New places

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To me, one of the best things about genealogy is learning that you have shared a place with an ancestor. Perhaps you passed through the town where they once lived, or maybe your commute to work takes you by their former home. Discoveries like this make genealogy that much more personal.

Recently, when I was learning more about Mabel Winters, my great-grandmother, and her family in Nova Scotia, I ran into a name that was very familiar to me – Lufkin. Mabel’s great-great-grandparents were Amos Hilton and Hannah Lufkin of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia. Amos Hilton was a New England Planter, a settler who left Essex County, Massachusetts for Nova Scotia in the 1760s. As for Hannah Lufkin, she was the daughter of Jacob Lufkin, and was Amos’ second wife.

Lufkin is a well-known name on Cape Ann, a region in northeastern Massachusetts. As a former resident, I have encountered this name many times, particularly in Gloucester and Essex. But learning more about the Lufkins revealed an even more familiar name – Haskell.

[Discoveries] like this make genealogy that much more tangible.

Ultimately, I learned that Mabel was a descendant of William Haskell of Gloucester. William Haskell first settled at Salem with his brothers, but later removed to Gloucester by the 1640s, where he would remain until his death in 1693.

Today, the William Haskell House sits just off Grant Circle, one of the town’s rotaries. Many of you may have driven around Grant Circle as you were headed to one of Gloucester’s beaches. When I lived on Cape Ann, I drove past this house almost every day, completely unaware that my ancestor once lived there. To me, discoveries like this make genealogy that much more tangible.

And even closer to home, here at the NEHGS Library, the Haskell Family Tree is on display on the first floor, and serves as a nice reminder of my Essex County roots.

Sheilagh Doerfler

About Sheilagh Doerfler

Sheilagh, a native of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, received her B.A. in History and Communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her research interests include New England, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Westward Migration, and adoptions.View all posts by Sheilagh Doerfler