Presentation Notes: 2006-2007

Eastham History & Genealogy - A Summary

Presented by Marilyn Schofield - May 9, 2007

Presentation Notes -

A genealogist and researcher, Ms. Schofield spoke to CCGS about the resources available at the Eastham Public Library at the May meeting. As a town historian and Eastham Library resource person, she has worked to preserve and make records accessible to everyone. When she took charge, she began an open door policy. And with the help of her assistant, Roberta Cornish, and a grant, she has succeeded in organizing and identifying local resources.

She reminded members that Eastham, which had 11 settlers, once included the area from Truro and Wellfleet south to the Town of Chatham. Eastham records are also available at the Orleans Historical Society and from the Orleans town clerk. In Wellfleet, vital records are on microfiche but there is no reader for the North Precinct of Eastham.

In Eastham, biographies are located at the town hall and the early records are in the town clerk's office in a new area. Previously the records were stored in a vault and had mold and water damage. She found a "gold mine" of records in the Federated Church of Orleans, the meeting house, including copies of common lands deeds granted equally to the first families. When Orleans separated from Eastham in 1799, they took all the South Precinct records with them. Now Eastham has listed all these records from Orleans in the town clerk's office in Eastham and where they are available.

Ms. Schofield has also been involved with Indian research, primarily the descendants of the Madequasetts near the Orleans-Chatham line. Other information includes data from the National Seashore Archives. Many photographs are included in the Archives, including pictures of commercial buildings taken before and after World War II. There are also files on local houses in the Archives with lists of owners, age, deeds and their histories and photos. Also, there are 50 years of Grange files, a social organization that helped people, and photos of the Eastham windmill.

In addition to the Bangs family going back to England, and the May family, there are many handwritten genealogies with some documented. Other items include Town reports from 1899-2001, sea captains' logs, diaries of teachers, 50 indexed scrapbooks, vital records, audio-tapes of memories, cemetery records and much more. Ms. Schofield announced her current project begun recently - a history of people living there now. Forms were given out at Town meeting and were returned with their family histories. There are pamphlets for sale and many tapes on Cape Cod topics and families are available at the library. She is willing to help people, so calls can be made for appointments.

Marilyn Schofield is the author of Eastham: Images of America series.

See the Presentation Notes Index for summaries of other presentations given at the Society's monthly meetings.