March 27, 2023

Salem Ancestry Days Planned for April 21 – 24, 2023

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The third annual celebration of genealogy and ancestral connections to Salem, Massachusetts

SALEM, Mass.— Residents and visitors are invited to celebrate their ancestral and immigrant connections to Salem, Massachusetts during the third annual Salem Ancestry Days celebration, which will be held Friday, April 21 through Monday, April 24, 2023. The four-day event will feature lectures, tours, research opportunities, and information on the people who are connected to Salem.

“History enthusiasts can learn more about the Salem Witch Trials, author Nathaniel Hawthorne, abolitionist Charlotte Forten, navigator Nathaniel Bowditch, architect Samuel McIntire, or one of the families that left their mark on Salem’s maritime history,” said Kate Fox, Executive Director of Destination Salem. “There will also be opportunities to learn Salem’s Indigenous stories from members of the Massachusett tribe and explore some of Salem’s significant African American family histories.”

In addition to the scheduled events taking place during the festival, the Salem Ancestry Days Exhibitor Fair will take place on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Church in Salem, 316 Essex Street. The exhibitors, including American Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical SocietySalem Historical Society, and Essex Society of Genealogists, will feature items relating to genealogy, the immigrant experience, and Salem history.

The First Church will also display Salem’s holy history with guided tours throughout the weekend. Dating back to 1629, the First Church is one of the oldest churches organized in North America and a perfect host location for the Salem Ancestry Days events. St. Peter’s Church will also offer guided tours throughout the weekend and will be ringing the bell in the church tower that has been there for 138 years. There will be live music in English and Spanish as well. St. Peter’s Church has connections to Philip English, who was accused of witchcraft in 1692, the Hawthornes and Ingersolls, and more.

Events begin on Friday, April 21 with an Online Chat with a Genealogist. This virtual event, hosted by the American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society, will be available throughout the weekend. Also on Friday, the Salem Witch Museum will host a virtual event called, Learning From Our Mistakes: Researching the Salem Witch Trials, which will look at misconceptions about the Salem witch trials, highlighting how mistakes are made, repeated, and eventually corrected. A walking tour dedicated to Salem Witch Trials Ancestors & Descendants will be hosted by Salem Historical Tours several times during the weekend.

On Saturday, April 22, there are many events to highlight. Historian Jim McAllister will lead a walking tour about Abolitionists & Anti-Slavery Activists at Harmony Grove Cemetery. This tour will highlight the graves and stories of John & Nancy (Lenox) Remond, their son Charles Lenox Remond, and other family members. The Remond family was one of the most influential free Black families in early 19th-century New England. Also on Saturday, April 22 Historic New England will share Phillips Family home movies during, “Who’s in the Frame?” The screening will be followed by a talk presented by Historic New England and Harmony Grove Cemetery.

The House of the Seven Gables is participating in the weekend with an event that focuses on The Life of Mary Kitchen Turner.  The Gables’s longest-living resident, Mary Kitchen Turner (1684-1768) was the daughter of a merchant family who married John Turner II at 18.

Salem Ancestry Days coincides with the commemoration of the First Muster of the National Guard. To acknowledge the rich military family contributions to Salem’s story, the National Park Service and Massachusetts National Guard Historical Services are hosting a session on Researching Military Records at the Salem Armory Visitor Center on Saturday, April 22.

The National Park Service will also open the 17th-century Narbonne House for Salem Ancestry Days. Staff will be on hand to discuss how they are using oral history and genealogical information to tell the stories of 300 years of residence in this historical home.

On Sunday, April 23, the Phillips Library will collaborate with the American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society to present a Preservation Roadshow. Visitors will be able to consult with experts about how best to preserve and store your family photographs, books, and documents–for free! Visitors are invited to bring items (or photographs of them) for review.

Events wrap up on Monday, April 24 including a public talk and demonstration at the Fishing Weir event, hosted by members of the Massachusett Tribe.

Events are listed below and on

Friday, April 21

  • Online Chat with a Genealogist
  • Salem Witch Trials Ancestors & Descendants Tour
  • Tour of Historic St. Peter’s Church (Historic Bell Concert at Noon)
  • Learning From Our Mistakes: Researching the Salem Witch Trials

Saturday, April 22

  • Exhibitor Fair
  • Online Chat with a Genealogist
  • Salem Witch Trials Ancestors & Descendants Tour
  • Tour of Historic St. Peter’s Church (Historic Bell Concert at Noon)
  • Abolitionists & Anti-Slavery Activists: A themed Walking Tour with Jim McAllister
  • Who’s in the Frame? Phillips Family Home Movies with Historic New England
  • Researching Military Records
  • Narbonne House Open House
  • Madam Turner’s World: The Life of Mary Kitchen Turner
  • Walking Tour of Broad Street Cemetery

Sunday, April 23

  • Exhibitor Fair
  • Tour of Historic St. Peter’s Church (Historic Bell Concert at Noon)
  • Salem Witch Trials Ancestors & Descendants
  • Preservation Roadshow!
  • Walking Tour of Broad Street Cemetery

Monday, April 24

  • Salem Witch Trials Ancestors & Descendants
  • Public talk at Fishing Weir event, hosted by members of the Massachusett Tribe

Salem Ancestry Days is presented by Destination Salem in collaboration with the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex MuseumEssex National Heritage CommissionAmerican Ancestors by New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the City of Salem.

Participating organizations will be identified with Salem Ancestry signs. For more information on events, programs, and research resources, visit

About Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a destination recognized worldwide for its rich history, including the tragic Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the glorious maritime era that left its indelible mark on Salem through architecture, museums, and artifacts, and for its month-long celebration of Halloween. Approximately 1.8 million people visit Salem annually, generating nearly $140 million in tourism spending and supporting 1,000 jobs.

About Destination Salem
As the destination marketing organization for the City of Salem, Destination Salem cooperatively markets Salem as one of Massachusetts’ best destinations for families, couples, and domestic and international travelers who are seeking an authentic New England experience, cultural enrichment, American history, fine dining, unique shopping, and fun. For more information, visit