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Ships at Sea


WHEREAS, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Company and their elected Governor, John Winthrop, emigrated to New England in 1630 to found a “City on a Hill,” the Winthrop Society: Descendants of the Great Migration is dedicated to honoring and preserving their memory, philosophy and tradition, and transmitting their example of courage, faith, civic duty and integrity."

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The Winthrop Society currently consists of proven descendants of the first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is open to all men and women of good character and proven descent from one or more passengers of the Winthrop fleet, or of others who settled in the Bay Colony and Down East* by the end of 1640.


These first Massachusetts Bay settlers, numbering scarcely one thousand, hailed mainly from the English counties of Suffolk, Essex and Dorset. Although of comfortable estate in England, they abandoned their homes and farms, and made a perilous Atlantic passage to settle in an unknown wilderness. They were spurred on by a compelling need to pursue their religion free from the persecution of the Crown-Church of England. About one-third perished during or soon after their voyage, and may be considered peace-loving Christian martyrs for their faith.


The survivors established township democracies that thrived for two centuries, and were the basis of our American ideal of democratic government.


The Winthrop Society's scope of study is the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and not the Plymouth Colony: kindred spirits already ably handled by The Society of Mayflower Descendants and others.


The Winthrop Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to historical and genealogical research. The Society is philosophically aligned with the old unalloyed Congregational Church and the Liberties of New Englishmen, but is not connected with any modern denomination or political group.

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