Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Skeletons in My Genealogical Closet

    Seeking out one's roots can be either exhilarating or mortifying--especially when you come across documents that add to or contradict your "family myth."  I've found out so many things that no one ever talked to me about while I was growing up, and all the revelations concern grandfathers.  (I suppose this is because it's often more difficult to find documents regarding the maternal line.)   
   So far, I've found a census document showing that one of my beloved granddads had a first marriage to a much older woman.  (Never heard of her!)  And then there is the jailed Confederate sympathizer who was chased out of Missouri.  (The family story had it that he had left for the West because he didn't want to take sides in the war between the states.)  I have also found that another ancestor, Levi Scott, one of the blazers of the Applegate Trail, was involved in some battles with native people that easily could have and certainly should have been avoided.  
   But now this!  I'm a direct descendant of one of the witnesses against Sarah Cole, accused witch.  I've found the document from the 1690's and have posted it above.  
   What's odd is that when I was in grade school, I went through a period where I was obsessed with the Salem trials.  I remember reading a book filled with woodcut illustrations and struggling with the text which was written in that old-timey type that substitutes the letter 'f' for the letter 's'.  I tried to put myself in the shoes of those people.  What had they actually seen?  What were they really so afraid of?
    Funny, I might have been reading about my own relatives.  

1 comment:

  1. I started trying to do it, but never could get it to work. Maybe you have to pay or something...