What to do with pre-1700, but non PGM/non Mayflower New England colonists?

+22 votes

There are many profiles that are subject to the new pre-1700 rules, but do not have a project.

Included in this group are two categories related to New England:

  1. Those who migrated after 1640 (those who migrated to New England before 1641 are covered by either the Puritan Great Migration Project or the Mayflower Project)
  2. Those born in New England between 1621 and 1699, inclusive.  A small number of these may fall under the Mayflower Families project, but the bulk don't belong to any other project.

What should project coordinator volunteers do when approached by people who want to edit/create such profiles?

in Policy and Style by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (782k points)

As I've posted there, nope.

PGM is specific to people who migrated to New England 1620-1640 (less Mayflower passengers, which have their own project).

IF someone were to create a project for New England Colonists, it would not be a project of PGM, but the other way around, PGM being a subset of a larger group of people who settled in New England after 1620 and before 1700 (or before 1776 if you want to take it to the Revolution).

The PGM project might consider following a precedent of the New Netherland Settlers project, by creating a "collateral" category for the parents and other nomimmigrant family members of PGM immigrants. When these people have been identified, ''The Great Migration'' book series often has good information about them, and recent experience leads me to think that it would be beneficial for the project to get involved with quality assurance for these people's profiles.

Thanks for your thoughts, Ellen. If profiles of children are identified in Anderson, we could add that as a second priority-- we currently list them in the narrative of the immigrant and include anything Anderson has about them in that list; we haven't yet made it a priority to flesh out their profiles (some volunteers may do this). Doing so would take care of a small amount of #1 above.

Until we've covered all those profiles documented by Anderson, though, I'm hesitant to add any new categories. This project has been going for several years and we've only scratched the surface (and Anderson only goes through 1635 so far!).


I support whatever path you choose with this Jillaine. We have several projects in the Northern US that cover that time period-Early PA Settlers/Quakers, NNS, PGM, Mayflower, then the Southern US Colonies project. I wonder if it would be beneficial to start a Northern US Colonies project that mirrors that one with divisions by colonies. Profiles in more than one project are not so much an issue as a lack of guidance on profile with no project would be.
Actually, I have just discovered evidence, the exclusivity of PGM dates from 1620-40 and anyone else came AFTER that date, is a bit of a romance, created after the fact. John Scribner Jenness in his charming little book "Isles of Shoals, an historical sketch" pub 1873, describes the northern New England coastal region as being frequented by seasonal fisherman, regular returning visitors, who eventually settled in the early 1600's. He further describes them as staunch "royalists".

"The founders of the Isles of Shoals....like those of Maine and New Hampshire in general felt little sympathy for the religious tenets of New Plymouth and Massachusetts. Indeed hardly more than one or two Congregational churches, after the New England model, had been gathered north of the Merrimac until after the country fell under the government of Massachusetts Bay (Colony)......Any attempt to introduce the Puritan form of worship among the Eastern (north coastal) people was considered hopeless.....The Eastern people, as to what religion they had, were thoroughly paced Episcopalians, or conformists to the Established Church of England.....The Episcopal Church at that period, contrasted itself from the sour austerities of the Reformers, by a genial patronage of gaiety and merriment, which commended it heartily to the sons of Mammon who carried on fishing and trading around the Gulf of Maine. It encouraged maypoles and morris dances, wasails and junketing of all sorts; it smiled approvingly on mince pies, cakes and ales "bone lace and tiffany hoodes" and all manner of "bravery of apparell", while on the other hand it discountenanced intellectual vexations that tormented the fantastic dissenters of the day." - Brenna
Love it. I was a little dismayed that I had Puritan relatives. Much more in favor of my Quakers .. but all in all a very uptight bunch. No wonder we are so effed up
I find this topic very interesting.  I, like the majority of Americans, thought of the Puritans as just a bunch of dissenters who founded Thanksgiving and discovered turkey for supper.

When I discovered my ancestor, Samuel Gorton, a Quaker inhabitant of Massachusetts Bay Colony and early settler and founder of Rhode Island, I read about what the Puritans of Massachusetts put him through, and they come across as the IS of the Christians of the 17th Century.  "Royalist" has a very real meaning in the context of 17th century history and the English Civil War, and this conflict plays a very important role in the history of all the earliest English colonies in North America.

       There is a good book of Gorton genealogy, and I would recommend that PGM project members and those interested in early Rhode Island and Connecticut read the introduction to it, which tells of Sam Gorton's travails within the Massachusetts Bay colony, and gives a good historical context to the whole philosophical surroundings of the area.  He once was arrested for giving shelter to a vagabond!! :=)

       On the other hand, King James I had a reputation as a homosexual, and one wonders what court life was like under him, despite his effecting the translation of the Bible.  See i.e. Charles' Dickens' "A Child's History of England."  The King had a lot of power, which we in the US are not used to with our system, and the English court remained rather debauched right on through the 17th century and beyond.  A good bit of colonization must have been driven by revulsion of the colonists to the excesses found in the English upper classes, and we see this not only in the 17th century, but right now in the present in the USA.
Must we have an individual category for everyone?

