Saturday, February 18, 2012

Surname Saturday - Griggs

My most difficult quest has been my finding my family in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Many of the records I needed were lost in a local flood, to time or because they did not exist yet when my family arrived there in the early days of the county. When they arrived Susquehanna County did not exist yet. Pictured here is my 2nd great grandfather Abel Kent and on the back of this picture is a notation my grandfather wrote "Etta's father, Abel, son of Carlton and Sally taken before Etta's marriage". Indeed! Her father died when she was only 7 years old. Abel Kent died on 15 September 1868 so the picture must predate that. Aside from the name Sally, I did not know anything when I began looking into the Kent family. I found references that her surname was Griggs but those references also included parents that could not possibly be hers due to their ages. So I put Sally off to the side...until this week I discovered Ancestry had put church records for Susquehanna County online which included Methodist Churches. I knew Etta Kent married Charles Dewey who was a Methodist so I had high hopes. I searched each and every record for Susquehanna County and I found a baptism record for Sally! Not only that but the record dated August 20, 1797 stated "Polley Griggs wife of Noah Griggs and children Lucina, Salley and Susie". So, now I finally have verification of her parents and know they arrived in the very early days of the county from Connecticut. I already knew they came from Connecticut and her father was probably Noah so I went to my Griggs notes and was able to trace her Griggs line back to Salem, Massachusetts. Sally's 3rd great grandfather was Dr. William Griggs who began his life in the colonies in the same place as the Kent's, Gloucester, Massachusetts. He removed to Salem as the town doctor where he got caught up in the infamous witch trials. Sadly he "diagnosed" people as witches during this time. There is an abundance of information on him so I will be busy researching her family for some time. One thing is clear...his sons left Salem shortly after the witch trials for Connecticut. I am certain the participation of their father in the witch trials had everything to do with that but I am hoping I will be able to find documents that prove this. Doctor William Griggs died 4 months after the conclusion of the witch trials. Which leads me to wonder if there is a story behind that as well. In the meantime, I am so grateful to have access to so many new records becoming available online. I have found so much this week, my head is spinning! I even found newly released records for my mother this week so it pays to never give up and keep checking.
The farm of Abel Kent, Jr. and Diadema Horton in Herrick, Susquehanna County

1 comment:

  1. The town hall archives in Gloucester have information on the Kents (and likely the Griggs). There is an area called Kent's landing there. I only dabble in genealogy -- I aspire to turn it into stories like yours! So much fun finding your blog. If I can share any info let me know.