The Winthrop Society: Descendants of the Great Migration

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It an amazing story of Providence and the skill of English seamen that dozens of Atlantic ocean passages were made in little wooden ships bringing our Puritan ancestors to America almost without mishap in the 1630's; the unhappy exception being the harrowing story of the Angel Gabriel, 1635, which met a terrible storm and cast up on the coast of Maine with only a few survivors.

There were perhaps 30,000 emigrants from England to New England before the English Civil War. These folks were mainly from the English middle-class, self-reliant and motivated to find a place where they might live, worship, and raise their families without government harassment. This movement of people is called the Great Migration.

Their motivation was religious, political, and economic. The British church and government was becoming insufferably hierarchical, tyrannical, and tax-hungry. Common resentment among the English people led soon to the English Revolution beginning in 1642, and eventually to the beheading of King Charles for treason in 1649, after agents intercepted his secret invitations to foreign kings and armies, that they invade England, crush Parliament and the English Constitution, massacre his English opponents, and restore Charles to his pretended Dei gratia royal privileges. Charles Stuart continued incorrigibly to hold his dynastic interest separate and above those of Parliament and the British people, and ultimately Parliament had no alternative but to end his conspiracies with an axe.

The Great Migration ended at the start of the English Civil War. Then for a time in the 1640's was hope rekindled in the people that they might live in liberty in England, and the flow of emigrants ceased, in fact reversed. Many brave New Englishmen and their sons returned to fight in England to uphold Parliament and the Commonwealth. The true history of the British Commonwealth has been an unwelcome topic in Britain since the restoration of monarchy, 1661. But that is another story...


We list here only some of the earlier settlers of the Great Migration. From this page you may find the record of the migration of over 1500 persons from England to New England during the years 1632-1635.

To search for you ancestor, please search the indexes linked below.


  • The William & Francis, Master _____ Thomas, sailed March 9, 1632.*
  • The Recovery, Master Gabriel Cornish, 1633;
  • The Elizabeth, Master William Andrewes, 1634;
  • The Francis, Master John Cutting, 1634;
  • The Christian, Master John White, sailed March 1634/35;
  • The Hopewell, Master William Bundocke, first passage of 1635;
  • The James, Master William Cooper, first passage of 1635;
  • The Planter, Master Nicolas Travice, sailed April 1635;
  • The Elizabeth, Master William Stagg, sailed April 1635;
  • The Increase, Master Robert Lea, sailed April 1635;
  • The Elizabeth & Ann, Master Robert Cooper, sailed May, 1635;
  • The Susan & Ellin, Master Edward Payne, sailed May, 1635;
  • The Abigail, Master Robert Hackwell, sailed July, 1635;
  • The Defence, Master Edward Bostocke, sailed July, 1635;
  • The Blessing, Master John Lester, sailed July, 1635;
  • The James, Master John May, second voyage of 1635;
  • The Hopewell, Master Thomas Babb, second voyage of 1635;
  • The Truelove, Master John Gibbs, sailed September, 1635;

* Passenger list for the William & Francis voyage of 9 Mar 1632 was provided by Bob Symons and Toni Nash via, but the site is no longer reachable.

In the near future, we will display the fully detailed passenger lists of several more ships' passages of the 1630's. The lists are already in our database, being prepared for conversion to web page format.

FAQ: Was my ancestor aboard the Arbella?
ANSWER: From Winthrop's journal, we know only that Gov. John Winthrop and Rev. George Phillips took passage aboard the Arbella. By other reliable sources, we think Sir Richard Saltonstall, William Hathorne, Rev. John Wilson and their families, and probably Increase Nowell and Thomas Dudley crossed the Atlantic in the Arbella as well. All who came with the fleet of 1630 are equally honored by the Winthrop Society.

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