Photo by Joyce Kelly
Marilynne K. Roach will lecture tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (99-101 Newbury Street in Boston). Marilynne’s most recent book is Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials, published by Da Capo Press.
Scott C. Steward: Your subjects are the accused and their accusers, and come from several economic and social strata. What makes them representative?
Marilynne K. Roach: The six women in my book, besides being specific individuals, can represent to some extent others of their varying stations in life: accused, accusers and both in one; free and slave; rich, poor, and middling; survivors and those who died. I also chose these six because enough information about their respective lives was available. Continue reading
Our early New England ancestors were well acquainted with the threat of witchcraft. Dread of this phenomenon, and particularly of those in its thrall, was reinforced to them in warnings from clergymen about the dangers of falling in league with the devil. These fears were further punctuated by the occasional accusations or cases in various towns throughout the region. Authorities of no less stature than John Winthrop recorded such incidents in their diaries. Continue reading
Expectations are tricky. As genealogists, we should always be on the look-out for new information, recognizing that the data sought may be in a different location, or format, or offer different content than we had expected.
Lately, as I’ve mentioned, I have been playing around with Google searches. A few days ago, I thought I might look for information about my maternal grandfather’s father, a man I’ve grown used to knowing very little about. His name was John Frank Bell (1878-1944), and he managed hotels in Norfolk, Virginia. He was married twice, to my great-grandmother Minnie Estelle Jackson (1876-1935) and to a woman my grandfather always referred to as Marjorie Feller. In my previous research on this second marriage, I had found a woman who seemed to fit the bill, a Marjorie Feller Jarman (1899-1995) who was twenty years Frank Bell’s junior and actually outlived her stepson, who died in 1994. Continue reading
In the 22 January 2014 issue of NEHGS’ Weekly Genealogist, a ‘story of interest’ highlighted the sad plight of 17,000 square feet of old newspapers held by the New York State Library in Albany. Faced with the demand to archive an increasing amount of education department paperwork, the article – “State Library’s Tough Calls on What to Save, What to Shred” – illustrated how once treasured collections are now losing the battle for available storage space. Continue reading
A representative family tree in its original frame, showing the piece, backing board, wooden panel, and glass and frame. Courtesy R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, NEHGS
NEHGS is always looking to acquire family trees to add to our collection. They come to us through donation or purchase, and their condition on arrival varies from pristine and framed to dirty and frayed. Many a family tree crosses the threshold of the Society’s new Conservation Lab, where it is cleaned and repaired, resulting in a piece which can be safely stored or displayed. Continue reading
The Early New England Families Study Project has been well received, and I have already had a number of offers from generous individuals who wish to share their research with the project. I do appreciate the offers, really, but I have to politely decline. Continue reading
David Deaborn (left) consults with a Research Getaway participant
Genealogy is often a solitary pursuit, and increasingly, one that is conducted primarily online. Last week, NEHGS welcomed 26 members and supporters to our research library in Boston for a program that provides three days of in-depth exploration of NEHGS resources. A preparatory webinar provided an overview of the program and tips for preparing for their research trip, such as searching the catalog in advance; making a to-do list and a research plan; and, most importantly, staying flexible. Sometimes the information we discover about our ancestors takes us in a direction we weren’t expecting. Continue reading
I am currently at work processing the Farley Family Papers, a large collection that includes hundreds of letters, photographs, estate records, and military records created by several generations of Farleys in Massachusetts. The wide variety of documents found in the collection creates a vivid picture of what life was like for this family. Among other things, this collection contains two long photographs, originally rolled together and stored in a tube, of the members of the Puddingstone Club, as well as letters from the club’s members to Arthur Christopher Farley (1851-1919). Continue reading
Records of the Reverend Thomas Cheever, 1697-1742, Mss C 1143, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections
Many of us have been betrayed, genealogically speaking, by a source that appears to be reliable but is not. Often the source is reliable for the most part. But that fact gives you no comfort when the information in which you are interested turns out to be incorrect. Continue reading
When I was in school thirty plus years ago, there was a lot of discussion about the differences between history and genealogy – usually with genealogy getting the short end of the stick. The gap between historians and genealogists narrowed once we realized that we all use many of the same sources for similar ends. The differences are in our goals. The historian is trying to interpret the life of communities and does not really need to deal with the details of individuals. The genealogist is dealing with individuals on a fact-by-fact basis and may not feel the need to understand the larger community. To an historian a genealogist might appear to “not see the forest for the trees,” and to a genealogist an historian might “clear cut” the trees they have been nurturing in hopes of finding the forest! Continue reading