As I discussed in this posting, there are no passenger lists for 17th century New England ships per se. These lists are compilations from other sources. There are two ships other than the Mayflower, which have fascinated and frustrated me. They are the Mary & John and the Angel Gabriel. I believe that if all the people who are claimed to have been on either vessel were on the vessel, they would have been the size of the QEII. But such is the historiography of genealogy. Because the Mayflower was first and there is a heritage society associated with it, genealogists have tried to place their ancestors' arrivals as close to 1620 as possible. Part of the scholarship of the Great Migration Project is to throw light on the myths and lore and examine the facts.
We know about the Angel Gabriel from a contemporary report by Richard Mather which appears in Alexander Young's Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay (1846). The story of its foundering is on p. 478. However, there is no mention of the persons on board. At all. On page 453 we learn that the ship was 240 tons. On p. 458 we learn there many Godly Christians on board. But that is all.
So how is it that we know who was on that ship? We know John Cogswell was on board with Samuel Haines because of Haines' deposition of 1 December 1676. A further deposition notes that William Tarbox was also onboard. Let's examine the timeline for John Cogswell. The Angel Gabriel founders off Pemaquid in August 1635. John Cogswell is made a freeman at Ipswich on 3 March 1635/6. This is typical for a Great Migration emigrant. Within a year of landing, a record is created by the emigrant.
However, these are the only people we can be certain were on the ship. Perhaps because of its foundering, and the perceived providence of saving those people onboard, many 19th century genealogists put other families onboard without any evidence. The most striking of these errors would be Robert Andrews of Ipswich who was made a freeman in Ipswich on 6 May 1635 when the Angel Gabriel was still in England. Also Henry Beck is claimed to be onboard, but he is known to have come on the Blessing. You'll also note on the passenger list compilation of the webpage to which I pointed, Richard Mather is given as a passenger, but he was on the James looking at the Angel Gabriel not on it.
How did the Burnham brothers get onboard? By doing a simple Google Books search, this canard has been in print since at least 1888 (History of Essex County), and probably predates that. The linking is this: William Hubbard claimed that the Rev. Joseph Avery was onboard, but he conflated two ships that foundered the same day in the same storm. Avery was on a ship by Cape Ann. Robert Andrews gets on board because he was a creditor to the Rev. Joseph Avery. The Burnham brothers are called "kinsmen" in the will of Robert Andrews.*** QED.
The earliest record of a Burnham is four years after the Angel Gabriel founders in 1635. It is unlikely that they left no records for four years in Ipswich. They obviously came later.
You can read more on this (although I distilled a great deal for this post) from the Great Migration Newsletter, Vol. 7 (1998), in a series called Passenger Ships of 1635 (in five parts). The Angel Gabriel is detailed in the July-Sept. 1998 issue.
***Another pet peeve of mine is that all we know is that Robert Andrews called the Burnham brothers kinsmen. We don't know how they were related. However, the bad genealogical thing that won't die for this, is that Robert Andrews was their uncle, with the Burnhams having an Andrews mother. This is total speculation.