HEREAS, 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."
excerpt from the Winthrop
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.
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 eed 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.
* "Down East", also "
Downeast", refers to parts of eastern coastal New England and Canada,
particularly the U.S. state of Maine and Canada's
Maritime Provinces, an area that
closely corresponds to the historical French territory of Acadia. The phrase apparently derives from sailing terminology: sailors from western ports sailed
downwind toward the east to reach the area.
The Winthrop Society
is a member of the Federation
of Genealogical Societies.
We do not have a library or database of settlers
or their descendants. We have no physical building in which to
store artifacts or other historical items.