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Originally published in a dozen or more parts between 1897 and 1919, Hoyt's Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, like Jacobus' Families of Ancient New Haven, is not only the genealogical record of a New England town but the complete record of an entire region, that of the lower Merrimack Valley. Indeed, the old families of Salisbury and Amesbury were so inter-related that Mr. Hoyt found it necessary to extend the genealogies to related families in Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich, Hampton, and York County, Maine, his purpose being to furnish data on all families, from all record sources down to about 1700 and usually to 1800.
The work contains the genealogies of more than 300 families, each traced through at least five or six generations in accordance with the most rigid standards of documentation. Hoyt further provides hundreds of pages of source records-rate lists, lists of commoners and freemen, petitioners and soldiers. His most noted contribution is in the area of church records, which consist of thousands of baptism, marriage, and death records from the period 1720 to 1800, many of them compiled from record sources that no longer exist!
Hoyt's work, then, is indispensable in identifying the early settlers of the Merrimack. Considering that many of the families covered in the work migrated to New Hampshire and Maine in the second generation, it must be viewed as the very foundation of northeast New England genealogy.