Dan, to answer you're question "Must we have an individual category for everyone?"

Certainly not, although I think everyone should at least fit into a place category.

However, what I think you might have meant was "Must we have an individual project for everyone?"

Likewise: Certainly not. But in order to Project Protect individuals who are controversial, frequently duplicated etc. one of the requirements is that they fall within a project. After this question was asked a US History Project was created, which covers the profiles that Jillaine was concerned about (ie those born before 1700 who aren't covered by PGM or Mayflower Projects).

3 Answers

+7 votes
I have lots of ancestors in that category, so I'll be interested in the answer.

It might make sense to have broad groupings by geographic area, with sub-projects for those who arrived in that area, vs. those that were born into it.
by S Willson G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
I also have a lot of ancestors in this category.

Projects can be resource-intensive (that is, they tend to require a lot of volunteer resources, notably including the time of Wikitree leaders). Instead of organizing a formal project for the many people in early colonial New England who neither PGM settlers nor Mayflower descendants, maybe we simply need to create a standard g2g tag to alert people to relevant discussions -- and ask contributors to start discussions and use that tag to open collaborations on pre-1700 New Englanders.

What to use as a tag? colonial_new_england is kind of long for a tag. early_new_england is shorter -- or maybe we could just use early_ne or colonial_ne ...
It also occurs to me that we could encourage people working on post 1640 colonial New England to follow the same standards as practiced by the PGM project.

Volunteer coordinators, then, could point such folks to the PGM project page (which, by the way, is about to be revamped) for guidance.

What I'm concerned about is asking PGM volunteers and co-leaders to be the contact for such folks. We don't have the bandwidth to take that on.
I like the idea of a tag, as well as a page to refer to for guidance.

The PGM page has some excellent suggestions for improving every profile, regardless of timeframe or location.  The PGM Sources page also has some good ideas for sources (many applicable to New England) in the Other Quality Journals section.

If we can avoid the overhead of a project, I'm all for it.
There are a lot of people in that period. Typical of settlers, those Puritans in the 1600s definitely were fruitful and multiplied. I'd argue there's a LOT more non-PGM than PGM people in pre-1700 New England.

Not all of them were Puritans either, though I guess one could still call those part of the PGM. There were new arrivals later in the 1600s (more Scots-Irish or Quaker than Puritan) as well, but nowhere near so large a number as the descendents of the PGM emigrants.
I like the idea of a tag and a guidance page, since we're discussing 100's of thousands of people potentially. Pre-1700 NE? And a good definition as well. Those who were born there, lived there, migrated thru there? It would be a massive undertaking to try to categorize them all.
Reminder: PGM project covers individuals who migrated during what's called the Puritan Great Migration--whether or not they were Puritan. See the project page:

The subsequent US/Canadian border has limited relevance to the families of early European fishermen of the Grand Banks and Gulf of Maine. We might consider potential overlap with the Acadian and Huguenot Migration projects for a project scope including both New England and the maritime provinces with attention to the migration of New England planters and loyalists following the Acadian Expulsion.
These are my peeps too.   I have been wondering the same thing.  I took a small morsel with my Bristol group and discovered, as Jillaine said, that many of them are the children of said projects.  

Many of them are considered the founders of several new towns, so they represent the growth resulting from the intial migration.

We have seen some talk on a founders type tag or category.
+4 votes
Great idea. Most of my fathers ancestors are from New England. Most came before 1700, some are in Mayflower and PGM. I am surprised by the number not in the book even though they came early. I have been trying to organize bits and pieces for some of them. I find several branches that I am trying to put into a trees. There are several strange connections back to England that are suspect.  Pre revolution sounds like a good qualifier. There are a few profiles that seem to get a lot of attention and others very little.
by Sue Hall G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
As a newbie, I find a lot of this confusing maybe esoteric at best. I think a problem arises when over classifications, groups. subgroups are required. It is enough for me to know that a person is an early PA Quaker... I really don't need to know and it is immaterial to me if he was also a heterosexual. vegan pig farmer .... it gets to be overwhelming .. KISS .. keep it simple stupid .. should be the mantra .....
+2 votes
I searched for similar questions and missed all of these, haha.  I also have many ancestors, including Mayflower and PGM and others who fall into neither category.  It'll take some time to assimilate the answers here and see if there is a definitive movement forward.  Thanks!
by Susan DeFoe G2G6 Mach 2 (24.3k points)

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