FamHist Blog

Family History Research Hints and Tips

FamilySearch Pilot and Beta – Manna from Heaven

I continue to rave about the records that are appearing on the FamilySearch Pilot and Beta sites thanks to all of the volunteer indexers worldwide and the LDS Church.

Brickwall after brickwall in my ancestral tree have fallen in the past few months because of the records.  I’ve turned into a sourcing maniac too.

Many, many decades ago (rocks were still dirt) I started my personal ancestral quest.  The idea of adding complete sources to your records was an odd notion at best. 

Way back then, you’d jot down research notes on your tablet with a charcoal stick and possibly include a tracing of the writing if you couldn’t readily read it at the Family History Library in Salt Lake.  Sometimes, you took the time to write down the name of the book or film you were using but typically, that wasn’t a consideration.

It wasn’t a problem until I was thirty and someone challenged my information about a sixth great grandfather.  I couldn’t give them references to prove the accuracy of my old handwritten note.  My data was correct, but finding the original source took hundreds of hours and considerable cost.

Lesson learned.  Genealogy data without sources are just ‘nice’ stories but not anything to be taken seriously.

Since that day, a large percentage of my time has been spent ‘proving’ my own research.  I’ve only found one error so far, but even evidential sourcing wouldn’t have resolved the problem created by a town clerk two hundred years ago.

The effort has been worth it.  I am passing on proven information to our descendants as well as sharing it with the world.

The advent of online documents has been a boon to all researcher.  I’ve certainly benefitted from it since almost day one of the DARPA project that created the ‘Internet’. 

Today, I revel in the documents and data being posted in the various FamilySearch online databases.  I’ve used and loved most of the commercial genealogical venues since their first publication but FamilySearch documents are the ‘sweet spot’ in providing the exact information needed to break down my ancestral brickwalls.

I don’t have to travel too far to get to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and have spent untold hours perusing the films, books and documents available there, but none of that time and effort produced the information needed to solve the mystery of those particular problems.  Worse, I had to wear slacks and fit the library hours into my schedule. 

FamilySearch Beta and Pilot let me work in my old comfy pj’s during the wee hours of the night when the dust of the day has settled.  Given enough time at the library, I would have probably found the same documents but the online record searches are so fast and fruitful that my visits to the library will be limited to specific hard to find records and other visits associated with teaching my family history students and grandchildren how to use the wonderful resources of the FHL.

Records continue to be indexed and posted on the FamilySearch site at record setting levels.  That effort will only grow as time goes on until all of the documents in the ‘Granite Vaults’ that can be published online are published.  I hope I live long enough to see that milestone become reality.  If I think I’ve had success in breaking down brickwalls using the FamilySearch sites already, wait until that day arrives!  

FamilySearch records already serve up a genealogy Christmas morning every day.  The records that are continually added to the sites will stretch that feeling onward for years to come.  

We know that the Pilot and Beta sites will eventually migrate into the newly written FamilySearch.org site / portal.  The inclusion of all of the other family history resources into a single site will make the combined resources that much richer.

Thanks FamilySearch!   Thanks to all of the other volunteer indexers worldwide.  You are “making our days” both collectively and individually, now and in the foreseeable future. 

26 July 2010 Posted by | Research Tips | , , , , | 1 Comment

Google Maps – Fewer Trips To Get Lat – Longs

Google Maps is going to save me a lot of money.  I won’t have to retrace many earlier trips to ancestral homes, ancestral burial locations and the waypoints along their migratory paths.  

New features in Google Maps provides the latitude and longitude of these locations.  All I have to do it point at them and read.


In many locations, the resolution of the aerial images is so good that I can point to my ancestors exact tombstone. 

I’ll miss walking through cemeteries with grandsons just to gather the latitude and longitude information of our ancestors markers, but we’ll find another way to spend ‘together’ time.  

I’ve taken photos of ancestral tombstones and homes over the past decades.  Few of them need to be retaken.  The expense of return visits to gather latitude and longitude data can be budgeted toward other research needs.

The advantages of easily obtaining these addresses is a real benefit to genealogists who document their research with these details.

My data in Legacy is ready for these specific addresses because location fields are available for every location in your database.  Latitude and longitude fields are normally populated automatically for cities and towns, but for special locations like homes, tombstones and waypoints, the fields can be populated manually using the information on Google Maps.

If you don’t use Legacy or a similar program, you can still include the location data in their files.  All of those who later use your genealogical data will thank you for including the exact location information.  You can even use the locations to find great aunt Harriet’s grave after you forget its exact location somewhere down the road.  

Scenery changes with time.  Homes are remodeled or torn down, trees and boulders are moved.  The exact locations associated with your ancestors won’t be lost if you include the data in your database.

Enabling latitude and longitude in Google Maps is simple: 


1. Click on the green labs beaker.



2. Enable one or both of the LatLng tools.



It is just that simple.  Point at the map or satellite images in Google Maps and read the exact location beneath your arrow. 

Genealogists everywhere say “Thanks Google”.


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2 May 2010 Posted by | Research Tips | , , | Leave a comment

A Little Lively Refreshment

Life on a farm seven decades ago was all work and little to no cash on hand.  My ancestors had fruit and vegetable farms.  After feeding their families, the remainder of their crops were sold on the market for enough cash to pay property taxes, water assessments and to purchase the few store bought goods that entered their homes.

Bartering was common place.  Farmers would trade services, extra crops, blacksmithing and labor with each other in lieu of cash trading hands.  However, farm hands had to be paid cash money from the meager resources the farms produced.

Families made their own entertainment.  On occasion, the men in the family would get a hankering for a liquid escape from the harsh reality of their lives.

Sometimes loose dollar coins would be liberated from the cookie jar to buy hooch.  The rest of the time, the grains, fruit and potatoes needed for homemade brew, would be reassigned to a quiet corner of the potato cellar for future use.tea_party

The family recipe for homemade beer has been lost to the best of my knowledge, but at least one story has survived.

It seems that when the men made their first batch of beer, the yeast they used was not the exact variety called for in the recipe.  After hours of hard work, the fresh brew was put in glass Mason jars on the selves of the the fruit cellar under the home. 

The temperature in the cellar was perfect to let the fermenting do its work.  The guys checked the bottles frequently in anticipation.  In the week before the brew was to be finished, they noticed that the color wasn’t quite right.  Sitting around the kitchen table that night, they wondered if they had a problem.

Well, they didn’t have long to wait for the answer.  Bang!  Whoosh!  “What was that?”  Bang!  Bang! Whoosh!  Whoosh!  More noise coming from the basement.  Before they could gather their senses and jump up from the table, the room was filled with a strong smell seeping up through the floorboards.

Rushing outside, around the house and down the basement stairs, their worst fears were confirmed when they threw open the pine-slat door.  The floor of the basement was covered with liquid, foam and broken glass.  They had missed the liquid fireworks show but the evidence proved it had happened.

When the first jar let go, it bounced so hard that it hit the jar next to it.  The energy was transferred in rapid sequence to all the adjacent jars and the resulting release of bubbles from the bumping resulted in a full launch of the whole batch.

All of that work gone.  Maybe store bought is best for some things. 

The thirst for hooch has fortunately skipped this branch of the family in current generations.  We don’t even have as many stories to tell from misadventures, but we wouldn’t give up the stories from the past.  Without them, how would we know much of anything about the personalities of our ancestors?

Old time entertainment often produced greatness.  Enjoy the stories and fiddle playing greatness of Tommy Jarrell.


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1 March 2010 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment

Dashing and Daring Young Men

One of the opportunities associated with the acquisition of old photos is the pleasure of posting the images in locations where they can be seen by others.

