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contact: Wellfleet1763 [at]
revised Jun 2015

The Sacred Cod
Wellfleet Massachusetts, and connections


The TNG files were botched, and I haven't made time to repair them.

I don't necessarily endorse whatever Google is pitching here.

just ancestors
book style
(large PDF):  

chart (PDF)

Kew families in the USA lost at sea Blacks & Indians Swan Island, Maine

sortable Excel files:

updated 14 May 2011

Wellfleet & Billingsgate births
1720s-1950  (nearly complete)
Eastham births, including Billingsgate
mostly 1640s-1800
Truro births
mostly 1700-1820
Orleans births
starts 1797, very incomplete
Provincetown births
mostly early, very incomplete
Wellfleet marriages
1763-1950. (nearly complete)
Eastham marriages
mostly 1640s-1800, 1850s
may include some actually from Orleans
Truro marriages
mostly 1710-1820
Orleans marriages
fairly complete 1797-1830
Provincetown marriages

PDF map of current Massachusetts towns and counties

    The main file isn't limited to Wellfleet -- that was just the original focus. We are indirectly related to nearly everyone who lived there before perhaps 1920, and it interests me to gradually fill in all the names from the censuses and town records. It's a lot of people, (over 70,000 so far) and will take a very long time. Wellfleet's recorded births, deaths and marriages are fairly complete here through 1950, except for my errors, but not all events were recorded. I'd like to fill in their history as well, so that it isn't just sterile names and dates. Please send information - not just births, marriages, kids, deaths, but biographies and anecdotes and ship registrations and felony convictions. sources

    Several generations of family in the 18th and 19th centuries lived on and near Swan Island, Maine. I'm focusing on residents of the island, but including some closely linked people. Swan Island history.

    An overlapping aspect to the file is our more direct family genealogy, going back to Britain, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands, Germany... We're mostly New England Yankees, with some Famine Irish and New Amsterdam Dutch. We have most of David's American side, but haven't done as much with the ex's side of the family.

    The separate Kew file is a subset of the main data. I'm collecting whatever American Kew info I come across, though I think we have several unrelated groups.

    The lost at sea file is another subset, not at all comprehensive, which also includes those who died in shipwrecks on the Cape and those who died as mariners away from home. Being a mariner was a very dangerous occupation; typically young men went to sea, and worked until they had enough money to become farmers or tradesmen.

    Indians and Blacks were usually Outsiders, and are poorly represented in the histories and records. A few of the people in my files are specified in the records as Indian, Black, colored, or mulatto. This file includes Europeans they were having children with, certainly leaves out some eligible for inclusion, and likely has some included by mistake.

historical background

lower Cape Cod towns    Nauset was the original English settlement on the Lower Cape, founded in 1644 from Plymouth Colony. "The settlement of the plantation began with Mr. Thomas Prence, Edward Bangs, John Smalley, John Doane, Nicholas Snow, Richard Higgins and Josias Cook, who, with their respective families, constituted a colony of forty-nine persons." Other 17th century residents were William Brown, Daniel Cole, Joseph Harding, Gyles HopkinsJohn Hurd, Richard Knowles, Rev. John Mayo, Willaim Merrick/Myrick, Joseph Rogers, Ralph Smith, Rev. Samuel Treat, Thomas Williams, John Young,  ... (Links are to 5-generation descendant charts, large but incomplete.) Nauset's name was changed to Eastham in 1651. From it Truro was split off in 1709, Wellfleet in 1763, and Orleans in 1797.  So getting Wellfleet right means getting much of the neighboring towns right. Provincetown, Harwich and Chatham  people are also very relevant.  I have a Wellfleet links page, too.

