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Mothers and Daughters

Chelsie reviewed The Rose and the Whip on her site Reading is My Remedy at yesterday. She is very active on the historical fiction circuit, plus she and I share a love for genealogical mapping. So, in honor of our shared interest, today I want to talk a little about my experience in tracing female roots, especially when it came to locating and tracking Lidia. As I’ve mentioned before, I found Lidia through her brother-in-law, Samuel Wardwell who was one of the few men, and one of the last, to be executed in the Salem Witch Trials. My connection to Samuel is through his uncle, William. Immediately upon finding Lidia, I was confronted with the mystery of identifying her parents. Eliakim Wardell married Lidia Perkins, a fact documented in Hampton marriage records. In the absence of any birth record, and thus definitive evidence of her parentage, I turned to wills as another source likely to list parent-child relationships. There is a will from 1699 for Susanah Perkins who died in New Castle, Delaware which assigns executorship to her son-in-law John Hussey, husband to Susanah’s daughter, Rebecka. John and Rebecka Hussey were named several times in the Essex court records along with Eliakim and Lidia Wardell. Thus we can surmise that Lidia and Rebecka were sisters, both daughters of Susanah. Susanah was married to Isaacke Perkins sometime between 1634-1638, and whether they married before emigrating or after is not clear. Nor is it clear who Susanah’s parents were. Conventional sources list Susanah as the daughter of Humphrey Wise (or Wyeth). It’s tempting to accept this because Humphrey’s daughter, Mary, married Isaccke’s brother Abraham. But from what I can see, Susanah Wise, daughter of Humphrey would have been too young and I find records of her marriage to someone else. This doesn’t mean our Susanah’s name wasn’t Wise (or Wyeth) because I found both names to be fairly common in Warwickshire in the area from which Abraham and Isaacke originated. A cousin perhaps, and a supporting indication that the Perkins brothers were acquainted with/connected to the Wise young women before they emigrated. But without any more clues, or any documents for the Wise (or Wyeth) family, the search stops here (at least for now—that’s the great, and tedious, thing about genealogy—documents are surfacing and being uploaded to the internet constantly).

Pine Grove (Old Pine) Cemetery, Hampton, New Hampshire, July 2009

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