An old shoe box of them was included in the family history collection that my mother gave me.  The photos are of family neighbors and friends taken in the late 1800’s and first two decades of the 1900’s.

Even though they were precious to her, she wasn’t afraid to write on them, even listing names on the bodies of the individuals in the images.  I wish she had written the list of names on a piece of note paper and tucked it into the cardboard frames associated with photos from that era.

Four of the photos in the group are of young men who grew up in American Fork, Utah.  They were obviously the dashing, daring young men in and about town.

Alfred Chadwick, Earl and Les Cunningham comprised the trio of young fashionistia’s. The dating of the photos is fairly simple given the doughboy uniform worn by Earl in one of the images.  A handsome young man in the World War I uniform of a soldier would have been very attractive to a young woman, even if she was still in her single digit ages.

From days gone by, the young men are now in pose for the admiration of women everywhere and the jealousy of their men.

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3 January 2010 Posted by | Research Tips | | Leave a comment

My Mother Was a Quilter

A cascade of vintage quilting fabric brought back memories of growing up with a mother who was a quilter.  As the caboose in the family, I frequented the quilting bees she attended because there was no one at home to tend me.

My parents raised my older siblings during the depression and were grateful to have the cloth from flour sacks to make pajama’s, aprons and probably play blouses to wear under my sister’s jumpers.

Even though I was born two decades later than them, I also heard the constant refrain; “Wear it out.  Use it up or do without”.  The extreme lessons learned in the depression never left my parents minds.

Hence, the pattern of the vintage fabric produced a flashback of laying my bored, tired young body under a quilt frame with a quilt stretched across it.  Surrounding me were the legs of a dozen women wearing similarly patterned dresses, thick hose and ‘sturdy’ shoes.  I can still hear their constant chatter, laughter and the occasional ‘Ouch!’ from an errant stitch.  Once the “chickens in the coop” started to cluck, my eyes rarely stayed open for more than two minutes.  Maybe someone should sell that sound as a sleep aid for children and men.

Of course I married a quilter.  Not necessarily by conscious thought, but certainly to my delight.  The craft has passed on to our daughters and daughters-in-law.  When I sit in my chair in the living room and they all gather to discuss their latest projects, designs and favorite fabric patterns, the two minute rule is still in effect.  Cackle, cackle, ….. snore….

Unfortunately, all of the guys in our family think there is a downside to our wives hobby.  Sometimes we are dragged by them, (usually screaming), to a fabric store.

Reading the Pickles comic strip makes me think its creator has a copy of the security tapes from my visits to these stores.  I’m obviously the inspiration for the strips covering this subject.



Mom’s quilting legacy lives on in the current generations.  They don’t make many quilts out of old Levi’s and worn out shirts like Mom did, but they do help several quilting stores remain viable in our area.

I’m glad the legacy is being passed on to our granddaughters.  They are full of creative ideas and are bonding with the older quilters in the family in ways that make me smile.

I wonder how far back the quilting talent can be traced in their lineage.  It was probably less ‘fun’ for the earlier generations.  Our grandmothers were sewing clothing to wear and quilts to warm their beds rather than the current creations that are produced under less pressure and thus with probably a little more enjoyment of the work.

Looking at some of the designs in my grandmothers old quilts makes me think that there was more than a little whimsy stitched into their designs though.  The patterns are obvious, but when you explore the stitches closely, you often discover the quilters initials and other signature stitch designs.  If you spend just a few minutes more, you can see the elongated, crooked and loose stitches that were made by the young folks in the family who were being taught the craft as they sat in on a quilting bee.

All the quilts our ladies have made are Treasure.  Pure Treasure.

That’s family history you can touch!

16 July 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , , , , | Leave a comment

1,000th Cousin Contact

1,000 extended cousins have now contacted me after finding my websites.  Years ago, I wondered if the effort to create the sites was worth the investment of time.   I wish all of my investments had such fantastic returns.

Slow Joe The contacts have been mutually beneficial for all of us.  I share information that I’ve found about our joint family during my lifetime of research and they share information that they have inherited or have found in their own ancestral quest.

All of us have unique perspectives and advantages of local resources and family knowledge.  The combination of our efforts in continued research always produces more than the sum of our two data repositories.  Perhaps it is generated by the spark of renewed interest resulting from our contact, but it is probably due to many factors especially the complimentary engagement of our skills and perspectives.

If you are reading this you are probably already using the Internet and social tools focused in genealogy in your own quest.  If you aren’t enjoying a lot of contacts yet, don’t give up.  Keep posting your successes, your brick wall lineages and the surnames and locations you are researching.

Help others if you can.  You’ll always receive substantial interest from this investment of your time, talents and resources.

10 July 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , , | 1 Comment

Grave Dowsing ~ More Stories

In a recent post, I briefly covered an article about dowsing for graves that I’d stumbled upon.  The article was the first that I’d every heard of anyone using dowsing for that purpose.

dowser The response to my post was surprising.  Apparently, there are a lot of folks who engage in this activity to locate lost graves. 

The University of Iowa has a good treatise on the subject found here.  The document will download as a .pdf file.

In 2005, Dick Eastman posted about a grave dowsing experience by Tom Corey on the Oregon Trail.  As usual, his readers have posted some interesting comments in response to his post.

Linda Bell wrote about dowsing methods used to find county graves for the North Forty News.  Dowsing plays a key role in finding graves on the Roberts Ranch in Livermore, California.

The Archer Cousins Genealogy website has an article that covers their experience in dowsing to find the graves of family members that includes photos of their efforts.

The Hughes and Related Families site has a detailed article that covers the theory, tools and methods used to dowse for graves.

Jay McAfee posted an article written by Thomas A. Markham about dowsing to find old graves in a GenForum post in 2004.

Glenn Adams wrote an article on his blog about his use of dowsing rods in the search for the bodies of a murdered couple.

Wendell Culberson of the Mississippi GenWeb site wrote a great article on his experiences in finding lost graves in Shelby County, Illinois.

Chris Dunham of The Genealogue blog quoted an article about grave dowsing that was published in the Wichita, Kansas Eagle newspaper.

Brenda Marble wrote a detailed article for the cemeteries.missouri.org site about grave dowsing and the tools and methods used in this activity.

The list of articles about Grave Dowsing is surprising long.  A Google search for “dowsing for graves” produced over 1,200 hits.   Needless to say, I was surprised by the number of results given the fact that I’d never heard of the subject before finding the “Old Ways Help Women Find Old Graves” article two weeks ago.

Are you familiar with these efforts to find lost graves?  Personally, I don’t have interest in the occult or entities that use dowsing to tell fortunes, the sex of unborn children, etc.  As I noted in my first post on the subject, I’ve used dowsing rods to find water and power lines as simple convenience.  I’d witnessed dowsing to find water lines as a youth and as a young man working for a electric utility.  Simple tools.  Simple needs.  Quick and accurate results were produced followed by putting the hastily constructed wire wire rods in the trash or bent back to their normal shape for use in construction.

Reflecting on it, I suppose I always thought the metal dowsing rods simply reacted to gravitational disturbances created by buried metal pipes full of water or energized power lines.  Tenuous reasoning I know, but who cared.  The job they were used for got done faster with them than without.  I gave the dowsing rods no more thought than I would a tooth pick at a restaurant.

headstone 2But dowsing for buried bodies?  What is that all about?  How does it work?  Is the power of the human mind greater than we’ve been able to measure thus far?  

Apparently so, or at least it is so for some folks. 

You’ll note that the people writing or quoting the articles above have had success using dowsing to find graves.   It’s just an example of folks having a small need that can be difficult to impossible to resolve via normal means, yet by exhibiting a little faith in oneself followed by the use of simple tools focused on a specific subject seems to bring results. 

