The Winthrop Society: Descendants of the Great Migration

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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 Society Charter

These first 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 means to document the lives and family histories of all these first settlers and their descendants to the fourth generation (to about the year 1700). Our 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 currently consists of 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 before 1636.

The Winthrop Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to historical and genealogical research and the dissemination of educational material. 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.

Our goals are:

  1. To identify all these settlers (no complete list of them survives), by consulting every source which can be found in the US, Canada and England.
  2. To make a bibliography listing all useful books and resources on the history of the the Colony to about the year 1691, and on the early history of Puritanism in England. As means permit, a library will be collected.
  3. To locate the origins and family histories in England of all the colonists as well as can be identified.
  4. To make a genealogical database including all the descendants of these colonists to the fourth generation, the reconstructed biographies and ancestries of the colonists as well as can be established, plus the lineages to the present day as submitted to us by the membership.
  5. To publish our research findings and historical articles at our Web site, and in the Winthrop Society Quarterly. Articles submitted by members and other readers are welcomed.

The Winthrop Society is a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Winthrop Society members may take advantage of their many resources, services, connections, and meetings.


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