Showing posts with label Munroe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Munroe. Show all posts

Monday, August 18, 2014

Another Unfinished Sampler, and another Mystery!

(two lines of stitching picked out)

Then let us think on death
Though we are yours and gay
For God who gave our life and breath
Can take them soon away

Wrought by Mary Williams.  Under
the care of L. Brigham.  Born April 13th
1803.  Aged 14 Marlborough Aug. 1st 1817

Last year I posted a story about my 2nd great grandmother, Phebe Cross Munroe’s (1830 – 1895) unfinished schoolgirl sampler.  You can read it at this link HERE.    A reader, Carolyn Stone, contacted me via email and sent me photos of this unfinished schoolgirl sampler she owns.   Carolyn also has the marriage record, a will, some handwritten family records and drawings that all go along with this little unfinished sampler by Mary Williams of Marlborough, Massachusetts.

According to the Marlborough, Massachusetts published vital records, Volume 1, page 199 Mary Williams was born on April 13, 1803, the daughter of Joseph Williams, Jr. and Mary.    The marriage records of Marlborough identify her mother Mary as Mary Freeman [Volume 1, page 328], and the date of the marriage as January 6, 1803 in Marlborough.   Mary Williams had siblings- Anna, born June 30, 1804; Daniel, born March 1, 1811; and Joseph, born February 5, 1814.

According to The History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, by Charles Hudson, Boston, 1862, page 471, Joseph Williams was the son of Joseph Williams and Anna Stow, and grandson of Joseph William and Lydia Unknown.  This wife was Lydia Munroe, born March 7, 1717/18 in Weston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Benjamin Munroe and Lydia Stone, my first cousin 7 generations removed.  So the two little girls who stitched these samplers, Mary Williams and Phebe Cross Munroe, were distant cousins!  See the book, The Monroe Book: Being the history of the Munro Clan from its origins in Scotland to settlement in New England and migration to the West, 1652 – 1850 and beyond, by John Guilford, Genealogy Publishing Service, Franklin, NC, 1993.   The Weston vital records are available online at

If anyone has any further information on Mary Williams or her sampler, please comment here or email me at and I will pass on the information to Carolyn Stone.   Thank you!

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ William Frederick Munroe, 1912, Peabody, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Monumental Cemetery, Peabody, Massachusetts

1864 - 1912
1868 - 1939

William Frederick Munroe is my first cousin three generations removed.  His father, William Calvin Munroe (1833 - 1891) is the brother of my 2nd great grandmother, Phebe Cross (Munroe) Wilkinson.  William Frederick was born 31 March 1864 in Peabody, and died 10 June 1912 in Peabody.  He married Clara Bailey Mansfield on 2 June 1892 in Salem, Massachusetts.  She was the daughter of Edward Gelen Mansfield and Rebecca Stacey Breed, born 14 September 1868 in Wakefield, Massachusetts, died 25 March 1939 in Peabody.  William and Clara had nine children.

from Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts by Benjamin F. Arrington, Volume III, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1922, page 137-138:

"William Frederick Munroe, son of William Calvin Munroe and his first wife, Adeline B. (Jones) Munroe, was born in Peabody, Massachusetts, March 31, 1864, there spent his life in honorable usefulness and died June 10, 1912.  He was educated in Peabody schools, and the Bryant and Stratton Business College, then began his business career with his father, founder of the express business which was son long known as the Munroe and Arnold Express Company.  At the death of his father, William C. Munroe, he succeeded him as head of the business and conducted it for the benefit of the Arnold estate.  In 1904 the Munroe and Arnold Express Company bought the old established express business of David Merritt, and in 1905 acquired the J. H.  Moulton Express Company of Salem, and both those companies were merged with the Munroe and Arnold Express company.  On September 1, 1905, the business was incorporated under the Massachusetts laws as the Munroe-Arnold-Merritt Express Company, William F. Munroe president, a position he held until his passing seven years later.
In civic affairs Mr. Munroe was the interested patriotic citizen.  In politics a Republican, he served as member of the party town committee for ten years; in 1896 was elected a trustee of Peabody Institute; member of the School Committee and chairman of the board until his death; and in 1910 represented Peabody in the Massachusetts Legislature.  He was held in the highest esteem by his townsmen, and at the spring election preceding his death he was re-elected to the School Committee to serve threee years.  He was a director of the Warren Five Cents Savings Bank, a member of the Investment Committee, and deeply interested in these duties as he was in all the business and other organizations with which he was connected.  He was a Master Mason of Jordan Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; a companion of Washington chapter, Royal Arch Masons; a sir kight of Winslow Lewis Commandery, Knights Templar, all of Salem; past noble grand of Holten Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows; a member of Abbott council, Order of United American Mechanics; Peabody Board of Trade; Danvers Gold Club; Colonial Club of Salem; and was active in the affairs of the Universalist church.
Mr. Munroe married, June 2, 1892, Clara Bailey Mansfield, born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, September 14, 1869, daughter of Edward Galen and Rebecca Stacey (Breed) Mansfield, born January 15, 1841, died June 8, 1889, was a daughter of Captain Hubbard Breed an old time deep water master of ships.  Edward Mansfield was born April 14, 1813.  Clara (Bailey) Mansfield was born September 15, 1868.  Nine children were born to William F. and Clara Bailey (Mansfield) Munroe, sevn in Peabody and two in Salem.  1. Eleanor Vinton, born March 26, 1893, died October 18, 1897.  2. Ruth, born June 15, 1894, a graduate of the Massachusetts State Normal School at Framingham, 1915; married January 15, 1916, Charles H. Wentworh, and has two daughters Clara Munroe, born January 15, 1917, and Viginia Alan, born June 23, 1920.  3.  Alice Hubbard, born November 11, 1895, a graduate of Burdett College, class of 1915; married June 26, 1920, Samuel Oliver King.  4. Marjorie, born November 27, 1898, married February 9, 1915, Ralph K. Raymond, and has two children; John Munroe, born 19 July 1916, and Eleanor Wilson, born November 11, 1918.  5. Allen Breed, born March 11, 1900; he entered the United States service in March 1918, and was honorably discharged in September 1919.  he was in training at the United States Radio Station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prior to entering the service, being in teh navy.  He crossed the ocean three times and saw active service.  Since the war he attended Eastern Radio Institute at Boston, Massachusetts, as a student, is now a radio operator, first class, and has again crossed the ocean three times.  6. William Calvin, born May 20 , 1902, a  student at Brown University, class of 1923.  7.  Edward Mansfield, born March 9, 1904, a student at high school.  8. John Vinton, born August 6, 1905, a student at high school.   9. Frederick Galen, born July 4, 1910.  The family home was in Peabody, but a summer home was maintained in Salem many years.  Mrs. Clara Bailey (Mansfield) survives her husband, and continues her residence in Peabody, Massachusetts at No. 25 Orchard Street."


