Today, Findmypast releases The New England Naturalizations 1791-1906.

These were filed throughout the six states of New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, all popular destinations for immigration and settlement since colonial times due to the rich and expansive farmlands and large towns and cities such Boston, Providence and Hartford.

There are 635,867 records in this wonderful collection, which could hold the key to your family's American beginnings. Just in case you find your ancestors settled there, here's a little background to beautiful New England...

The War of Independence

The foundations of the War of Independence were laid in New England. Following the Glorious Revolution of 1689 and the overthrow of King James, an uprising in Boston saw Sir Edmond Andros,  the Royal Governor deposed by the people of the city while Anglicans and government officials were seized.

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Tension gradually rose until in the February of 1775 Parliament declared Massachusetts to be in a state of open rebellion, signifying the start of the War of American Independence.

The first battles of the war were fought in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, later leading to the Siege of Boston by continental troops. In March of 1776, British forces were compelled to retreat from the city.

The Abolition of slavery

After the War, New England ceased to be a meaningful political unit, but retained a status as a defined cultural region consisting of its now-sovereign constituent states.

Cosmopolitan and forward thinking, the region was at the forefront of the abolition movement and by 1784, all of the constituent states had taken steps towards ending slavery, with Vermont and Massachusetts introducing total abolition in 1777 and 1783.

New England: A free state

After settling a dispute with New York, Vermont was admitted to statehood in 1791, formally completing the defined area of New England. On March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, the territory of Maine, formerly a part of Massachusetts, was admitted to the Union as a free state.

Today, New England is defined as made up of the six states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Despite the past hostilities, New England maintained a relationship with Great Britain and the Crown.

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The War of 1812 led to a movement within the region for secession from the United States as New England, still economically damaged by the previous war, relied heavily on trade with the British and many powerful merchants were desperate to protect the area’s interests and preserve is political influence.