Being a total history buff (even having majored in history in college before switching to English for grad school) I’ve always been fascinated with the past. Even more so when it comes to my own family history. Luckily, most of my family members are equally interested in our family’s past and have done a great deal of research into our ancestors.
Recently, my sister showed me a feature on Ancestory.com that lists anyone well-known to whom you might be related. There were several fascinating people on the list, including some that were very surprising. The most surprising…President Obama and I apparently share a several times great-grandfather and are eighth cousins on his mother’s side. There are also a few kings and queens in the mix which is not only fun and fascinating but also incredibly lucky because of all the people in history, royalty kept very careful lineage records – which allows my family to trace our history back quite a ways.
One of the ancestors that interested me the most, however, was one on very early American soil. My 10th great-grandmother was Susannah North Martin, who was found guilty of being a witch during the Salem trials and was hanged on July 19, 1692.
From the accounts I’ve read, she was an intelligent, feisty woman who refused to be intimidated and vigorously maintained her innocence right up until the last. What an amazing woman to have in my family tree. It’s amazing to me that I’ve read about these trials all my life and never knew that one of the women I’d heard so much about was actually my ancestor.
I’ve always been interested in Salem. The Crucible was one of the few assigned reading books for English that I enjoyed. And The Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my favorite books growing up. Now that I spend most of my days swimming in the romance pool, I always swoop up whatever Salem-set romances I can find – including the series from our own former Embracing Romance author Sarah Ballance (they are excellent if you haven’t read them!)
In any case, I most certainly look forward to reading more about Susannah and finding out more about my history.
Have you looked into your own family history?