English Links · genealogy · Puritans · Slavery · US History

History Comes with Genealogy

As I read more and more about our Puritan and Cavalier ancestors, both of which describe my lineage in part, I came across the following quote from the author of the America’s Forgotten History series. Perhaps you’re familiar with it:

“Puritans and Cavaliers each brought their own customs. In England, Puritans baked while Cavaliers fried, as their descendants in both England and America still tend to do today.”

Mark David Ledbetter, America’s Forgotten History, Part One: Foundations

Currently I’m reading Part One: Foundations in which the author describes the origins of various migrations to the New World, the earliest two being primarily the Puritans and Cavaliers. He notes how the Puritans hailed from East Anglia, “the easternmost thumb of England” while the “highly educated” Cavaliers, most of them single men, migrated from the Sussex and Wessex regions and from “the rest of the rural south and west of England”. Among other things, he accounts for the dominance in “fields of intellectual accomplishments” in New England by way of an educated class of immigrants whose origin was East Anglia. Predictably,  there was also the “unskilled, uneducated, indentured servants” class which formed “the base of the hierarchical Cavalier pyramid”.

Five Migrations

These groups and the groups that followed “planted in new soil old ideas and prejudices little ameliorated by time or geography.” Cavaliers were proud of their knightly heritage and the honor code and sense of duty that they lived by and  passed on through the generations. Their place names in the New World were often “royalist” names while Puritans gave their towns and counties the East Anglia names they’d been accustomed to, names that are prevalent across New England today.

Mr. Ledbetter also states that the two groups “remained different and antagonistic in America,” which we currently see on several levels of American society. He also addresses dialects, religion, and slavery in early America along with other topics such as the East India Company and the Bank of England, the combination and results of business plus government (a timely topic these days), and the central banking system referred to in the US as the privately owned ‘Federal Reserve System’.

And since one the things I most appreciate about genealogical research is the History that comes with it, I recommend the America’s Forgotten History series of books by Mark David Ledbetter for gaining a general overview of the migrations to the New World which many of our ancestors made possible.




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