New England – first steps

This guide was last updated in 2011

There are a few useful sources to bear in mind when you first start your journey into your New England past.

Genealogical accounts of the earliest immigrants arriving from England between 1620 and 1640 can be accessed through The Great Migration Project (

Boston was the major port of entry for most New England immigrants from Britain, although some did arrive through other ports such as New Bedford, MA, and Portland, ME, or from Canada. offers several Boston and New England databases of 18th-century passenger arrivals, plus Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943 in its US and World subscription collections.

Images of Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 can be browsed free on Family Federal census records 1790-1930 (1940 is available from April 2012) can be viewed on various websites, including and, to help identify the town and state where ancestors settled.


New England ancestors
previous Step
next Step
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here