Religious affiliations of Puritan descendants, as of 1935

Source: Ellsworth Huntington and Martha Ragsdale. 1935. After three centuries; a typical New England family. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins Co.

This book belongs to the new science which deals with the growth and qualities of a population. It is a combination of sociology, economics, eugenics, geography, and history. It chooses a group of people and sees what changes have taken place in their numbers and quality from generation to generation during the three centuries since the United States was settled. Starting with typical New England Puritans the history of a sample family is traced from 1633 to the present. The modern representatives are also analyzed in comparison with people of other descent. Although the investigation on which the book is based began as a study of the Huntington family, it soon expanded into a more general analysis of the millions of people who claim descent from the Puritan stock of early New England. The typical quality of the people who are here analyzed is one of the main features of the book. Although these people all bear one name they are descended from two or three thousand old New England families and are typical of the entire Puritan stock. A second feature of the book is that a genuinely random sample of the people descended from a specific type of colonial ancestors has been examined. Equal effort has been devoted to obtaining information about all kinds of persons, no matter whether they are of world-wide eminence or criminals and paupers. A third feature is that this books attempts to study population by a new method, namely, the use of family names and the analysis of a fairly complete sample of all the people bearing the name. [iii-iv]

Another interesting phase of religion is the great extent to which the old New England stock has changed its denominational affiliations (Table 21). The original Puritans all belonged to the Congregational Church, although a few soon became Quakers. In our day the leading denominations are the Episcopalians and Methodists, each with 19 per cent of those for whom information is available. Then come the Baptists, Presbyterians, and finally the Congregationalists, each with about 12 per cent. The rest are divided among many denominations, among whom Roman Catholics on the one hand, and atheists, agnostics, and people of no denomination on the other hand, each number about two per cent of the total. [p. 145]

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