My ancestor John Cowles came over from England in the early 1600's. His reasons for subjecting himself for 12 - 16 weeks in the hold of a small square rigged ship, with few belongings, heading into an uncertain future, seems to have been primarily freedom from persecution. He was a Congregationalist who believed that both the Church of England and the Catholic Church were corrupt, and that men should be able to congregate, form their own churches, and talk directly with God. I am guessing that he was probably also hoping that he would have the opportunity, with hard work, to better his financial situation. He ended up in what is now Hartford, Connecticut, which was so far from England or even from the Massachusetts Bay Colony that this group of religious men became both the religious and the governmental leaders of their community.