The skipped generation

Alicia Crane WilliamsThree more sketches (16 pages) in the Early New England Families Study Project have just been posted – John Carter of Woburn; Samuel Maverick of Noddles Island, Boston, Maine, New York, etc.; and his wife Amyas (Cole) (Thomson) Maverick.

John Carter is the first example in the Early New England Families Study Project of a second-generation New Englander who arrived with his parents during the “second,” unpublished, half of the Great Migration. This results in the anomaly that John Carter’s sketch is published before his father’s, which might confuse researchers assuming that the two projects are seamlessly synced.

The Great Migration Study Project was started over twenty-five years ago by Robert Charles Anderson and has the goal of publishing sketches on families arranged chronologically by the years they arrived in New England between 1620 and 1640. So far, immigrants who came between 1620 and 1635 have been treated in ten volumes of Great Migration books, but immigrants from 1636 through 1640 have not. Fortunately for us, Bob’s Great Migration Directory provides the list of all individuals who fall under the umbrella of that project whether they have been treated or not.

The Early New England Families Study Project, started just three years ago, approaches those heads of families who are not under the Great Migration umbrella, but it uses the year of marriage for its chronological arrangement. Up to this point, individuals who have been treated in Early New England Families have all been second-generation children of parents who immigrated to New England during the Great Migration and who have had their sketches published in that series. With John Carter we begin to encounter individuals whose parents have not yet been treated by Great Migration and who, at least for now, represent a “skipped” generation.

From my point of view that is a problem because I don’t have the Great Migration sketches to give me a head start (yes, I am spoiled). It is also an inconvenience to everyone waiting for their Great Migration ancestors’ sketches, but considering the massive number of families involved in both projects (everyone in New England in the seventeenth century), we just have to be grateful for what has been done.

So here’s an idea on how to deal with that skipped generation awaiting their Great Migration sketches – do them yourselves. At least give it a try. You might like it, and it’s better than standing on one foot for twenty-five more years!

About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

39 thoughts on “The skipped generation

  1. “Do it yourself”? Coming around to my way of thinking, eh?

    But once you’ve got a draft done, what do you do with it? To whom as a “blind” peer reviewer can you turn to? Are you as the newbie GM or EFNE writer going to be open to truly constructive critiques, re both stylistic and technical issues, especially footnotes? Do you have the energy to slog through the very first one without having a point to get to or a community of volunteers to be part of and a community goal to contribute to?

    2 technical questions to follow.

    1. Bob, first, let me ask you to refrain from frightening the horses. Before we start talking about peer reviews, let’s just get people used to the idea that they can do it themselves with no pressure about doing it perfectly. Yes, we want everyone to learn how to do it best, but in order to learn everyone has to DO first. The trend toward “professionalism” in genealogy is good, but undoubtedly we are missing something from thousands of researchers who are being “trained” to sit back and wait for the experts to do it first. I guess this will be the topic of the next post!

      1. Oh, I’m NOT suggesting waiting for the experts — I’m suggesting ways for every one to be involved, AND get Trained UP to at least the Minimum Necessary Level of Appropriate Footnotes — while still having one’s own fun

      2. About 10 years ago I feared that Richard Swain would not be in the 2nd series because the “passenger list” entry says Srayne and no one has found him documented in the New World until 1638. So, I started to a sketch myself. I had about half a page, skipping Offices and Estate and jumping right to Birth, Death, Marraige, and Children. Comparing it now to the “real deal”, I think it stands up pretty well.

        As to citations, I merely followed the style of the GM books: In-line citations to sources that are shown with standard abbreviations. Quick and easy.

        If I were to do a skipped gen. (GM) sketch now, I’d be tempted to use the Early Families categories or headings with the GM citation style.

  2. Thank you, and Robert Anderson and Emily Baldoni and all the others who have worked so hard to make information available to those of us who are 1800+ miles from home (and even after 32 years in Texas, NE is home). A trip to NEHGS let alone individual source locations is most unlikely so I appreciate every bit of digital information I can find.