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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Munroe, Peabody, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Monumental Cemetery, Peabody, Massachusetts

In memory of
wife of 
Mr. Isaac Munroe
who died 
Dec. 7, 1842
Aged 57

In Memory of
Mr. Isaac Munroe
who died
Feb. 18, 1822
Aged 38.

Isaac Munroe is my 3rd great grand uncle.  I descend from his youngest brother, Luther Simonds Munroe (1805 - 1851).   Isaac and Luther were the sons of Andrew Munroe, a Revolutionary War patriot from Lexington, Massachusetts, and his wife Ruth Simonds.  Isaac was their eldest child, named for Andrew's brother.  Isaac was born 19 July 1785 in Woburn, Massachusetts and died 18 February 1822 in Lynn, Massachusetts.  He was killed "by his team [of horses] in Lynn" according to his Danvers death record, and he was only 38 years old.

He married Mary Curtis on 8 September 1807 in Danvers, Massachusetts.  She was the daughter of Andrew Curtis and Hannah Small, born 14 March 1783 in Danvers and died 7 December 1842 in Danvers.  They had seven children.  Isaac's occupation was cordwainer (shoemaker).

According to the complied Munroe genealogy book by Joan Guilford "Isaac d. intestate and on 4 March 1822 w. Mary declined admin., which was given to Nathan Poor and approved by Andrew, Edmond and Uriah, Isaac's bros.  On 2 Apr. 1822 Mary petit. ct. for support stating she 'is left destitute with seven children, six of them daughters, the eldest a cripple, youngest a son of four months.'  Court allowed her $150 Essex probate No. 19099."

These are lovely gravestones, quite identical with intricate carving.  I wonder who paid for them if Mary was left destitute?

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Luther and Olive Munroe, Peabody, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Monumental Cemetery in Peabody, Massachusetts

Dec. 21, 1851
Aged 46
Blessed are the dead who die
in the Lord

Wife of
Luther S. Munroe
Nov. 26, 1875
Aged 70 yrs.
Reached, we trust, an heavenly home
And they Savior's blest abode

Luther Simonds Munroe is my 3rd great grandfather.  He was the son of Andrew Munroe, a Revolutionary War patriot, and Ruth Simonds, born 10 May 1805 in Danvers, Massachusetts.  He was a "huckster", with a newspaper stand about two blocks from this cemetery in Peabody Square. He died young, at age 46, on 23 December 1851.

His had married on 3 September 1826 in Reading, Massachusetts to Olive Flint.  She was the daughter of John Flint and Phebe Flint (second cousins).  They had six children born in Danvers and Salem, Massachusetts.

Several years ago a distant Munroe cousin contacted me via the internet about genealogy.  She lived in Hudson, New Hampshire, right next door to me in Londonderry.  We have met several times to exchange Munroe information.  She descends from Luther and Olive's son, William Calvin Munroe (1833-1891).  I descend from his elder sister, Phebe Cross Munroe (1830 - 1895). She took me to Peabody to visit the Monumental Cemetery, where many Munroes and Wilkinsons are buried.  We had a fun day together exploring the cemetery with her dog Hamm, and we even had time to drive over to Farnham's in Essex for fried clams for lunch.

Children of Luther and Olive Munroe:

  1.  William Calvin Munroe, born 20 March 1827 in Danvers, died 9 September 1830 in Danvers

  2.  Luther Simonds Munroe, Jr., born 31 December 1823 in Reading, no further information

  3.  Phebe Cross Munroe, born 28 October 1830 in Danvers, died 31 January 1895 in Salem; married Robert Wilson Wilkinson

   4.  William Calvin Munroe, born 21 December 1833, died 10 August 1891 in Salem; married Adeline Bradley Jones.

   5.  Olivia Adeline Munroe, born 18 January 1836 in Salem, died 29 November 1905 in Charlestown, Massachusetts; married first to Corydon B. Green, married second to John Henry Grout.

   6.  George Warren Munroe, born 2 August 1840 in Salem, died on 2 February 1867 in Danvers of consumption, unmarried at age 26.  He is buried with a Civil War marker.  He served as a private in Co. A of the 59th Infantry Regiment of Massachusetts between 16 November 1863 and 11 May 1865.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Wilkinson Monument, Peabody, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Monumental Cemetery in Peabody, Massachusetts

This gravestone is also a family mystery

1830    ROBERT W. WILKINSON 1874
1831    PHEBE C.  HIS WIFE          1895
1856    WALTER                              1858
1855     R. HENRY                           1884
1884      EDWARD POOR               1884
1860     ALBERT M.                        1908
1863     ISABELLA B.                      1935

This is not the original gravestone for the Wilkinson family.  About fifteen years ago a volunteer through the Genealogical Acts of Kindness website transcribed the epitaphs for the three stones at this family plot and they read:

Robert W. Wilkinson
died March 23, 1874
aged 43 years, 8 months and 27 days
"Gone to that spirit land,
We are waiting to meet you there"

R. Henry 

[I assume this might have been for Edward Poor Wilkinson, R. Henry's child?]

