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Salem Ancestry Days

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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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