ICYMI: Puritan Pedigrees

[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared in Vita Brevis on 22 August 2014.]

Robert Charles Anderson_June 2014_1Now that my book on genealogical research methods (Elements of Genealogical Analysis) is out, I have turned my attention to the series of lectures I will be delivering in October and November [2014]; these, in turn, will form the basis for a future book entitled Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England.

In most of the Great Migration volumes, I have been able to examine the motivations of the migrating families only in the context of events at the time of migration. A few years ago, while working on The Winthrop Fleet, I began to get a better feel for the deeper connections and influences which had been developing for decades and for generations leading up to the migration decision. I have already written about some of this in my earlier Vita Brevis posts and in The Great Migration Newsletter.

My goal in this series of lectures is to trace the continuity of connections which go back more than a century before the Great Migration, back to the beginning of the English Reformation under Henry VIII in the 1530s. The lectures will describe both the genealogical pedigrees and the intellectual pedigrees which linked ministers and laymen in religious reformation during this century. The course will begin with two background lectures, one on the Lollards, a sort of proto-Protestant movement of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and one on the activities of fifteenth-century merchants which are relevant to our story. There will then follow thirteen chronologically constructed lectures, approximately one per decade, beginning with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s and concluding with the final stages of the Great Migration itself in the 1630s.

The Great Migration Study Project has focused on the lives of its subjects once they arrived in New England; now, in these lectures (and, in time, in Puritan Pedigrees), I will begin to fill in some of the pre-migration background. It is my hope that the lectures and the book will give their respective audiences greater insight into the world from which our forebears came – and a sense of why they made some of the choices they did.

Robert Charles Anderson’s new book, Elements of Genealogical Analysis, is now available in the Bookstore at NEHGS.

About Robert Charles Anderson

Robert Charles Anderson, Director of the Great Migration Study Project, was educated as a biochemist and served in the United States Army in electronics intelligence. In 1972 he discovered his early New England ancestry and thereafter devoted his time and energies to genealogical research. He published his first genealogical article in 1976, and about the same time began to plan for what eventually became the Great Migration Study Project. In 1983 he received a Master’s degree in colonial American History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Anderson was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists in 1978 and has served as Secretary and President of that organization. He became a Contributing Editor of The American Genealogist in 1979, Associate Editor in 1985 and Coeditor in 1993. He has been an editorial consultant to the New England Historical and Genealogical Register since 1989.

5 thoughts on “ICYMI: Puritan Pedigrees

  1. This, together with David Hackett Fischer’s Albion Seed, will be extremely valuable to add depth and substance to the understanding of our Puritan roots. THANK you… Looking forward to this history journey.

  2. I can’t wait to deepen my understanding of the Puritan history pre colonial America. Your earlier works have formed the basis of much of my early American ancestry. Thank you.

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