Northern New England

Spotlight – Northern New England Genealogy Resources

The northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were inhabited later than their southern neighbors and one way or another, derived or wrested their existence from them. Maine, for example, once the property of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, was acquired by Massachusetts in 1677 and became known as the Province of Maine of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Although Maine was an important battleground during the Revolution and War of 1812, it did not achieve statehood until 1820. New Hampshire, once a part of Maine, came under Massachusetts’ control in 1641. While New Hampshire became a royal province in 1679, it would again be governed by Massachusetts between 1699 and 1741.

Land disputes played an important part in the colonial history of the three northern New England colonies, especially in the case of Vermont, where grantees from New Hampshire and New York held rival claims. Even after the English crown ruled in favor of New York, a number of Vermonters refused to bow to that colony’s demand that they obtain new grants. Instead, they formed the famous Green Mountain Boys, a resistance group that, coincidentally, helped defeat the British at Ft. Ticonderoga and Crown Point during the Revolution. A Vermont assembly ultimately declared independence from New York, and the former colony was granted statehood in 1791.

The people of northern New England were a fairly homogeneous lot prior to 1800. Most colonial inhabitants could trace their roots directly to southern New England or England itself. Eighteenth-century Maine and New Hampshire attracted infusions of Scotch-Irish; New Hampshire attracted some Huguenots as well. During the following century the influx of Canadians – notably from Quebec and Nova Scotia – Scandinavians, and Germans brought greater diversity to the region. Continue reading…