Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Fraternal Organization

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  The first weathervanes I published were from the Nutfield (Londonderry) area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes from all over New England.  Some weathervanes are historical, some are whimsical, but all are interesting.  Often, my readers have sent me photographs of unique and unusual weather vanes from all across the USA and around the world.  If you know a historical or interesting weather vane, please let me know!

Today's weathervane is from New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #219?  Scroll down to see the answer!

Today's weather vane was photographed in Hampton, New Hampshire.  You can see this weathervane from the causeway leaving Hampton Beach going west on Route 101.  The Saint James Masonic Lodge is located on a parallel street, at 77 Tide Mill Road. 

This weathervane is the typical mason's square and compass you see used everywhere in Masonic symbology.  These are the tools of the stone mason.  The letter "G" inside the square and compass stands for both "God" and "Geometry".  I've seen this symbol on Masonic halls, on Masonic insignia and jewelry, and on gravestones.  I'm sure you've seen it, too, but this is the first time I've seen it on a weathervane!

Saint James Masonic Lodge 102 -  

Click here to see the entire series of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

Click here to read an old 2012 blog post "Was Your Ancestor a Mason"

The URL for this post is
Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Robert and Sarah Peebles, double tombstone, d. 1760 and 1772, Bedford, New Hampshire

This double tombstone was photographed at the Old Bedford Cemetery,
established 1737 in Bedford, New Hampshire

Death like an over flowing flood      Doth sweep us all away
The old the young the middle age      To Death becomes a Prey.

Here lies                        Here lies
Interr'd  the                  Interr'd the
Remains of                   Remains of
Mr. Robert                    Mrs. Sarah
     Peebles,                       Peebles, wife
  who departed                  of Mr. Robert
   this Life                          Peebles who
Sept. 3d, 1772               Depated this
Aged 97 Year                  Life Novr 13, 1760

Robert Peebles was born about 1675 in Northern Ireland.  He married Sarah (Gray?) and had eight children:  Anna, Mary, Sarah, Patrick, John, Sarah, Mary and Anna.  Robert Peebles arrived in 1718 from Northern Ireland to Boston and was an early settler at Worcester, Massachusetts.  

In 1758 he sold his farm in Pelham, Massachusetts to his son Patrick and removed to Bedford, New Hampshire to live with their youngest daughter Anna Peebles Houston, the wife of Reverend John Houseton.  Sarah died two years after the move, and Robert died in Bedford, New Hampshire in 1772.  


Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Robert and Sarah Peebles, double tombstone, d. 1760 and 1772, Bedford, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 28, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy 6th Blogoversary to me!

Several years ago I started to write local history stories for the Londonderry news website. I didn’t know it was a blog.  I didn’t even know what the word blog meant.  After my first few posts, the editor gave me a password to edit my own stories in Wordpress, and that’s when I learned more about blogging.  I decided that if I could do that, why didn’t I start my own blog about my special interest in genealogy?  On 27 July 2009 I designed my blog and published my first post using Blogger.  The rest is history.

I had fun last night perusing some old blog posts.  Back in December 2011 I wrote that my most popular blog post had over 1,200 pageviews and I was feeling quite happy.  Through the power of the internet, and the incredible phenomenon of social networking online, my numbers have grown exponentially.  In December 2012 my top post had 6,000 hits.   My top post now has almost 145,000 hits, and my second most popular post lags behind at 28,325 pageviews, the third at 18,448.  Quite a jump in readers in 6 short years!

Over the past six years I have had six guest bloggers. None of them had ever written a blog post before I extended them the invitation to try a guest post.  Three of them enjoyed the experience so much that they started their own blogs, and have been very successful!  These are Bette Pye Wing at The Pye PlateJohn Tew at Filiopietism Prism, and Tom Tufts at Tufts Genealogy.   They are all still blogging away, gaining more followers every day, and making lots of cousin connections online.

My very first weathervane post was on 24 August 2011.  It was a story on the gilded centaurweathervane on top of Andy Mack’s barn in Londonderry, New Hampshire.  It was a terrible photo because I couldn’t get near enough to take a good close up.  But it was the start of something great, because now I have posted 218 “Weathervane Wednesday” stories, with weather vanes from all over Nutfield, and from all over New England, the US, and from around the world!

In the past six years I have posted:

51 Wordless Wednesdays
52 Women’s History stories
56 “Amanuensis Monday” posts (mostly transcribed letters)
57 posts that mention “Liliuokalani”
65 stories based in the town of Ipswich, Massachusetts
66 posts with the keyword “Spain”
66 stories with the surname ALLEN
72 stories with the keyword “Revolutionary War”
92 stories with the surname WILKINSON
96 posts about the city of Beverly, Massachusetts
114 posts about historic sites inside and outside of New England
130 posts with the keyword “Derry”
170 posts with the keyword “Londonderry”
176 Surname Saturday posts
228 posts with the keyword  “cemeteries”
255 Tombstone Tuesdays

Thank you to all my blog followers!  I love the blog comments, email and Facebook discussions.  Please continue to send your notes, comments and suggestions - and especially your cousin connections.  Thank you also to all the blog followers who have joined my “Nutfield Genealogy” Facebook page.   There are 441 people at that page, maybe by next year’s blogoversary I will have reached 500.  Fingers crossed!

