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Colonial New England Probates, 1631-1776

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data
  • Main, Gloria (University of Colorado-Boulder)
  • Main, Jackson (University of Colorado-Boulder)
  • Lindert, Peter H. (University of California-Davis)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
American Colonies; currencies; debt; economic history; land ownership; landowners; occupations; price indexes; probate; real estate; wealth
  • Abstract

    The Colonial New England Probates collection features data drawn from administrative records of 18,509 estates probated between the years of 1631 and 1776 in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The data focus on measures of economic wealth, such as gross personal wealth, debts receivable, debts payable, and estate inventory values for consumer goods and real estate. Historical currency deflators and price indices are also incorporated. Geographic variables include sub-region, county, colony, and town. Demographic information for deceased estate owners includes age, sex, occupation, marital status, and parental status.
  • Abstract

    This study aims to facilitate historical economic analysis through the dissemination of administrative records data which highlight variations in the amount, distribution, and composition of wealth in colonial New England.
  • Methods

    The data are not weighted; however, the dataset contains a weight variable (AGEWT), which users may wish to apply during analysis. No other information was provided regarding weights.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Created variable labels and/or value labels.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1631 / 1776
    Time period: 1631--1776
Geographic Coverage
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New England
  • New Hampshire
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Deceased individuals with estates probated between the years of 1631 and 1776 in colonial New England. Smallest Geographic Unit: town
Collection Mode
  • record abstracts

    This data collection contains several variables that appear to be derived from other variables. Many of the derived variables featured undocumented codes; ICPSR has labeled some codes where possible. No additional information was provided.

This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 34940 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR34940.v1
  • Main, Gloria L., Main, Jackson T.. The Red Queen in New England?. William and Mary Quarterly.56, (1), 121-150.1999.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Main, Gloria L., Main, Jackson T.. Economic growth and the standard of living in Southern New England, 1640-1774. Journal of Economic History.48, (1), 27-46.1988.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Main, Gloria L.. Inequality in early America: The evidence from probate records of Massachusetts and Maryland. Journal of Interdisciplinary History.7, (4), 559-581.1977.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Main, Gloria L.. Probate records as a source for early American history. William and Mary Quarterly.32, (1), 89-99.1975.
    • ID: 10.2307/1922595 (DOI)
  • Main, Gloria L.. The correction of biases in Colonial American probate records. Historical Methods Newsletter.8, (1), 10-28.1974.
    • ID: 10.1080/00182494.1974.10112688 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Main, Gloria; Main, Jackson; Lindert, Peter H. (2014): Colonial New England Probates, 1631-1776. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.