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 and historical research.  Her research trips to Ipswich, Massachusetts, 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 was inspired by our amazing 2014, 2016 and 2018 trips 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 that should be completed by the end of 2018 will be set in a small village of Niwiska, Poland from 1939- 1945.  The story follows my family who lived in terror in this very unique village during WWII.  My relatives were  forced laborers for the Germans), Polish underground partisans in the nearby forests, and one was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Their village was the site of the largest SS training camp outside of German and was evacuated in 1942 when the Nazis brought their top-secret V1 and V2 missile launching facility to the area in 1943.