Whether you decide to dowse for graves or not, research of the subject provides interesting reading.  I probably won’t use my bent up old galvanized tie wire rods for this activity, but who knows, maybe the need will arise for some unforeseeable reason in a future day.  If so, I wonder if it will work for me?  I guess I’d shouldn’t think about it too much and cobble up the works.

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9 June 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , , | 1 Comment

Choices ~ Consequences

Choices. Consequences: They never sleep.

From the time we are born, we make choices and enjoy the consequences of those choices. We often associate the word “consequences” with something bad, but it also represents something good happening in our lives. The “good” is a result of a choice or choices that are building blocks or enablers of positive positioning and positive results in the experiences of life.

My father was not known as a leader in the community, in business or even in his neighborhood. Rather, he was an activist who quietly and often anonymously improved the lives of others. His choices were usually simple yet always consistent. He actively looked for a way to improve the life or outlook of others and rarely failed to immediately act on an opportunity. Frequently, his actions consisted of only a few kind words spoken to address an area in the personality of his contact that was shunned or ignored by others. On some occasions, he gave all the money he had to those in need. A pair of shoes for a twelve year old.  A ride and tank of gas for a stranded traveler. He even gave his vehicle to a widow who was struggling to feed her three small children.

Over the years, many new people came into his circle of “friends”. They were from all levels of the social strata. Some were wealthy, some were movie stars and others lived in shacks hidden away along the river or in an orchard. However, most of them were just ordinary people  who only needed the polishing of a few kind words or acts to help them reveal their nobility.

The term “Pay It Forward” was first introduced into his vocabulary in 1962 when his vehicle stalled in the center lane of a bridge in Seattle during the evening rush hour. Cars honked, people said things out of their windows and others shook their fists in frustration, but one young man stopped to help.

After years of quietly helping other people, he received a return payment for his way of life. The vehicle was easy to fix. The carburetor was only vapor locked. The young mechanic poured some cool water over the hot fuel system and the vehicle started easily. Dad tried to pay him for his help only to receive the words, “Pay It Forward” to someone else in need”.

Like ripples from a rock thrown into a peaceful lake, the good deeds of a lifetime had reflected off the far shore and had come back to help in a time of need. It was time to send them out again and continue to “Pay It Forward”.

During the visitation at his funeral, our family was astounded to be greeted by hundreds of people from all over the western United States who had come to pay their respect. We didn’t know most of them but the visitors all had stories to tell about how they were helped by our deceased father and husband.

Many of the visitors had only met him once, but the interaction had established a life-long feeling of friendship. They came from all walks of life. There were mayors, truck drivers, waitresses, a man on parole, a bank president, an attorney, and hundreds of other occupations. Their stories were as varied as the personalities telling them. Enthralled, we listened for hours.

One ‘friend’ was a police officer whose life had been saved, another had driven 16 hours non-stop from northern California to make it in time for the funeral. He explained that he received a hot meal when he was at the ‘bottom’ from a fellow who quietly walked over and sat by him. He said that he was now a successful husband and father and that his life had turned around after talking to the man at the counter in the bowling alley that day. Retrieving his wallet, he showed the worn, tiny slip of paper on which he’d written the name of his benefactor, saying that he often looked at it when life threatened to harden him.

The stories were new. The impact of repeatedly choosing to perform small positive acts resulted in consequences never imagined. Ripples were almost waves.

Choices. Consequences. They never sleep.

It has been said that the gate of history turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. The choices we make determine our destiny.  -– Thomas S. Monson

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence;
two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
— Robert Frost, poet

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25 March 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | | Leave a comment

Murder In Salem

My 9th great grandmother, Susannah North Martin, and two great aunts, Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Estey, were hung as salem hangingswitches in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.  I’ve visited their home towns, hanging hill and hopefully their graves or at least areas near their graves.

Sorrow and some anger arose in my mind during my first visit to hanging hill in Salem.  I still feel twinges of those emotions when I visit Salem today.  Why were these people murdered by their neighbors?

Maybe the trial documents and notes will help me understand the mindset of the day.  Maybe you had to be there and be part of that culture.  It’s a sad commentary at its best.

The supporting documents below tell part of the historical story.  The transcriptions will help those who can’t read the old handwriting.  Double click on the images to see them in a larger size.


30 Apr 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

To the Marshall of the County of Essex of his Lawful Deputies or to the Constable of Amesbury:

Witch_trial_warrant_30Apr1692You are in their Majests names hereby required forthwith or as soon as may be to apprehend and bring (before us) Susanna Mertin of Amsbury in ye county of Essex Widdow at ye house of Lt. Nathaniel Ingersalls in Salem village in order to her examination Relating to high suspicion of sundry acts of Witchcraft donne or committed by her upon ye Bodys of Mary Walcot, Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam and Mercy Lewis of Salem village or farmes whereby great hurt and damage hath beene donne to ye bodys of said persons according to complt of Capt. Jonathan walcot & Serg Thomas putnam in behalf of their Majests this day exhibited before us for themselves and also for several of their neighbors and here you are not to fail at your peril.

Dated Salem Aprill 30th 1692.

John Hathorn

Jonathan Corwin



2 May 1692 | Amesbury, Massachusetts


According to this Warrant I have apprehended Susanna Martin Widdow of Amsbury and have brong or caused her to be brought to the place appointed for her examination pr Me.

Salem Village this 2d May 1692

Orlando Bagley

Const of Amsbury


2 May 1692

Preliminary Trial, May 2nd 1692

[Note – there are actually two transcripts of Susanna’s Prelimnary Examination which have survived and are similiar in content. They have been combined here solely for the purpose of easier understanding.]

Martin_Susannah_testimony2May1692 For the crime of witchcraft and sorcery, Susanna Martin pled not guilty. As soon as she came in many had fits.

Magistrate: Do you know this woman?

Abigial Williams saith it is Goody Martin, she hath hurt me often. Others by fits were hindered from speaking. Eliza Hubbard said she hath not been hurt by her. John Indian said he had not seen her. Mercy Lewis pointed to her and fell into a little fit. Ann Putnam threw her glove in a fit at her. The examinant laughed.

Magistrate: What! Do you laugh at it?

Martin: Well I may at such folly.

Magistrate: Is this folly, the hurt of these persons?

Martin: I never hurt man or woman or child.

Marcy Lewis cried out, she hath hurt me a great many times and pulls me down. Then Martin laughed again. Mary Walcott saith this woman hath hurt me a great many times.

Magistrate: What do you say to this?

Martin: I have no hand in witchcraft.

Magistrate: What did you do? Did not you give your consent?

Martin: No, never in my life.

Magistrate: Pray, what ails these people?

Martin: I don’t know.

Magistrate: But what do you think ails them?

Martin: I do not desire to spend my judgment upon it.

Magistrate: Do not you think they are bewitched?

Martin: No, I do not think they are.

Magistrate: Tell us your thought about them then.

Martin: No. My thoughts are my own when they are in, but thwen they are out they are another’s. Their master.

Magistrate: You said their master. Who do you think is their master?

Martin: If they be dealing in the black art, you may know as well as I.

Magistrate: Well, what have you done towards this?

Martin: Nothing at all.

Magistrate: Why, ’tis you or your appearance.

Martin: Well, I cannot help it.

Magistrate: Is it not your master?

Martin: I desire to lead myself according to the word of God.

Magistrate: Is this according to God’s word?

Martin: If I were such a person I would tell you the truth.

Magistrate: How comes your appearance just now to hurt these?

Martin: How do I know?

Magistrate: Are not you willing to tell the truth?

Martin: I cannot tell. He that appeared in the shape of Sam[uel] shape a glorified saint may appear in anyone’s shape.

