Puritan names

Huntington looked at a larger sample of early New England names in Mainsprings of Civilization (1945). He comes up with a selection of "129 colonial names belonging primarily to northern New England, 588 to southern New England". He doesn't appear to have published the full list, but it should be straightforward to recreate it from Table 111 in A century of population growth from the first census of the United States to the twelfth (1909).
Complete separation of people of Puritan descent from the rest of the population is impossible, but a fair approximation can be made by means of family names. Practically no one, of course, is purely of such descent, but millions are dominantly of that line. These are the people to be discussed. Many Puritan surnames have been brought to this country only once. Many others were brought in early colonial days and not again until at least five or six generations of large families had spread them to hundreds of persons on this side of the ocean. For example, at least 90 per cent of the 1,500 adult men named Huntington who lived in the United States in 1935 were descended from a Puritan who set sail for Boston with four sons and a daughter in 1635.2 The other 10 per cent are partly, if not wholly, of similar descent from ancestors who left New England for Canada or elsewhere before or during the Revolution and then lost trace of their New England ancestry. [. . .]

In estimating the significance of the facts which will soon be given, it must be noted that descent from a particular ancestor is far less significant than descent from the social group represented by that ancestor. Nevertheless, it is often surprising to see the facial resem­blance between people of the same name, even though they are only distantly related. Inasmuch as we are here tracing descent by means of names, we are of course limited to the male line. How limited that line is may be judged from an example. Suppose that for eight generations each family consisted of two sons and two daughters who grew up and had similar families with four surviving children. The children of the first such set of four-the grandchildren of the man with whom the name starts-would comprise four boys and four girls bearing the original name and the same numbers with other names. Inasmuch as the girls would change their name on marriage, only four out of sixteen families of these grandchildren would bear the original name. In the next generation only eight out of sixty-four families would retain the name. Thus the eighth generation would consist of 64,536 descendants, but only 256-one out of every 256-would be men who still bore the old name. Too much stress, how-ever, must not be laid on names. The really important matter is selective, or assortative, marriage. People tend to marry into families of their own kind far more than into others. They also tend to marry neighbors. Both of these tendencies were especially strong in New England throughout colonial times and well on toward the end of the last century. Cousin marriages-not first cousins, but third, fourth, and so on-were so frequent that almost all the leading fami­lies in most villages and towns were connected. Moreover, early set-tiers who arrived in successive years tended to establish different vil­lages, the newcomers jumping over the older ones, so to speak, in order to pick out the best possible unoccupied land, Hence the de­scendants of people arriving at any particular time were especially likely to marry descendants of others who arrived at that same time. Thus the new racial stock which was being built up differed some-what from place to place and was partially stratified into classes.

B. Finding Fair Samples

In order to pick out names representing a particular type of colo­nial ancestry a rigid mathematical procedure is needed. A census volume makes it easy to pick out all family names which in 1790 were borne by at least twenty-five heads of families. Among these there are many whose bearers to the extent of at least 50 per cent were concentrated in one or another of four regions, namely, northern New England, southern New England, Middle Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Maryland 4), and South Atlantic (Virginia and North and South Carolina). This purely statistical basis provides 129 colonial names belonging primarily to northern New England, 588 to southern New England, 214 to the Middle Atlantic States, and 228 to the South Atlantic. For New England the entire alphabet has been used, but for the other two regions only the first part.

For the present we will confine ourselves to southern New Eng­land Such names as Angell, Conant, Mather, and Seymour are in­cluded there, together with the presidential names of Coolidge, Gar-field, Cleveland, Lincoln,-- Pierce, Taft, and Tyler. On the other hand, such widely and honorably known names as Adams, Brown, Edwards, Jones, Smith, Stone, and Williams are automatically ex­cluded because in 1790 they were not concentrated to the extent of 50 per cent in any one of our four regions. They were borne by many Puritans, but also by many immigrants of other types. People with these names are so numerous in Great Britain that they have come to America in considerable numbers at all times clown to the present. Moreover, many German immigrants have Anglicized such names as Braun, Schmidt, and Stein. Thus the seven widely used old English names mentioned above are borne by a random sample of the descendants of average migrants from Great Britain and, in minor degree, from Germany during the whole period from colonial days to our own. For this reason these seven (with the addition of Davis and Johnson, or Johnston, in our study of business) have been put in a separate category as a control on the others.

The names belonging primarily to southern or northern New England, and those of the Middle Atlantic States so far as they were also found in New England before 1692, have been divided accord­ing to the date, as given by Savage, when the first bearer of the name appeared in New England. Among the southern New England names, 193 arrived in 1620-35; 233 in 1636--43; 138 in 1644-92; and 24 in 1693-1790. The number of names in each group represents roughly the amount of immigration into southern New England in each period. After 1643, when Cromwell's rebellion ended the persecu­tion of the Puritans in England, a period of fifty years showed far less immigration than the preceding seven, while throughout the cen­tury from 1690 to 1790 immigration was greatly reduced. Poor soil, rugged hills, stern Puritanism, and blue laws made southern New England relatively unattractive in comparison with states farther south. Immigration to New England did not revive until 1830, but even after that, until the end of the nineteenth century, old New England families intermarried very little with newcomers. Thus the 588 names selected because of their dominance in southern New Eng­land after the Revolution represent a racial stock, or "kith," * as we may call it, which originated for the most part from 1630 to 1642 and then remained almost unmixed for more than two centuries ex­cept as it was joined by people who were more or less like-minded. During the last century the amount of mixing with other types of old American stock, and with more recent immigrants has steadily increased. It should be noted, however, that inasmuch as the adults with whom we deal in this study were born mainly before 1900, they still carry a large percentage of old Puritan ancestry-far more than is carried by most of the people bearing such names as Adams, Brown, and others of our random sample.

The differences between persons descended from Puritans who ar­rived in America early in contrast to those who arrived later are sur­prisingly great. The distinction between groups based on date of arrival is clearer than many people would suppose. The earliest colonists settled on the seaboard or in a few especially favorable places on rivers. In a few years small villages grew up. Later ar­rivals went a few miles beyond these older villages and established new ones of their own. In colonial times and clown almost to our own day, as we have seen, the vast majority of people married neigh­bors. If they went outside their own locality, the chances were that they would marry into families of their own type. Ministers' fami­lies, for example, were especially prone to marry into those of other ministers or of deacons. Religious prejudices were strong. This fact tended to cause the earliest settlers, who were the most intensely reli­gious, to marry their own kind. Thus, although then e has unques­tionably been a great amount of intermarriage between the descend-ants of the four groups of immigrants arriving in successive periods from 1620 to 1790, there was a real distinction so long as people stayed near the old homes.

Even when the Puritan stock migrated westward, the distinction between groups of different origin did not vanish. Hundreds or thousands of midwestern villages were settled by New Englanders and for a long time had relatively little to do with villages settled by people from other sections. Such places as, Beloit, Wisconsin, with its college and great white Congregational church, still boast of their New England quality. Moreover, in many instances the people who settled in a midwestern locality came in large proportions from a particular neighborhood in New England. The assortative tendency in marriage emphasizes the distinction between different types of settlers. Thus old differences were preserved to a considerable de­gree well down toward the latter part of the last century. Neverthe­less, none of the four groups with which we shall now deal can be counted as more than a diluted sample. Each merely represents more than the average of descent from ancestors who arrived at a particu­lar time. Hence the clear differences which we shall find are doubly significant. If the four groups had remained completely separated, the differences would presumably be much greater.

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