Now there is a large monument to the entire family at Plot #950 at Monumental Cemetery.  I don't know who bought the new monument, or what happened to the original gravestones.  It is a mystery.  Apparently 15 years ago many of the family members did not have individual stones, or they had been lost, broken or stolen.

The Wilkinson Family

Robert Wilson Wilkinson, son of Aaron Wilkinson and Mercy F. Wilson, was born on 26 May 1830 in Salem, Massachusetts, died 23 March 1874 in Peabody, Massachusetts; married on 24 November 1853 in Danvers to Phebe Cross Munroe, daughter of Luther Simonds Munroe and Olive Flint.  They had three sons:

   1.  Robert Henry Wilkinson, born 14 January 1855 in South Danvers (now Peabody), died 22 September 1884 in Peabody; married on 18 April 1883 in Peabody to Eliza Harris Poor, the daughter of Nathan Holt Poor and Abigail Morrill.  She was born on 27 October 1854 in Danvers, and she married second to Moses Bailey Page on 18 July 1893 in Peabody.  Robert's only son, Edward Poor Wilkinson, died at two months old on 10 October 1884, just two weeks after Robert's own death.

   2.   Walter Wilkinson was born 3 November 1856 in South Danvers and died on 2 April 1858 in South Danvers.

   3.   Albert Munroe Wilkinson was born 7 November 1860 in Danvers, and died 12 May 1908 at the Corey Hill Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts; married on 18 October 1894 in Salem to Isabella Lyons Bill, daughter of Caleb Rand Bill and Ann Margaret Bollman.  Isabella was born in January 1863 in Machias, Maine and died 19 January 1935 in Beverly, Massachusetts.  They had two children.

All of Robert Henry Wilkinson's sons died young.  The only one who had children who lived to adulthood was the youngest son, Albert, my great grandfather.  Of his two children, only my grandfather, Donald Munroe Wilkinson, had descendants.  None of us know who bought or erected this monument, which is quite large and very grand.  It is a mystery.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, April 18, 2014

Eyewitness to the Battle of Lexington, 19 April 1775

The Munroe Tavern, Lexington, Massachusetts

This is the deposition of William Munroe made 7 March 1825, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  He was a second cousin to my ancestor, Andrew Munroe.   There were nine Munroe men present at the Battle of Lexington, and two of the eight men killed at the village green were Munroes.   The Jonas Parker mentioned in this deposition was married to Andrew Munroe’s younger sister, Lucy.   William Munroe (1742 – 1827) was the sergeant of the Lexington militia and an innkeeper.  He died on 30 October 1827, just two years after making his statement:

“I, William Munroe, of Lexington, on oath do testify, that I acted as orderly sergeant in the company commanded by Captain Parker, on the 19th of April, 1775; that early in the evening of the 18th of the same April, I was informed by Solomon Brown, who had just returned from Boston, that he had seen nine British officers on the road, traveling leisurely, sometimes before and sometimes behind him; that he had discovered, by the occasional blowing aside of their top coats that they were armed. On learning this, I supposed they had some design upon Hancock and Adams, who were then at the house of the Reverend Mr. Clarke, and immediately assembled a guard of eight men, with their arms to guard the house. About midnight, Colonel Paul Revere rode up the road and requested admittance. I told him that the family had just retired, and had requested, that they might not be disturbed by any noise about the house. "Noise!" said he, "you'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out." We then permitted him to pass. Soon after, Mr. Lincoln came. These gentlemen came different routes, Revere came over the ferry to Charlestown, and Lincoln over the neck through Roxbury; and both brought letters from Dr. Warren in Boston to Hancock and Adams, stating that a large body of British troops had left Boston, and were on their march to Lexington. On this, it was thought advisable, that Hancock and Adams should withdraw to some distant part of the town. To this Hancock consented with great reluctance, and said, as he went off. "If I had my musket, I would never turn my back upon these troops." I however conducted them to the north part of town, and then returned to the meeting-house, where I arrived at about two o'clock on the morning of the 19th. On the arrival of Colonel Paul Revere, the alarm had been given, and, on my return, I found Captain Parker and his militia company paraded on the common, a little in the rear of the meeting-house. About this time, one of our messengers, who had been sent toward Cambridge to get information of the movement of the regulars, returned and reported, that he could not learn, that there were any troops on the road from Boston to Lexington, which raised some doubt as to their coming, and Captain Parker dismissed his company, with orders to assemble again at the beat of the drum. Between day-light and sun-rise Captain Thaddeus Bowman rode up and informed, that the regulars were near. The drum was then ordered to be beat, and I was commanded by Captain Parker to parade the company, which I accordingly did, in two ranks, a few rods northerly of the meeting-house.

When the British troops had arrived within about a hundred rods of the meeting-house, as I was afterwards told by a prisoner, which we took, "they heard our drum, and supposing it to be a challenge, they were ordered to load their muskets, and to move at double quick time." They came up almost upon a run. Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn rode up some rods in advance of their troops, and within a few rods of our company, and exclaimed, "Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!" and immediately fired his pistol. Pitcairn then advanced with his troops, and finding we did not disperse, they being within four rods of us, he brought his sword down with great force, and said to his men, "Fire, damn you, fire!" The front platoon, consisting of eight or nine, then fired, without killing or wounding any of our men. They immediately gave a second fire, when our company began to retreat, and as I left that field, I saw a person firing at the British troops from Buckman's back door, which was near our left, where I was parading the men when I retreated. I was afterward told, of the truth of which I have no doubt, that same person after firing from the back door, went to the front of Buckman's house, and fired there. How many of our company fired before they retreated, I can not say; but I am confident some of them did. When the British troops came up, I saw Jonas Parker standing in the ranks, with his balls and flints in his hat, on the ground, between his feet, and heard him declare, that he would never run. He was shot down at the second fire of the British, and, when I left, I saw him struggling on the ground, attempting to load his gun, which I have no doubt he had once discharged at the British. As he lay on the ground, they ran him through with the bayonet. In the course of the day, I was on the ground where the British troops were when they first heard our drum beat, which was one hundred rods below the meeting-house, and saw the ends of a large number, I should judge two hundred, of cartridges which they had dropped, when they charged their pieces. About noon I was at the north part of the town, at the house Mr. Simmonds, where I saw the late Colonel Baldwin, who informed me, that he had the custody of some prisoners, that had been put under his charge, and requested to know of me what should be done with them. I gave my opinion, that they should be sent to that part of Woburn, now Burlington, or to Chelmsford. On the return of the British troops from Concord, they stopped at my tavern house in Lexington, and dressed their wounds. I had left my house in care of a lame man, by the name of Raymond, who supplied them with whatever the house afforded, and afterwards, when he was leaving the house, he was shot by the regulars, and found dead within a few rods of the house.”

