Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Is There a Witch in My Family Tree?

One reason I love Ancestry.com is the "Shaking Leaf"  feature. Well actually like most I have a love-hate relationship with Ancestry's "leaves"  But sometimes they really do help direct you to some great leads.

So last night I was going through some of my 18th century ancestors looking for new "leaves" and I came across one that said Salem Witches!  Oh how cool to be a direct descendant  of a notable ancestor with involvement in a key event in early American history.  Well like I said the "leaf" is just a hint, not a fact so I started doing a little verifying of facts.  Well I'm starting to think that my Abigail who married Anthony Bennett is less likely than not to be Abigail Somes of the Salem witch trials of 1692.  But I'm not giving up yet. More research must be done.

Here is what I have learned

Anthony Bennett of Gloucester married Abigail ___ 12 Nov 1678 MA Vital Records

C Wain of Wainwright Family of Essex County Massachusetts writes this about his research

Notes for Abigail Somes:
The connection of Anthony Bennett to Abigail Somes, daughter of Morris Somes born 1655 is very tempting- she is not accounted for by either marriage or death otherwise in my records, and her age is perfect.  While some researchers have made that assumption, none has a source citation or made any argument that Anthony Bennett’s wife was indeed a Somes.  A review of many reference texts indicates there are no scholars or recognized genealogists who are ready to make this connection.
The primary reason is that an Abigail Somes of Salem, late of Gloucester, singlewoman, was indicted as a witch and imprisoned in 1692 (check this record from Suffolk County Court Records ).
This individual apparently died unmarried in 1733.
Babson assumes this person to be the daughter of Timothy Somes of Gloucester (History of Gloucester, p 211).  , but I am not so sure.  Abigail, daughter of Morris would have been about 37 years old and unmarried, a prime profile of an accused witch and I have seen no record of another Abigail in Gloucester or Salem who fits as well.
He is right about the ages of the all other Abigail Somes however she might not be a Somes there are two other Abigails, a Coe and Doll born around the same time.  I will need to do a little more research.

Until next time, don't give up and Happy Hunting!

1 comment:

  1. There is a gentleman named Loren Somes in our NH Mayflower Society. He is quite the expert on the Somes family in New England, and he maintains a website at http://somesfamily.tribalpages.com/ You can contact him through this website and ask him about your mysterious Abigail. He might know something!