Magistrate: Do you believe these do not say true?

Martin: They may lie for aught I know.

Magistrate: May not you lie?

Martin: I dare not tell a lie if it would save my life.

Magistrate: Then you will speak the Truth.

Martin: I have spoke nothing else. I would do them any good.

Magistrate: I do not think you have such affections for them whom just now you insinuated had the devil for their Master.

Eliz Hubbard was afflicted and then the Marshall who was by her said she (Martin) pinched her hard. Several of the afflicted cried out they saw her upon the beam.

Magistrate: Pray God discover you, if you be guilty.

Martin: Amen, Amen. A false tongue will never make a guilty person. < P> You have been a long time coming to the Court today; you can Martin_Susannah_testimony2May1692_dark come fast enough in the night, said Mercy Lewis.

Martin: No, sweetheart.

Then Mercy Lewis and all many of the rest were afflicted. John Indian fell into a violet fit and said it was that woman, she bites, she bites, and then she was biting her lips.

Magistrate: Have you not compassion for these afflicted?

Martin: No, I have none.

Some cried out there was the black man with her and Goody Vibber who had not accused her before confirmed it. Abigail Williams upon trial could not come near her. Nor Goody Vibber, nor Mary Walcott. John Indian cried he would kill her if he came near Hear but he was flung down in his approach to her.

Magistrate: What is the reason these cannot come near you?

Martin: I cannot tell. It may be the Devil bears me more malice than another.

Magistrate: Do not you see how God evidently discovers you?

Martin: No. Not a bit for that.

Magistrate: All the congregation think so.

Martin: Let them think what they will.

Magistrate: What is the reason these cannot come near you?

Martin: I do not know, but they can if they will, or else if you please I will come to them.

Magistrate: What is the black man whispering to you?

Martin: There was none whispered to me.


May 1696 | Salem, Massachusetts


Lews_vs_Martin2May1692 LewisMercy_vs_MartinSusannahThe Deposition of Mercy Lewis aged about 19 years who testifieth and said that in the latter end of April 1692 there appeared to me the Apparition of a short old woman which told me her name was Goody Martin and that she came from Amesbury who did most grievously torment me by biting and pinching me, urging me vehemently to write in her book, but on the 2 May 1692 being the day of her examination Susanna Martin did torment and afflict me most grievously in the time of her examination for when she looked upon me personally she would strike me down or almost choke me and several times since the Apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me by pinching and almost choking me to death, urging me to write in her book, and also on the day of her examination I saw the Apparition of Susanna Martin go and hurt the bodies of Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Hubbard, Abigail William and Ann Putnam Junr.

Mery Lewis


May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Anno Regis et Reginae William et Mariee nunc Anglice etc. Quarto. Essex ss.

Witnesses_against_Martin2May1692 The Jurors for our Sovereign Lord and Lady the King and Queen presents that Susanna Martin of Amesbury in the County of Essex, widow the Second day of May in the fourth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord and Lady William and Mary by the Grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland King and Queen Defenders of the faith etc. and divers other Days and Times as well before as after certain detestable arts called witchcrafts and Sorceries wickedly and Feloniously hath used Practiced and Exercised at and within the Township of Salem in the County of Essex, aforesaid in upon and against one Mary Walcott of Salem Village singlewoman, by which said wicked arts the said Mary walcott the second day of May in the fourth year aforesaid and at Divers other Days and times as well before as after was and is Tortured Afflicted Pined wasted and Tormented as also for Sundry other acts of witchcrafts by said Susanna Martin committed and done before and Since that time against the Peace of our Sovereign Lord and Lady William and Mary King and Queen of England their Crown and Dignity and against the Form of the statute in that case made and Provided.


Sarah Vibber, Sworn

Mary Walcott, Sworn

Mr. Samuel Parris, Sworn

Elizabeth Hubbard

Mercy Lewis


May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Atkinson_vs_Martin John Atkinson aged fifty six years or thereabouts, Testifieth that some time about five years since, one of the sons of Susanna Martin Senior of Amesbury exchanged a cow of his with me for a cow which I bought of Mr. Wells the minister which cow he took from Mr. Wells his house. About a week after I went to the house of Susanna Martin to receive the cow of the young man her son. When I came to bring the cow home notwithstanding hamstringing of her and halting her she was so mad that we could scarce get her along, but she broke all the ropes fastened to her. We put the halter two or three times round a tree which she broke and ran away and when she came down to the Ferry we were forced to run up to our waists in water. She was so fierce but after much ado we got her into the boat, she was so tame as any creature whatsoever, and further this Deponent saith that Susanna Martin muttered and was unwilling this deponent should have the cow.

Jurat in Curia


May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Sarah Vibber aged about 36 years who testifieth and saith that on the 2 May 1692 the Apparition of Susanna Martin of Amesbury did most grievously tormet me during the time of her examination for if she did but look personally upon me she would strike me down or almost choke me and also the same day I saw the Apparition of Susanna Martin most grievously afflict the bodies of Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis and Ann Putnam by pinching and almost choking them and several times since the Apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me by beating and pinching me and almost choking me to death, and that she believes the said Martin is a witch and that she is bewitched by her.

Jurat in Curia


May 1696 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Elizabeth Hubbard aged about 17 years, who testified and saith that I have often seen the apparition of Susanna Martin among the witches, but she did not hurt me till the 2 day of May being the day of her examination, but then she did afflict me most grievously during the time of her examination for if she did but look personally upon me she would strike me down or almost choke me and several times since the apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me. Also on the day of her examinatioin I saw the apparition of Susanna Martin go and afflict and almost choke Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Abigial Williams and Ann Putnam Jun.

(her Mark)

Eliz. Hubbard


May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Atkinson_vs_Martin2 Sarah Atkinson aged forty eight years or thereabouts testifieth that some time in the spring of the year about eighteen years since Susanna Martin came unto our house at Newbury from Amesbury in an Extraordinary dirty season when it was not fit for any person to travel, she then came on foot. When she came into our house I asked her whether she came from Amesbury a foot, she said she did. I asked her how she could come in this time a foot and bid my children make way for her to come to the fire to dry herself. She replied she was as dry as I was and turned her coats on side and I could not perceive that the sole of her shoes were wet. I was startled at it that she should come so dry and told her that I should have been wet up to my knees if I should have come so far on foot. She replied that she scorned to have a drabbled tail.

Jurat in Curia


11 May 1692 | Salisbury, Massachusetts


Pressy_vs_Martin11May1692 Pressy_vs_Martin_11May1692pg2 The testimony of John Pressey of Amesbury aged 53 years or thereabouts taken before me at my house at Salisbury the eleventh day of May: Ano: Dom. 1692 is as followeth. That about twenty four years ago, he this deponent was at Amesbury Ferry upon a Saturday in the evening near about the shutting in of the daylight (which was about three miles From his house) and as he was going home a little beyond the field of George Martin at a hill called Goodal’s hill this deponent was bewildered and lost his way and having wandered a while he came back again to the same place which he knew by stooping trees in that place, which perceiving he set out again and steered by the moon which shone bright, and was again lost and came back again to the same place.

And then set out the 3rd time in like manner and was bewildered and came back but not so far as before but knew where he was and so set himself in his way as before and in Less than half a mile going he saw a light stand on his left hand about two rod out of the way; it seemed to be about the bigness of a half bushel, but this deponent kept on his way and left it and in a matter of seven or eight rod going it appeared again at the like distance from him as before and so it did again the 3d time, but the deponent passed on his way and in less than twenty rod going the same or such another light lay in his way and he having a stick in his hand did with the end of it endeavored to stir it out of the place and to give it some small blows with it and the light seemed to brush up and move from side to side as a turkey cock when he spreads his tail, but went not out of the place, which perceiving this deponent laid it on with his stick with all his might he thinks he gave her at least forty blows, and so was a going away and leave it but as he was going his heels were struck up and he laid on his back on the ground and was sliding into a deep place (as to him seemed) but taking hold of some brush or brushes and so recovered himself and having lost his coat which he had upon his arm went back to the light, saw his coat and took it up and went home without any more disturbance there.

