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? asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

How do you find information about your ancestors that immigrated to another country.?

My ancestors are originally from the UK is there someplace in the US where I could look to see if any of them immigrated to the US, my mother said that a man who was burned at the stake for being a witch, (salem) was related. is there a way of confirming it?


The mans name was

John Proctor

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Like most people, it surprised me to hear of a man being hanged during the Salem witch trials. Obviously there is a lot recorded about him. I looked at rootsweb's family files and found 63 files, not surprisingly there was conflicting dates and info. Here is a mailing list for descendents of these persons-


    The bio already posted is great.

    Of course, that is only 1/2 the equation. Do you have your mom's research? Is it well documented? What you are looking for is a connection in YOUR tree to someone in John Proctor's tree.

    As for ancestors having migrated to the US, the easiest way is reviewing what your mom had/ has. You want to focus on the immigrant ancestor, the first one born in UK but died in the US. When you are looking at KNOWN ancestors who died here, it is immediately clear if his/her parents have a verified date and place of death. If children came to the US, it is not impossible that the ancestor came also.

    Assuming that this is connected to the Proctor question (not a 2nd question), it is important to clarify a relative (cousin, 14th gr uncle, so forth) from an ancestor. Ancestors are direct "parents"; grandparents, up the tree.

    Of course, you are welcome to email me if I can help further.

  • 1 decade ago

    It depends on the time frame. As for the man who was killed for being a witch in Salem, who is that? There certainly has been lots of research done on the Salem "witches" and others involved. It may be possible to find the connection.

  • 1 decade ago

    John Proctor

    Proctor was originally from Ipswich, where he and his father before him had a farm of considerable value. In 1666 he moved to Salem, where he worked on a farm, part of which he later bought. Proctor seems to have been an enormous man, very large framed, with great force and energy. Although an upright man, he seems to have been rash in speech, judgment, and action. It was his unguarded tongue that would eventually lead to his death. From the start of the outbreak of witchcraft hysteria in Salem, Proctor had denounced the whole proceedings and the afflicted girls as a scam. When his wife was accused and questioned, he stood with her throughout the proceedings and staunchly defended her innocence. It was during her questioning that he, too, was named a witch. Proctor was the first male to be named as a witch in Salem. In addition, all of his children were accused. His wife Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's sister and sister-in-law, also were accused witches. Although tried and condemned, Elizabeth avoided execution because she was pregnant.

    Mary Warren, the twenty-year-old maid servant in the Proctor house--who herself would later be named as a witch--accused Proctor of practicing witchcraft. It is believed by some sources that when Mary first had fits Proctor, believing them to be fake, would beat her out of them. Even if it didn't actually beat her, he certainly threatened beatings and worse if she didn't stop the fits. It was this type of outspoken criticism of the afflicted that caused Proctor to be accused.

    Proctor was tried on August 5 and hanged on the 19th. While in prison on July 23, Proctor wrote a letter to the clergy of Boston, who were known to be uneasy with the witchcraft proceedings. In his letter he asked them to intervene to either have the trials moved to Boston or have new judges appointed. After the trial and execution of Rebecca Nurse, the prospects of those still in prison waiting trial were grim. If a person with a reputation as untarnished as hers could be executed, there was little hope for any of the other accused, which is why Proctor made his request. With the present judges, who were already convinced of guilt, the trial would just be a formality. In response to Proctor's letter, in which he describes certain torture that was used to elicit confessions, eight ministers, including Increase Mather, met at Cambridge on August 1. Little is known about this meeting, except that when they had emerged, they had drastically changed their position on spectral evidence. The ministers decided in the meeting that the Devil could take on the form of innocent people. Unfortunately for Proctor, their decision would not have widespread impact until after his execution.

    Proctor pleaded at his execution for a little respite of time. He claimed he was not fit to die. His plea was, of course, unsuccessful. In seventeenth-century society, it would not have been uncommon for a man so violently tempered as Proctor to feel that he had not yet made peace with his fellow man or his God. In addition, it is thought that he died inadequately reconciled to his wife, since he left her out of the will that he drew up in prison. Proctor's family was given 150 pounds in 1711 for his execution and his wife's imprisonment.

    If you are interested in doing your genealogy, the best way to get started is to start with yourself. Write down everything you know about your parents, then keep going back until you run stuck. Most people can get back to their grandparents and maybe a set of great grandparents. At this point there are so many ways to get back further in your tree. Much of it depends on the records available.. Even though tracing your tree yourself takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, you learn so much and it is so much more worthwhile than pulling up a tree on a website and wondering where in the world the author got their information.

    I think if you approach it one generation at a time, you will eventually find your answer. Remember , the Salem Witch trials were a few hundred years ago. This is going to require some research and the answer won't come overnight. Blessings to you and good luck.

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