Ok, so I’ve missed Hallowe’en but I’m back with another tale of weirdness (check out the witches and vampires in my Spooky Stories archive) from the distant scratchy twigs of my family tree.
Werewolf. I’m sure you’re already imagining a great hairy, slathering beast, driven crazy by bloodlust as it rampages under a full moon until some brave hero pumps it full of silver … Or maybe you’re of the age where you picture an over-sized canid leaping about the forests of Washington State. Either way, you’re probably wondering what and why and how there are records of a werewolf in my family tree, right?
Sometimes I feel that me writing here is shouting into the Void. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, and sometimes it does. I enjoy every interaction that my research prompts, especially those from people who are related to the people I mention in my posts. Over the last few months one post especially has caused two specific interactions that I am thankful for, and in turn one of those has created a new family link. So this post is dedicated to Bret and Dori.
The post in question is actually one of my more popular (or at least most visited) posts: Witchy Witchness from way back in 2014 recounts how I am related to two of the accused witches of Salem (one through direct descent) through the Butterfield and Averill lines. But apparently it doesn’t stop there …
Its always good when you have an ancestor – or at least family – involved in one of history’s Great Events. Not that you wish them harm, but it increases the likelihood of there being records regarding their life – or at the minimum proves that they were there. Its one of the reasons military-minded ancestors are such a boon: not only do you get a shot at some personal info (height, weight, hair/eye colour, etc) but also – if you’re lucky – you get a sense of the kind of person they were.
During my investigations into my American families, its only my paternal side that has given me any long roots in America (not that the maternal side has none – I just haven’t been able to find it yet!), and there is a frisson when you get back as far as the 1600s and can count the ‘Founding Fathers’ of certain townships in your ancestry. But leading back to New Hampshire in the late 17th century there is also another event that looms at the back of your mind: the Salem witch trials.
“The Witch, No. 1”, c.1892 lithograph by Joseph E. Baker.