About the Great Migration

About the Author

How to read a Great Migration sketch


Critical Acclaim

“New England genealogy and history have acquired a new foundation with the publication of The Great Migration Begins. Only a few times in a generation does a work of this breadth and quality appear. The Great Migration Begins clearly ranks among the greatest in American genealogy.”
— Henry B. Hoff, Editor, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register

“As one who has spent thirty years tracing the German Palatine immigrants to colonial America in the 18th century, I certainly can appreciate the hard work, long hours, deep thought, and dedication that have gone into Robert Charles Anderson’s monumental study The Great Migration Begins . Bob’s unsurpassed genealogical skills and years of expertise in chronicling these 17th century New Englanders have served him well in this remarkable project. He has shown, yet again, that in order to really find out about one family — all the families of a specific community should be thoroughly investigated. By immersing himself in their lives and times and carefully evaluating the myriad of historical sources that document their intriguing story, Bob Anderson has made these colonists come alive and created a magnificent work against which all future efforts of this kind surely will be measured.”
— Hank Z Jones, Jr., FASG

Uncovering Personalities of the Great Migration

An unexpected benefit of the Great Migration Study Project has been the light thrown on the full range of personalities of the immigrants to New England. By studying exhaustively and systematically every immigrant during the years from 1620 to 1640, we begin to see patterns, and we establish a norm, from which there are the expected deviations.

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New England's Great Migration

In 1988, the New England Historic Genealogical Society initiated the Great Migration Study Project, conceived and directed by Robert Charles Anderson. The Project aimed to summarize and document everything known about the individual immigrants who came to New England in its first years of settlement. Now, fifteen years later, a substantial body of work has been produced: The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1633 (three volumes), The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634–1635 (currently three volumes covering surnames A–H) and the Great Migration Newsletter (now in its twelfth year), which addresses broader themes and topics. Thanks to the substantial scholarly contributions of the Great Migration Study Project, the genealogical community has grown increasingly familiar with details of the lives of these early immigrants. In this article, I have relied heavily on New England’s Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century by Virginia DeJohn Anderson[1] to help reacquaint readers with the movement that came to be known as the Great Migration.

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