It is generally agreed that James Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England is one of the greatest works ever published on New England genealogy. The first edition came out in 1860, and as the four volumes were published in alphabetical sequence by family name, the males were usually found by checking their surname. The females were scattered throughout the four volumes. Some were listed under their fathers’ names, some were listed under their husbands’ names, and many women had three or more spouses. All were difficult to find, and if the husbands’ names were unknown, these ladies could not be found.
In 1884 O.P. Dexter prepared a “Genealogical Cross Index,” which appeared in all reprints. However, it is a surname index only and has all the deficiencies of such an index, and it does not make the job of searching for women any easier. This Female Index, however, published almost 150 years after Savage’s Dictionary first came out, lists all the females alphabetically by maiden name and married names (over 50,000 names altogether), and now they are as easy to locate as the males.
Every researcher of New England genealogy who owns the four-volume Dictionary by Savage, every genealogical society library that has Savage, and every public library that has Savage will want this index.
Patty Barthell Myers has been involved in genealogy since the mid-1960s. She is the author of Joseph Barthel and his wife Christina Lutz (1991), Ancestors and Descendants of Lewis Ross Freeman with related families (1995), Cargill/Cargile/Cargal of the South and Southwest (1997), The Hughes Family from Virginia to Oregon (1999), and Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Rice Lyon and his wife Harriet Wade Rice (2003). She has found over three hundred American immigrants in her family tree and descends from five Mayflower passengers and twenty-two Revolutionary War soldiers and patriots.
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