Would it be possible, during the 1600s, to die in the New World and have your body shipped/returned to where your family came from? I'm specifically looking at Mary Sharpe, Daughter of Jan and Henry Sharpe, who died abt 1650 in Concord, Massachusetts. Her burial site reveals that her body is either missing or destroyed; however, I came across a burial record in 1652 that says Mary Sharpe, daughter of Henry was buried in Desborough, Northamptonshire, England on Aug 16 1652. I'm perplexed.

  • 1
    "Her burial site reveals that her body is missing?" This phrasing is awkward. What's your source for this assertion?
    – Jan Murphy
    May 18, 2018 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


It would have been very uncommon, if it ever happened, in the 1600s. And if it did happen, I imagine it would have only have been for a person of significant wealth or importance.

The journey across the Atlantic took many weeks if not months. Most people would not want a body around for that period of time, when there were not many ways to keep a body well preserved.

Mary Sharpe was a very common name in both England and the Colonies. It is not be surprising that two people of the same common name died 3,000 miles apart around the same time. The chances that they are the same person is next to none.

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