He farther say he do not know any such pit to be in the place that he was sliding into. He also saith that when he did strike at the light he did certainly feel a substance with his stick. He further saith that after striking it and his recovering himself and going on his way as aforesaid, when he had gone about 5 or 6 rod he saw Susanna Martin then wife of George Martin of Amesbury standing on his left hand as the lights had done. There she stood and looked upon him and turned her face after him as he went along, but said nothing nor did nothing to this Deponent, but that he went home as aforesaid. Only he again over went his own house but knowing the ground that he was upon returned and found his own house, but being then seized with fear could not speak till his wife spoke to him at the door and was in such condition that his family was afraid of him, which story being carried to the Town the next day it was upon inquiry understood, that the said Goodwife Martin was in such a miserable case and in such pain that they swabbed her body (as was reported). This deponent further saith that these things being noised abroad, Major Pike sent for this deponent and had an account of the case, but seemed to be troubled that this deponent had not told him of it in season that she might have been viewed to have seen what her ail was. John Pressey aforesaid made oath to the truth of what is written in these two sides of the paper the eleventh day of May Anno Dom 1692.

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


16 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


TKimball_vs_Martin16May1692 he deposition of John Kimball of Amesbury aged 45 or upwards testifying saith, That about 23 years ago this deponent being about to remove from Newbury to Amesbury having bought a piece of land of George Martin of Amesbury for which he was to pay him in cash or goods upon a certain day in March next following, and when the Day of payment was come Martin and hiw wife came for the pay and the said Kimball offered them the choice of three cows and other cattle but did reserve two cows which thy were not free to part with, they being the first that ever they had, and Martin himself was satisfied with other pay but Susanna his wife understanding from this deponent and his wife that they would not part with one of these 2 cows, the said Susanna Martin said (you had been as good you had) for she will never do you any more good (and so it came to pass) for the next April following that very cow lay in the fair dry yard with her head to her side (but stark dead) and when she was floaed [perhaps flayed] no impediment did appear in her for she was a stout lusty cow, and in a little while after another cow died and then an ox, and then other cattle to the value of 30 pounds that spring.

Sworn by John Kimball May the 16 1692.

Before Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia

John Kimball of Amesbury aforementioned further deposeth that the same year after he was come to live at Amesbury and was dwelling in the house of Edmund Elliot he was needed to get a dog and hearing that the wife of said George Martin had a bitch that had whelps and this deponent went to her to get one of her, but she not letting him have his choice he did not absolutely agree for any but said he heard one Blesdell had a bitch by which he may supply, but if not there was no one else he would have heed of her price, but being upon that account at said Blesdell’s and marked the whelp that I agreed for, George Martin coming by asked me whether I would not have one of his wife’s whelps to which this deponent made answer on the negative.

Kimball_vs_Martin16May1692pg2 The same day Edmond Elliot said that he was at the house of the said Martins and heard the said Martin ask his wife why this deponent were not to have one of her puppies and she said he have got one at Goodman Blesdell’s and he saw him choose it and mark it (to which his said wife said), “If I live I’ll give him puppies enough.”

Within a few days after this I, this deponent, coming from his intended house in the woods to Edmond Elliot’s house where I dwelt about the sunset or presently after and there did arise a little black cloud in the n.w and a few drops of rain and the wind blew pretty hard. In going between the house of John Wood and the meeting house, this said deponent came by several stumps of trees by the wayside. He by impulse he can give no reason of that made him tumble over the stumps one after another through, though he had his ax upon his shoulder which put him in Danger and made him resolved to avoid the next but could not.

And when he came a little below the meeting house there did appear a little thing like a puppy of a darkish color. It shot between my legs forwards and backwards as one that were distract the hay and this deponent being free from all fear used all possible endeavors to cut it with his ax but could not hurt it and as he was thus belaboring with his ax the puppy gave a little jump from him and seemed to go into the ground.

In a little further going there did appear a black puppy somewhat bigger than the first but as black as a coal to his apprehension which came against him with such violence as its quick motions did exceed his motions of his ax. Do what he could and it flew at his belly and away and then at his throat and over his shoulder one way and go off and up at it again another way and with such quickness seized and Kimball_vs_Martin16May1692pg3violence did it assault him as if it would tear out his throat or his belly while he was without fear, but at least I felt my heart to fail and sink  under it that I thought my life was going out and I recovered myself and gave a start up and ran to the fence and calling upon God and naming the name Jesus Christ and then it invisibly away my moaning as it looked that out but this deponent made it not known to anybody for fretting his wife.

The next morning Edmond Elliot (as he told aborad and in his own house) said that he was going toward the house of said Martin to look his oxen went in to light his pipe and the said Martin’s wife asked him where Kimball was (said Elliot said abed with his wife for aught he knew) (she said they say he frightened last night) with what said Elliot she said with puppies. Elliot replied that he heard nothing of it and asked where she heard of it and she said about the Town which story said Elliot having told it was all the Town over when this deponent came home at night for he had been all day alone in the woods at work at his frame work.

John Kimball made oath to the truth of all that is written on both sides of this paper May the 16th 1692.

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


16 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Brown_vs_Martin Wm. Brown made oath that the above is a true relation according to his wife’s complaint. Concerning the truth of what is sworn by William Brown concerning his wife with respect to her being a Rational woman before she was so handled and of her now present condition and her so long continuance all that then knew her and now know her can testify to the truth of it for she yet remains a miserable creature of which myself is one as witness my hand 16 May 1692.

Robt. Pike


11 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Brown_vs_Martin11May1692 The Deposition of William Brown of Salisbury aged 70 years or thereabouts, who testifying saith, That about one or two and thirty years ago Elizabeth his wife being a very rational woman and Sober and one that feared God as was well known to all that knew her and as prudently careful in her family, which woman going upon a time from her own house towards the mill is Salisbury did there meet with Susanna Martin the then wife of George Martin of Amesbury. Just as they came together the said Susanna Martin vanished away out of her sight which put the said Elizabeth into a great fright. After which time the said Martin did many times afterward appear to her at her house and did much trouble her in any of her occasions and this continued till about feb, following, and then when she did come it was as birds pecking her legs or pricking her with the motion of their wings and then it would rise up into her stomach with pricking pain as nails and pins of which she did bitterly complain and cry out like a woman in travail and after that it would rise up to her throat in a bunch like a pullet’s egg and then she would turn back her head and say, witch you shan’t choke me.

In the time of this extremity the church appointed a day of humitting [humility, ie., fasting] to seek God on her behalf and thereupon her trouble ceased and she saw Goodwife Martin no more for a considerable time for which the church instead of the day of humiliation gave thanks for her Deliverance and she came to meeting and went about her business as before. This continued till April following at which time summonses were sent to the said Elizabeth Brown, Goodwife Osgood by the Court to give their evidences concerning the said Martin and they did before the Grand Jury gave a full account.

After which time the said Elizabeth told this deponent that as she was milking of her cow the said Susanna Martin came behind her and told her that she would make her the miserablest creature for defaming her name at the Court and wept grievously as she told it to this deponent.

