Tuesday, October 29

Hunting for Witches in your Family Tree

For the month of October, Mama Stacey has been working on genealogy.  Prompted by family deaths and illnesses this year, I began to research my grandmother's family.  Turns out that they're pretty prominent throughout European history and I am happy that I will get to share my findings with my children one day.

I have traced myself back to a man named Matthias Button, who was embroiled in one of the earliest witch trials in America.  He was a witness against a vagrant named John Godfrey, who was tried several times for witchcraft in Massachusetts.  Godfrey later took vengeance on my ancestor by burning down his home and killing his wife.

Pentucket, later Haverhill

When I retold the story to Papa J, he encouraged me to research his Italian grandfather's family line as he was fairly certain that he'd heard rumors of Romani blood in his family when he was younger.  I am looking forward to meeting with his grandmother later this week to look through photos and try to get as much information as I can from her.  

In the American version of the popular British television show, "Who Do You Think You Are?", Sarah Jessica Parker discovered that her ancestor had been accused of witchcraft, but thankfully released before being executed.

Have you ever delved into your ancestry?  Has it ever crossed your mind that you may be descendant from someone accused of witchcraft?  Millions around the globe were from the late 1500s into the early 1900s.  Of course their were infamous surges, the Salem Witch Trials here in America and the Trier Witch Trials in Germany, amongst others.  Records were kept and many of them are searchable.

If you are curious, American Ancestors has an article which lists web and real-world resources for your to peruse.  Hunting for Salem "Witches" in Your Family Tree, by Maureen Taylor.

Here is a collection of links to resources, should you want to take a peek.  These links are gathered with the help of About.com and Google.

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive & Transcription Project - Scanned and transcribed documents from the trials, historical maps of Salem, transcribed diaries, etc.  It has a list of accusations and profiles of notable people during the hysteria.

Witches in Colonial America - An article put out by ProGenealogists of Ancestry.com.  This lists all of the names of accused witches in New England and documented outcomes.

Genealogy of Witch Trial Ancestors & Families - Hosted by RootsWeb/Ancestry.com, this offers the genealogy of several accused witches in Massachusetts, USA.  

Essex Witch Trials - Trials listed by name.  This site also includes a collection of documented confessions and court documents.  British.

The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft - Here you will find a database of the nearly 4,000 people accused of witchcraft along with a 'further reading' section.

Witches & Witch Trials in Ireland - A small compilation of accused witches in Ireland.  There are not many entries as of 2013, but research continues.

Happy hunting!!!