More statistics for the truly curious:

I've written a total of 1961 posts
There have been nearly 4,000 comments (a dearth of comments this past year.  No clue why?)
A total of 1,563,669 (at the time I wrote this last night) pageviews to my blog.
My best month for readership was April 2015, with 59,394 pageviews 


 Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Happy 6th Blogoversary to me!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 27 July 2015, ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ Joseph METCALF of Ipswich, Massachusetts


Joseph Metcalf (1598/9- 1665), my 11th great grandfather, is another ancestor who has a lengthy sketch in The Great Migration series, and an equally lengthy sketch in the compiled genealogy The Driver Family, so it seems very silly to repeat it all here.  I’ll just give you the abridged version since my lineage daughters out in four generations in early Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Joseph Metcalf’s origins are from Strood near Rochester in Kent, England, where he was baptized in 1598/9, and where he was married in 1626.  He was made a freeman in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1634/5.  He served many offices such as Deputy to the Massachusetts Bay General Court, juror and several committees. He was granted land in January 1634/5 before he was even made freeman, and granted more land in 1639.   In 1650 he was excused from the militia “on account of his lameness in one arm and deafness on one side of his head”.  He died in 1665, and his will was signed (so he had some education). 

Apparently he had only one child, my 10th great grandfather Thomas Metcalf, born about 1629 probably in England.  I don't know his wife's maiden name.  Three of his children: Joseph, Mary and Elizabeth were mentioned in their grandfather’s1664  will.  Another child, Thomas, was born in 1667. I descend from Joseph (1660/1 – 1702), and I don't know his wife's maiden name either.  His daughter, Abigail Metcalf (1686 – 1720) my 8th great grandmother,  married James Davis in 1704. 

Two generations of great grandmother's are in this lineage, without any maiden name or identification.  If anyone has a clue as to their parentage please leave me a comment here or an email at  

Some METCALF resources:

The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634 – 1635, Robert Charles Anderson, 2007, Volume V, pages 114 – 117 for a sketch of Joseph Metcalf of Ipswich.

The Driver Family: A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Robert and Phebe Driver, of Lynn, Massachusetts, by Harriet Ruth (Waters) Cooke, (New York, 1889), see pages 394 – 405 for the Metcalf information. This book is available to read online at Google Book Search.

The Hammatt Papers: Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1633 - 1700,  by Abraham Hammatt, 1854,  is available to read online at and

My METCALF genealogy:

Generation 1:  Joseph Metcalf, son of Thomas Metcalf “age about sixty”, baptized on 28 January 1598/9 at Strood near Rochester, Kent, England; died 21 July 1665 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 29 May 1626 at Strood near Rochester to Elizabeth Baker, mother of one child.  She married second on 8 November 1670 in Salem to Edward Beauchamp.

Generation 2: Thomas Metcalf, baptized 26? April 1629 at Strood near Rochester, died 1702 in Ipswich; married about 1658 to Abigail Unknown, mother of three children.   He remarried to the widow Lydia Davis.

Generation 3: Joseph Metcalf, born 27 January 1660 in Ipswich; married first to Rebecca Unknown, mother of one child; married second in 1670 to Ann Chickering, widow of Stephen Paine.

Generation 4:  Abigail Metcalf, born 29 March 1686; married on 5 January 1704 in Ipswich to James Davis, son of James Davis and Bethiah Leach.  He was born 7 May 1685 in Gloucester, died 5 March 1742 in Gloucester.  Two children.

Generation 5:  Abigail Davis m. John Poland
Generation 6:  Daniel Poland m. Sarah Bishop
Generation 7:  Martha Poland m. Alexander Mears
Generation 8:  Samuel Mears m. Lydia W. Burnham
Generation 9:  Samuel Mears m. Sarah Ann Burnham
Generation 10: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 11:  Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 12: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Allen (my grandparents)

Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~  Joseph METCALF of Ipswich, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 25, 2015 (  accessed [access date]).

Friday, July 24, 2015

Felton Family Reunion 2015, Peabody, Massachusetts

Mary Kate Felton, President of the Felton Family Association,
welcomed everyone to the 27th annual Felton Reunion in Peabody, Massachusetts

Cora Felton Anderson, from Washington state,
gave a genealogy talk to the attendees,
on new information about Ellen/ Eleanor (Thrower) Felton,
mother of early Salem settler, Nathaniel Felton, Sr.

