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Early colonists---bad genealogy

Replies: 8

Re: Early colonists---bad genealogy

Posted: 1314589363000
Classification: Query
You raise an interesting point regarding the colonial nature of the “New England” colonies prior to 1776. I have also thought that it would be more historically accurate to identify the individual colony or province rather than in current city or town and state. However, in researching the history of the evolution of the various colonies or provinces encompassing the “New England” area into individual states I’ve come to a different conclusion. As noted below, because of the various royal charters and grants establishing individual colonies and provinces throughout the area, their merges, splits and dissolutions, and the boundary disagreements and changes between the various colonies and provinces, that occurred between 1620 and 1776, the identification of the town name and the individual colony at a specific date, without reference to the succeeding state name, although historically accurate and interesting, would, in my opinion, complicate the research of individual town or city colonial vital records. This is particularly true as most colonial vital records are found in the vital records of the surviving city or town. Perhaps, the most logical method of identifying the particular colony or province would be continue using the entries for birth, death and marriage by identifying the individual city, town and state (that would facilitate further vital record research) and then enter the colony or province in the appropriate description box. So that death entries could follow that format, would have to add a description box to the death entry.

For discussion purposes, the evolution of most of the New England states from colonial charters or grants to states is outlined below.

1. The initial royal charter for the “New England” area was granted to the Plymouth Council for New England, an English stock company granted a royal charter to settle various colonies along the coast of North America
a. This encompassed all lands lying between the 40th parallel (roughly the current boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania) and the 48th parallel including Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The charter also granted the Plymouth Council colonial rights from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Oceans. Over time, in New England, the Council or the Crown granted individual grants to various interests which initially established
i. Plymouth Colony (1620)
ii. Dorchester Company (1623) (Cape Ann).
iii. Massachusetts Bay Colony (successor to the failed Dorchester Company) (1628)
iv. Connecticut Colony (1636-1776)
v. Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation (1644 - 1776)
vi. Province of Maine, encompassed portions of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Quebec and New Brunswick (1622 to 1640’s) when roughly the current state of Maine was absorbed by Massachusetts Bay Colony
vii. Province of New Hampshire (1622 – 1776), Province of Maine (1622-1629), separate part of Province of Maine (1629-1641), part of Massachusetts Bay Colony (1641 – 1679), Province of New Hampshire 1680-1686, The Dominion of New England in America (1686 – 1689), Province of New Hampshire (1690-1776)(Self Governance 1776-1783, recognized as part of US 1783) among others.
viii. Province of New York (1664–1775)
ix. Province of New Jersey (1664-1776)
1. Province of East Jersey
2. Province of West Jersey
x. Province of Massachusetts Bay (1691-1774) was created by merging Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony, and the Provinces and colonies of Maine, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Nova Scotia (split off in 1696).

2.Subsequent to the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the General Court of Massachusetts established the Massachusetts Provincial Congress that assumed control of all administrative needs of the Colony except for military affairs while remaining under crown control (1774 – 1776).
i. Massachusetts Provincial Congress declared itself independent of crown (May 1, 1776 to June 1780)
ii. Massachusetts became a state by its adoption of constitution in June 1780.

3. Thrown into this mix is the Dominion of New England in America (1686–89) which was an administrative union of English colonies in the New England region. In essence, it eliminated the existing colonies and provinces (See I, iii, iv, v, vii, viii, and ix above).
a. When the Dominion was dissolved in 1689, the eight colonies and provinces identified above were reinstated as recognized colonies or provinces.

4. Furthermore, the colonies encompassing New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were established by subsequent Royal Charters or grants that were in conflict with the original grant given to the Plymouth Council for New England.

5. Additional problems exist, as existing state boundaries do not necessarily follow the original boundaries of the colony or province.

In applying the above, if someone was born in Salem, MA
1.Between 1623 and 1628, the Dorchester Company
2.Between 1628 and 1685/86, the Massachusetts Bay Colony
3.Between 1686 and 1689, The Dominion of New England in America
4.Between 1689 and 1691, the Massachusetts Bay Colony
5.Between 1691 and 1774, the Province of Massachusetts Bay
6.Between 1774 and 1776, Under administrative control of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (crown) aka Colony of Massachusetts
7.Between 1776 and June 1780, Under control of Massachusetts Provincial Congress (independent) aka colony of Massachusetts
8.June 1780 to present, State of Massachusetts

I would be interested in hearing your comments and those of others on how this issue could be handled.

Source information: (home page:
Individual Pages: Plymouth Council for New England, Plymouth Colony, Dorchester Company, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Connecticut Colony, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, Province of Maine, Province of New Hampshire, Province of New York, Province of New Jersey, Province of East Jersey, Province of West Jersey, Province of Massachusetts Bay, Dominion of New England in America and Massachusetts Provincial Congress,
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