Friday, November 09, 2012


Before I launch into the story of John Emery and his neighbors the Rolfes, I
thought I'd mention how I'd found it.

I am very grateful for the free full text editions of Records and Files of the 
Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts available on Google
Books. It's been a great source of information and family history for me
because some of my ancestors, bless their souls, were not as "pure as the
new driven snow". Whenever I research one of them in the court files for
some specific case I always use the search feature for any other entries
for them in that particular volume and that often leads to another great
story. I've blogged about some of them here in The Haskell Inheritance
series, in The Case Of Roger Haskell And His Pitchfork, and the posts
about William Gerrish, to name a few.

That's what happened again with John Emery. The case involves John,
his wife, his step-children, his wife's former mother in law, the Rolfes,
and the two rather rakish gentlemen who were boarding with the Emerys.
It certainly had to have been the topic of much gossip and scandal in
Ipswich town, and centuries later has been cited in books on early
Massachusetts colonial history. I don't intend to get into the cultural
or sociological significance of it all. I will say that those who think
that the people of that period were all upstanding moral people need
to do a bit more research into everyday colonial life.

So if you have ancestors who lived in 17th century New England, check
out Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, 
Massachusetts and other early documents available on Google Books.
You might be surprised by what you discover!

No comments: