For me, coming to Cape Ann was a journey of discovery. I have early New England ancestors who were residents in the area at about the time of the infamous Salem witch trials. That of course made me very curious. I had one ancestor who had died in Gloucester in 1728 but I had no idea where he was buried.
The Cape Anne Museum, as well as some wonderful exhibits, has a genealogy library that is the ideal place to start any research into ancestors in the area. I checked in on Friday morning and began my quest to find out where Michael Webber was buried.
There is staff available to send you in the right direction and let you know what is available. There were a lot of people searching that morning so it took me a while to get the help I needed. I was given the cemetery registers for all of the cemeteries in Gloucester. It was a painstaking search that yielded nothing. I was quite defeated. The death record was no help as it only said that he died not where he was buried.
I was looking through a book about the area when I came across a section about my ancestor Michael’s son of the same name and his wife. A minister was named who had visited their home. I mentioned it to one of the librarian and she immediately said "he is the minister from the First Parish". It seems inadvertently I had stumbled upon the information that I needed. As members of First Parish, they would have been buried in the First Parish Cemetery. Since they were not listed in that cemetery, they are unlikely to have a stone.
I immediately asked about the location of the cemetery and got a rather vague answer. Later that day, at the Sargent House Museum, the director looked it up for me and printed a map that showed me where it was. Even with that information I was not able to find it on my first attempt.
I refused to leave town without finding it so returned to the street, driving very slowly and there it was. It is off the road, there is a small sign but the cemetery is completely overgrown. A few gravestones standing in a field of hay. Too bad because this is a very historic place and many of the early settlers of Gloucester are no doubt buried here.
Another piece of information I acquired at the Cape Anne Museum was the location of my ancestor's land. It seems he was quite well off and had a large holding in an area that is quite amazing today.
As I visited the Fisherman’s Memorial on the waterfront, I realized that I had a relative on the memorial. Michael Webber's grandson lost his life and is memorialized here. I really loved my visit to Gloucester and I feel very connected to the area.