(signed) William Munroe

Here is William Munroe's obituary 15 November 1827 in the Pittsfield Sun, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 

"Death of another Revolutionary Hero

Died, at Lexington, on Monday the 29th ult [i.e., of last month], Col. WILLIAM MUNROE, aged 86 — Col. M. was orderly sergeant in the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775, the commencement of the revolutionary war.—

On the night of the 18th previous, when several British officers were seen proceeding on horseback towards the town, with the supposed intention of arresting John Hancock and Samuel Adams, Col. M. commanded the sergeant’s guard, stationed for their protection at the house where those proscribed patriots were residents in Lexington. On the receipt of intelligence that 800 British troops were secretly marching the same route, Messrs. Hancock and Adams were persuaded to retire to Woburn, and Col. M. with his party joined the Lexington company, who were immediately after attacked, before sunrise of the 19th, by the whole British force, and about 20 of the Lexington militia killed or wounded.—

The company were ordered by their commander to disperse; and the British troops proceeded to Concord, where they destroyed the provincial stores. Their triumph, however, was of short continuance; the British guard of 100 men, stationed about a mile beyond Concord village, at the North Bridge, were attacked by the militia of Concord and the neighboring towns, and forced to retire upon their main body, leaving two killed, and the same number wounded. About two hours afterward, when the British commenced their return march to Boston, they were again assaulted by the militia until they arrived at Lexington, where they were waylaid and harassed by the Lexington company, and would probably soon have been forced to surrender, had they not been reinforced by Lord Percy’s brigade of 1500 men.—

They were, however, beaten back to Boston. Col. M. participated with his company in the events of the day, leaving the care of his public house [shown above] in the superintendance of a neighbor, whom the British killed on their retreat.

Till within a year or two past, like Cincinnatus, Col. M. labored on his farm.—On the occasion of the visit of Lafayette to Lexington, three years since, arm in arm these aged veterans reconnoitered the field of battle, previous to the delivery of the address to Lafayette from the Lexington committee; and he assisted at the laying the foundation stone of the Bunker Hill Monument on the 17th June 1825.

Col. M. has been ever esteemed by his fellow townsmen as well as by strangers, for his urbanity of manners and hospitality. As a member of the legislature and in municipal stations, he was respected for information, judgement and rectitude; and as a military officer, from a subaltern to a colonel, to which grade he rose, he was distinguished as an able tactician.

It is productive of a melancholy and heartfelt sensation, to follow to the grave “the house appointed for all the living,” one after another, those vast vestiges of “the times that tried men’s souls.” It seems like tearing from us our “household gods;” like removing the “ancient landmarks” of our nation’s birth; the objects of all that is venerable and sacred, till scarcely one is left to tell the tale of revolutionary prowess. But the consolation is, that they are gathered “like a shock of corn fully ripe,” blessed with the grateful recollections of their enfranchised countrymen, full of honors and good works, to a better and happier state of existence.

His funeral was attended by a large concourse of relations and friends."


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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is Everyone Irish on St. Patrick’s Day?

Most of my ancestors are from England with a few exceptions. Sprinkled among my English ancestors are a Dutch stowaway, a Hessian Soldier, a 1650 Scots Prisoner of War, and several Ulster Presbyterians with Scots roots.  There are also several noble connections in my family tree which lead back to Normans (Vikings), Plantagenets with Spanish and French brides, and more Scots.  According to the “Ethnicity Estimate” for my DNA at I tested for 100% European, with a breakdown of 79% Europe West, 18% Ireland and 3% Iberian Peninsula and less than 1% Great Britain.  

The 18% Irish DNA has me stumped.  Of course there are plenty of brickwall maiden names in my tree, and I have only traced my WILKINSON maiden name back to London around 1690. So who are these Irish ancestors that are supposed to be hanging off my family tree? Did some of my Ulster Presbyterian ancestors have Irish spouses?  Were some of my English ancestors of Irish heritage in the centuries past? Were some of my Scots originally from Ireland?  I haven't yet found proof of a single Irish man or woman in my research.

My most heavily researched Scots lineage is MUNROE.  My immigrant ancestor in this line was William MUNROE, my 7th great grandfather, captured in 1650 at the Battle of Worcester and marched to London as a prisoner of war.  He was put on a ship to Boston and sold into servitude on the wharf at Charlestown, Massachusetts.  His descendants have been heavily researched and documented in New England.  

According to the Clan Munroe website, the surname MUNROE refers to the River Roe in Ireland, their ancient homeland.   The River Roe is located in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland.   The fact that I live today in Londonderry, New Hampshire where one of the first Scots Irish settlements was established in 1719 seems like serendipity.   Everything has come full circle?

Another puzzle is my husband’s DNA test.  He is a first generation American, with parents from Spain.  His test came back 3% African, 96% European and less than 1% West Asian. The breakdown reads 3% North African (the “Moorish” influence on his ancestry), 61% Iberian Peninsula, 21% Italy/Greece, 10% Ireland, 3% Great Britain, 1% Europe West and less than 1% Middle East.   His DNA is typical of the invading Moors, Romans, and invading Celts and other Mediterranean tribes.  What stumps me is that he has more Great Britain DNA than me, and there is a significant amount of Irish in him!  

We’ll both be wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day!

