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* British

The first successful English colonies were established in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, early in the 17th century. By the time of the first United States census in 1790 (following independence from England in 1776), English colonists and their descendants constituted well over 50% of the 3.1 million white residents and formed the majority in every state except Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Since this time, the English have continued to immigrate to the United States in significant numbers, forming the third largest immigrant group from 1820 to the present.

Contacts and Sources

It is strongly recommended that you obtain the passenger list for the boat or boats on which your ancestors arrived from England. This is an excellent starting point for research in both England and America. The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an excellent collection of records from England. In addition, the following texts and organizations may be able to help:

International Society for British Genealogy and Family History
P.O. Box 3115
Salt Lake City, UT 84110-3115
Publication: International Society for British Genealogy and Family History Newsletter

Genealogical Institute
P.O. Box 22045
Salt Lake City, UT 84122
Telephone: (801) 250-6717
Publication: Research News, Immigration Digest, and more than 40 others
(They also have a video series, workshops, and seminars.)

Web Sites

In Helpful Web Sites, you can find links to useful resources about Britain.


  • Genealogical Research in England and Wales, by Frank Smith and David Gardner
  • In Search of Your British and Irish Roots, by Angus Baxter

For some tips on researching abroad, see the topic All about international resources.

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