Divided into six books accompanied by appendixes, indexes, and scholarly appurtenances, this work attests to Henry Dexter’s remarkable expertise with respect to the source records of the English and Dutch backgrounds of the Pilgrim Fathers. The six books together constitute an encyclopedic history of Pilgrim affairs in England and Holland, a systematic examination of every facet of Pilgrim life from the shaping of the Protestant conscience to the history of the Separatists–their persecutions in England and their churches in Amsterdam and Leyden–to summaries and particulars of those who set out to America on the Mayflower, the Fortune, the Anne, and the Little James. The author succeeds in mastering more than one discipline, for in addition to describing the Reform movements in general and the Pilgrims in particular, he turns his hand to doctrinal study, government, biography, and genealogy.
It is, however, the first item in the Appendix, concerning the Pilgrim company in Leyden, that is of inestimable value to the genealogical researcher. Here can be found a register of all those in the Pilgrim company who resided in Holland up to the end of the 17th century, and it naturally includes references to many who may never have voyaged to America. The data derive from archival sources and provide conclusive evidence of the Dutch residence of several hundred Pilgrims. The entries, typically, give place of origin, occupation, names of wives (with dates of betrothal), references to contemporary Dutch records, and a variety of incidental matter-in all, a successful attempt at enumerating the whole company of Pilgrims in Holland.