    1. I agree NE will always be home. I left for Indiana the January 2, 1970. For the last three years I have lived about 8/9 months in Texas (grandson is here) and 3/4 months in Massachusetts. My grandson is cute but he is not cute enough to spend the summers in Austin.

  3. Specifically regarding IPSWICH LAND RECORDS which are on microfilm at the Society but which, so far as I can figure out, are NOT yet digitized at FamSrch. (If it has been digitized, where is it? Any ideas?)

    Did Bob Anderson create a general index or better yet a precis of each document to facilitate his cross-surname research? If so, is it considered proprietary to Anderson or will it be turned into a Society db as was done for Wyman’s Middlesex Court files extractions?

    This question also applies to Old Norfolk County records on microfilm. From the Richard Swain GM2 sketch, Bob was deep into both of those collections, looking at both grantor and grantee.

    I would assume info from these sources used more immediately for Swain would be filed in a doc for later use in the grantee’s sketch. If THAT was done, again are those files proprietary or will be available as manuscripts through Special Collections, etc?

    The Swain GM sketch has been a guide to what is missing in my very raw GM data collection on George Bunker of Topsfield (d. 26 May 1658). If what’s been tangentially referenced, i.e. Bryan Pendleton’s sale to GB of land in Topsfield, it HAS to be one of those collections, likely the first one, as it’s NOT in the Essex County nor Suffolk County deeds. Swain’s sale of GB lands are referenced by Bob A to [ILR].

    1. Bob, you’ll have to ask Bob about his GM sources. I’m not in the decision making group about what gets digitized, but the Society is clearly moving on that front and Vita-Brevis opinions have a way of being heard.

    2. Bob and Alicia —
      About 10 years ago I had the LDS film #873,018 (Ipswich, Mass., Deeds, mortgages, wills 1639-1666) on loan. I think I was trying to verify some statements in the Bunker Family History by Henry Bunker (1984) to determine when George arrived. I did not succeed.
      I have a note to myself that I should also check film #878,651, which I have not done.

      Also, I seem to have been looking for Richard Swain there. From my notes, it appears there may be an index on the film. Anyway, I found all the same items for Richard on the same pages as cited in his GM sketch p. 611. Note: this film seems to be of a copy of the original made at some later date. The pages cited in GMB are down the left side, and I assume are the numbers on the original.

      As you probably know, there are abstracts of Old Norfolk Co. records in Essex Antiquarian. Perhaps that could at least tell you if a record exists there.

      1. Howard, re Your 1st paragraph: Well, that’s not good news for the GB search! Still, as you said, you were concentrating on R Swain & so found all the deeds cited in his GM sketch. Then, too, the index might only list Gran-TORS such as RS was in selling GB’s property. The other name to look for would be Bryan Pendleton as Grantor to GB.

        Even IF GB only ever recorded his Pendleton purchase in (likely now lost) Topsfield paper deed books, BOUNDARY details in other Ipswich and Topsfield deeds might name him, and the dates of those deeds might be helpful in establishing his presence in either Ipswich or Topsfield. Which means a deed by deed review.

        Thanks for the reminder about Old Norfolk deeds in EA. I’ll go run a search a little later. Not sure how complete those may be.

        And thanks for sharing your work!

      2. Howard, I’m a descendant of Richard Swain of Nantucket. My cousin, Robert did a great amount of work on our line. I would love to hear from you. Ive just signed up to this site. Today, its a bit overwhelming for me.
        I take it we may be related? I come with Stephen Swain that traveled to NC.
        Hope to hear from you.
        Patt Swain Stivers

  4. Alicia, certainly I would not want to hold you to any rigid Who’s Next plan. This George Bunker GM format data collection project is a rabbit hole off of a rabbit hole off of a ….

    Nonetheless, the amount of info within the Swain sketch on the children of TWO families should be a huge kickstarter for at least Setting Up the Sketches on those people. I almost stopped working the GB online objectives just to make the point to myself of doing that using GMB sketches I have as text copies (this is where cut and paste is Da Best).