Celebrate your possible Irish roots with free access to selected Irish records at this weekend, through Saint Patrick's Day (March 17th)- 

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Friday ~ Ordinary objects with Famous Names

This photo was taken at the Concord Museum....

Here are two fire buckets I saw, and Vincent photographed them because of the name "William Munroe", my distant cousin in Concord, Massachusetts.  In the old days, before organized fire fighting departments, each family had a fire bucket by the front door.  It was full of sand or water, depending on the season, and would be borrowed or brought to a fire in the neighborhood for a "bucket brigade".  The names painted on the buckets insured that each family would receive his proper bucket again after the fire incident.

It wasn't until after Vincent took the photo that we noticed the other bucket was labeled "J. Thoreau".  This was John Thoreau, father to the famous writer, Henry David Thoreau, and neighbor to William Munroe.

Small world!

There is a research strategy in genealogy called "FANs" where one studies the friends, acquaintances, and neighbors in order to understand the family history of an ancestor, or to perhaps break down a brick wall in your research.  Finding the names of these FANs in censuses, city directories, tax lists, manuscripts and maps is the usual route.  Finding their fire buckets in a museum is unique!  In the old days we used to call FANs "cluster research".

For more photographs of scenes around Concord concerning Thoreau, please see Barbara Poole's blog post "Some of Henry David Thoreau's Houses" at this link:

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, January 27, 2014

A visit to the Concord Museum

The Concord Museum
200 Lexington Road
Concord, Massachusetts

A clock made in Concord by Daniel Munroe, case by his brother William Munroe
See my blog post last week for the special exhibit on William Munroe furniture

There is special exhibit on Daniel Chester French until March 23, 2014
He sculpted the Concord Minuteman, and the Lincoln Memorial Statue.

This is one of the two lanterns hung in the Old North Church in Boston
to signal "One if land, Two if by Sea" for Paul Revere

The Concord Museum is across the street from Ralph Waldo Emerson's House
In the 1930s his study was moved to the museum, since the house suffered several fires.

The museum if full of lots of Revolutionary War artifacts, as well as 
interesting exhibits from all time periods in Concord history.

Concord Museum 
53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord, Massachusetts 01742

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Special Exhibit until March 23rd on William Munroe, Concord, Massachusetts Furniture Maker

An eight-day clock made by Daniel Munroe and Company
with a case marked "WM", William Munroe's mark

Early Lexington, Massachusetts was known as Cambridge Farms, and also as Scotland because one of the early settlers was William Munroe.  He was a Scots prisoner of war, sold into servitude on the docks of Charlestown in 1651.  By 1657 he was free, and had removed to what is now Lexington.  His grandsons fought in the Battle of Lexington in 1775, and several were killed.   Two of my 5th great uncles, Robert Munroe (1712 - 1775) and Jonas Parker (1722 - 1775) (he was married to my 5th great grandfather's little sister, Lucy Munroe) were some of the Munroe kin killed on the 19th of April 1775. 

Jedediah Munroe (1721 - 1775), who was killed in the Battle, was a first cousin to my Munroe great uncles who died in the same battle.   His grandsons went into the clock making business together in Concord, Massachusetts. One of the three brothers, William Munroe (1778 – 1861) was a cabinetmaker, and he built the cases for the clockworks.  William was also a fine furniture maker.  During the War of 1812 his furniture business dropped off, but he learned that people were paying a premium for pencils.  Most pencils at that time were made in England, but during the war there was a shortage of them.  So William went into the pencil making business which made him a rich man.  He made the first wooden graphite lead pencils in the United States.

A display of account books and documents from William Munroe

Although he was famous for his pencil business, among collectors he is well known for his fine furniture. Any Munroe furniture that comes up at auction commands very high prices, and is highly sought after by antique dealers. His brief time as a cabinetmaker produced many wonderful pieces of furniture.   Recently many of his side boards, chests and clock cases were gathered for an exhibit at the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts.   You can see this exhibit through 23 March 2014.  They have some of his famous pencils on exhibit, too!

This is a miniature piece of furniture completed by William Munroe
toward the end of his apprenticeship as a demonstration 
of his ability as a cabinetmaker.  

At the Concord Free Public Library until January 31, 2014 is a special exhibit on the William Munroe family, too.  Before going, check the website or call them at 978-381-3300 to check the hours of the exhibit.  At this exhibit we saw lots of family photos and documents, a family tree, Munroe artifacts donated to the book and art collections at the Concord Free Public Library and more Munroe pencils on exhibit!

The Munroe Genealogy:

Generation 1 :  William Munroe, born about 1625 near Inverness, Scotland; died 27 January 1718 in Lexington, Massachusetts; married in 1672 to Mary Ball as his second wife (three wives), daughter of John Ball and Elizabeth Pierce.  She was born 1651 and died August 1692 in Lexington.  William Munroe and his first wife,  Martha George, are my 7th great grandparents.

Generation 2 : Daniel Munroe, born 12 August 1673 in Lexington, died 1 February 1733 in Lexington; married about 1716 to Dority Mooers, daughter of Jonathan Mooers and Constance Langthorne.  She was born 6 November 1688 in Newbury, Massachusetts, and she was the sister of my 6th great grandmother, Sarah Mooers, the wife of George Munroe (actually three Mooers sisters married three Munroe brothers!). 

Generation  3: Jedediah Munroe, born 20 May 1721 in Lexington,  died 19 April 1775 at the Battle of Lexington; married September 1744 in Lexington to Abigail Loring, daughter of Joseph Loring and Lydia Fiske.  She was born before 7 January 1722 in Lexington, died 30 November 1711 in Lexington.

Generation 4 : Daniel Munroe, born 23 September 1744 in Lexington, died 23 July 1827 in Roxbury, Massachusetts; married on 15 September 1774 in Roxbury to Abigail Parker.  She was born 30 January 1753 in Roxbury and died 1 May 1744 in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Generation  5:  William Munroe, born 15 December 1778 in Roxbury, Massachusetts; died 6 March 1861; married to Martha (Patty) Stone, daughter of Captain John Stone and Martha Greenough. Nine children, including William Munroe (1806 – 1877) founder of the Concord Free Public Library.

