Table of Contents

Name Origin
Family Origin
The Oak
Edmund &
In Lynn
Spread of Family



THE genealogy of the Ingalls family in America, or rather the genealogy of the descendants of Edmund Ingalls, has been compiled by Dr. Charles Burleigh (published in 1903). His was an experienced hand and he performed this work in a painstaking way. In it there are errors, as in such an effort there is bound to be, but they are not so numerous as to induce a general revision of his work.

  The purpose of my present work is to be historical, reviewing what our forefathers did, how they lived, and how they migrated, and with that in mind I have abstained from entering into the genealogical except in respect of a few lines or into the biographical except in respect of our immigrant ancestor and his brother and his sons.

  However, I have been necessarily genealogical in making three important corrections, or perhaps I should say contradictions, of Dr. Burleigh's work. I show (1) that contemporaneous with Edmund and Francis Ingalls there were other male adults of the name residing in Boston, from whom there are present descendants; (2) that the Ingalls family of Charlestown did not descend from Robert 3 Robert 2, who probably had no male posterity; and (3) that the Rehoboth branch of our family probably descended from John3 Robert 2 and not from John 2 Edmund1, inasmuch as the former is known to have removed from Lynn to Rehoboth, while there is no evidence that the latter did so.

  In referring to individuals in my text I have adopted the system indicated in the paragraph immediately hereinbefore, the superior figures representing the generation counting from Edmund 1 and the succession of names showing ancestry, e.g. Robert 3 Robert 2 means Robert, who was the son of Robert who was the son of Edmund.

  A principal part of my study is with reference to the lands and houses of the family in Lynn and Andover. In this I have obtained some help from men older than I am, but such memories seldom have gone back more than 70 years, while my own memory of things in Lynn 50 years ago is clear and generally superior. However, while memory may improve the perspective, the writing of the history of a family like that of a nation is done truly only by reference to documentary records and by personal examination of them. I feel that much of what I have put into this history of the Ingalls family would have been lost if I had not collected it and made it of record in this way.

  My study has revealed some interesting things in respect of the tracing of the details of a family history. We may in general follow the history of a piece of land from the deeds of record, but we experience embarrassment when we find that there must have been transfers that were not recorded. The descent of property by will or by deed of gift is followed quite simply when the inheritance is by one person, or when several heirs subsequently convey their interests to a single person, but when the division is made by will the areas and boundaries are seldom described in any but the most general terms, and commonly not even so. My text in respect of the Ingalls family will illustrate how the searcher of titles must inevitably run into many blind alleys.

  The tracing of the history of a house is even more difficult. It is rare that any New England house has an authentic inscription or a documentary record. We are therefore in general reduced to inference and tradition; the former may be more reliable than the latter. Unfortunately we have now passed beyond the time of the survival of tradition, or nearly have passed it. The historian is bound to experience repeatedly the feeling that his inquiries might have been answered by some old man who died 50 years ago, whose descendants never asked the questions that they might have done.

  I am conscious of my own derelictions in not conversing 50 years ago with men of the family who were then old; in not seeing to it that the family documents, then extending back through 200 years, were preserved; in failing to make a careful record of the old homestead of Nathaniel Ingalls, which as a boy I used to pass almost daily; and in short neglecting to do many things.

  In writing this history of the Ingalls family I have touched lightly upon numerous political, economic and legal conditions. In the formal histories it is rather obscured that the beginning of the colonization of Massachusetts Bay was of commercial inspiration and that many of our forefathers came hither primarily to better themselves rather than to obtain religious freedom. I like to think of them in that way. It is not without interest, therefore, to review how fared an inconspicuous family, which is doubtless typical of many others.

Walter Renton Ingalls.


Dec. 31, 1929.


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