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The University of Massachusetts Amherst


A guide to selected genealogical resources at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

Introduction and Selective List of Materials in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library

The New Plymouth Colony or Plantation was the first permanent settlement in New England and the second permanent English settlement in North America. The merchant ship Mayflower, carrying 102 of "America's most famous immigrants," sailed into Plymouth Harbor in 1620. Plymouth, also known as the Old Colony, officially merged into the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1692.

Less than 150 miles from Plymouth, the W.E.B. Du Bois Library owns an impressive collection of material relating to the Mayflower and Plymouth. The Library's holdings include some of the major standard genealogical resources.

Table of Contents: [Cemeteries] [Church Records] [Descendants] [Family Life] [History] [Marriages] [Mayflower Passengers] [Mayflower Ship] [Periodicals] [Probate Records] [Societies] [Town Records]


Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Its monuments and gravestones numbered and briefly described, and the inscriptions and epitaphs thereon carefully copied - Drew, Benjamin
Call Number: F 74 P8 D7 1994
                     Special Collections  F 74 P8 D7 1894b

Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, from 1657 to 1892: with biographical and historical notes - Kingman, Bradford.
Call Number: F 74 P8 K5 1977

The masks of orthodoxy: folk gravestone carving in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, 1689-1805 - Benes, Peter
Call Number: BV 153 U6 B46

Church Records

Plymouth church records, 1620-1859 - First Church of Christ Plymouth (Mass.)
Call Number: F 61 C71 1920 Volumes 22-23
"A tablet on the meeting-house of the First Church in Plymouth bears the inscription: The Church of Scrooby, Leyden, and the Mayflower, Gathered on this hillside in 1620, Has ever since preserved unbroken records, and maintained a continuous ministry, Its first covenant being still the basis of its fellowship." Contains the first three volumes of the original records of this church. Includes lists of pastors, church officials, and members; William Bradford's History of the Plymouth Church; church transactions; baptisms; marriages; deaths; and dismissions. Volume 23 offers a name index for church transactions, baptisms, deaths, marriages, and members.


Mayflower births and deaths: from the files of George Ernest Bowman at the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants - Roser, Susan E.
Call Number: F 63 R678 1992 Volumes 1 - 2
George Bowman, considered "the greatest genealogical scholar of Plymouth Colony," accumulated 20,600 pages of documents for all known descendants of Mayflower passengers. These volumes provide a compilation of births and deaths extracted and transcribed from the Bowman Files for 23 Mayflower families. Each section contains a list of genealogical articles pertaining to that particular family.

Mayflower families through five generations: descendants of the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, Mass., December 1620
Call Number: F 68 M48 Volumes 1 - 4
In 1899, George Bowman, founder of the Massachusetts Mayflower Society, began a project to trace "male and female descendants of the Pilgrims down to Revolutionary times." This "Five Generations Project" intended to trace "all the descendants of all Mayflower passengers from whom descent can be proved." The authors of each volume researched family histories, genealogical journal articles, probate and land records, and town and church vital records. Each volume includes a name index and an index of places. Especially useful for those seeking a valid line back to a Mayflower passenger.

Mayflower increasings: for three generations - Roser, Susan E.
Call Number: F 63 R68 1989
Provides "a summary of all that is presently known about the passengers of the Mayflower for the first three generations in America names, dates, places, spouses, children, etc." Also includes 1,700 citations to the information sources.

Family Life

Every day life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony - Dow, George Francis
Call Number: F 67 D68
Relies on original source materials to examine such subjects as apparel, home furnishings, money, medicine, farming, manners, pewter, sports, and trades.

A little commonwealth; family life in Plymouth Colony - Demos, John
Call Number: HQ 557 P5 D4


Plymouth tercentenary: illustrated with a brief history of the life and struggles of the Pilgrim fathers, including original program of the "Pilgrim Spirit," by Professor George P. Baker, President Harding's visit, all scenes, episodes and official photographs of the tercentenary celebration - Bloomingdale, Harry
Call Number: F 68 B66
Photo record souvenir that includes the names of the townspeople who participated in the events marking the 300th anniversary.

History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647- Bradford, William
Call Number: F 68 B8 O73 1973
Governor William Bradford began writing this significant history 10 years after the Pilgrims' arrival.

Plymouth Colony, its history and people, 1620-1691 - Stratton, Eugene Aubrey
Call Number: F 68 S93 1986
Includes more than 300 biographical sketches of Plymouth Colony residents, the 1633 and 1634 tax lists, and chapters concerning land, inheritance, everyday life, manners, morals, and law and order. "The first complete history and genealogy of Plymouth Colony ever published."

History of the Town of Plymouth; from its first settlement in 1620, to the year 1832 - Thatcher, James
Call Number: Special Collections F 74 P8 T3 1832


Early Massachusetts marriages prior to 1800 - Bailey, Frederic W.
Call Number: F 63 B16
"The most complete collection of early Massachusetts marriages ever published for the period 1643-1800." Gives the names of the bride and groom and the date and place of marriage. The second volume covers Plymouth County.

