I was researching some of my grandfather's family and trying to untangle the case of the two William Bassetts. One William Bassett is the son of Roger and Ann (Holland) Bassett. Roger died before 1635. Ann remarried Hugh Burt and he is profiled in the Great Migration series by Robert Charles Anderson. Mr. Anderson does a great job of combing through records to put together a profile of the early immigrants to New England. One of the more interesting parts of the profiles are reading the comments section where he puts miscellaneous court records. I found this one amusing. In November 1661 Hugh Burt was expected in court to witness against Hugh Dickman for absence from public ordinances but the court noted that he did not come because..."Hugh Burt was dead."
I'm guessing that was a good reason not to show up, even in strict culture of Puritan New England.