History

Whether one is considering the Salem Witch Trials, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, abolitionist Charlotte Forten, navigator Nathaniel Bowditch, architect Samuel McIntire, or one of the families that left their mark on Salem’s maritime history, there are remarkable connections to be made to the people who created the Salem story. Event organizers also hope connections are made to the native persons, the Naumkeag, who lived on the land prior to the arrival of Roger Conant and the Dorchester Company, and the enslaved or indentured persons who were not in Salem by choice.

In the early 20th century, the Great Salem Fire changed the landscape of downtown Salem and gave rise to new neighborhoods of French Canadian, Polish, Italian, Irish, and eastern European immigrants.

Today Salem is a home to communities of Latinx and Hispanic heritage that can and should be celebrated through Salem Ancestry Days.

For centuries, Salem has been a destination for emigrants, immigrants, and travelers. The community is a landing point and a starting point for families who are starting their American journey or changing their family’s trajectory. Through collaboration with the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, Essex National Heritage Commission, American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the City of Salem, the Ancestry Days celebration intends to be a gathering point for descendants of Salem’s families as well as a research opportunity for people who want to learn more about their family history.

Salem Ancestry Days Planning Committee

Thanks to the following people and organizations who have contributed to the planning of Salem Ancestry Days

Ginevra Morse, American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society

Stacia Cooper, Destination Salem

Ryan Conary, Essex Heritage

Dan Lipcan, Phillips Library / Peabody Essex Museum

Becky Putnam, Harmony Grove Cemetery

Beth Bower, Salem Historical Society

Rachel Christ and Jill Christianson, Salem Witch Museum

Kathy Gauthier, Registry of Deeds

Karen Gahagan, Salem State University