The Great Migration to New England: Conventicles to Companies to Congregations

During the 1630s the migration to New England was evolving from a pre-planned, top-down system, to a more spontaneous, bottom-up organization. This webinar explores the evolution of the manner in which committed Puritans moved from old England to New England, beginning with clandestine and illegal meetings known as conventicles, which gave rise to small groups or companies of families crossing the Atlantic together, resulting in the formation of new congregations and communities in the New World. Click here for the 76-minute webinar recording.

Charles Anderson, Director of the Great Migration Study Project, presented five different examples of this process, three led by ministers and two by laymen: Rev. John Wilson’s Sudbury company; Mr. Thomas Oliver’s Thorpe Achurch company; Rev. Thomas Hooker’s Braintree company; Mr. Edmund Hobart’s Hingham company; and Rev. Richard Blinman’s Welsh Marcher company.

Since 1988, the goal of The Great Migration Study Project has been to compile comprehensive genealogical and biographical accounts of the twenty thousand English men, women, and children who settled in New England between 1620 and 1640. The project’s published works, containing thousands of sketches, are necessary resources for any genealogist, historian, or descendant with early New England interests and connections.

Robert Charles Anderson (born 1944) is an American genealogist and director of the Great Migration Study Project.