Monday, June 26, 2017


One of the things you may notice in some  family genealogies written in the 19th century is a tendency to place ancestors on pedestals while not mentioning embarassing incidents. This is especially true if the genealogy was written by family members. Take, for example, the brief biography of my 8x great grandfather Benjamin Abbott, written by  Abiell and Ephraim Abbot:

2 BENJAMIN ABBOT, m. 1685, Sarah Farnum, da. of Ralph F.,
an early settler in Andover ; made and lived on the farm near
Shawshene river, where 6 James Abbot, a descendant, now lives ;
was active, enterprising, and respected ; 3 Benjamin A., b. 11
July, 1686; d. S Dec. 1748; Jonathan, b. Sept. 1687; d. 21
March, 1770; David, b. 29 Jan. 16S9 ; d. 14 Nov. 1753; Samu-
el, b. 19 May, 1694; d. 29 Oct. 1762; he was industrious and
respected for his moral worth and piety ; he lived in Merrimac
Corner ; m. wid. Mary Lovejoy^ 1735 ; had no issue.

They describe Benjamin as "active, enterprising, and respected" They fail to mention his fathering an illegitimate child with the widow of John Lovejoy. FFrom what I've read in snippets of books on Googlebooks, the widow appeared at court and volunteered the information about the child, and Benjamin's maternal uncle Thomas Chandler paid his fine of 40 pounds.

There also is no mention of Benjamin and Sarah (Farnum) Abbott's involvement in the witchcraft trial of their neighbor Martha Carrier.

Perhaps I'm being unfair to the authors, since then again, their book was a genealogical register, not a family history.

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