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The ancient town of Dunstable was originally a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1741, following a revision of the provincial boundaries, the greater part of the town was ceded to New Hampshire. At the time of the change, the inhabitants were living in an area that would become present-day Nashua and parts of Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield, and Merrimack in New Hampshire; and Dunstable and Tyngsborough in Massachusetts. With the exception of the families of Adams, Cummings, Danforth, Fletcher, Hunt, Richardson, and Whitney, about whom extensive genealogies had already been published, and one or two other families documented in the periodical literature, Mr. Stearns has endeavored to render the family histories of thirty of the earliest families to have settled in Old Dunstable. The genealogies, which are detailed or sparing by degrees, depending on the length of the family's stay in the ancient town, contain references to upwards of 2,000 persons, a number of whom are traced back to their 17th-century English origins. Each individual referred to in the text may be traced via the complete name index at the back of the book. The thirty principal families of the work are: Acres, Beale, Blanchard, Cooke, Cromwell, Darbeyshire, French, Galusha, Gould, Harwood, Hassell, Honey, Lovewell, Lund, Marks, Parris, Perry, Read, Robbins, Searles, Smith, Swallow, Taylor, Temple, Tyng, Usher, Waldo, Warner, Weld, and Whiting.