    If it’s your choice to work on whom you please, why choose John Carter [“of Mars”? ] over the 3 Bulkeley boys who go to Connecticut. You know how much is out there to lean on for their sketches.

    1. Bob, It’s a Catch-22 situation. George Bunker is in the Great Migration bucket. I have enough in my own Early Families’ buckets, although eventually I will get to his sons. It will be an interesting “race” to see whether GM or EF gets to the family first. Within my EF buckets, I am currently limited to couples married 1642 or earlier. I try to mix them up by choosing couples from different areas of New England, from different alphabetical names, etc. Availability of resources may also come into the decision and sometimes at 3 a.m. I just throw darts. I make no judgments about which family might be more important and, in fact, one of my instructions when I started the project was to make certain I includes those families that have not been well covered in print — of course, that’s an oxymoron as most of them have not been well covered.
      The Catch-22 you are in over access to material is seriously being addressed by all repositories and digital archives continue to grow. A matter of time — and I think we will live long enough to see it.

      1. Too many names on the brain! I was referring to GEORGE “Never Went To Nantucket But His Widow Did As Ms. Swain” BUNKER (whom Torrey has 1644? but certainly married by 1645-1646 and certainly arrived by 1647) and NOT to the already written up GB at Charlestown. The first George, and the attendant issues I’m working through using the GM format, will be yours.

        I understand the 1 year At A Time Approach for a Single Researcher’s focus. Focus = completion. Still, in the process of doing that, you’ve generated info on the children — which you do what with?

        So, I’m “guessing” that certain research files and notes are NOT available to you; that if you are doing an Old Norfolk person, say, you just have to go look at the microfilm each and every time. The inefficiency of this on projects the size of GM & EFNE is obvious.

        When I get to the logical stopping point on raw info collection re GB 1644/1648, which is close as the ILRs and ONLRs seem to be the key here (and I also do not have access to printed Ipswich & Topsfield town records, unless archive has them, and of course no access to anything unprinted and not microfilmed), I’ll clean it up and send it along to you as it would be inefficient of me to spend any more time on it, given the other rabbit holes I’ve lined up.

        It has been an exercise in How To Start Doing One Of Those Sketches for me, and its demonstrated that without full access to Society resources, or to those of a similar institution, I can not complete a GM formatted write-up by myself.


        1. Re. George Bunker’s arrival —
          There was a Wm. Bunker bp. in Tingrith, Bedford, England on 17 Jun 1648 whose father was Geo. Bunker. This is from the extracted IGI. It appears to me this is the son of the immigrant, so they had to arrive after that.

          1. I have not seen any actual evidence, or even a chain of evidence, that ANY of the several Georges of Tingrith could be the George Bunker of Ipswich & Topsfield. Certainly, 1 of them could be, but no one has done the systematic search for all Bunker vital records plus wills and deeds in and around Tingrith that would determine who survived and who didn’t, who left and who stayed.

            It has been STATED that a chain of evidence has been found. I SURMISE that it identifies the life outcome of Francis Bunker’s George — died young or at any rate died in England. That would leave Francis’s brother Timothy’s George as the “only Tingrith candidate” to be the Topsfield George. But apparently it has NOT been made public, i.e. subject to peer review by other genealogists.

            The work described in the 1st paragraph requires actually reviewing the originals at the county record offices. The Bunker Family Association has apparently never undertaken that kind of research. That is the kind of research presented by Clifford L. Stott, FASG, in his article “The English Ancestry of Richard Swain” (The American Genealogist 74:241-49). And in a footnote on p. 245, Mr. Stott gently points out the “leap” made when a Bunker genealogy equates an Elizabeth “Godfree” who marries a George Bunker in England with the Jane who is always listed as the mother of GB’s children in Nantucket records. I would not be so indirect.