For the truly curious:

Sketch of William Munroe, Pencil Maker, at Wikipedia

There is a special exhibit on the Munroe Family of Lexington and Concord at the Concord Free Public Library until January 31, 2014.

The Concord Museum exhibit on William Munroe’s furniture runs through March 23, 2014, and you can learn more about this special exhibition at this link:

The Four Centuries of Massachusetts Funtinture Exhibition and Events website page on William Munroe, Cabinetmaker of Concord:

YouTube video of the collection “Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture” a collaboration between 11 museums and institutions   (William Munroe is mentioned in this video)

The William Munroe family papers are at the Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Massachusetts, Vault A45, Munroe, Unit 6- 2 containers (1.5 linear feet), the Munroe family photograph collection is Vault A45, Munroe Unit 5

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Dinner for some Revolutionary War Veterans

From, a news clipping from The Boston Recorder, Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, January 22, 1825.  This story originated in The New-Hampshire Patriot, and I have seen it copied in other 1825 newspapers, including The Salem Gazette (Salem, Massachusetts), The Centinel of Freedom (Newark, New Jersey), and The Columbian Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts).   It was a revolutionary dinner in more ways than one!


"The New-Hampshire Patriot contains an account of a Christmas dinner given to the Revolutionary officers and the soldiers of Hillsboro, N. H. by one of their number, General Benjamin Pierce - at which 22 persons were present, the youngest of whom was 59, and the oldest 89 years of age.  The following is a list: - Those to whose names an asterisk is prefixed, having been in the battle of Bunker Hill.

Names                                         Places of Nativity                                     Age
Ammi Andrews                               Ipswich, Mass.                                        89
John M'Colley                                 Hillsborough, N. H.                                 88
*James Taggert                               Londonderry, N. H.                                 81
*William Johnson                            Billerica, Mass.                                        77
*William Gamel                              Boston, Mass.                                          74
*James Carr                                   Litchfield, N. H.                                       73
William Taggert                              Merrimack, N. H.                                     73
William Parker                               Chelmsford, Mass.                                    72
*Thaddeus Munroe                        Billerica, Mass.                                         71
*Thaddeus Goodwin                      Leominster, Mass                                     70
*Nath'l Parmeter                           Spencer, Mass                                          70
*William Dickey                            Londonderry, N. H.                                  70
Daniel Russel                                 Andover, Mass                                         70
*John Shed                                   Dunstable, N. H.                                       70
*Isaac Andrews                            Ipswich, Mass                                           69
Daniel Killam                                Wilmington, Mass                                      69
Robert Carr                                  Litchfield, N. H.                                         68
*Zachariah Robbins                      Westford, Mass                                         68
*Benjamin Pierce                          Chelmsford, Mass                                     66
David Livermore                           Sudbury, Mass                                          62
Samuel Morrill                              Manchester, N.H.                                      59
Nath'l Johnston                             Andover, Mass                                          59

About eleven o'clock, at which time the whole company had arrived, the officers of the day were chosen, after which the throne of grace was addressed by the Rev. Mr. Lawton.  The interval between this and dinner, was occupied in rehearsing the adventures, the perils and dangers, of the Revolution.  among others, the President for the occasion, the aged and venerable Lieut. Ammi Andrews, related the following:-
"When our troops were stationed on Abraham's Plains, Col. Arnold was anxious to have a certain British Sentinel taken.  One evening, when in my quarters with Capt. Morgan, I set my sword in the corner and told him I was going to take a British regular.  He said, Andrews you had better not go; the halser will be your portion; and asked me why I left my sword. I told him the Colonel did not want a dead soldier, and proceeded to accomplish my design.  When I came within a rod of the sentinel, I stopped, thought he saw me, but determined to wait till I heard him cock his gun, when I should have said, I wish to go into the city; but I was fortunately mistaken.  He saw me not, and as he turned his back to me, I jumped upon him, drew his bayonet from its scabbard, and told him if he uttered a word, I had his bayonet and would instantly put him to death.  We went about a rod from his post, when I halted, hallooed "all is well" three times - put him on quick time, and shortly had him before Col. Arnold." "


I recognized several names on this list, including the brothers, Ammi and Isaac Andrews from Ipswich, Massachusetts. They are both sons of Solomon Andrews, my 7th great granduncle, which makes them both my 1st cousins 7 generations removed.  Both sons removed to Hillsborough, New Hampshire after the war, perhaps they were given bounty land?  I have another Ipswich ancestor, Abner Poland, who was given land in Enfield, not far from Hillsborough.  Ammi Andrews is the one who told the escapade about capturing the British sentinel in the news clipping above.

The host of the dinner, Benjamin Pierce, was the father of President Franklin Pierce (1804 - 1869), the 14th president of the United States and the only president ever born in New Hampshire. Young Franklin would have been 21 years old at the time of the dinner, and he was probably impressed and influenced by this Christmas meeting of  Revolutionary War veterans. Benjamin Pierce is my 3rd cousin, 8 generations removed, we are both descendants of Thomas Pierce and Elizabeth Cole, early settlers of Woburn, Massachusetts.

I also saw a Munroe on this list and traced Thaddeus Munroe to be my 2nd cousin 6 generations removed.  He was born on 14 May 1753 and died on 28 November 1828 in Hillsborough.  I never knew that these cousins, Benjamin, Thaddeus and Ammi were at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but now I have a good military story to research and prove due to this fascinating news clipping.

The URL for this post is 

Copyright (c) 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 9, 2013

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Will of William Munroe, 14 Nov. 1716

Among the family papers my cousin found earlier this year was a typed transcription of our 7th great grandfather’s last Will and Testament.  William Munroe (1625 – 1718) was born in Scotland.  As a young man he fought on the side of the crown at the Battle of Worcester, during the English Civil War.  Many Scots warriors at this battle were captured by the Puritan forces of Cromwell, and sold into servitude in the New World. 