      I'm making an effort, without being obsessive, to place events in the political unit that existed at the time, rather than than what's there now. Especially, before 1691, Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay were separate colonies, and Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard were nominally under the jurisdiction of New York. Plymouth's territory comprised what are now the counties of Plymouth, Barnstable and Bristol (both Mass. and RI). On the other hand, I put Maine events in Maine, even though it was politically part of Massachusetts until 1820. The boundaries between Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts have changed somewhat over the centuries.  Please see the Cape Cod History main page for lots of  historical background, gazetteers, documents, maps and links. The relations of the explorers, authors, financiers and soldiers of North America to each other and to the British nobility and its machinations are relevant and interesting, and there is lots of material about them, and many portraits.There are other interesting links at the bottom of this page.

sources & transcriptions

    Huge and amazing sets of information are going online: the archives of the Barnstable Patriot (1830-1930), Provincetown Advocate (1918-1967) and Chatham Monitor (1871-2008 with large breaks), with more years to come later.
    Town annual reports are good condensed sources of information. I extracted
the Juror, Birth, Marriage, Death & Dog License listings in the Wellfleet Annual Reports, from 1888-1899 (pdf), and just births, deaths and marriages from 1900-1920. I think the 1898 Wellfleet By-Laws are interesting as a reflection of their issues. And I extracted from the published Boston record of marriages, 1700-1809, a list of Cape & Island  and Maine marriages to Boston residents. Here are the 1790 Wellfleet census (html),  1800 Wellfleet census (pdf), and 1850 Wellfleet census (Excel) with comments and page images (12Mb). Early Wellfleet marriage and intentions transcriptions are here.

    The software (Legacy 7.5) for the genealogy is complex, yet limited in capabilities. Mudcreek's GENViewer is used to make the Excel files from the Legacy data--it needs upgrading. The research continues from time to time. There are plenty of errors in here, and please point them out.  I'm getting better at including references.

    Most of the data here come from vital records and cemetery transcriptions, some from previous genealogies, and some directly from our relatives. FamilySearch and Rootsweb ancestry file data is extensive, but of such variable quality that it only offers leads to pursue for trustworthy information, so when they are the only references, take them with a big lump of salt. Records from the 17th century are spotty, and everyone likes Pilgrim ancestry, so many of the available genealogies are sloppy or even fake. Data without references are mostly from Rootsweb and FamilySearch, except most Cape Cod cemetery data is from published transcriptions, and some Wellfleet data is stuff I quickly entered in passing, to refine later.

    The town clerks are the masters of the vital records, and it has been a pleasure to deal with most of them. Knowing the disorder of my own paperwork, it is astonishing that they can find 150 year old records within minutes. The city records offices, on the other hand, are typical bureaucracies - they want written requests, are not fast, require hefty fees for searching (even when they "can't find" the records), and service ranges from impersonal to rude (that's you, Boston, Somerville, New York City, Mass VFW, State of Vermont, Sailors' Snug Harbor, Provincetown.) I'm also grateful to the staffs at the US Army's Boston records office and the Massachusetts Military Archives in Worcester for their immediate research and mailing of records.

    Please send corrections, additions, biographies, resumes, pictures, anecdotes, data and polite comments to me, at webmaster [at] Complaints and insults should probably go to your congressman.

I've generated some other descendant charts as PDF files: Ames, Baker, Kew, Tallman, Truesdell/Truesdale, Wiles, and a Kew genealogy in "book" format.    The data is also posted online at's WorldConnect project, file "oldmankew".   If anyone whose personal info is in here wants it to be removed, just write.

outside links

Cape Cod Gravestones - great pictures, excellent commentary and documentation Farber Gravestone Collection - 13,500 excellent pictures of  early Northeastern U.S gravestones, with documentatio

Excel file of Orleans cemetery, from Orleans Hist. Soc.
I have a modified version, which I continue to work on.

Is your ancestry tired and sluggish? Maybe you need to UPGRADE!!!
Buy an ancestor online
Barnstable County Registry of Deeds index
vast files back to about 1700, some images available (requiring IE, unfortunately)
deeds home
Barnstable county GenWeb   
   town VRs online
Cape Cod Cousins - discussion list
Mass Vital Record project by town, by name
Massachusetts 1790 census
other states are also partially done - edit URL as needed
PEI genealogy
Unitarian-Universalist Biographies
Congregational Library
History of King Hiram's Lodge, Provincetown
The Political Graveyard
Connecticut Genealogy - focus on Windham county, so far
Rhode Island cemeteries index
Early Vital Records of Essex County, Massachusetts
US Navy Historical Center
Dinsmore collection of historical documents
USIGS Research Library online
Dunham - Wilcox - Trott - Kirk - Jane Devlin's huge data site
Pane-Joyce genealogy - lots of documented material from the Cape and vicinity.
Chrisman pedigree - looks at first like a limited resource, but it's an extensive site
Savage's Genealogical Dictionary, valuable but dated, hard to decipher

