Discover Your Connection to an Iconic American Moment

On December 16, 1773, members of the revolutionary group the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, destroyed an entire shipment of tea from the British East India Company. This was done in protest of the Tea Act of May 10 of that year, which enforced the unpopular Townshend Acts—a series of laws which allowed England to tax the Colonies without fair representation in Parliament. Protesters cast chests of tea into Boston Harbor, an act of defiance which helped spark the Revolutionary War and has left an indelible mark upon American history.

Could your ancestors have witnessed or participated in the Boston Tea Party? The resources below will help you verify your connection to New England at the start of the Revolution.

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Do you have ancestors who lived in Boston during the Revolution?

You may be eligible to join the Boston Tea Party Descendants Program, a new lineage society established in partnership with the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.


Search for your ancestors in databases related to Boston and New England during the Revolutionary War.

External Databases

The following databases are made available to our members through our partner organizations. You must have an American Ancestors/NEHGS membership to access. Learn More


American History

Colonial America

Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876

Gale In Context: U.S. History

Gale: Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers

HeritageQuest Online


Guides, Articles & More

Getting Started With Revolutionary War Records

Massachusetts Research

Native Nations of New England

Webinar Syllabus: Researching Mariner Ancestors in New England

The "Fighting Armstrongs" of Boston’s Granary Burying Ground

by Philip O’Brien

American Ancestors Magazine, Summer 2022

Your Guide to Lineage Societies

by Lynn Betlock

American Ancestors Magazine, Summer 2018

Images of the Revolutionary War Generation

by Maureen A. Taylor

American Ancestors Magazine, Summer 2010

Strategies for Tracing Revolutionary War Veterans

by David Allen Lambert

American Ancestors Magazine, Summer 2010

Revolutionary War-Related Research Problems? These Articles May Help

by Henry B. Hoff

American Ancestors Magazine, Summer 2010


Carp, Benjamin L. Defiance of the Patriots: the Boston Tea Party & the Making of America. View Catalog

Di Spigna, Christian. Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero. View Catalog

Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere’s Ride. View Catalog

Griswold, Wesley S. The Night the Revolution Began: the Boston Tea Party, 1773. View Catalog

Labaree, Benjamin Woods. The Boston Tea Party, 1773: Catalyst for Revolution. View Catalog

Nathan, Gavin R. Historic Taverns of Boston: 370 Years of Tavern History in One Definitive Guide. View Catalo

Robert J. Allison. The Boston Tea Party. View Catalog

Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 1763-1776. View Catalog

Tyler, John W. Smugglers and Patriots: Boston Merchants and the Advent of the American Revolution. View Catalog

Young, Alfred F. The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution. View Catalog

From the Archives

The following items from our collection can be viewed online in digital format. Browse all items related to the Boston Tea Party

Hawkes, James. A retrospect of the Boston tea-party : with a memoir of George R. T. Hewes, a survivor of the little band of patriots who drowned the tea in Boston harbour in 1773 / By a citizen of New-York... New-York S. S. Bliss, printer, 1834.

Tea leaves: being a collection of letters and documents relating to the shipment of tea to the American colonies in the year 1773, by the East India Tea Company. Now first printed from the original manuscript. With an introduction, notes, and biographical notices of the Boston Tea Party, by Francis S. Drake. Boston, A.O. Crane, 1884.

Wall, Caleb A. The historic Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773 : Its men and objects: incidents leading to, accompanying, and following the throwing overboard of the tea. Including a short account of the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. With patriotic lessons therefrom adapted to the present time. Worcester, Mass.: Press of F.S. Blanchard, 1896.

Thatcher, B. B. Traits of the tea party : being a memoir of George R.T. Hewes, one of the last of its survivors : with a history of that transaction, reminiscences of the massacre, and the siege, and other stories of old times / by a Bostonian. New York : Harper & Brothers, 1835.


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