William not only survived his forced march to London, but also survived the voyage to Boston.  He was sold as an indentured servant and eventually gained his freedom and settled in Lexington, Massachusetts.  He outlived three wives and had fourteen children!   In his will he names all of the children who had lived until 1716 (only missing Susanna), the year he wrote the document.  He died on 27 January 1718, a very aged man for his time.

I did not transcribe this will.  It was transcribed and typed up by my 2nd great grand aunt Olivia Adeline Munroe (1836 – 1905).  I recognized her typewriter, and her carbon paper ink color used on this transcription as the same type as some of the other documents she had signed.   On most of the documents she had put her married initials A. M. G, for Addie Munroe Grout. 

There are three witnesses who signed this document.  One is John Hancock.  This is not the famous John Hancock who signed the Declaration of Independence, but is his grandfather John Hancock (1671- 1752), a resident of Lexington and the local minister.   Another witness, Benjamin Muzzy 3rd is a 1st cousin to me, 8 generations removed and closely related to the MOOERS family of Rowley.  Three of the MOOERS sisters married three of William Munroe’s sons!

I love the line in this will that is a warning to his children.  He demands that there will be no quibbling about this last will and testament with the words "... if any of my children are contentious about their portions; they shall forfeit the same unto their brethren".  Great idea, Great Grandpa!  If I had several children I would be tempted to put those same words into my own will.


In the name of God Amen.  I William Munroe of Lexington
in the County of Middlesex in the Province of the Massachu-
setts Bay in New England being at present writing herof
of a sound disposing mind thro’ divine goodness, but sensible
of my mortality, do therefore make this my last Will, & Test-
ment in manner & form as followeth.
                And first I do Command my precious and Immortall Soull
Into the hands of Christ Jesus my Lord, hopeing in his merits
alone for the Salvation of it; and my body I commit to the
dust by a decent burial at the discretion of my executors
in hopes of a Joyfull Resurrection to life eternal.  And as
for that temporal estate which it hath pleased Allmighty God
to bestow upon me & which is yet in my hands undisposed of,
my will and pleasure is to dispose thereof as followeth.
                Impr: I do give and bequeath unto my beloved sons
John Munroe, William Monroe, George Munroe, Daniel Munroe, David
 Munroe, Joseph Monroe, & Benjamin Monroe to each & everyone of
them ten Shillings a piece, besides what I have already
bestowed upon them.
                Item.  My Will and pleasure is; that my beloved daughter
Eleanor Burgess shall have the Sole use of my mansion house,
& a priveledge in the barn dureing the whole term of her
 widowhood, and that upon her decease or marriage my son
George Monroe shall have all my buildings; he paying unto the
said Eleanour Burgess the sum of three pounds.  And I do also
(page two)
give & bequeath unto the sd: Eleanour Burgess the one half
of my moveable household stuff.
                I do also give & bequeath unto my beloved daughters,
Martha Comee, Hanah Peirce, Elizabeth Rugg, Mary Phassett,
Eleanour Burgess, & Sarah Blanchard to each and every one of
them ten pounds apiece.
                And after all my Just debts, & funeral charges be de-
frayed, my Will & pleasure is, that all the rest and residue
of my estate both reall & personal be equally divided among
all my children.  & that my son George Monroe shall have the
first tender of all my Lands at the price of four pounds
pr. Acre;  And if any of my children are contentious about
their portions; they shall forfeit the same unto their
brethren, that shall abide by my will.
                I do also make & ordain my well beloved sons John Monroe,
& George Monroe to be executors of this my Last Will & Testa-
ment. And that this is my Last Will & Testament.  And that I
do hereby revoke and Disanul all other & former Wills and Testa-
ments by me at any time made; I do putt my hand & seal hereto.
November the fourteenth Anno Domi; one thousand Seven hundred
& sixteen – In the third year of his Maje: Reign –
                                                William Monroe   (seal)
                                                His mark               X
Signed, sealed & declared to be my Last Will in presence of
 Elezar Kendall    Benjamin Muzzy Tertius                John Hancock
A true copy
                Attest , J. Hozler Register

William Munroe Family Sketch:

William Munroe, son of Robert of Aldie, born 1625 near Inverness, Scotland, died 27 January 1718 in Lexington, Massachusetts; married first to Martha George in 1665, daughter of John George and Elizabeth Unknown, born about 1636 in Charlestown, Massachusetts and died about 1672 in Lexington; married second to Mary Ball about 1672, daughter of John Ball and Elizabeth Pierce, born about 1651 and died August 1692 in Lexington; married third to Elizabeth Johnson, widow of Edward Wyer, and daughter of William Johnson and Elizabeth Story, born about 17 March 1640 in Charlestown and died 14 December 1715 in Lexington.

Children with Martha George, born in Lexington:
1.     John , born 10 March 1666, married Hannah Mooers and Rachel Unknown
2.  Martha, born 2 November 1667, married John Comee
3.  William, born 10 October 1669, married Mary Cutler and Joanna Russell
4.   George, born about 1672, married Sarah Mooers (my 6th great grandparents)

Children with Mary Ball, born in Lexington:
5.   Daniel, born 12 August 1673, married Dority Mooers (yes, three brothers married three sisters!)
6.   Hannah, born 1674, married Joseph Pierce
7.    Elizabeth, born about 1676, married Thomas Rugg
8.    David, born 6 October 1680, married Deborah Howe
9.    Eleanor, born 24 February 1683, married William Burgess
10.   Sarah, born 18 March 1684, married George Blanchard
11.   Joseph, born 16 August 1687, married Elizabeth Unknown
12.   Benjamin, born 16 August 1690, married Lydia Stone
13.   Susanna, born about 1691, died young?
14.   Mary, born 28 June 1678, married Joseph Fassett


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Phebe's Sampler, 1844

This sampler hangs in my cousin’s house.  We have tried several times to take photographs of this sampler, and it’s not easy through the glass. The sampler is much too fragile to risk handling it or taking it from its frame, so this is the best we could do for an image.