My first cousin, Sue Wilkinson Parker,
showing the Phebe Cross Munroe sampler.
Phebe was our great- great grandmother,
and a Felton descendant
There were twenty one attendees today at the first day of the 27th annual Felton Family reunion at the Felton homesteads in Peabody, Massachusetts.  We enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner together, with genealogy talks and tours of the Nathaniel Felton, Sr (1615 - 1705) home and the Nathaniel Felton, Jr. (1655 - 1733) homesteads.  It was a beautiful day, and great weather for exploring the grounds.

Tomorrow will be the family association business meeting, and another luncheon.

Felton descendants visiting the Nathaniel Felton, Sr. House on Felton Road, Peabody, Massachusetts
built circa 1644

This is hanging in the Nathaniel Felton, Jr. homestead.
John Proctor is my 8th great grandfather, and Nathaniel Felton, Sen. is my 10th great grandfather

"We, whose names are under written,
having several years known John Proctor and his wife,
do testify that we never heard or understood that they
were ever suspected to be guilty of the crime now charged
upon them, and several of us being their near neighbors,
do testify that, to our apprehension, they lived Christian like
in their family, and were never ready to help such as stood 
in need of their help"

[signed] Nathaniel Felton, Sen., and Mary his wife
Smeul Marsh, and Priscilla his wife
James Moulton, and Ruth, his wife
John Felton, Nathaniel Felton, Jr.
Samuel Frayll, and Ann, his wife
Samuel Endicott, and Hannah his wife
Samuel Stone, George Locker
Samuel Gaskill, and Revidal, his wife
George Smith, Edward Gaskill"

[in the original paper, there were some, perhaps many, names cut 
off by scissors, according to C. W. Upham's History of Witchcraft)

"Court of Oyer and Terminer, Essex County, File Papers 1, 110, Petition for John and Elizabeth Proctor, 1692 (on deposit at the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.) Courtesy of James D. Leary, Clerk of Courts for Essex County"

This family tree hanging in the Nathaniel Felton, Jr. home
shows Sarah Felton, my 5th great grandmother, daughter of
Malachi Felton, and wife of Robert Wilson

A beautiful back garden behind the Nathaniel Felton, Jr. House

The Nathaniel Felton, Jr. Homestead, built circa 1685,
located right next door to the Nathaniel Felton, Sr. Homestead
My 6th great grandmother, Sarah Felton (1750 - 1836) was the last Felton born here.

Nathaniel John Felton, a direct descendant of Nathaniel Felton
enjoyed his first visit to the Felton homesteads and the family reunion! 
The Felton Family Association website

The Peabody Historical Society (who own and operate the two Felton homesteads

Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Felton Family Reunion 2015, Peabody, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 24 July 2015, (  accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ When Pigs Fly!

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started by publishing weathervanes from just the Londonderry area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes from all across New England.  Some of the weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting.  Often, my readers will send me some photos of very unique and unusual weathervanes from all across the United States and the rest of the world!  If you  know an interesting or historical weathervane, please let me know.

Today's weather vane is from New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #218?  Scroll down to see the answer!

Today's weather vane was photographed on Hackett Hill Road in Hooksett, New Hampshire.  This farmhouse is right around the corner from me, and I've passed it dozens of times.  However, the weather finally turned warm so Vincent and I went out in April with the little red convertible and got these photographs.  It's easy to take weathervane photos when the top is down!

This is a three dimensional flying pig.  The weathervane is bright and shiny copper or brass, so it must be fairly new.  I could see this weathervane every time I passed by because it catches the sunlight.  It's adorable, and I'm so glad that Vincent was finally able to get a photo of this weather vane!

Click here to see the entire series of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

Published under a Creative Commons license
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ When Pigs Fly!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 22, 2015, (  accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ William Moor, Elder, d. 1789, Bedford, New Hampshire

This double tombstone was photographed at the Old Bedford Cemetery,
established 1737 in Bedford, New Hampshire

My glass is run                      My glass is            
SACRED                       SACRED
To the Memory of                  To the Memory of
William Moor                      Mrs. Mary Moor
Elder,                                  wife of
who departed this life                                               
In the 72d  year                                                    
of his                                                 
   Happy the company that's gone
From cross to crown, from thrall to throne
How should they sing upon the shore,
To which they fail'd in heart before.       

This image is usually carved on the tombstones of
clergymen, deacons and elders in New England

It is interesting that Mrs. Moor's death information is not included, nor is the phrase "My glass is run" completed on her side of this double tombstone. Perhaps she remarried and is buried with husband number two?

