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One of the main objectives in American genealogy is to identify an immigrant's place of origin and parentage. This pursuit has been so important that thousands of pages of abstracts and transcriptions have been published in American periodicals and learned journals over the years. Among the most important of these periodicals is The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, which, between the years 1903 and 1916, published four lengthy series of abstracted English probate records and depositions, now collected in this work.
These abstracts constitute some of the most valuable articles on the English origins of American colonists ever published. In order of appearance here, they are: (1) "Clues from English Archives Contributory to American Genealogy," by J. Henry Lea and J. R. Hutchinson; (2) "New York Gleanings in England," by Lothrop Withington; (3) "Genealogical Notes from the High Court of Admiralty Examinations," by J. R. Hutchinson; and (4) "A Digest of Essex Wills with Particular Reference to Names of Importance in the American Colonies," by William Gilbert. For the researcher's convenience, all four articles appear here in their entirety with an index of nearly 10,000 names.