How to: Use Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700


Hello, I’m David Dearborn, Senior Genealogist
at NEHGS. In this video tutorial, I’ll show you how to use Torrey’s “New England Marriages
Prior to 1700” to locate your early New England ancestors. Clarence Almon Torrey’s, New England Marriages
Prior to 1700 is an important finding aid and resource when researching early New Englanders. It enumerates approximately 37,000 marriages
between New Englanders that occurred by 1700. It also lists marriages that took place in
England prior to the couple emigrating. Sometimes referred to simply as “Torrey,”
this massive twelve-volume manuscript has been held at NEHGS since the 1960s. It’s been transcribed and made available as
published volumes, CD-ROMs, and searchable databases. Entries are arranged alphabetically by the
groom’s surname, and includes the name of groom
years of his birth and death (if known) the name of the bride, with her years
the date of their marriage the place of their marriage and/or places
of principal residence and finally a list of sources published before
1962 where you’ll find more information about the couple. Torrey’s sources include family genealogies;
articles; and other compiled reference works. Torrey did use somewhat cryptic abbreviations
to refer to his sources. You can find a searchable key to all of Torrey’s sources on our website Here is an entry for Nathaniel Chapman of
Ipswich, Massachusetts and Kittery, Maine who married Mary Wilborn on December 30, 1674.
What follows is a list of relevant sources with page references. This source abbreviated as GDMNH I know refers
to “The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire” by Noyes, Libby, and Davis. I happen to have a copy of that work here.
And if I look the page referenced by Torrey. Here we have the entry for Nathaniel Chapman
with a brief overview of his life which lists among other things, his father’s name, his occupation, his places of residence, the name of his wife, a listing of his children and the names of his children’s spouses. I hope this video tutorial has been helpful.
For more information on learning about your early New England ancestors, please visit our
Online Learning Center.

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