Donna and Mehitabel’s Home

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” –

Rudyard Kipling

Welcome to Donna Gawell’s website and blog.  Donna’s historical novel, In the Shadow of Salem, is scheduled for release in June 2018.  Mehitabel was a fascinating Puritan who lived from 1652-1721 in Ipswich, MA. She also was one of the 200 persons accused of witchcraft during the Salem witchcraft hysteria in 1692.

This website is dedicated to information about Mehitabel Braybrooke, the Salem Witchcraft Trials, and Donna’s extensive genealogy research.  Also, research trips to Ipswich, MA, and Europe will be discussed (mostly Sweden and Poland).

“Travel Back to Your Roots” was released in January 2017 in both print and ebook format and can be found on It is a non-fiction book about how to begin genealogy with the goal of finding cousins in Europe and the USA and how to travel to Europe to visit them! The title of this book originated from our amazing 2016 trip to Poland where we met many previously “lost” cousins.  My goal is to share my research experience with others so they might learn how to accomplish this challenge…and IT IS a challenge!

Another historical fiction novel is in the early stages of research and will be set in a small village in Poland from 1848-1945. This novel will feature the true story of four generations of women. The story begins in 1840 just before the peasants were released from serfdom in Galicia, which was under the Austrian Empire until WWI.  The story follows the family until WWII when their village was evacuated by the Nazis to build a top-secret V1 and V2 missile launching facility. Likely, the story will be a trilogy. Impeccable research is required, and I’m still translating some of the Polish and Latin documents.