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My genealogical discoveries

Discussion in 'History & Genealogy' started by USincognito, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

    +13,601
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    My mom's side is amazingly complete and I've made some amazing discoveries. No U.S. Presidents or famous Civil War generals, but some interesting people who remain historically significant to this day, even if they're not well known. I'll post here periodically and today we're going to start with a meeting in my 9th great-grandfather's parlor.

    The town of Topsfield, Massachusetts would play a pivotal role in the Salem "witch" hysteria leading the hanging of three of it's citizens including my 10th great-grandmother and my 11th great-grandaunt. The town parish was having trouble keeping ministers, one having been accused in intemperance with the sacramental wine in the 1660s. In 1682 they got lucky and hired Harvard Divinity graduate Joseph Capen,. He was a popular and beloved minister (from what I have read) and remained in the pulpit until his death in 1725. Little did he know the trials and travails that lay just 10 years down the road.

    According to the research of my cousin Mary Louise Bingham (and let me clarify, we're like 5th to 10th cousins because we share about 100 common ancestors, but all a ways back) several of his parishoners were having a disagreement rooted in one of their arrest and brief imprisonment for treason against the new colonial governor. John Gould, Jacob Towne and John Howe met in Capen's parlor.

    The relationships get convoluted so I'll draw a few out for you.
    1. John Gould accused of treason against Governor Dudley in 1682.
    1a. John's sister is Priscilla Gould Wildes.
    1b. Priscilla's husband is John Wildes.
    1c. After Priscilla died, John Wildes married Sarah Avrill Wildes who would be hanged in Salem 19 Sep 1692
    .
    2. Jacob Towne was also involved in the simmering disagreement over the 1682 treason accusations against John Gould.
    His sisters were 2a. Mary Towne Estey hanged 22 Sep 1692, 2b. Rebecca Towne Nurse hanged 19 Jul 1692 and 2c. Sarah Towne Cloyes accused and imprisoned, but not executed.

    3. John Howe was married to 2d. Sarah Towne Howe, who was Jacob, etc. niece, the daughter of 2e. Edmund Towne.
    3b. John's brother James Howe Jr. was married to 3c. Elizabeth Jackson Howe who would be hanged in Salem 19 July 1692.

    4. Parson Joseph Capen was their minister.

    As you can see, there was a lot of close relationships between families which made disputes over land, taxes or accusations of treason all the more intractable. The simmering tension between the three men - John Gould, Jacob Towne and John Howe led to them having a meeting with Parson Capen to try and sort things out. That meeting was held on 13 Jun 1692 - right in the midst of the accusations and trials.

    A month later, on 19 Jul 1692, Sarah (1c), Elizabeth (3c) and Rebecca (2b) were hanged in Salem along with Susannah North Martin and Sarah Good. On 22 Sep 1692, Mary (2a) was hanged well along with six others. Below are their relationships to me. (p) means present at the meeting in the parlor, (x) means executed by hanging

    Joseph Capen (p) - 9th great-grandfather
    Mary Towne Estey (x)- 10th great-grandmother.
    Rebecca Nurse (x)- 10th great-grandmother.
    Jacob Towne (p)- 10th great-grandfather.
    Edmund Towne - 10th great-grandfather. (yes, all four siblings are my 10th ggp)
    Sarah Towne Cloyes - 11th great-grandaunt.
    John Gould (p)- 10th great-granduncle.
    Priscilla Gould Wildes - 10th great-grandaunt, making John Wildes my 10th great-granduncle by marriage and Sarah Avrill Wildes (x) basically my 10th great-grandaunt by marriage.
    John Howe (p) - 10th great-granduncle and Sarah Towne Howe 10th great-grandaunt (both by descent from their sibling).
    James Howe Jr. - 10th great-granduncle and Elizabeth Jackson Howe (x) 10th by marriage.
    Susannah North Martin - 10th great-grandmother.

    Attached:
    Parson Capen House in Topsfield, preserved to this day.
    The parlor in which the meeting was held.
    A memorial to the Topsfield victims of the hysteria with the names of Elizabeth, Mary and Sarah engraved. IMG_20180809_154431.jpg IMG_20180810_143735.jpg IMG_20180810_150732.jpg
     
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  2. Lost4words

    Lost4words Jesus I Trust In You Supporter

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    I traced my genealogy back to 1230!

    Right back to the first known Corgi to charge into battle with no armour, no weapons, just courage!

    His name was Sir Woofalot. Known throughout history as a ferocious warrior.
     
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  3. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    It's amazing how, thanks to the internet, it is much easier nowadays to trace family history records. It would have been much harder to do this a couple of decades ago.
    Following my online searches, I was totally amazed to come across a book with photos of some of my ancestors. They lived in Cornwall, England, and there is a record of the name going back in the same community for hundreds of years.
     
  4. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Did you mean Winalot? :sweatsmile:
     
  5. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    People didn't migrate too much in those days, my family stayed in the Nottinghamshire area for many generations before moving to Canada and the United States.
     
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  6. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    That is true. And Cornwall is still a very remote part of England - with unique placenames and there have been attempts to revive its original language. Until recent times, I suspect many people would not have had cause to travel outside the area, so there are many families there that can be traced back generations.
     
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  7. Lost4words

    Lost4words Jesus I Trust In You Supporter

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    Not my words sorry
     
  8. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Pilgrim

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    LOL

    I suppose I was intending to reply to you, then I ended up replying to Anthony trying to delete your quote.
     
  9. Messerve

    Messerve Well-Known Member

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    When my parents were newly wedded, they settled on their first home church together which was just a little country church surrounded by cornfields. That's where me and my siblings mostly grew up and we all have fond memories of our time there.

