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March 8, 2010

Genealogy

Anyone watch the show Friday night with Sarah Jessica Parker discovering who her ancestors were?  I loved it!  Being an amatuer genealogist for 25 years you can't help but get excited when anyone discovers their roots!  Well anyway, her search led back to Salem, Massachusettes where she found an ancestor who was there during the time period of the witch trials.  Her tension mounted as she waited for documents to show her which side of the story her ancestor was on.  Finally she was shown a paper that indicated her ancestor was accused of the crime of witchcraft but never punished and the jury was disbanded before the trial ever started.

Knowing I had Salem ancestors also I set about to see what I could locate and sure enough I found they were in Salem at the same time period.  All of a sudden I felt the same dread that Sarah did, wondering were they accusers, the accused or a part of the town folk that stood on a side of the hysteria. . . . . . . but which side?  It didn't take long to locate them and to my relief, found they stood against the accusers and beside the accused.  In fact, my ancestors signed a petition testifying to the good character of Renecca Nurse, one of the most notable of those accused and hanged.  So finally after all the years of knowing I had ancestors in Salem, I now can feel good knowing that they were not a part of what propelled the tragedies in that place and time.  Actually I found lists of "accusers" and they were never mentioned among them.

So yes, when I'm not designing or stitching, I'm usually "digging up bones" as I've long called it.  Some of my designs reflect my love of history and family genealogy.  Mayflower Landing celebrates my Mayflower ancestors and Coming to America was designed to celebrate my Irish ancestors.  I wonder what I'll do with Salem. . . . . . . . I wonder. . . . . . . . . . 

Do any of you have a firm connection to Salem during this period in time?  Do you know who your ancestors were?  Let me know!

10 comments:

  1. "Who Do You Think You Are" is a program that started over in the UK, branched over to Ireland, and is now in the US. I don't know half of the British & Irish celebrities but watch each episode, captivated by their stories. One of the UK episodes featured Jerry Springer, who was born in England. I scoffed at first but quickly became caught up in the story, as he found out the fate of his grandmothers, who died in the Holocaust, and how. It was gut-wrenching. I am hoping they'll show the US program here, too!

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  2. I didn't get to see the program so hopefully they will repeat as they do everything else. I have not done any of that searching but my x sil did and I hope she will share it with me. I'll have to email her regarding that.
    No Gracie pic today. Boo Hoo! She is so cute!
    Happy Stitching!

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  3. Since I too am a genealogist I HAD to watch this show. It was fascinating. I am looking forward to the next.

    I think it is really fabulous that you can trace your ancestors back to Salem. I know I have some on my Mothers side that go back to the mid 1700s in Pennsylvania but can't locate them in records before the Revolution. Actually their land records date from 1790s. My Grandmother always said the came with William Penn. Maybe one day I will find the connection.

    Most of my other lines go back in the US to the mid to late 1800s and before that Ireland.

    Besides stitching, dogs, gardening, and reading I also love to play around with digging up my family skeletons. :)

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  4. I have no connection with Salem, but as a pagan I read all about this city and also about the witch trials. So ... I can't wait to see what you are going to do with a theme as Salem. I will be one of the first to buy the pattern:)

    BTW The Lost Book of Salem from Katherine Howe was a beautiful book to read.

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  5. I loved the show too! As another genealogist (and county historical society volunteer) I also found it fascinating. You may also enjoy seeing the one that Dr. Henry Gates (of Harvard - and the Obama Beer Sumit - fame) did on PBS. I think it's finished its three part run, but should still be available on PBS on line. He researched, among others, Yoyo Ma - it was INCREDIBLE!

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  6. I'm not that much into searching, but the little bit I've done I've had joy from. I'm a 'niece' of Ulysses S. Grant...and I have a connection with a stitcher I've known through the internet for a long time (I've even met her!). She was searching into her family background for her slave roots and while I cannot remember the exact relationship, my family and her family were connected by owner/slave ties. It's a very small world when you get down to it.

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  7. It's all so interesting! I know that most of my ancestors were from Germany and came to America in the late 1800's.

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  8. I loved the show, too! I don't know of any Salem connection with my family, but a great, great grandfather, who was a Congregational minister in Barrington, Rhode Island, left his wife, children and flock to seek his fortune in the Gold Rush, too. We have never learned what happened after that, but this show makes me wonder if he, too, is in an unmarked grave somewhere.

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  9. Watched and enjoyed the show very much. My husband's Salem gr-grandmother was Mary Easty(the memorial stone that Sarah J P looked at was Mary's). She was a sister of Rebecca Nurse and in the last group of women hung. She was famous at the time for writing a letter to the court stating that while she knew she couldn't be saved, she hoped her death would help end the trials. It is very moving. The PBS show was fascinating as Henry Gates tied in world history and culture while exploring all the different immigrant groups. I've been tracing my family - so fun and exciting!

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  10. Haven't seen "Who Do You Think You Are" yet, but I have watched and enjoyed both of Dr. Gates' PBS Series. Genealogy is my passion, too, and has been for nearly 40 years--long before we ever dreamed of how easy the internet would eventually make things.

    I've traced my significant other's family and found his ancestors Samuel and Mary Abbe who lived in Salem at the time of the witch trials. They apparently testified in favor of Rebecca Nours, but against Sarah Good and Mary Eastey. Of course, all three women were executed. Makes my skin crawl to think that his ancestors were partially responsible for 2 of the deaths. But I imagine that in those repressive times, people did what they had to do to survive. If they crossed the wrong people, they could have ended up being accused.

    Sure hope the Sarah Jessica Parker episode will be rerun, because I'd love to watch it.

    Fran in Indiana

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Thank you so much for taking time from your day to drop me a line or two!

Diane