, etc.) and also to authoritative derivative source material (e.g., the Great Migration sketches, NEHGR articles).  Researchers should use those source citations as finding aids and obtain copies or images of the records themselves.

The article noted above mentions that the Great Migration series of books will extend through Immigrants up to the year 1640, so there are several more Great Migration book series in work.

When completed (will it ever be completed?), the genealogical community will have sketches for many of the families in New England up to the year 1700.  This will be a fantastic resource for genealogists.  There really will be no excuse for not using them, since they will be compiled and written by experts at NEHGS who will cite their sources.

Now I'm wondering which of my New England ancestors will be the first to be written up in a sketch in this Study Project, and if that sketch will show that my own research and record collection is accurate.

My next wonderment is "gee, the outline of the sketches are a really good template for any family - how can I adapt my own research and notes to emulate this good example?"

My final wonderment is "how can anyone with significant New England ancestry not be a member of NEHGS?"

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Howard Swain said...

You asked for a web page with the new sketches. As was mentioned in today's The Weekly Genealogist (free weekly newsletter from NEHGS) the sketches are here:

In the Search Fields area, there is a drop-down menu that lists all the families so far.


Elizabeth Handler said...

I love that the Denisons are covered - my parents are related through this surname. (And Capen is in my tree - I need to look more closely at that sketch.) And yes, if you have New England ancestors, how can you NOT be a member of NEHGS? (I've been a member for over twenty years.)

Ric Skinner said...

I've been researching SKINNER and have documented the line from me all the way back to 16th century England. One of my New England ancestors was John Skinner who was part of Thomas Hooker's party that went from eastern MA to CT in the 1600s. His descendants included Jonathan Skinner, prominent in the formation of Hinsdale (formerly Partridgefield) MA around 1795, his son Stephan, born in Hinsdale, and moved with parents and other family members to NY (Pompey, Van Buren, Barre Center). Stephen was a prominent blacksmith and businessman and built the main part of the Skinner-Tinkham house in Barre Center. He then moved to Rockford, IL in 1830 and his son Marvin was reportedly the 6th white child born there. One of Stephen's sons, Henry Mead Skinner, participated in the Colorado gold rush in 1859-60. Many other details have been uncovered about this SKINNER line. Would this be suitable for inclusing in the NEHGS Project?

Darlene(Hill) Burbine said...

I have Edmund Hobart in my tree and I am sure that there will be plenty of others too. I also have 2 families who came over on the Mayflower. There are numerous families in my tree who came over in the 1600's and 1700's .

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