Ray's Place - extensive VR of Mass. and Conn, but egregious  typos make it hard to trust
Descendants of William Hillard -
Treat family. 1893. John Harvey Treat - online images
Stephen Hopkins and Plymouth, descendants of Stephen Hopkins, unsourced
Bowerman & Annable, Chandler, Dill, Downs, Dyer, Grozier, Howes, Higgins, NewcombSearsSwett, Wing,

Sibleys's Harvard Graduates; biographical sketches of those who attended Harvard College
vol. 1 (attended 1649-1659) Google page images UMich page images
vol. 2 (1659-1677 ) Google page images UMich page images
vol. 3 (1678-1689) Google page images UMich page images
vol. 4 (1690-1700) UMich page images
vol. 5 (1701-1712) UMich page images
vol. 6 (1713-1721) UMich page images
vol. 7 (1722-1725 UMich page images
vol. 8 (1726-1730) UMich page images
vol. 9 (1731-1735) UMich page images
vol. 10 (1736-1740) UMich page images
vol. 11 (1741-1745) UMich page images
vol. 12 (1746-1750) UMich page images
vol. 13 (1751-1755) UMich page images
vol. 14 (1756-1760) UMich page images
vol. 15 ( 1761-1763) UMich page images
vol. 16 ( 1764-1767) UMich page images
vol. 17 ( 1767-1771) UMich page images
Wellfleet links - Chamber of Commerce
Wellfleet Nebraska! who knew? who cares?
most useful files for me, so far: atwood, bcox2899, rkwest, bhswett, cwixgo, bobferr, sanford-shulsen, ware, carroll, mewingnut (I can't keep track of the numbered ones. I regret that some of these have been removed from Rootsweb.)

some of my other files

Wellfleet links - mine

CapeCodHistory home page

Joseph C. Lincoln, Cape Cod author, 1870-1944

Simeon L. Deyo's 1890
History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts

19th Century Cape Cod in fact and fiction

Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Eugene Van Cleef's 1933 "The Finns of Cape Cod."
my map page, with topographic and political maps of several places and times of interest to me
genealogy annoyances and wish list
observations and comments on names
bad reasoning about genealogy
In 1911, Addison published a pietist Pilgrim history which includes a chapter on their fates (I don't know whether the history is accurate.) A biographical pamphlet was written about George Webb (1740-1825.) He was born in Harwich, Massachusetts, served as an Army captain in the Revolution, and removed to Holden later.  He was the company commander for Deborah Sampson, famous for serving for several months as "Robert Shurtliffe."
 Brewster Ship Masters, 1906
The history and genealogy of Thomas Howes (c1610-1665) of Yarmouth, including a section on Rev. John Mayo (c1597-1676)
Gabriel Whelden (c1590-c1654) (several spellings) was among our 17th-century ancestors, and the family is being actively researched.
Gabriel's 2d wife was Margaret, and her history and family are argued about. One theory is that she was a sister of Rev. Marmaduke Matthews, the Whelden's minister in Malden.
Daughter Ruth married Richard Taylor of Yarmouth. Another argument is whether his daughter Mary married another Richard Taylor of Yarmouth.
Jan Porter and Daniel F. Stramara, Jr. 2009. "The origin of Gabriel Whelden of Yarmouth and Malden", Massachusetts. NEHGR 163:253-261
corrections  2010. NEHGR 164:295-6
1655 lawsuit image, courtesy of Jillaine Smith, with the disputed evidence of 2 Richard Taylors, both sons-in-law of Gabriel Whelden. Two Richard Taylors or an ancient copy error?

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