Thursday, July 19, 2018

Speaking of Raymonds, as we were....

My great-grandmother's maiden name is BERTHA JULIA RAYMOND. She is the mother of my maternal grandfather, JOHN FRANCIS BURKE, and for my entire childhood, I only met her a couple of times, one of them being at her burial. I knew nothing about her past, though I assumed she was Irish because my childhood was filled with reminders that my Grampy John was as Irish as could be. I knew he drank - a lot - and had no reason to doubt the connection.

Of course, as readers of this blog will remember, those memories were wrong. My maternal grandfather was born and raised in Wilton, New Hampshire, and his BURKE roots go way back. His mother's RAYMOND roots go even farther, as I have recently discovered., the 'big dog' in the family tree yard, recently completed a major upgrade of their systems, part of which was adding online access to major databases kept at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the single largest repository of genealogical data in the world. I have been searching those records to trace my own USA-based roots because doing so is a lot easier than tracing my non-USA travel is required and the records, themselves, are more standard and of higher quality.

I have validated that my RAYMOND roots came to what was called British American in the mid-1600's, what we now know as Massachusetts. Many of them settled in an infamous place named Salem, Massachusetts. In fact, my early searching those data pointed me to what is an amazing, somewhat disturbing, least two of my ancestors might have been hanged during the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692:
  • Hanged on June 10 - Bridget Bishop, Salem Town
  • Hanged on August 19 - John Proctor, Salem Village
Salem Town and Salem Village were political designations of two areas with differing opinions about life. This difference was one of the causes of the fear and animosity that gave rise to the Witch Trials.

Many of the details so far match pretty well, but I have a lot of work to do before I know if these two are, indeed, my ancestors. Validating their death dates is what I am working on now. I want to be sure; messing with this kind of fame is not something done lightly. There are many women named 'Bridget' and many men named 'John Proctor' in that time and in my own tree.

For a guy who used to think his entire ancestry was from England, Scotland, and Ireland, this amazes me. But this was a terrible time in our very young country; I have to figure out how I feel about this.

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