14 November, 2016

Back to Salem and Marblehead

While researching my disputed Valpey line, which I first wrote about here, I came across an organization that I wasn't aware of. It is called the ADEAW, or Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. Since it is my belief that my
Marblehead, MA - Old Postcard
ancestor, Elizabeth Valpey (b abt 1761), was a direct descendant of Elizabeth Carrington Paine (b 1639), accused witch, I was immediately intrigued and wondered if I could come up with enough documentation to prove my lineage to her and join the association. What a cool association to belong to!

I've already struggled mightily with the Valpey/Valpy/Walpee connection, but figured I'd give it another go. I started with my assumption that Elizabeth Valpey, mother of Nancy Lilley (or Lillie), was the daughter of Abraham Valpey (b 1737) and Lydia Clough. However, going back over it, I cannot figure out how I settled on this, since I don't have any original records to indicate that the Valpey couple even had a daughter Elizabeth. The only daughter I can find records for is Lydia. (This is where it's a good thing to keep research notes!)

I concluded that I must have gotten the Elizabeth Valpey daughter based on three or four other trees on  ancestry who list this daughter. However, when I checked those trees, they had no documents to support a daughter Elizabeth. I took another look at the family of Abraham Valpey, supposed father of Elizabeth, and found that one of his brothers, Benjamin, DID have a daughter Elizabeth. At least ..... I think he did.

The records are not very complete from this time period, in that they don't tend to list parents' names on marriage records, which would be very helpful. I did find evidence for Benjamin as the brother of Abraham in their mother's will, which lists her four sons. There is a Benjamin Valpey of his age group who marries an Abigail Pittman in Marblehead (neighboring village to Salem), and they have three daughters, one of them Elizabeth. But the marriage record doesn't say if this Benjamin is the son of Abraham Valpey and Elizabeth or not! And then Elizabeth's marriage record doesn't say if SHE is the child of Benjamin and Abigail! Benjamin's death record does show that he died in Marblehead, an indication that he did marry Abigail of that town, but far from proof.

So I have two links that are missing here, and not at all sure if it is even possible to resolve them, as the information may not be on record at all. I am wondering if perhaps there were also marriage intention records made, which may have parents' names. In the absence of this, I may have to go to Marblehead/Salem and research property records to figure out who is who.
Marblehead Property Map

Apart from these two links, I have proof and documents to support the line on either side of the disputed generations. I have contacted a few sources to inquire as to how I might proceed, including seeking advice from a genealogist through NEHGS. 

One other side note that may represent a monkey wrench in this whole thing... many of the dna matches, which I mentioned in that previous post, are in Lydia Clough's line! The woman who presumably only had a daughter named Lydia! If I descend from her family and NOT the Valpeys, then my line to the witch is non-existant.

Not giving up! If the answers are out there at all, I will find them.


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  3. Thank you for this most interesting post. I have been on the hunt for 'Betsy Lilly' of Marblehead,MA who married Vincent Peterson in 1811. I have long suspected that she was somehow connected to John Lilly & Elizabeth Valpee. My cousin recently did a DNA test which reveled Nancy Lilly as a cousin. so, progress at last! Still trying to untangle this, but I wanted to say hello to you! ~ Lisa