            The fact that a William being born to a George in Tingrith in 1648 doesn’t mean the William who is 10 yo in 1658, when his father dies in that cart accident, is the same William. After all, if Torrey’s “1644?” turns out to be “1644”, they can’t be. (And what he means by ?, I haven’t figured out yet.) This is where reviewing Old Norfolk and Ipswich Town Land records becomes critical (land grants from Ipswich? actual date of Pendleton sale?, etc.) and I’m in Oregon and they are on microfilm at the Society. As are the printed Ipswich and Topsfield records.

            So, at present, in Great Migration sketch terms, George Bunker of Topsfield’s origin is Unknown, and only one wife is known, Jane, who died at Nantucket as Richard Swain’s 2nd wife. Her maiden name is also Unknown.*

            Assertions are not facts. And even similar and real facts may not be connected in any causal relationship with each other.

            *Yes, Savage calls her “Godfrey” but he gives no evidence nor has any evidence appeared to date to confirm it.

            Like I said, a rabbit hole!

  5. So glad to see this post! I am a direct descendant of John Parish born about 1640 in Newton Mass ( now Cambridge and the site of Harvard) Happily, Roswell Parish and his son wrote a book on our family history. However, it starts with a newborn child His parents are skipped. Lots of sites say they know the answer — but many more disagree with that answer. So this is great news. I hope you include our family.

      1. Yes. That is who I had in mind. Separate website suggested he was our ancestor and then others say he was not. There is also a Sarah PARRISH listed by herself in the earl y records. I have not been able to find out who she was She arrived on the ship with almost nobody on it i have been buying copies of old books going back to that time I’m hoping eventually to be able to track our family back to our roots in England Right now I’m talking to one of the historic society’s in Smithtown Long Island Roswell Parish Also wrote a book on the Smith family as in the founder of Smithtown. One of the PARRISH women married into this family. I’m hoping that Roswell’s Collection of research and papers will be there. They are not at Vassar with Jasper PARRISH’s papers. So if you know who John’s father was please let me know

          1. Sorry I thought that would be enough. The book is called

            John Parish of Groton, Mass.: And Some of His Descendants
            At the beginning of the book the author starts out saying that they do not know who John’s parents were. I have taken this book as the cornerstone of everything I am doing. This seems to be the book that almost every genealogy website quotes. After that all the websites I’ve read argue over whether or not they know who his parents were.

            I hope that’s the kind of answer you were looking forward to your question.

            Some of the sites seem to feel that the man you mentioned is perhaps his uncle.

        1. Okay, Sam, I’m up to speed now. Your John Parish first appears in Braintree in 1664 when he married, so he’s been given an estimated birth year of 1641 (i.e. age 23 at marriage — that can be pushed earlier, I think to 1639 or earlier). The only candidate for his father in NE by then was Thomas Parish of Watertown (later returned to England), who did not have a son John according to Great Migration – talk about Catch-22s. Early New England families won’t be treating John until it gets to the year 1664 (presently still on 1642 and earlier), so I won’t be delving into this any time soon, but most likely John is an immigrant on his own, not related to any of the other Parishes.

  6. Of course, we all feel, “ME first- do MY ancestors first!” but I am actually glad that you are skipping around as you just may end up with who I need as some tend to be more obscure. I really do appreciate all the work you, Bob, and the rest of the staff put in. As one living far from the Library, I too am very eager for new digital information, so glad that NEHGS is moving in that direction.

    Would having our research online in well-documented blogs be of use as you all research? Do you look at such resources as ‘clues’?

    1. Thank you. Yes, I heartily encourage researchers to set up their own blogs or whatever works for them and “publish” their work. The more the better and yes I Google all of the names I work on just to see what is out there.

  7. Alicia: Ah! So that’s the ticket, eh. About what I thought. And there is nothing involving GMers that could conceivably be considered “short”. Back to Square 1 on Ye Olde Drawinge Bord. Continued agitation definitely seems in order.

