ancestryink fisherman

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wampanoag Translation Along the Shining Sea Bikeway


The  Wampanoag's tribal lands on Martha's Vineyard occupy a fair portion of the tiny town of Gay Head, now called "Aquinnah."  

Living on the island for thirty years, I had many friends and acquaintances who were tribal members, and observed many of their events and traditions and loved the colorful and spiritual tales of their early history on the Island.

Now, living in Falmouth, I am aware of their significant presence in this part of the Cape, as well.     




 Yesterday, after writing writing writing all morning, (and after the carpet guys left, leaving my two back bedrooms finally looking fresh, inviting and ready for guests!) I headed out into the gorgeous warm sun to walk a portion of the Shining Sea Bikeway. 


Many surprises along the way.  I came across an overlook of sunlit marshlands, with the interesting translation of Wampanoag language, and appreciated the lovely way they described their lands:  


"There is this place where the brook, seep8ees, joins in spirit with the little place where the water pours out, Sakoneesut..."


Further along the Bikeway  - Greater Sippewisset Marsh

 Despite their presence all around me, I have not specifically researched the genealogy of the Wampanoags. Their records can be found in numerous online databases and of course, local libraries and historical societies.  Here are just two examples of online findings:


NEHGS online records provide, among other sources, an interesting excerpt from the Barnstable, Mass. town records, dated 1675.  We read of the sale of land between local Indian Kenecompsit, and citizens Hinckley, Davis, Gorham, and Lewes,  who were representing the town of Barnstable.  Kenecompsit's land was sold to the town for 5 pounds.  I wonder if this was the going rate was for land, in 1675...(click the image for a clear reading)


And, provides a starting point for Wampanoag  research.

 Below, a sampling of links provided on that page.

Important Web Sites


  1. So glad to see an entry from your blog in a NEHGS email I just received. I had ancestors on Martha's Vineyard; lived on Nantucket from '72 to '75, but I did not know about those ancestors at the time. My fifth great grandfather, David Merry, m. Eunice Chase Chase. They moved to Industry, Maine. I'm interested in your work. I had an article in the Maine Gen. Soc. Journal in Nov. '12, about my former husband's Hilton family. I still have a mystery about one of his ancestors who lived on Falmouth Neck (District ME) in 1750's and '60's, but disappeared from records during the American Revolution. His widow is mentioned in documents for assessed damages due to the burning of Falmouth by Capt. Mowatt, but she is HOH and he's nowhere to be found. It is a mystery I am still working on. Sorry to be so long winded. It's just nice to find a like-minded researcher.

    1. Hi Merrylyn, I knew a David Merry while living on the Island! He was a stone mason. The Merry family is very much there.

      It does get a little confusing with the dual town names in Maine and Massachusetts. Have to really watch those dates. And Hilton is a very familiar family name in Maine. I'd like to read your article if you wanted to send me a link to it. Let me know if there is anything in the Falmouth/Islands area I can help you with.

  2. I also found this blog via the NEHGS newsletter. I also had a master mariner great grandfather - but he only had one wife . He was a whaling captain and the family is lucky enough to have the remains of a log book he wrote in when he was first mate on the Ship Florida. I was able to plot their voyage from the recorded coordinates - which was lots of fun. I have not been able to idenify his parents but he lived his mariner life in Acushnet/New Bedford.
    Julie Rosales

  3. Hi Julie, Thanks for your great story. The log must be amazing. I find the maritime and shipping records just really fascinating. Through records in Bath, Maine where many of the ships were built, and the New Bedford Whaling and Shipping Transcript newspaper, I have discovered a lot! I'm getting ready to make a trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and also the local library that holds many ship-related records. Let me know if I can look into anything while I"m there. Jane