About 2 months after this deponent came home from Hampton and his said wife would not own him but said they were divorced and asked him whether he did not meet with one Mr. Bent of Abbey in England by whom he was divorced. And from that time to this very day have been under a strange kind of distemper frenzy incapable of any reasonable action though strong of body and healthy of body. He further testifieth that when she came into that condition this deponent procured Doctor Fuller and Crosby to come to her for her relief but they did both say that her distemper was supernatural and no sickness of body but that some evil person had bewitched her.

Sworn the eleventh day of May Anno Dom 1692

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.


11 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Peache_vs_Martin11May1692 The deposition of Bernard Peach aged 43 or thereabouts, who testifying saith, That about six or seven years past this deponent living at the house of Jacob Morell in Salisbury being in bed on a Lord’s Day night he heard a scrabbling at the window, he this deponent saw Susanna Martin wife of George Martin of Amesbury come in at the window and jumped down upon the floor. She was in her hood and scarf and the same dress that she was in before at meeting the same day. Being come in she was coming up towards this deponent’s face, but turned back to his feet and took hold of them and drew up his body into a hoop and lay upon him about an hour and half or 2 hours in all which time this deponent could not stir nor speak, but feeling himself beginning to be loosened or lightened he beginning to strive he put out his hand among the clothes and took hold of her hand and brought it up to his mouth and bit three of the fingers (as he judge) to the breaking of the bones. Which done the said Martin went out of the chamber down the stairs and out of the door.

And as soon as she went away this deponent called to the people of the house and told them what was done and that said Martin was now gone out of the door this deponent did also follow her but the people did not see her (as they said) but without the door there was a bucket of ___ on the left hand side and there was a drop of blood on the handle too, more upon the snow for there was a little flight of snow and there were the print of her two feet about a foot without the threshold, but no more footing did appear.

He further deposeth that some time after this as he supposeth about 3 weeks after, the said Martin desired this deponent to come and husk corn at her house the next Lord’s Day night, say that if I did not come it were better that I did, but this deponent did not go being then living with N___ Osgood of the said Salisbury and that night lodged in the barn upon the hay and about an hour or 2 in the night, the said Susanna Martin and another came towards this deponent. He having a quarter staff made a blow at them but the roof of the barn prevented it and they went away, but this deponent followed them and as they were going toward the window made another blow at them and struck them both down but away they went out at the shop window and this deponent saw no more of them. And the rumor went that the said Martin had a broken hand at that time but the deponent cannot speak to that upon his own knowledge.

Sworn May the eleventh 1692

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.


13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Ring_vs_Martin Javis Ring of Salisbury maketh oath as followeth, That about seven or eight years ago he had been several times afflicted in the night time by somebody or something coming up upon him when he was in bed and did sorely afflict by laying upon him and he could neither move nor speak while it was upon him, but sometimes made a kind of noise that folks did hear him and come up to him and as soon as anybody came, it would be gone. This it did for a long time before and since but he did never see anybody clearly, but one time in the night it came upon me as at othr times and I did then see the person of Susanna Martin of Amesbury. This deponent did perfectly see her and she came to this deponent and took him by the hand and bit him by the finger by force and then came and lay upon him awhile as formerly, and after a while went away. The print of the bite is yet to be seen on the little finger of his right hand for it was hard to heal (he further saith). That several times he was alseep when it came, but at that time when bit his finger he was as fairly awake as ever he was and plainly saw her shape and felt her tooth as aforesaid.

Sworn by Jarvis Ring above said May the 13th 1692

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assit. at Salisbury

Jurat in Curia


13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Ring_vs_Martin2 Joseph Ring of Salisbury aged 27 years having been strangely handled for the space of almost two years maketh this Relation upon oath as followeth, viz: That in the month of June next after Casco Bay fort was taken this deponent coming between Sandy Beach and Hampton Town met with Thomas Hardy of Great Island and a company of several other creatures with him which said Hardy demanded of this deponent two shillings and with that dreadful noise and hideous shapes of these creatures and fireball, this deponent was almost frightened out of his wits and in about a half an hour (or indeed he could not judge of the time) they left him and he came to Hampton. About ten days after as the deponent came from Boston this deponent was overtaken by a company of people on horseback who passed by him and after they were passed by him, the aforesaid Thomas Hardy turned about his horse, and ame back to this deponent with his horse in hand and desired this deponent to go to Mrs. White’s and drink with him, which being refused he turned away to the Company and they all came up together such a weth (i.e. with so many horses) that it seemed impossible to escape being trod down by them, but they went all past and then appeared no more.

About October following coming from Hampton in Salisbury Pine Plain a company of horses with men and women upon them overtook this deponent and the aforesaid Hardy being one of them came to this deponent as before and demanded his 2 s of him and threatened to tear him in pieces to whom this deponent made no answer, and so he and the rest went away and left this deponent. After this this deponent had divers strange appearances which did force him away with them into unknown places where he saw meetings and feastings and many strange sights, and from August last he was dumb and could not speak till this last April. He also relates that there did use to come to him a man that did present him a book to which he would have him set his hand with promise of anything that he would have and there were presented all Delectable things, persons and places imaginable, but he refusing it, would usually and with most dreadful shapes, noises and screeching that almost scared him out of his wits, and this was the usual manner of proceeding with him. And one time the book was brought and a pen offered him to his apprehension there was blood in the ink horn, but he never touched the pen. He further say that they never told him what he should write nor he could not speak to ask them what he should write. He farther in several of their merry meetings he have seen Susanna Martin appear among them.

And that day that his speech came to him again which was about the end of April alst as he was in bed she did stand by his bed’s side and pinched him.

Joseph Ring abovesaid made oath of the truth of all that is above written this 13th day of May 1692.

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia the substance of it viva voce.

It is to be understood that the matter about that two shillings demanded of said Ring was this, viz: That when Casco was assaulted before it was taken, Capt. Cedric Walt was going from Great Island in Patascataway with a party for their relief of which party said Ring was one and said Hardy coming up into the room where said Ring [was] before they sailed and played at shovelboard or some such like game and urged said Ring play, said Ring told him he had no money and said Hardy lent him 2 s and then said Ring played with him. Said Hardy who won his money away from him again so he could not then pay him this account was by said Ring given to me.

Robt. Pike Ast.


13 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Joseph Ring at Salisbury aged 27 years being sworn saith, That about the latter end of September last being int he wood with his brother Jarvis Ring hewing of timber, his brother went home with his team and left this deponent alone to finish the hewing of the piece for him, for his brother to carry when he came again, but as soon as his brother was gone, there came to this deponent the appearance of Thomas Hardy of the great Island at Patascataway and by some impulse he was forced to follow him to the house of ___ Tucker which was deserted and was about half a mile from the place he was at work in, and in that house did appear Susanna Martin of Amesbury and the aforesaid Hardy and another female person which the deponent did not know. There they had a good fire and drink, it seemed to be cider, there continued most part of the night, said Martin being then in her natural shape and talking as she used to do, but toward the morning the said Martin went from the fire, made a noise and turned into the shape of a black hog and went away and so did the other two persons go away and this deponent was strangely carried away also and the first place he knew was by Samuel Wood’s house in Amesbury.

