Witches and family history

Buried on Ancestry there are a number of fascinating records relating to witches.  These include Scotland, Names of Witches, 1658.  These are digitalized records in the possession of  the Wellcome Library, providing the names of  women and men who were accused of witchcraft during a period of Scottish history in which persecution of  witches was not uncommon.  The provide names, place of residence and some also have notes about the confession.

Also on Ancestry are North American records relating to the Salem witch trials New England, Salem Witches and Others Tried for Witchcraft, 1647-1697.  During this period over two hundred people were formally accused and tried for witchcraft. The  list is limited to individuals who were formally accused and underwent a trial process in a town court proceeding, many others were informally accused.  The database provides the year the accused stood trial, their first and last name, the place where the trial took place, and the outcome of the trial, which could include execution.

To set this in a more modern context, the last trial for witchcraft in Britain was in 1945 when Helen Duncan was convicted at the Old Bailey under the 1735  Witchcraft Act.   She was found guilty and jailed for nine months.  There is a back story to this case since the authorities seemed to be concerned that she was leaking naval secrets.  The Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, Helen continued her career in spiritualism and died in


About jenjen999

I am a family historian with an interest not only in direct lines but in the social background and historical setting of the families I research.
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