Pilrim Migration coverEvery American learns about Plymouth Rock and the Plymouth Colony from their earliest childhood. After all, we all have to learn about that first Thanksgiving, even if we tend to forget the real facts at times, over a plate of selectively bred turkey with a side of American football. Despite a plethora of information about this historic colony and what led these Separatists to leave their European homeland for the unknown dangers of the New World, there are few books histories that focus directly on individuals and their families. Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony 1620-1633 takes this very approach. Instead of the stories of a colony, this book focuses directly on information pertaining to each and every colonists, their marriages, their children, their holdings and other genealogically pertinent data. Information was garnered from a variety of sources which had to meet a set of three criteria:

  • appearance in a record generated prior to 14 May 1633—includes records generated by or within the Colony or elsewhere and related directly to the colony
  • direct or indirect implication of arrival by the end of 1633 included in a record of later date—in other words, generated after 14 May 1633 but directly names individuals who would have been in the Colony before that date. Often these records came from colonists asked to relate or describe their lives and Colony events during the prescribed period. Land grants and other documents also have provided additional information
  • appearance as a member of the immediate family of a person know to have arrived by 1633—unless specifically indicated as otherwise, it is assumed any married man arriving before 1633 brought with him his wife and any children

Building on existing records and life sketches of know colonists up to and around the early 1990s, the researchers for this book scoured all available new resources produced in the later part of the twentieth century relating to the Plymouth Colony. Updating and adding to existing individual accounts, this book provides a history of the Plymouth Colony through the life details and records of the individuals themselves who lived there. Key information provided in these life sketches includes such information as:

Origin – last know place of residence in Holland or England

Migration Date and Ship

First Residence

Removes – where a colonist moved to if resided in more than one New England settlement

Return Trips – any temporary or permanent move back to England, to the Caribbean, or other non-New England colony

Church Membership

Freeman – records of admission to freemanship as entered into court minutes

Offices – any know civil or military service at town, county or colony level

Education – attendance at any university in England, namely Cambridge or Oxford, and mostly found among ministers

Estate – predominately from land and/or probate records

Birth and Death

Marriages and Children

Associations – sketch information related to other subject by marriage or blood to other New England immigrants prior to 1643, and when the relationship existed prior to migration

Comments – any information not fitting other categories, such as court records, activities of trade, listing of errors or discrepancies, evidence and arguments for specific genealogical conclusions, and/or suggestions for further reading

Biographical Notes – for families with sufficient published information to require separate discussion. Especially true where 19th century genealogies are corrected by more recent published genealogies.

The categories covered and amount of information each naturally varies by individual. Finding information for this book was no small task. Hundreds of sources were examined. Those covered in the section of sources in the book are only those of broad application to the study of the inhabitants. In other words, while data was gleamed from hundreds of sources, the book includes a section with descriptions of those broad-sweeping sources likely to be of interest to the genealogical practioner, as broken down into the following categories:

  • Passengers lists
  • Town records
  • Vital records
  • Probate records
  • Land records
  • Church records
  • Journals and letters
    • Bradford’s History of Plymouth
    • Bradford Letterbook
    • Pamphlets of Edward Winslow
    • Winthrop Journal
    • Winthrop Letters

Ultimately, this book is a collection of genealogical and relative life facts for those colonists who migrated to the Plymouth Colony prior to 14 May 1633. The sketches cover individual males with their wife and children listed under the father’s name. There are over 200 sketches covering some three thousand individuals who lived in this early American colony.


Learn more about these early immigrants and possible ancestors, order a copy of Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony 1620-1633 from Family Root Publishing; Price: $29.35.