  8. A bit late to the party, here, but I like Mr Gerrity’s idea of agitation on his ideas of using “crowd wisdom” to help. I can’t help but think of the LDS crowd-sourced effort to index the entire 1940 census in a few months. Clearly this would require a much higher level of expertise, but with overseers that could check on the work, etc. . . .

    I was completely surprised by AWC’s mention that: “I do not have access to GM research files . . . ”

    Does this mean that even within NEGHS there’s little crowd-sourced effort?

    There are a lot of competent people that’d be willing to help — in the hope that the time it takes to complete these truly awesome projects can be less than 30 years!

    1. You asked: “Does this mean that even within NEGHS there’s little crowd-sourced effort?”

      Well, I’m sure there is a high-level companionable help among Research Service staffers, and an all-shoulders-to-the-wheel effort behind the Presentation Genealogies generated for the Annual & Fall Meetings with certain people (Hi, Chris!) providing overall editorial control. But if you mean anything like a Wiki-effort, well…


      For important organizational development reasons, the efforts of the Boston-based volunteers have been expended on data-base creation, and there’s a lot more work there to be done. Then, too, as Emily Baldoni just commented to a query at her Older Genealogies VB thread, FT staff are heavily engaged in the technical aspects of making “the data on the shelves” searchable via the Library Catalog. (Hey, can we go back to calling it “Lemuel”? You know Shattuck would be asking “And next?”)

      Value-Added Benefits to enhance the desirability of membership. A necessary, daily activity of such a non-profit organization.

      But there are Two More Projects To Go. The one I’ve been “agitating” for at this and a other VB posts for well over a year is based on “Well, what about us members not in Boston? How can we effectively, creatively contribute to what the Society offers us and potential future members?”

      Donating material is the Classic, Necessary, but Passive effort, but developing a supervised Wiki project can be the Up-To-Date, Active project that once up and running will be seen as ESSENTIAL.

      One model to do this is already supported by the Society in Helen Ullman’s Western Massachusetts Families and in Scott Bartley’s Vermont Families. My alternative model can be found by googling Vita Brevis and my name but as it will be in a reply to an Alicia post, just use her name. (Google really does “index” quite a lot!)

      My reply to Ms. Whitmore just below is a nudge about how to get going without waiting for any Society generated structure. And that effort Alicia herself has supported in replies such as above and in other posts.

      So, who can you work on in the GM/EFNE mode?

  9. I, too, am struggling with a skipped generation. I’ve documented my husband’s ancestry to Francis WHITMORE b. 1625 who owned properties in Cambridge and Lexington, Mass. He married Isabel Parke in Cambridge in 1648.
    I suspect, and others claim, he was the son of John Whitmore, The renowned genealogist W.H. Whitmore said: “The earliest mentioned person by the name of Whitmore I have yet met with is John of Stamford, who was living in Wethersfield in 1639. He was killed by Indians in 1648, leaving a son John. I have some reason to suspect that he was the father of all the names here, and that the following will give about the record of his children’s births: — Thomas, b. 1615; the ancestor of the Wetmores; Ann b. (?) 1621, m George Farrar Feb. 16, 1644; Mary b (?) 1623; m John Brewer Oct. 23, 1647; Francis, b. 1625, of Cambridge; John (b. ?) 1627 of Stamford 1650.”
    I have been trying to find records that link this John Whitmore to “our” Francis, also information on where in England they had lived, and on what ship did they travel?

    1. My $2 suggestion (up from 2 bits–inflation, ya know) would be to BEGIN with the premise that Francis Whitmore is NOT a son of John of Stamford. While people did move from CT back to the Greater Boston area, younger sons of farmers tended to stay with fathers, especially those who went from central CT to a border town near New Netherlands.

      NEXT, set up a draft on FW in GM format. This will force you to concentrate the documentable information into the several categories, and should also reveal ongoing relationships. It will reveal holes, secondary info only, etc. that you can fill in. You may already have a lot of such information. (Like from Torrey NEM?) Plug it in and see how it plays.

