What are Compiled Records?
Compiled records consist of records assembled together
around a particular surname, subject, or location in various formats.
This lesson will cover several forms of specific compiled records covering
the topic of colonial immigrant origins. These will include:
- Family histories
- Genealogical dictionaries
- Research collections
- Emigrant group publications
When these compiled records include sources and/or
they outline clues used to come to various conclusions, they can save
a researcher much time and energy.
Family histories are book-length discussions of a family's
genealogical connections. Generally they are one of two types. Most
early family histories traced the male (surname line) descendants of
a specific person (often an immigrant). In recent years, an increasing
number have discussed the ancestry of a specific person (often the author/compiler).
In either case, immigrant ancestors are a significant part of these
publications, for they either begin with one, or trace back to several
An estimated 90,000 published, book-style family histories
exist for North American families, at least half dealing with immigrants.
Many, of course, are not colonial era immigrants, but if you descend
from a very early immigrant, particularly from the 17th century in the
northern states, there is an excellent chance that a published account
(book or periodical article) of his descendants exists. At the beginning
of that account will be information gathered by the author relative
to the immigrant's origin in the old country. It may, or may not, identify
his town of origin, but it will at least provide clues, and is the best
single source of such information for many colonial immigrants.
Some compiled works focus specifically on immigrant
ancestors of American families. Two representative titles were privately
published by John Brooks Threlfall (in Madison, Wisconsin):
- Fifty Great Migration Colonists to New England
and Their Origins (1990)
- Twenty-six Great Migration Colonists to New England
and Their Origins (1993