Salem Ancestry Days

Brittany DiCologero Do, Plan 35 Comments

Save the date! Salem Ancestry Days return April 29-May 2, 2022. 

Celebrate genealogy and ancestral connections to Salem, Massachusetts, during a weekend of lectures, tours, and research.

Residents and visitors are invited to celebrate their ancestral and immigrant connections to Salem, Massachusetts during the first annual Salem Ancestry Days celebration, which will be held April 30-May 3, 2021. The weekend will feature lectures, tours, research opportunities, and information on the people who connect us all to Salem.

Whether one is considering the Salem Witch Trials, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, abolitionist Charlotte Forten, navigator Nathaniel Bowditch, architect Samuel McIntire, or one of the families that left their mark on Salem’s maritime history, there are remarkable connections to be made to the people who created the Salem story. Event organizers also hope connections are made to the native persons, the Naumkeag, who lived on the land prior to the arrival of Roger Conant and the Dorchester Company, and the enslaved or indentured persons who were not in Salem by choice.

In the early 20th century the Great Salem Fire changed the landscape of downtown Salem and gave rise to new neighborhoods of French Canadian, Polish, Italian, Irish, and eastern European immigrants. Today Salem is a home to communities of Latinx and Hispanic heritage that can and should be celebrated through Salem Ancestry Days.

For centuries, Salem has been a destination for emigrants, immigrants and travelers. The community is a landing point and a starting point for families who are starting their American journey or changing their family’s trajectory.  Through collaboration with the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Essex National Heritage Commission, American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the City of Salem, the Ancestry Days celebration intends to be a gathering point for descendants of Salem’s families as well as a research opportunity for people who want to learn more about their family history.

This year’s festival is set to include a mix of in-person and virtual events, including a land blessing with the Massachusett, pre-recorded and live lectures on local history and how to begin to research your own ancestry, guided walking tours, and more. Events will be listed below as they are planned:

Friday, April 30, 2021

all-day: Interview with Dan Finamore from the Peabody Essex Museum (view virtually)
9:00 am-5:00 pm: Ask a Genealogist – Live Chat!
10:30 am: Naumkeag Ancestral Acknowledgement
12:00 pm: House History How-To: Conducting Your Own House History
2:00 pm: Bloodlines Walking Tour with Salem Day Tour
6:00 pm: Ancestral Bingo with The House of the Seven Gables
6:00 pm: Discovering Your Salem Ancestry: How to Access Genealogical Records

Saturday, May 1, 2021

9:00 am: Salem with the Daniels Family Walking Tour
9:00 am-5:00 pm: Ask a Genealogist – Live Chat!
10:00 am-11:00 am: Remembering the Silent Souls of Howard Cemetery
10:00 am-1:00 pm: Finding Ancestors & Heritage Trees in Greenlawn
1:00 pm: Salem with the Daniels Family Walking Tour
2:00 pm: Ancestry Days Tour with Black Cat Tours
2:00 pm: Bloodlines Walking Tour with Salem Day Tour
2:00 pm: The Life and Death of John Proctor
2:00 pm: Annawon Weeden Virtual Talk
3:00 pm: Danvers Historical Society Genealogy Panel

Sunday, May 2, 2021

9:00 am: Salem with the Silsbee Family Walking Tour
11:00 am-1:00 pm: Roger Conant Descendant Meet Up
1:00 pm: Salem with the Silsbee Family Walking Tour
2:00 pm: Ancestry Days Tour with Black Cat Tours
2:00 pm: Bloodlines Walking Tour with Salem Day Tour
4:00 pm: Howard Street Cemetery Cleanup
6:00 pm: The Salem Ancestry Talk Show: The Photo Detective & The Story Teller

Monday, May 3, 2021

9:00 am-5:00 pm: Ask a Genealogist – Live Chat!
10:00 am: Salem Indigenous Genealogy Project
3:00 pm: Shalom/Salem: Archival Stories from Salem’s Jewish Community

Additional Programming:

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Comments 35

  1. I truly wish I could attend the Ancestry Days. My ancestors were the Ingersolls and the Hathornes, andthey were among the movers and shakers of Salem and Danvers. Although I can’t attend this year, I hope I will in the future ( if it were anywhere from June to September, I’d be there).

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      The majority of this year’s events will be virtual, so you’ll be able to attend from wherever you may be! As events are planned we’ll keep adding them to this page.