Phebe Cross Munroe (1830 – 1895), my great great grandmother, sewed this sampler when she was 13 years old, starting on 30 August 1844.  But it is unfinished. I have searched the family tree for a reason why she never finished the sampler.  Perhaps there was a death in the family (the verse is from a very depressing hymn about death)?  But she hadn’t lost a parent, sibling or grandparent in 1844.  Her namesake, Aunt Phebe Upton Munroe who married William Cross in 1828, didn’t die until 1891. Her father died of diabetes, very young at age 46 in 1851. Was he first diagnosed with this fatal disease in 1844? 

On the brighter side, perhaps Phebe tired of this mournful verse, and tossed this sampler aside for another one with a less depressing hymn or poem.  I don’t know what happened to any other sampler.  This is all we have to remember Phebe.

Family Sketch:

Phebe Cross Munroe, daughter of Luther Simonds Munroe and Olive Flint, was born 28 October 1830 in Danvers, Massachusetts, died 31 January 1895 in Salem, Massachusetts; married on 24 November 1853 to Robert Wilson Wilkinson, son of Aaron Wilkinson and Mercy F. Wilson.  He was born 26 May 1830 in Salem, and died 23 March 1874 in Peabody, Massachusetts.  They had three children born in Danvers:
     1. Robert Henry Wilkinson, born 14 January 1855, married Eliza Harris Poor
     2.  Walter Wilkinson, born 3 November 1856, died 2 April 1858
     3.   Albert Munroe Wilkinson, born 7 November 1860, married  on 18 October 1894 in Salem 
           to Isabella Lyons Bill (my great grandparents)

The full lyrics of the verse on Phebe’s sampler:

When youth and age are snatched away
By Death’s resistless hand,
Our hearts the mournful tribute pay,
And bow at God’s command.

While love still prompts the rising sigh,
With awful pow’r impressed,
Let this dread truth “I too must die!”
Sink deep in every breast!

May this vain world o’ercome no more
Behold the opening tomb!
It bids us use the present hour;
To-morrow death may come.

The voice of this instructive scene
Let every heart obey!
Nor be the faithful warning vain
Which calls to watch and pray.

O let us fly, to Jesus fly,
Whose pow’rful arm can save!
Then shall our hopes ascend on high,
To triumph o’er the grave!

From A Selection of Psalms and Hymns, with many new Compositions, adapted to Public Worship,  by Richard Whittingham, Vicar of Potton,  1835, pages 144 – 145

A closeup of the stitching on Phebe Munroe's sampler.
Her name is on the top, in faded thread.
It is all worked in tiny cross stitches.


Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, August 9, 2013

Surprise! A Stash of Family Papers has been Discovered!

Sitting in the kitchen with my cousin, checking out
some newly discovered family papers and genealogies
I was visiting my cousin and she showed me a stash of family papers that were new to both of us, although her Mom had owned them for a long, long time.  We spent a wonderful evening together poring over the pages, and taking photos of all the documents.  My cousin asked me “Don’t you wish you had these papers 30 years ago when you were starting your genealogy research?”  Of course, having these papers would have made my search easier.  However, it was great to read through them and to see that all my research was correct, and I could corroborate it with these new charts and reports.

Our biggest delight in this new treasure was wondering who wrote it!  The handwriting was exquisite, and this mystery ancestor appeared to truly love tracing the family history.  We both would have loved to have met this person, but he or she probably died one hundred years ago.  We spent the night looking at the information inside the documents, and also trying to identify the mysterious author.  There were little family booklets, several scrolls with family group sheets, cemetery deeds, typed reports, and other goodies to read through.

One of the wonderful things about this pile of paper was that the original author had invented a system of keeping track of each person in the family, and then this creative system had been adopted by other family members down the generations.  Even my dear Auntie had adopted this system and used it for my cousin and her brother.  All these papers had been preserved.  I was amazed that an amateur family historian had come up with this handy little system.

Each family group was in a little booklet, held with a fastener.
The first page was the husband. This is my great grandfather,
with his birth date. Isn't the handwriting wonderful?

On the back of the person's page were his parent's information

The second page was the wife.  This is my great grandmother.  
I love how the author put her maiden name in the loop of the calligraphy!
There is information here that is not found in the vital records, such as the 
time the wedding ceremony took place, and the address. 

Each child had his or her own page in the booklet.
This is my grandfather's page.  Again, here is information not
found in the vital records, such as his birth weight and time of birth!

If you had never seen an ahnentafel chart report, or a pedigree chart, what would you have invented to keep track of a large, growing family? In the days before computers, or the availability of office supply stores with their plethora of paper, notebooks and supplies, what would you have used?

This booklet is in my auntie's handwriting.  She made this booklet
for her own family.  My uncle is the first page...

On the back of his page is his parent's information.
The subsequent pages have his wife, my auntie, and his children, my cousins.  
She duplicated the original old book. 

There was a multipage typed document outlining the Munroe family
back to the 1600s.  We don't know the author of this paper. 
It appears to be a carbon paper copy, and is very fragile.

There were several of these rolled up documents.  They are made of sheets of
paper taped together, and are also very fragile.  This is several generations
of the Munroe family shown in family groups.  There are a few names here
that were new to me, and many nicknames (which will be good clues to finding marriages!)

click to enlarge
This is a detail of the top of one of the "scrolls". 
It shows the Andrew Munroe (1764-1836) family in the same handwriting
as the little family booklets. Andrew is my 4th great grandfather.
Most of the information is in ink, but then in a different hand the marriages 
were added in pencil, which is very faded.  Major Andrew Munroe served in the
Revolutionary War, and he was born in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Although we both had asked my aunt about our family history, and she had shown me many other papers, it was amazing that she had this group of genealogy charts and reports all this time.  You never know what will show up!  There are still several names on these papers that I have not identified, so I have my work cut out for me.  I’ll be investigating these this summer, and I hope it leads to some new branches on the family tree. 

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo