This is a heroic attempt to bring together from English sources a complete list of immigrants to the New World from 1607 to 1660. No doubt records of passengers leaving for America were kept in this period, but while no systematic record has survived, the remaining records are substantial. Some were collected and published by John Camden Hotten over 100 years ago, and they were the passenger lists he found in the British State Papers. Since then a great many sources have been found and the time has been long overdue for these facts to be assembled in one comprehensive book.
Hence the publication of this work by the English scholar Peter Wilson Coldham, the leading authority on early English emigration records. His book is a reworking of the Chancery records and records of the Exchequer, the 1624 and 1625 censuses of Virginia, the records of licenses and examination of persons wishing to “pass beyond the seas.” To Hotten’s basic list, which he has revised and augmented to 1668, Coldham has added fascinating records of vagrants, waifs, and prostitutes who were transported to the colonies. He has also added new transcriptions of records–not in Hotten–of servants sent to “foreign plantationes” from Bristol, 1654-1660. And he has added much more from port books, court records, and from any types of official papers and documents. As a result this book is a stupendous achievement.