William Moor was born about 1717 in Antrim, Northern Ireland and died 17 February 1789 in Bedford, New Hampshire. He was the son of John Moor and Jennett who came from Ulster to Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1724 with their two sons, Samuel and William.  They had two more sons, Robert and Daniel, born in Londonderry.   William and Daniel were two of the petitioners for the incorporation of the town of Bedford on 10 May 1750.   

William Moor married Mary (Molly) Jack, and he was also a Captain during the Revolutionary War.  William and Molly had seven children:  Nancy, b. 1740 in Londonderry; Jenet, b. 1744 in Londonderry; Molly b. Londonderry date unknown; John, b. 1746 in Bedford; Elizabeth, b. 1750 in Bedford; James, b. 1754 in Bedford; William, b. 1760 in Bedford. 


Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ William Moor, Elder, d. 1789, Bedford, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy,  posted July 21, 2015, ( : accessed [access date]). 

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Top Ten Genealogy Books

In 2011 I posted the top 8 genealogy books I use most of the time when research, writing and blogging. You can read that link here:   

It’s time for an update!  Some of those same books from 2011 are still among my most used books, and some are new or updated versions.  What books are your most favorite genealogy books?  Which books do you use the most?

Remember, my genealogy is focused on New England.  This is a list of the books I find the useful, and you might, too, if you have ancestors in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.

The Great Migration Series

1. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620 – 1633, Three volumes, by Robert Charles Anderson, 1996.  These books list over 900 New England families with sketches on their origins, arrivals in New England, family records, and more.  I use both the online version (good for searching digitally) and the bound books on my bookshelf. I reach for these books several times a week, and for most of my "Surname Saturday" blog posts.

2.  The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England 1634-1635, Seven volumes, by Robert Charles Anderson, 2011.  A follow up to The Great Migration Begins.  (see above)

3.  Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, by Michael J. LeClerc, 5th edition, 2012.  This book needs an update for 2015, but it is still well used.  I just keep crossing out and penciling in changes in addresses, phone numbers and URLs.   This guide book will help you locate public records, archives, libraries, genealogical societies and libraries in New England.  There are maps, state information, and more.  I’ve owned many of these editions over the years and they are invaluable for New England research. 

Index to Genealogies in
New Hampshire Town Histories

4. Index to Genealogies in New Hampshire Town Histories, by William Copley, New Hampshire Historical Society, 2000.   This book indexes New Hampshire families by surname, and gives the town histories where there are genealogical write ups for each family. I wish there was a similar book for Massachusetts and Maine! This book also needs a good update, but I still refer to it almost daily.  William Copley recently retired from the NHHS, so  are there any volunteers for an updated edition?

New Englanders in the 1600s

5. New Englanders in the 1600s: Expanded Edition, by Martin E. Hollick, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.     Four years ago I listed the 2006 edition. I’m very glad that I updated to the new “expanded edition”, it was very good investment.  This book lists the most recent genealogical articles and books published between 1980 and 2010.  I always refer to this book to find the most recent research on any early New England ancestor.

6. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition, 2015 by Elizabeth Shown Mills.    Four years ago I listed Elizabeth Shown Mills book, Evidence!  Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian, 1997.  Her new book is just released this year.  This book is the ultimate guide to correctly citing genealogical sources, especially the odd ones found online or in family collections.   Check out the website   This book is also available in an electronic version.

7. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, Four volumes, by James Savage, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1969.  This is an invaluable resource for New England genealogy. It is old, and you will need to read up on Martin Hollick’s New Englanders in the 1600s to see if your particular ancestors have had any newer research published lately.

8. Piscataqua Pioneers: Selected Biographies of Early Settlers in Northern New England,   by the Piscataqua Pioneers, 2000.   See the website for the lineage society and to purchase this book   This is THE BOOK to have if your ancestors lived in colonial Northern New England in the area of the Piscataqua River, spanning both Maine and New Hampshire's border region (Rockingham, York, Strafford Counties especially). 

My shelf of Mayflower books
including several Silver Books and MFIP pink booklets

9.  Silver Books Series and the pink “Mayflower Families in Progress (MFIP) booklets, published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  These books are collectively known as the “Five Generations Project” even though now they have been researched and published past the first five generations for the Mayflower passengers known to have left descendants. There are some being published now for non-passengers (allied family members), such as DELANO and CUSHMAN  .  The MFIP books are made available while information is being researched, and once complete they become Silver books. They are NOT available online (except for a few very outdated, older volumes). 

10.  A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries, 2nd edition,  by David Allen Lambert, 2009.  A town by town list of the cemeteries in Massachusetts, with a short sketch of information including contact information and other valuable tidbits.  I wish every New England state had a book like this. 


Published under a Creative Commons License
Heather Wilkinson Rojo,  "My Top Ten Genealogy Books", Nutfield Genealogy, July 20, 2015, (  accessed [access date]).