Sworn by Joseph Ring May the 13th 1692

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


7 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Allen_vs_Martin7Jun1692 The deposition of Lt. John Allen of Salisbury aged 45 years testifying saith That in or about the year ____ this deponent was hauling timber for Mr. George Carr for building a vessel at Amesbury at Mr. Goodwin’s building place and having done and bout to go hom, Susanna Martin the wife of George Martin desired this deponent to cart staves for them which this deponent refused to do because of his oxen which were weak and neede now to get flesh, but she seemed to be discontent (and as James Freeze and others then present told this deponent) (that she said) I had been as good I had (for my oxen should never do me much more service) upon which this deponent said, dost threaten me thou old witch or words to that effect resolving to throw her into a brook that was fast by which to avoid she flew over the bridge and so escaped. But as he was going home one of his oxen tired that he was forced to unyoke him to get him home. And after they were come home, put the said oxen to Salisbury beach where several othr oxen and cattle usually are put where they had long range of meadow to feed on and where cattle did use to get flesh, but in a few days all the oxen upon the beach we found by their tracks were gone to the mouth of the River Merrimack but not returned from whence we thought they were run into the said river, but the next day sending to Plum Island found their tracks there to be come ashore which tracks they followed to the other end of said island and a considerable way back again and then sat down which being apprised by those that sought them they did use all Imaginable Gentleness to them to some acquaintance which some of them seemed to attend, but all on a sudden away they all ran with such violence as if they their motion had been diabolical till they came near the mouth of Merrimack River and then turned to the right hand and ran right into the sea all but two old oxen (which had before left their company) and all the rest went to sea as far as they could see them, and then one of them came back again with such swiftness as was amazing to the beholders who stood ready to ___ him and help his tired carcass up, but letting him loose away he ran up into the Island and from there through the marshes up into Newbury town and so up into their woods and there was after a while found about Hartechok river over against Amesbury. So that of 14 good oxen only that was saved, the rest were all cast up some at Cape Ann some in one place and some in other of they only had their hides, he further saith that the abovesaid James Freeze did often move the prosecuting of the said Susanna Martin in the case being confident that she was a witch.

Lt. John Allen made oath to the truth of all that is above written June the 7th 1692.

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


20 May 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts



19 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Execution Warrant cover and report.

Martin Susanna death warrant


27 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Subpeona for Susanna Martin



30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Downer_vs_Martin_30Jun1692 The deposition of Robert Downer of Salisbury aged 52 years who testify and say, That several years ago Susanna Martin the then wife of George Martin being brought to Court for a witch, the said Downer having some words with her (she at the time attending Mrs. Light at Salisbury). This deponent among other things told her he believed that she was a witch by what was said or witnessed against her at which she seemed not well affected, said that a she devil would fetch him away shortly at which this deponent was not much moved, but at night as he lay in his bed in his own house alone there came at his window the likeness of a cat and by and by come up to his bed took fast hold of his throat and lay hard upon him a considerable while, and was like to throttle him. At length he minded what Susanna Martin had threatened him with the day before. He strove what he could and said avoid thou she devil in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost and then it let him go and slumped down upon the floor and went out at window again.

Sworn by Robert Downer June 30 1692.

Before Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


29 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Knight_vs_Martin_29Jun1692 The Deposition of Joseph Knight aged about 40 years. This Deponent do testify and say that on the 20th day of October or thereabouts in the year of our Lord 1686 Nathaniel Clark Junior of Newbury together with this Deponent going out into the woods together to fetch up horses there met with Suanna Martin of Amesbury with a little dog running by her side and in my sift she took up said dog under her arm, but coming up near to her she had a keg or a half firkin under the same arm. This deponenet then looked her in the face and told her that that keg was a little dog, but now Nathaniel Clark said so it was and then passing from her we found our horses and brought them to a small causeway but could not get them over, but there being a small knoll of land near our horses ran round about it the greatest part of that day we often bringing them up to the Causeway but then they turned to that knoll and ran about it the same way, but at length there came a young man with a yoke of oxen to go over the Causeway who with some difficulty got them over for although the Causeway was very good yet one of the oxen hung back as though he were frightened, but at length were forced over and then we got over our horses.

Joseph Knight owned this his testimony to be the truth on his oath before the Jurors of Inquest this 29 of June 1692.


29 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Elizabeth Clark who then was the wife of the abovesaid Nathaniel Clark do testify that when my said husband Nathaniel Clark came home he told me this deponent the matter mentioned in Joseph Knight’s testimony and he related to me the whole of the matter and all the circumstances related in said testimony excepting that my husband told Joseph Knight that the keg undr Goodwife Martin’s arm was or had been a dog. This deponent do further testify that Goodwife Martin abovesaid came to our house the same day mentioned in Joseph Knight’s testimony before my husband came home and coming into the house our dog bit her by the leg as she said whereupon she being angry said that he was a churl like his master.

Elizabeth Clark owned this her testimony to be the truth on the oath which she had taken before the Jury for Inquest this 29 of June 1692.


30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Downer_vs_Martin_30Jun1692 The deposition of Robert Downer of Salisbury aged 52 years who testify and say, That several years ago Susanna Martin the then wife of George Martin being brought to Court for a witch, the said Downer having some words with her (she at the time attending Mrs. Light at Salisbury). This deponent among other things told her he believed that she was a witch by what was said or witnessed against her at which she seemed not well affected, said that a she devil would fetch him away shortly at which this deponent was not much moved, but at night as he lay in his bed in his own house alone there came at his window the likeness of a cat and by and by come up to his bed took fast hold of his throat and lay hard upon him a considerable while, and was like to throttle him. At length he minded what Susanna Martin had threatened him with the day before. He strove what he could and said avoid thou she devil in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost and then it let him go and slumped down upon the floor and went out at window again.

Sworn by Robert Downer June 30 1692.

Before Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Mrs. Mary Andrews aged 40 years testify that she did hear the said Susanna Martin threaten or tell the said Robt Downer that a she devil would fetch him away shortly. She further saith that from some of her father’s family she did hear that what the said Su Martin told them how said Downer was served that night that he was afflicted as abovesaid.

Sworn by Mrs. Mary Andrews June 30 1692.

Before Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


Moses Pike aged 26 years or more testify that he did hear Susanna Martin tell how Ro Downer was handled and as he remembers it was the next day after it was done at night.

Sworn by Moses Pike June 30 1692.

Before Robt. Pike Assist.

Jurat in Curia


30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Deposition of Sam Parris aged about 39 years and Nathaniel Ingersoll aged about fifty and eight years and also Tho. Putnam aged about forty years all of Salem, testifieth and saith that Abigail Williams, Mercy Lewis, Mary Walcott, Susanna Sheldon, and John Indian were much afflicted at the examination of Susanna Martin of Amesbury, widow, before the honored Magistrates the 2 May 1692, and that Goody Vibber (who before had not accused her) and some others of the afflicted then and there testified that there was a black man whispering in her ear and also that the said Vibber, Abigail Williams and Mary Walcott and John Indian could not come near said Martin, whereupon in all they were ordered by the magistrates to attempt it and their agonies and tortures they charged said Martin as the cause of and also we further saw that when the said Martin bit her lips they were bitten and when the afflicted were ordered to go towards her they were knocked down.

Jurat in Curia


30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The Testimony of Abigail Williams witnesseth and saith that she had several times seen, and been afflicted by the apparition of Susanna Martin Amesbury widow at and before the 2 May 1692.


30 Jun 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts


The deposition of Ann Putnam Junr who testifieth and saith some time in April 1692 there appeared to me the Apparition of an old short woman that told me her name was Martin and that she came from Amesbury who did immediately afflict me, urging me to write in her book, but on the 2 May 1692 being the day of her examination Susanna Martin did most grievously afflict me during the time of her examination for when she did but look personally upon she would strike me down or almost choke and several times since the Apparition of Susanna Martin has most grievously afflicted me by pinching me and almost choking me urging me vehemently to write in her book. Also on the day of her Examination I saw the Apparition of Susanna Martin go and afflict the bodies of Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, Elizabeth Hubbard and Abigial Williams.


