Ian Watson's New England Settler Resources

Ian Watson's New England Settler Resources

This page links to open resources that I have created on seventeenth-century New England and its settlers. Check back sometime for further developments!

Sketches of early New England settlers

I'm proud to present several sketches of seventeenth-century New England settlers that I have written and am sharing openly. (These sketches are not part of my book of Great Migration sketches that was published by NEHGS in January 2024. Three of them were written as trial efforts before I was contracted to write that book.) These sketches have some advanced features, such as clickable links to all of their sources. A separate page contains more information about these sketches and some reflections on them.

The subjects of the sketches are:

Index to the Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts

A consolidated index to all nine volumes of the published Essex County quarterly court records, spanning the years from 1636 to 1686. It's available as a download.

Ipswich Deeds, Volumes 1 and 2

From 1640 to 1694, five volumes of land records and other official documents were recorded at Ipswich, Massachusetts. These records cover towns that are now in northern Essex County, Massachusetts, and in coastal New Hampshire. This book presents a transcription of the first two of these volumes by George Freeman Sanborn Jr. These two volumes span the years from 1640 to 1666 and contain essential information on the earliest settlers of Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Topsfield, Salisbury, Hampton, Exeter, and neighboring towns. I prepared George Sanborn's transcription for publication and added an every-name index and an informative introduction.

This book is available completely for free at the Internet Archive (in both PDF and HTML format and in their online viewer), and also for purchase as a printed book for those who wish to have it in that format.

"The Dating of the Providence Civil Compact"

This long, analytical article that I wrote about the first settlement of Providence, Rhode Island, appeared in The American Genealogist 92 (2020): 165-189, 261-283, and is made available here with that publication's permission. It provides new understanding about several of the early settlers of Providence, including their English origins and their years of arrival.

About me

I started researching colonial New England as a teenager in the 1980s, and in the 1990s I published my first articles in The American Genealogist and the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (see my list of genealogical publications). After a Ph.D. and a career in other fields (see my main website), I returned to New England studies in 2012, researching and editing publications for the Newbury Street Press. From 2018 to 2021 I researched the 17th century for NEHGS under the aegis of the Great Migration Study Project. The resources on this page are separate from the work that I did for NEHGS.