Monday, October 10, 2011

Another “New to Me” Repository of Genealogy Material!

My maiden name was Wilkinson, and the first immigrant ancestor in Portsmouth was Thomas Wilkinson who married in 1715 in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire. New Hampshire’s first settlers settled near Portsmouth, all along our grand 18 miles of seacoast. This includes New Castle, Rye, Hampton and Seabrook, along with variations and break away towns such as North Hampton and Hampton Falls. My maternal great grandmother was Carrie Maud Batchelder. The first Batchelder in New Hampshire was Reverend Stephen Bachiler who wandered the New England seacoast and settled the town of Hampton in 1638 as its first pastor.

And so I’ve decided to explore the seacoast communities and their historical societies. The first one I chose to visit is Hampton, because its historical society has a complex of buildings called the Tuck Museum located right across the street from Founder’s Park. I am descended from a dozen of the families commemorated on plaques here, so I certainly wanted to see this landmark. I also noted that the museum complex included plenty of exhibits on tools and things to occupy Hubby whilst I spent some time in the library. If not, it is near enough to the beach so a companion could check out the seashore if you wish some time alone with the collections. The museum complex has five buildings, including a barn, fire house, and one room school house.
President Franklin Pierce's walking cane
(he married local girl Jane Means Appleton,
born in Hampton March 12, 1806)

The first thing I did upon hearing some wonderful comments about Tuck Museum was to check out the website. There you can find the hours, days, directions, and general information to plan your trip. If you are coming from far, this is valuable and timesaving. Fortunately for me, the Tuck Museum is less than an hour from Londonderry. There was a map of the family stones at Founder’s Park, and I printed this out to find the stones I wanted to photograph. I also checked their genealogy link to see if there was information on the families I wanted to research (thirty three surnames are listed on the website, but the collections contain many more families).

 The Tuck Museum was well staffed the Sunday afternoon I visited, with five volunteers manning the tours and the research room. At one point, Hubby and I were the only folks there, so we had plenty of people to answer questions and help us find books and materials. They also sold many good resources there such as burial ground guides, books, maps, and gifts. Some of these are also available to purchase online, such as the cemetery guides, and History of Hampton: The Early Settlers 1630 – 1730, by Edmund Willoughby Toppan, which I bought online through the Tuck Museum. It is not available on Amazon. This store page also has a link to many downloadable maps.

Volunteer Eleanor Becotte and Yours Truly
in the Tuck Museum library.
Ellie's new book about the poet Whittier is out this month!

My visit was on the first weekend of October, and the museum shop was out of some material I wished to purchase, but I was able to order it online. The staff was very helpful about giving addresses and information about the historical society holdings and locations in nearby communities such as North Hampton and Seabrook. They also knew where historic houses and cemeteries were located, and were able to give decent directions. For example, I wanted to see the 1691 grave of Edward Gove in Pine Grove cemetery, and the docent also told me that there was a historical marker in the center of the cemetery with information about Edward Gove, but the two were not adjacent to each other (this could have been confusing if I wasn’t warned ahead of time!) It is definitely a place I will be revisiting soon, since there are many more things I would like to see in the research room and more nearby cemeteries and historical sites to see. Best of all, admission is FREE!

Hampton Historical Society 

The genealogy page describing holdings in the Tuck Museum library:

The Founder’s Park page, with a link to the map showing the family surname stones:

The Tuck Museum blog “History Happens” by Betty More

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Hi Heather,

    Great resource. I'll have to get down to visit, as I have several ancestors from this area . I just shared the Hampton Historical Society Facebook page with my local Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society.

  2. This sounds like a great quest -- and a great way to visit some beautiful areas on New Hampshire as you do your research!

  3. Bingo!
    Heather this is one of our connections. I am so happy you posted this. I was just in the last week working on this group.