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Migration and Settlement of North America

Map of Colonial New England

The major settlement of North America can be viewed in four espsodes: the Colonial Period in the 1600's, the mid to late 1800's, the early 1900's, and post-1965. Colonial settlers came mostly from England. Those who came in mid to late 1800's were from Western Europe, the early 1900's from Southern and Eastern Europe, and post-1965 from non-European areas.

Most of the ancestors of Carol and Lee Simpson came during the early Colonial Period. They were "settlers" because they settled on land not claimed by native American Tribes and European claims were largely bogus at that time. Later arrivals were "immigrants" because they came to established Colonies or States.

Colonial New England

In late 1620 a hundred English Pilgrims and their families, seeking religious freedom in the New World, established a small settlement near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Additional Plymouth settlers came in 1621 on the Fortune, in 1623 on the Anne, and 1624 on the Charity.

The New England colonists were whole families and and had tradesmen and craftsmen among them as well as farmers. They founded small villages for mutual support and common religious activity. Shipbuilding, commerce, agriculture and fisheries were their main income sources. The rapid growth of the New England colonies (about 900,000 by 1790) was almost entirely due to the high birth rate of those early settlers. Arrivals after about 1660 were just a trickle.

Jamestown in Virginia was the first English settlement in 1607. But they were commercial adventurers and many starved to death by 1610 when they were rescued and Jamestown was briefly abandoned. Women and families came later.

Carol and Lee Simpson Migrant Ancestors

Years Immigrants Country of Origin (other than England)
Before 1650 205 Ireland 1, Netherlands 1, Scotland 2
1650-1699 40 Ireland 1, Wales 2
1700-1749 40 Alsace 2, Ireland 4, Germany 7, Scotland 2, Switzerland 5
1750-1799 13 Ireland 1, Germany 3, Sweden 1
1800-1849 16 Alsace 1, Denmark 1, Germany 2, Sweden 1
1850-1899 10 Denmark 4, Sweden 3
1900 and later 0  
Total 324  

 The origin as "England" is somewhat ambiguous as a person "from England" could have moved there from Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, and their ancestry could be Angle, Saxon, Briton, Celtic, Viking, Danish, Normand (French Vikings), etc.!

At first glance it seems improbable that so few migrant ancestors came after 1650, but as noted above, the population of the Colonies were almost entirely the descendants of the early settlers. Later immigrants tricked in until the next big wave in the middle 1800's.