Source:Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700


Usage Tips

"This work, compiled over a period of thirty years from about 2,000 books and manuscripts, is a comprehensive listing of the 37,000 married couples who lived in New England between 1620 and 1700. Listed are the names of virtually every married couple living in New England before 1700, their marriage date or the birth year of a first child, the maiden names of 70% of the wives, the birth and death years of both partners, mention of earlier or later marriages, the residences of every couple and an index of names. The provision of the maiden names make it possible to identify the husbands of sisters, daughters, and many granddaughters of immigrants, and of immigrant sisters or kinswomen." [1]

The work has been formatted to microfilm, book (in its 6th printing) and CD, and supplemented three times. The original manuscript (and its microfilm) and the CD have Torrey's references, the book omitted them to save space.

Torrey is a Bibliography, Not a Primary Source

Torrey is primarily a bibliography of sources, organized by marriage. This is not obvious when looking at the book published by Genealogical Publishing Company (copyright 1985 with later printings) that is available at, as the bibliography is missing. Therefore, using this version of Torrey is not recommended. Note, however, that the Supplement (also available at does list a bibliography of more recent sources by marriage, for a limited number of marriages.

The 3-volume publication of Torrey available through the New England Historic Genealogical Society at includes Torrey's bibliography. The proper way to use this resource is to check each of the sources listed, review reliability, and include whichever sources you believe provide value. You may wish to include less reliable sources and refute the information in them, if you feel it would prevent others from using them as authoritative sources in the future. Note that checking out Torrey's sources may also lead to information on other family members.

When checking Torrey's sources, note that the 3-volume publication was based on hand-written notes that were sometimes not particularly legible. Therefore, many page citations are incorrect (such as page 22-3 being published as 223). Therefore, a bit of detective work may be required.

When sources had conflicting information (e.g., maiden name of the wife), Torrey sometimes indicated which source(s) he believed were more accurate, by including that information in his summary*. If you conclude differently than what Torrey concluded, you should document your reasoning, as others will wish to know.

* See, for example, this entry (1:141), in which several sources claim that Rebecca was Rebecca Butler, daughter of Jonathan Butler (or of George Butler), while another source (TAG 9:57) cites a 1668 source that identifies her as Rebecca O[l]msted:

BIGELOW, John (1643-1722, 1721?) & 1/wf Rebecca [OLMSTED] (1648-); by 1670, by 1684, by 1667/8, no issue; Watertown/Hartford {Marlboro Hist. 326; Sv. 1:176; Bigelow 223; Olmsted 12; Smith-Hale 212; Wells (,5) 28; Hartford Prob. 1:344; 2:357; Utah Gen. Mag 20:57; TAG 9:57; Bullard Anc. 176; Dawes-Gates 2:618; Ackley-Bosworth 362; Watertown 25}

If the only version of Torrey you have access to is the one published by Genealogical Publishing Company, it is acceptable to cite it as a source until such time as you (or someone else) has a chance to check out the bibliography, as Torrey's summaries are considered overall to be fairly reliable.


Original manuscript film numbers:

  • 929494
  • 929495
  • 929496
  • 929497
  • 929498
  • 929499
  • 929500

Book edition:

  • Available on microfilm from the Family History Center, Film 1320548 Item 14.
  • Available in hard copy at NEHGS
  • Current edition available for purchase from Genealogical Publishing Company and elsewhere

CD Edition

  • Available for purchase online and presumably in many genealogical libraries


See also: