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At long last: my children’s colonial immigrant ancestors

On another page, I have offered a genealogical definition of my children’s identity based on their seize quartiers, or their sixteen great-great-grandparents. Here is another form of such a definition. For persons predominantly or even partially descended from colonial lines in the United States, one shorthand for the ancestry is those people who are traditionally represented as the heads of their respective families in North America: the immigrants (usually men) who founded particular families bearing particular surnames. Both for New England and for the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions, the early waves of immigration had specific collective identities, some of which are explored in such works as David Hackett Fisher, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (Oxford, 1989).

My children’s ancestry includes many who immigrated, or who appear to have immigrated, to the North American colonies or the United States after 1700—the most recent one, my wife’s mother’s mother’s father, came over about 1900—but the greatest likely overlap between them and other genealogists in this country is via common ancestors who came to the colonies before 1700: seventeenth-century immigrants. With many traceable New England lines via three out of four grandparents, our children have well over four hundred distinct seventeenth-century immigrant ancestors, if we take ‘immigrant ancestor’ to mean the first person in a particular agnate line to have come to this continent (thus eliminating doubling of father-son pairs who both came over, etc.). In addition to male founders of agnate lines, this list includes some women, of known surname, who appear to have immigrated without father or husband (or whose immigrant husband, if he came, remains unknown in colonial sources).

So as a sort of genealogical blueprint I have now drawn up a table of all ancestors known to have immigrated to (or be first known of their line in) the North American colonies before 1700. The table is available sorted in alphabetical order, date order (dated to apparent year of arrival), geographical order (sorted by state and town of principal residence), or pedigree order (based on the logical order of families in my children’s pedigree chart, following an order of precedence as if combining heraldic heirs).

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