      1. I have many early settlers into Salem in my tree. Would love love to know if I was connected to any of the Salem witches accused! What’s the best way for me to find that out?

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      The BINGO square will be full of randomized information such as “Came to America on a boat” or “Emigrated from Poland.” The Gables staff is working on a list of these “squares” to encourage people to learn a little about their family history and share a little of their family history with participants.

  2. I am the Educational Director of the Ice House. We need any and all information about Nathaniel D. Silsbee. Silsbee, Texas is a small town that was founded by him. He invested in timber and built a railroad that was developed around the sale of lumber.

  3. My mom and I were planning to come last year and hope to make it this year. My 7th, 8th and 9x Great Grandmothers are Ann Foster, Mary Lacey and Mary Lacey Jr. My daughter moved and works in downtown Salem so fingers crossed we can join everyone during this exiting event.

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      If you aren’t able to make it this year, be sure to check on the events you’re interested in as many will be shared virtually for 2021. 🙂

  4. Which event pertains to any of the accused for witchcraft/salem trials? My 11th great grandmother was Mary Ayer Parker. Thank you.

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  5. I am very interested in Putnam history. Ann Senior was my 9th generation grandmother. I couldn’t believe it when I found out that information. 7th generation grandfather was Ann’s daughter’s son-in-law; he was taken from Fort #4 and spent three years a slave to French Catholics near Montreal, finally walking back to Fort #4. Paying price of wife’s grandmother’s debt??? Recently found out a many years ago boyfriend’s mother was descended from Ann Senior, too. Salem is an awesome place to spend some time exploring.

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      Registration is required for some events. If you click through the links above you’ll find more information on each event and ways to register if required.

  6. I am interested in more information about my Salem ancestors including Endecotts, Putnams, Herricks, Hathornes, Feltons, Porters, Flints, Jones, Bayleys, and Skeltons. Looking for more information about attending this event.

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  7. My daughter has been doing out family tree and discovered that my (7x) Great Grandfather was Thomas Nutting! Were hoping to visit this year and get a different view of our family.

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      Links to each event are listed under the dates above. From there you can find information from the businesses hosting each event and see how to sign up.

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  8. Looking for information on Robert Follett & Persis Black as well as the Benjamin Putnam & Sarah Tarrent genealogy

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  9. This event, like most Salem history events, feels heavily centered on the Anglo-Saxon ancestry of Salem. And the following statement from the event description is missing some key groups, in particular Italian-Americans who essentially rebuilt and occupied the neighborhood between the current Post Office and Police Station after the fire. “In the early 20th century the Great Salem Fire changed the landscape of downtown Salem and gave rise to new neighborhoods of French Canadian, Polish, and eastern European immigrants.”
    There was and is a significant Irish population in Salem that was hugely influential politically, in its education and cultural institutions.

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      Salem Ancestry Days has been designed to honor and present all of Salem’s family stories and genealogical connections. The programs that have been developed for virtual and in person audiences this year present a range of topics for participants, but it is a smaller schedule than we would have had without the pandemic. The original event that was in development for 2020 included presentations on Italian, Irish, Polish, Jewish, LantinX, English, African, and Massachusett heritage. We look forward to a robust and inclusive schedule of events in 2022. The call for event hosts, lecturers, and locations is a public one, so if you are interested in participating in the Salem Ancestry Days programming, we would be happy to share more information.

  10. I am a descendant of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem. I was disappointed and surprised to see he is not on the program! How could they miss the founder of Salem. I was hoping to meet my fellow Conant cousins.

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      We apologize for the disappointment, we’d also love to see something on Conant however the programming for this year is on a much smaller scale than was originally planned for 2020 due to the pandemic. The call for event hosts, lecturers, and locations is a public one though, so if you are interested in hosting an event for Conant descendants, you’re welcome to submit an event and we’d be happy to share it.

  11. My ancestors were the King family and the Swasey family. John Swasey was kicked out of Salem for being a Quaker about 30 years before the Witch Trials. John Swasey was an indentured servant of John Southwick.

    John Swasey gained his freedman’s papers and later married Katherine King(e) daughter of William King(e) and Dorothy Haynes. Most of my 10x great-grandmother Katherine King(e)’s siblings stayed in Salem after Katherine and John Swasey left Salem for Long Island.

    John transferred his lands to Dorothy King(e), his mother in law to avoid losing the land and the money.

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