This historical record collection in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) lists 217 individuals accused of witchcraft in New England between 1647 and 1697. Scope is limited to individuals who were formally accused and underwent a trial process in a town court proceeding. This means, therefore, that persons who were accused but never brought to trial are not included in this record collection.
While this record collection does include persons accused and brought to trial in the Salem area in 1692, it also includes detainees from other years and colonies (mostly Connecticut). Nearly all trials in 1692 occurred in Essex County, Massachusetts (where Salem Town and Salem Village were located) and adjacent Middlesex County.
Individual file listings include year the accused stood trial, first and last name, town or village where trial took place, and outcome of the trial (acquittal; confession; escaped; convicted, verdict reversed; reprieved; died in prison; or executed).
Note: If we disregard the Salem witch hysteria in 1692, witch trial proceedings in New England were relatively fair and impartial. Why do I say that? For one thing, more persons in this record collection were acquitted (40) than were executed (35). In fact, if we subtract the 20 executions in 1692 Salem, it means only 15 people out of 197 tried for witchcraft in New England during the period 1647-1697 were executed. It’s also true that 43 persons confessed to being witches, but confessing generally saved your life, as few persons in New England who confessed were sent to the gallows.
To find this record collection in Ancestry LE:
SEARCH—CARD CATALOG—TITLE witches
It is easy to search for persons associated with the Salem witch trials:
ANY EVENT--YEAR 1692 LOCATION Massachusetts, USA
Note: If you narrowly search for Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, you will miss some persons who lived in other towns in Essex and Middlesex counties who were in fact associated with the Salem witch hysteria.
You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.