Monday, October 29, 2012

Which witch is which!

Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. Membership is by invitation only. You must be at least sixteen years of age and be able to prove your descent from an ancestor who was accused, tried and/or executed for the practice of witchcraft before the end of December 1699.

I know many people who want to trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower. But I know even more who want to trace their family back to the Salem witch trials. I have no explanation for this except that it will add a little bit of spice to your family history. We are not talking about Halloween witches here. Instead we are talking about those people who were "different" and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you do your research, you will find that social conditions, climate, geography all played a role in this dark period in New England history. The first women to be accused of witchcraft were poor or homeless and there was a huge division between the social classes in the area. Eventually scientific research discovered that there was a problem with the grains that were grown in Salem, which was by nature warm and swampy. And history shows us that all of this led to mass hysteria.

There are many online sources of lineage information for those of you who want to trace your ancestry to the Salem Witch Trials. The website for the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches has a list of approved ancestors. I would suggest that you check the surnames and go from there.

Let me say something here: This is one of those situations where you are doing backwards genealogy and it does not always work. In other words you are trying to connect your family to a group of famous or notorious people and you have no idea whether or not you are related. Life is too short to base all of your research on this technique. However, have fun with it for a short period of time and then go back to the real research that is going to give you an accurate picture of your family history. 

In most cases, if you have done your homework, acceptance into a lineage society is not that difficult. Most of the time the drawbacks and hesitations are all in our minds. If you remember this one simple fact, your chances of acceptance will be good. *Don"t enter any information that you cannot verify.

If you don't have proof for a date of birth, marriage or death - don't enter the information. It is that simple and yet so many of us just don't get it. I don't know why we don't get it. And I am as guilty as anybody else. You know what I am talking about. "Great-grandma Bessie always said that her mother was born in Virginia and came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone in 1770."  Sounds good, but is it true? Prove it! That's all you need to do.

One thing that I have recently discovered that might possibly help you with your Salem research: Massachusetts eventually decided to make things right with the families of the people involved in the Salem Witch Trials.This means that since the government was involved, there are probably tons of records with lots of names and dates. I have found this to be true with my own research.

For more information about the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches go to


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