Plymouth Colony marriages to 1650 - Wakefield, Robert S.
Call Number: F 74 P8 W34
Includes almost all the marriages for Mayflower families and for those who were in Plymouth by 1627.

Mayflower Passengers

The English ancestry and homes of the Pilgrim Fathers who came to Plymouth on the "Mayflower" in 1620, the "Fortune" in 1621, and the "Anne" and the "Little James" in 1623 - Banks, Charles Edward
Call Number: F 68 B19 1965
Provides "the origin and family connections of the Plymouth Pilgrims," who "were of the yeoman class and came from the cottages, not from the manor houses of England."

History and genealogy of the Mayflower planters and first comers to ye olde colonie - Hills, Leon Clark
Call Number: F 68 H648 1977

Mayflower bastard: a stranger among the Pilgrims - Lindsay, David
Call Number: F 68 M86 L45 2002
"Born of an adulterous relationship," Richard More sailed on the Mayflower at age five as a young ward to Elder Brewster. More later moved to Salem and became a sea captain.

A short biography of George Soule of the Mayflower - Gavitt, Richard Edward
Call Number: F 74 P8 G38 1994

The women of the Mayflower and women of Plymouth Colony - Noyes, Ethel J.R.C.
Call Number: F 68 N952 1971

The women who came in the Mayflower - Marble, Annie Russell
Call Number: Microfilm 6811 Reel 907 No. 7564
Describes the voyage, landing, and communal and family life in Plymouth for 1621-1623. Includes a name index and biographical sketches of "a few women who influenced the domestic and social affairs."

Mayflower (Ship)

The Mayflower and other colonial vessels - Baker, William A.
Call Number: VM 383 M348 B34 1983


The Mayflower descendant: a quarterly magazine of Pilgrim genealogy and history
Call Number: F 68 M46 Per (1899) - 39(1989)
A scholarly journal specializing in transcriptions of primary source material for Pilgrim families. Selects from probate, cemetery, and Bible records; records of deeds; town reports; and newspapers. Vital records for Plymouth Colony and Cape Cod communities appear mostly in this journal and not in the Sequential Series of vital records to 1850. The journal also offers "corrections and additions to Mayflower families through five generations."

"Each issue is separately indexed." The W.E.B. Du Bois Library owns a two-volume "Index of Persons" for Volumes 1 - 34 (F 68 M46 Per Indexes Volumes 1 - 34).

The Mayflower Quarterly
Call Number: F 68 M462[56 (1990)] -
An "international journal of Pilgrim history, genealogy, literature, and arts in colonial New England." Includes Mayflower Society news, Mayflower families genealogies, and "articles related to the Pilgrim experience."

Probate Records

Plymouth Colony probate guide: where to find wills and related data for 800 people of Plymouth Colony, 1620-1691 - Sherman, Ruth Ann Wilder
Call Number: F 63 S53 1983
Notes the town of residence, relationship to a Mayflower passenger, ship name, year the will was signed, name of the spouse or closest relative, and sources of information for more than 725 men and 75 women, all Plymouth Colony residents who left probate records from 1633 to 1691.


Officers & committees, membership roll, publications, by-laws. 1 March 1916, Boston: [1916] - Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants
Call Number: F 68 S756
"Every descendant, over eighteen years of age, of any passenger of the Mayflower on the voyage which ended at Plymouth on December 26, 1620, shall be eligible to membership in this Society."

Register of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the District of Columbia, 1970; in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620 - General Society of Mayflower Descendants
Call Number: F 68 S6837
Includes biographical sketches and a name index of the "Mayflower ancestors" and of Mayflower "passengers from whom descent has not been proven." Lists the Mayflower lineage of the members from this particular area chapter.

Town Records

Records of Plymouth Colony: births, marriages, deaths, burials, and other records, 1633-1689 - New Plymouth Colony
Call Number: F 63 N48 1976
Includes vital records, treasury accounts (which list the names of those who were fined), and name indexes. Also provides the names of the freemen of each town taken at various times - "the names of those who were admitted to the freedom of the Colony of New Plymouth together with those who were able to bear arms, in the year 1643."

Records of the Town of Plymouth. Plymouth: Avery & Doten, 1889-1903 - Plymouth (Mass.).
Call Number: F 74 P8 P82
Volume 1 1636 - 1705, largely devoted to grants of land by the town and the bounding out of lands granted by the Colonial Court." In 1624 sixty-nine acres were given to those who came in the Mayflower.
Volume 2 1705 - 1743, concerns "records of meetings, grants of land, the laying out of streets, and to votes relating to the prudential affairs of the town." Volumes do not contain any vital records, but each has a name index.

Find More

Search the Library Catalog by Subject. Examples of subject searches:

Massachusetts - History - New Plymouth, 1620-1691

Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants

Mayflower (Ship)

Pilgrims (New Plymouth Colony)

Plymouth (Mass.) - Genealogy

Plymouth (Mass.) - History

Plymouth (Mass.) - Social life and customs

Registers of births, etc. - Massachusetts - Plymouth

Society of Mayflower Descendants