    Because of our ongoing attachment to that church it is where my parents decided to reserve burial plots for themselves. When they contacted the church, they were amazed to find out that my dad has ancestors already buried their from the early 1800's! We knew nothing about that when we attended the church, since we know so little about our background.

    Since then, we've discovered my dad's ancestors also started a farm somewhere nearby, though we have no idea what farm or if it's still around.
     
  10. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

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    Indeed. I have an older cousin who did it the old school way - books and microfilm - and gave me a great head start. I had as far back as 10 generations for a few lines she'd researched. Her mom was my grandfather's brother so it was all that particular line. My mom's mother, however, was a blank slate. I had my great-grandfather and my great-grandmother and that was it. Thankfully they both lead back to multiple Puritan Great Migration Ancestors and lived mostly in Massachusetts and more specifically one particular country. That made the paper trail a lot easier. I kept following Ancestry leafs, Wikipedia profiles and Google search results to add several hundreds more back to the colonial period and beyond to England.

    I even have three Gateway Ancestors who take me back to the Platagents and beyond making my total number near 13,000 direct ancestors.

    I could have accomplished very little of that if I didn't have the Internet and work others have done for me.
     
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  11. Basil the Great

    Basil the Great Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Congrats on a most interesting genealogy, even if a very sad one, due to the witch hysteria.
     
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  12. Occams Barber

    Occams Barber Newbie Supporter

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    Given the alleged nature of your unfortunate female forebears;

    Do you ever get the uncontrollable urge to go joyriding on a broomstick and, can you turn annoying people into toads? :)
    OB
     
  13. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

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    I'm not going to dignify that with an answer.

    Seriously though, the city of Salem has fully embraced the "witch" thing and it's a kitschy, New Age and Wiccan nightmare now. It all stared in the 1960s when they built a statue to Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha character from Bewitched and filmed some episodes there. Here's the stupid police logo for pete's sake!
    Salem Police Department - The Cop Shop

    It's an insult to what actually happened there.
     
  14. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

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    The town of Ipswich Massachusetts is one of the oldest in the United States. It was founded in 1634 and due to some unique economic circumstances, has more First Period houses than any other town or city in the country. Quite of few of my ancestors were among the first settlers so I was thrilled, but not surprised to see on a drawing of property lines in 1640 that two of my ancestors lived next to each other and two more lived a few plots away. Even more interesting is the two plots that abutted each other 380 years ago still have the same footprint.

    Attached is
    1. Drawing with properties for William Lamson, William Story, John Dane and Daniel Hovey.
    2. Google maps satellite image of the same area today.
    Old Ipswich property map.jpg Old Ipswich map updated.jpg
     
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  15. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

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    I wasn't really aware of the city of Amesbury, but most of Northern Essex County, Massachusetts has eschewed hotels beyond a few bed and breakfasts despite loving tourist dollars and the only hotel close to where I wanted to be was there. It was a wonderfully serendipitous choice.

    It turned out that 7 of the city first settlers that are listed on a monument at the site of the first burying ground were my ancestors.
    Anthony Colby
    George Martin
    William Huntington
    Valentine Rowell
    Henry Blaisdell
    Jarrett Haddon
    John Weed
    IMG_20180809_114148.jpg
    Golgotha close up.jpg

    George Martin was the husband of Susannah North Martin who was one of the 19 innocents murdered by the Salem witch hysteria. She is commemorated at all the memorials (the two in Salem and one in Danvers) and has a nice monument in Amesbury that's off the beaten path right near a family's yard.
    Susannah Martin monument.jpg

    Thomas Macy built a house that stands to this day. When he moved to Nantucket (along with another ancestor of mine, Tristram Coffin Sr.) he sold the house to my 10th ggf Anthony Colby. The house remained in the Colby family for the next 300 years. I happened upon it completely by chance while out walking one morning.
    IMG_20180809_093420.jpg
     
  16. Steve Petersen

    Steve Petersen Senior Veteran

    +3,220
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    Been doing genealogy for a few years now and I keep asking myself 'What relationships are meaningful?'

    If my fourth great grand uncle was someone famous, so what?

    Even 10 generations back gives you 1000 grandparents to say nothing of the children of all those families going back. You quickly run into several thousand people you are related to in many ways. Why do they matter?
     
  17. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I have been doing genealogy for about a couple of years now. As an adoptee, I have always wanted to know more about my birth family, what they did, who their parents/grandparents were, etc. I think my other motive is that I love a bit of detective work, solving problems and unravelling details. It's a bit like putting together pieces in a jigsaw puzzle - it's good for the brain!

    BTW, i recognise your avatar from the Monty Python Interview sketch. That sketch always makes me laugh! :)
     
  18. Steve Petersen

    Steve Petersen Senior Veteran

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    I like Cleese's 'skeptical' look. It reflects my attitude about many things.

    I am with you on the detective work. It is a blast reading old records!
     
  19. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I love John Cleese - I've a lot of his shows/films on DVD. Particularly love Fawlty Towers, Clockwise and Monty Pythons Flying Circus.
     
  20. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

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    I belong to a Facebook group for descendents of the Plantagenets and a similar question was posted there. My comment was that having Edward III as my 25th ggf had the same impact on my life as having Rebecca Nurse as my 10th ggm - none.

    It's just cool to discover and helps give your research more historical context. Last night i watched Three Soverigns for Sarah which had many ancestral family members as characters. The set for Rev. Parris' home was the Parson Capen house mentioned in my OP. My genealogical knowledge and my personal connection to the victims, the accusors and the production helped make this story of the Salem witch hysteria come alive.
     
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