Anyone interested in the Salem Witch Trials should look at the huge collection of digitized documents about the Trials that are available on the University of Virginia web site. No, I don’t know why documents from Salem, Massachusetts are on a Virginia web site, but I certainly am glad they are.
NOTE: I found this site useful because I had two ancestors who were slightly involved in the Salem Witch Trials. They were witnesses who testified that their long-time neighbor, who had been accused of witchcraft, never exhibited any “witch-like” actions and that my ancestors doubted the neighbor was practicing witchcraft. If you have ancestors who were in Salem in 1692 and 1693, you might find information about their lives that will be difficult to obtain elsewhere.
Quoting from the web site’s introduction:
“The Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project consists of an electronic collection of primary source materials relating to the Salem witch trials of 1692 and a new transcription of the court records.
“The Documentary Archive is created under the supervision of Professor Benjamin C. Ray, University of Virginia. The Transcription project is supervised by Professor Bernard Rosenthal, University of Binghamton. Together with a team of scholars, Professor Rosenthal is undertaking a new transcription of the original court records, titled Records of
the Salem Witch-Hunt, to be published by Cambridge University Press. See Transcription Updates for an ongoing report of corrections to the published transcriptions, Salem Witchcraft Papers (De Capo Press,1977).
“For a brief description of the Salem witch trials, go to Overview of the Salem Witch Trials. This summary describes the main events of the witchcraft trials, all of which are documented in the Archive’s collections of primary resources. These resources include court records, contemporary books, and record books, as well as images of the original court documents, indexed according to various archival collections. The overview also refers to some of the notable people who played important roles in the trials and in the debate about the legitimacy of the trials. Users of the Archive may search the court records and contemporary books and letters for names of people involved, aided by a list of notable people and by a complete alphabetical list of everyone mentioned in the court documents.”
The Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project my be found at: http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/home.html.