Yale Library to Digitize Documents on New England’s Native Americans

The Yale University Office of Public Affairs released this press release on June 22nd. I found reference to it in several of the news outlets I follow.

“New Haven, Conn.Yale University Library has received a grant of $250,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support “The New England Indian Papers Series: The Connecticut Colony Collection, 1603–1783,” an online compendium of important and rare historical documents relating to the Native American peoples of Connecticut during the colonial period from First Contact to 1783. The grant is part of the NEH’s “We the People” program, which encourages and strengthens the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture.”

It’s a lengthy press release. One thing is doesn’t mention is that it is somewhat more difficult to track Native Americans in New England because many members of those tribes moved out of New England, some by force and some by choice. During the 19th and 20th century when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was keeping track of Native Americans, those that remained in New England and New York were not included. If we find that some of those who moved westward interacted or married into other tribes that may yield some details. Native American in New England may have purchased land, had births, deaths, marriages, christenings and other things recorded. There may be some church, probate, or census records that include them.

Archives and historical societies have many materials that are helpful in researching New England Native American Ancestry, as does the New England Historic Genealogical Society. No matter the tribe or the locality, the search begins with the same basic records we use for all our ancestors. Then we branch off to other resources.

© 2010 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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