Eighteenth century baptisms in Salem, Massachusetts
Salem, Mass.: Salem Press, 1886,

[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]

Abbreviations. (Ep.) Episcopal; (T.) Tabernacle; (F.) First. (N.) North; (S.) South; (E.) East; P. Private; (do.) Ditto (same as above)

IN the Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, Vol. VI, p. 227, to Vol. VIII, p. 205, may be found a copy of the baptismal record of the First Church in Salem from 1636 to 1765, communicated by Dr. Henry Wheatland. In Vol. XV, p. 70, may be found several pages of errata, the result of a prolonged and minute comparison of the printed copy with the original record. This is the only printed record of Salem baptisms, although those of Salem Village (now Danvers Centre) and of the Middle Precinct (now Peabody), then parishes of old Salem, may be found in these Collections. It is my purpose to print, alphabetically, all the accessible (and hitherto unpublished) baptisms for the eighteenth century of Salem proper. The lists were, in every case, made from the original records, and, in most cases, with the valuable assistance of Mr. Henry F. Waters who proofread mine with the original manuscripts.

The earliest date, 1738, will be found in the Episcopal record, which continues, without serious interruption, till the end of the century. The Tabernacle record begins in 1745 and, somewhat mysteriously, ends in 1785. The First Church record is taken up where the publication was stopped in Vol. VIII. The East Church record begins with 1785; the records of Dr. Bentley's predecessors having disappeared. The other records are complete from the establishment of the churches, the North in 1772 and the South in 1775. I have not ventured to suppress or correct the vagaries of the records in the spelling of surnames but have hinted, at the head of some families, my belief that the various forms mean the same thing. As is well known, most men spelled phonetically in those days and the idem sonans is represented by various combinations of letters. There is occasionally an added interest in the suggestion of the popular pronunciations, and the use at the font of obsolete pet-names for the daughters is an amusing vagary of fashion. The letter (do.)P(do.) at the end of some of the entries indicates a private baptism. This occurrence was of extreme rarity at first, only excused by an exigency which is generally detailed in the record, but became common as the years passed. Simple sequence in such a list, is, of course, no proof of relationship.

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