My husband, Rob, is only a little interested in genealogy. Usually, his eyes glaze over when I tell him something about his ancestors. I’m sure you can all relate. But he surprised me.
We had a free hotel room coming to us that was going to expire at the end of 2022, so he came up with the idea of traveling to Newbury and Newburyport, MA to see the ancestral lands of his 8x great-grandfather, Henry Lunt, one of the founders of Newbury back in the 1630s.
It’s a great time of year to do this kind of thing as long as the weather cooperates. Newburyport, as the name suggests, is a coastal town, so in the summer months, it is filled with tourists and would be much harder to get around.
The first stop was the monument dedicated to the first settlers. Names of interest for Rob include Lunt, Dole, Cutting, Knight, Noyes, Rolfe, and Emery.
Next was the Burying Ground of the First Settlers.
It is set off the road and there is no parking available, so we just parked on the side and walked a few feet to the entrance.
I already knew Henry Lunt would not have a headstone, even though he is buried here. But other direct-line ancestors do have headstones such as Richard Dole and his wife Hannah Rolfe, another set of Rob’s 8x great-grandparents. If you do the math we each have 1,024 8th great-grandparents.
After a nice drive around, we wanted to see if we could find any more Lunt ancestors, so it was off to two cemeteries, First Parish Burying Ground (established in 1635) and Oak Hill Cemetery (founded in 1842). There were numerous family members in both. Rob was equally as excited as I was when we would find one. Some headstones were by themselves and others were in a family plot with many headstones.
By the end of the day, we both felt good about what we accomplished. Rob did mention that it seems surreal that these people are part of his lineage. I guess because he is not knee-deep in records like I am, these names seem foreign to him and disconnected. I’m not sure he’ll ever want to dive into the records, but that’s okay. That’s my task and I do it happily.
Genealogy Tip: Do your research before you go on any kind of genealogy trip. Familiarize yourself with surnames that may have been associated with your ancestors. This tip helped a lot in our cemetery adventure as I looked around the headstones to see many names that were familiar.