by John

American Ancestors is the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116. The society is America’s oldest genealogical society, the publisher of the "New England Register" and many books. While it is still predominantly a New England genealogical site, the name of the site was changed from “New England Ancestors” to reflect the growing number of data sets from states outside of New England and some foreign countries. The site is accessible by subscription only, but ACPL has access to most of it. Portions are restricted to individual members and not accessible to libraries. Some of the major databases include the following:
•    New England Register, full text of all back issues.
•    American Genealogist (TAG), full text of back issues.
•    New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, full text of back issues.
•    New York wills (multiple databases).
•    Early New England Families, 1640-1700, by Alicia Crane Williams.
•    Great Migration Project (1620-1635), by Robert Charles Anderson.
•    Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Records.
•    Essex, Plymouth, Middlesex, Worcester Counties, MA Probate Files.
•    Town Vital Records to 1850 (various, usually published versions).
•    Western Massachusetts Families in 1790.
 
Here are a few searching tips to make your research more productive. First, use asterisks and question marks to truncate searches when spelling varies. Question marks=1 letter; asterisks=more letters; quotation marks=exact phrases. Second, an “All-database search” is great for searching unusual names, but is less useful for common ones and generates too many unwanted results. Too much information in the search fields will limit successful searches. I find it easier to browse the data sets or do a search specifically within a database than do a larger search, because I am more likely to get the results I want. Finally, I use the browse feature much more often than the general search.

American Ancestors is a great website to use in conjunction with Ancestry and Familysearch. It has records and sources that those other websites lack and may help springboard your New England research.
American Ancestors