      ALSO, you should do this for John of 1639. Be sure to run his name through the GM–all volumes database. I suggest this as Mr. Anderson agrees with Mr. W. H. Whitmore as to his arrival date, 1639, but as Mr. Anderson has “retired” from the GM project per se, the prospects of any one doing such a write up–OTHER THAN YOU–is scant at the present time. Thus, start with John Whitmore’s entry at Great Migration Directory p. 371 for the minimal amount of references Mr. Anderson has generated to date that need to be reviewed.

      When you do look at the GMD, NOTE the Other “Whitmors” on that page, i.e. Lawrence Whittemore (1635 on Hopewell; settled Roxbury) and Thomas Whittemore (1640; Charlestown). Lawrence has already been written up by Mr. Anderson at GM 2:7:373-73. Thomas has gotten two treatments at The Register 21:169-72 & 106:31-36. Reviewing these is all part of doing a “Literary Search”.

      Yes, indeed, you can be the 1st on your block to produce a completely sourced, post-Bob Anderson Great Migration sketch!

      Happy to give what you work-up, re above, a review when you are ready. Gotta put my hands to backing up that $2 bill on the table.

      1. Thank you for your suggestions. I am also investigating “neighbors” and kin of John, and of Francis.
        Francis’ son, Francis b 1650 in Cambridge, was one of the first settlers of Middletown, CT; not far from Wethersfield where John Whitmore lived for awhile. Francis I in Massachusetts, was a tailor as well as land owner. I’ve wondered if he might have been established as an apprentice or tradesman at the time when his alleged father (John) split with the Massachusetts church and moved with other dissenters to form the new community in Connecticut. If John was assured that his son was secure in a trade, it might have felt like it was alright to leave him behind and follow his faith. Later, grandson Francis established himself in Connecticut, too.
        But this is all conjecture. Someday I’ll travel from my Oregon home to delve into the vast sea of information in Massachusetts. Until then, I depend on the internet.
        (BTW: the next generations of Whitmores is littered with sons named John [22 of ’em] and Francis [19), strengthening my opinion that John and Francis were father and son, but not proving it.)

        1. OK. As you know, John is the Most Common Male Name in this period. It could indeed be the name of Francis’ father, but that father very well could have lived and died in England. It may be that only DNA analysis can resolve this. I would point out that Mr. Whitmore seems to acknowledge how shaky his supposition was, and that he did not try to back it up with any particular evidence. Errant speculation in other words.

          I’m here in Oregon, too (Oregon City) and I’m getting a lot done via online sources other than The Society’s website. The GFO in SE Portland has nice NE resources. So, just use the Great Migration format on what you hsve for John of S and on Francis and let me know.

          But certainly consider doing a Come Home To New England week. A great city and you’ll get a lot done. Regards, RMG

          1. Ah yes, the search goes on. There is a DNA project for Whitmore, Wetmore and Whittemore descendants and my husband has taken part in it. The conclusions are definitive — the families are separate lines. Harold B. Whitmore, administrator of the project, notes that in the 19th century some American Wetmores and Whittemores changed their names’ spelling to Whitmore (his line included) further confusing ancestry tracing.
            Hal and I communicate frequently and I respect his thoroughness and accuracy, both in the DNA study and ancestry tracking. How I wish he was really a Whitmore, (He’s from the Wetmore line) his 50+ years of genealogy study are admirable.
            His Fall 2009 article in New England Ancestors noted that the study did not confirm or deny any line connected to John Whitmore. “We say that John may have been the father of either Thomas Wetmore or Francis Whitmore, but not both. Alternatively, John may have been a near cousin of Thomas Whittemore, and descended from the Whittamores of Hitchin, but if so was not the father of either of the other two.”
            I have been battering at this brick wall for a few years now, but only recently joined the NEHG Society, and am just now exploring its resources. We had planned a trip to Boston last fall, but there was a jog in our course. We’ll go this year, I hope.
            I reveal my ignorance, what is the GFO? I’ll hop over there immediately — I’m in Woodburn.
            Thank you again for your advice. I’ll keep digging.

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