The 1913 edition of Cutter’s New England Families is one of the richest compendia of family histories in all of New England genealogy. Compiled by William R. Cutter, the former corresponding secretary and historian of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, this four-volume work boasts detailed genealogical and biographical essays on nearly 1,000 venerable New England families. Out of print and hard to locate for many years since its original publication in 1913, New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial is now available from Clearfield Company in an affordable paper edition.
In terms of content and arrangement, this publication is reminiscent of others common to the early twentieth century. Each essay begins with an explanation of the derivation or local origin of the principal surname under discussion. The family history is then traced forward from the oldest known ancestor of the line–in many instances from 16th-century England–to the family member (living or memorialized) featured in the essay. A lengthy biography of that individual, oftentimes accompanied by a photograph, comes next. This is followed, frequently, by additional, collateral lines linked to the subject of the essay. On the whole, the essays cover the length and breadth of New England ancestry from the colonial period through the early twentieth century, and they also serve to illustrate the influence of New England settlement upon the states to the west. It should be noted that, while the essays brim with Mayflower connections and ties to the early Puritan settlers of the region, this collection is a totally unique assemblage of New England families. The name index found at the back of the final volume identifies some 8,000 principal descendants of the main families treated.