In writing about John Barrows and the supposed 22 year gap in records, I remembered two articles that illustrate this point. "William and Goodwife Ayres of Hartford, Connecticut: Witches Who Got Away" by Gale Ion Harris, TAG 75:197-205 and the followup article, "The Later Career of William and Judith Ayres, Escaped Witches From Hartford, Connecticut: Rhode Island Destination and Descendants" by Gale Ion Harris and Robert Charles Anderson TAG 75:301-309. The upshot to this is that even someone running away from charges of witchcraft only disappeared from the records between 1662 (Hartford) and 1668 (Providence). That's only six years. He then leaves records in Rhode Island in 1671 and 1679.
The other other is from The Great Migration Newsletter, 16:1:1 about John Manning of Ipswich. Here there are only two records for this man, both land grants. There is no probate, court, vital or other records for him. There is also no land records that show this disposition of his land grant. The thought that the Susan Manning who next appears in the records is his widow is, for now, only supposition. This is reiterated in the Great Migration 1634-35 Vol. V:11-13.
To my mind the longest gap of one person in colonial records thus far is Robert Abell at seven years between 1631 and 1638.