Reprinted in these three volumes are seventeen books that comprise one of the major achievements of twentieth-century genealogy–the multi-ancestor compendium (plus Thomas Haley of Winter Harbor and His Descendants, 1930) compiled and published by Walter Goodwin Davis between 1916 and 1963. These 2,100 fully-indexed pages authoritatively cover 180 families, all of Davis’s colonial forebears plus nineteen English families in the immediate ancestry of American immigrants. One hundred fourteen of these families lived mostly in Massachusetts; twenty-nine are associated largely with Maine; and eighteen–Basford, Brown, Clifford, Cram, Estow, Fernald, Folsom, Gibbons, Gilman, Marston, Moses, Roberts, Roper, Sherburne, Sloper, Taprill, Walton, and Waterhouse–lived largely in New Hampshire, primarily Hampton, Portsmouth, or Exeter. Most of the 114 Massachusetts families resided in Essex County, a few in Middlesex or Plymouth counties, or in Boston. Thus Massachusetts and Maine Families in the Ancestry of Walter Goodwin Davis is largely a compendium on “north of Boston” families.
The Davis opus is undoubtedly the premier work for northern New England, and an often essential companion volume to the celebrated Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire–which it considerably expands, especially for many Essex County families with ties further north)–and the greatest multi-ancestor series to date in American genealogy. Almost anyone with considerable New England ancestry–and as many as 100 million living Americans, about 40 percent of the population, have some colonial New England forebears–will descend from one or more, often a dozen or more, of the 180 families herein. For this reprint edition, the 180 families in all sixteen books have been arranged into a single alphabetical sequence, and tables of contents identify the book in which the family originally appeared.