11 May 1692 | Salisbury, Massachusetts


Pressy_vs_Martin11May1692 The deposition of John Pressey aged 53 and Mary his wife aged 46 or thereabouts testifying saith that some years after tPressy_vs_Martin_11May1692pg2hat the said John Pressey had given his evidence against the said Susanna Martin she, the said Martin, came and took these deponents to do about it and reviled them with many foul words saying we had took a false oath and that we should never prosper and that we should never prosper for our so doing particularly that we should never have but two cows and that if we were never so likely to have more yet we should never obtain it. We do further testify that from that time to this day we have never exceeded that number, but something or other has prevented it, tho never so likely (to obtain it) though they had used all ordinary means for obtaining it by hiring cows of others that were not their own, this for twenty years’ space. John Pressey made oath to the truth of all that is above written at my house in Salisbury the eleventh day of May Ano Domino 1692

Before Me

Robt. Pike Assist.

Mary Pressey testifieth to all the above Except Susanna her threatening of the not raising above two cows.

Jurat in Curia by both


12 Jul 1692 | Salem, Massachusetts

Death warrant of many individuals accused as witches.

Martin Susanna death warrant

Martin Susanna praying


19 Jul 1692





List of most of those accused of being witches in Salem


Bridget Bishop’s Death Warrant

Bishop Bridget death warrant


Hear the song on Cantaria

Susanna Martin was acte witch who dwelt in Amesbury

With brilliant eye and saucy tongue she worked her sorcery

And when into the judges court the sheriffs brought her hither

The lilacs drooped as she passed by

And then were seen to wither

A witch she was, though trim and neat with comely head held high

It did not seem that one as she with Satan so would vie

And when in court when the afflicted ones proclaimed her evil ways

She laughed aloud and boldly then

Met Cotton Mathers gaze

“Who hath bewitched these maids,” he asked, and strong was her reply

“If they be dealing in black arts, ye know as well as I”

And then the stricken ones made moan as she approached near

They saw her shaped upon the beam

So none could doubt ’twas there

The neighbors ’round swore to the truth of her Satanic powers

That she could fly o’er land and stream and come dry shod through showers

At night, twas said, she had appeared a cat of fearsome mien

“Avoid she-devil,”they had cried

To keep their spirits clean

The spectral evidence was weighed, then stern the parson spoke

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, ’tis written in the Book”

Susanna Martin so accused, spoke with flaming eyes

“I scorn these things for they are naught

But filthy gossips lies”

Now those bewitched, they cried her out, and loud their voice did ring

they saw a bird above her head, an evil yellow thing

And so, beneath a summer sky, Susanna Martin died

And still in scorn she faced the rope

Her comely head held high

Susanna Martin was a witch who lived in Amesbury

With brilliant eye and saucy tongue she worked her sorcery

And when into the judges court the sheriffs brought her hither

The lilacs drooped as she passed by

And then were seen to wither

Hear the song on Cantaria


Much as been written about grandma Susanna Martin by her descendants. You can see some of their sites


~~Author Unknown~~

In 1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the site of a major historical event. This infamous event, the Salem Witch Trials, was a major injustice in America’s history. Once the accusations started, all Hell broke lose. By the time the trials were over, nineteen people and two dogs were hanged, and one man was pressed. Of the 150 people imprisoned, fifty-five of them had confessed to witchcraft.

To begin to understand how civilized people could act in such barbaric ways, one needs to know some background information about the village and its citizens. The people who lived in Salem Village were Puritans. They followed and interpreted the Bible literally, and without question. As many people know, the Bible states, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22.18). To the Puritans, this meant that if there was a witch, they had an obligation to kill him/her. Also, the people of Salem, like the people of Europe, believed that witches existed and that many of them were evil. People believed in witchcraft, even when it contradicted scientific evidence proving that it did not exist. It is important to note that the magic that was “evil” was black magic, or magic that was used maliciously against another. Black magic witches were

The girls all had the same symptoms (which ranged from becoming mute and blind to having “fits”). On top of that, it was so long ago that their mistakes seem so foreign to us; we can’t really relate to what happened back then. In 1697, the General court proclaimed a fast day, and many of the jurors and judges that convicted “witches” publicly apologized. Many of the accused were easy targets of blame. During Bridget Bishop’s trial, Mercy Lewis screamed, “Oh goody Bishop did you not come to our house the last night?”. Lewis was obviously referring to Bishop’s specter, for Bishop was in jail the whole time. As far as the trials having an impact on our lives today, I don’t think it really has one. The adults that led the witch hunts, namely the Putnams, wanted to regain control of Salem Village, and many of the people that were accused were ones standing in the Putnams’ way. If it didn’t happen, we’d still have the McCarthy era, so we didn’t really learn anything from it.

Before that though, in May 1692, the governor appointed the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer, which was comprised of seven judges. By the end of October, he disassembled the court of Oyer and Terminer. After Bridget Bishop was convicted, on June 2, Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned his seat as judge. This is what is believed the girls were doing. Another woman accused, though she admitted to being a witch, was Tituba, who was an easy target. One family, the Porters, who were against the Putnams from the beginning, were staunch objectors to witch trials.


31 Oct 2001 | Boston, Massachusetts

On October 31, 2001, acting governor of Massachusetts, Jane Swift, signed a law that formally pardoned Susanna Martin, Bridget Bishop, Alice Parker, Margaret Scott, and Wilmot Redd.

14 March 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , , , , | 15 Comments

Destroy That Drive

A fellow recently demonstrated his ability to recover data from a hard drive whose data had been overwritten a seven times using a data shredder program set to a supposed DOD data destruction standard.

If you have ever had any experience with identity theft, you understand why the hackles on the back of my neck stood up when I read the story.  I’m a genealogist.  I have a lot of data on my hard drives that contains private information about living individuals. 

From time to time I buy a new computer or hard drives and migrate my data to them.  I’ve always wiped my old drives with partition removers and then a five or six overwrites with data shredder programs thinking I was ‘protecting’ my data from dumpster divers.  In most cases, I probably did, but now, I’m not so sure.

I have a friend who manages computers worldwide that contain extremely sensitive data.  He leaves nothing to chance when retiring an old hard drive.  He takes out into the parking lot and breaks the disk platters into many pieces and throws the pieces in multiple dumpsters scattered around the city.

Is this an extreme action?  Maybe a little, but having had experience with identity theft, I find that I’m inclined to agree with his policy.  I don’t use a ten pound double-jack hammer on my old drives, but do use a 3/8” drill bit to create twenty or so holes in the drive platters before tossing them.  Additional scratches and gouges on the platters are encouraged during this process.

How are you disposing of your old computers and hard drives?   Are you carefully doing your best to remove the data using a method other than just dragging your data files to the trash and then deleting them?  Are you crushing your old floppies that had data on them? 

How about your thumb drives?  Do you keep the data on them encrypted?  The odds are that you will loose one or more of them this year or next.  It happens, especially if you are visiting libraries or other venues doing research.  We download data to the drives and in the excitement of the quest walk off at the end of a day and leave the thumb drive plugged in to the computer we were using, or on the floor after falling out of our bag, pocket, or case.  Frequently, we have all or part of our genealogy data on these drives and an unscrupulous finder may have a treasure trove of information to mine for nefarious purposes.

Think about the ramifications of someone getting the data about you and other living folks in your database and I’m sure you’ll be encouraged to make a substantive plan to remove or destroy it on your old machines.

Is the physical destruction too much work or you don’t have a drill?  Talk to the law enforcement officers in your area.  They may need some targets for their shooting range.  A hard drive painted orange may be a perfect target for some of their exercises.  Just remember to ask to observe the destruction.

If that isn’t the answer and you don’t want to destroy them yourself, consider a shop like Compax that will do the work for you.

Whatever method you use, be sure to do it.  Don’t set yourself up for a potentially disastrous problem.


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17 February 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment