Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York City. Show all posts

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Parade 1963, Fifth Avenue, New York City

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, 
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade. 
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over, 
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade. 
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us, 
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure. 
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet, 
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.

- "Easter Parade" by Irving Berlin, 1933

This is a photo from the 1963 Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York.   My husband is the little boy in the hat near the bottom middle.  His father is the gentleman on the left, and his mother is the woman dressed in the black mantilla, traditional for Easter in Spain.  His mother's aunt, Tia Chon (Concepcion), is to the right, also dressed in black. Tia Chon was my husband's nanny.

They were in New York when my husband was a child because his father worked at the United Nations.  Walking down Fifth Avenue for the Easter Parade was one my my mother-in-law's favorite memories of New York.  She said many people took photos of her Spanish mantilla.  I understand that New York still continues this tradition on Easter Sunday.

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, March 29, 2013

Photo Friday ~ A Bridge in New York City

This photo is dated 1963, so my husband must have been about two and half years old in this photo!  The woman is his great aunt, "Tia Chon".  Her real name was Maria Ascension Garcia,  sister of my husband's grandfather.  When his parents married in January 1960 and came to New York City from Spain, my husband was born in November of the same year.  In Spain the extended family would have taken care of any children, but they were newly arrived immigrants to the USA.  So they arranged for Tia Chon to come be the babysitter, since she had never married and wanted to see America.  Tia Chon came from the tiny village of Puerto Seguro in Salamanca, so New York City must have been a great experience for her.   My father-in-law worked at the United Nations, and my mother-in-law worked for a New York publisher.

I'm told that the bridge in the background is the George Washington Bridge, and that this was photographed at the Cloisters Museum.  If anyone from New York City can help identify the setting, that would be very helpful!

How do you like the hat?  My husband is still a big fan of hats.  He has a hat  in his current wardrobe just like this one, and a fez, a Mexican sombrero, a Stetson, several Panamas, berets, baseball hats, fedoras, a colonial tricorn, and a collection of wild winter polar fleece hats that are pretty unbelievable.

This photo was taken at Bear Mountain State Park in New York.  The background shows the Hudson River and some buildings or a bridge.  It probably dates from about the same time as the photo above.  Starting at the right is my mother-in-law with my husband on her lap.  Next to her in the dark clothing is Tia Chon.  The young girl in the foreground is, Julia, a friend of the family, and to the left is a young woman named Amparo.  Amparo was another relative from Puerto Seguro, Spain who also came to New York to babysit my husband.  She later became a nun in Peru.

UPDATE- Reader Wendy Walter has identified the bridge in the first photo as the Queensboro Bridge.  We checked on Google Maps and Google Streetview and from the angle of the photo we think it was possibly photographed at the United Nations Plaza.  This makes sense, because that is where my father-in-law was employed at this time!  Thanks, Wendy!

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 3, 2012

An Historic Moment - 2004 Republican National Convention

In 2004 my daughter was entering her senior year of high school, and interested in politics. She had an exciting junior year since the New Hampshire primary was underway.  Many young people in New Hampshire every four years find themselves in the swirl of excitement with visiting candidates, news media and local events.  She was at the right age, at the right time to find all this very alluring and intriguing.  When she found out that she could attend the National party conventions with the Junior Statesmen she jumped on the chance to see politics at a much higher level.

When she found out that she had been accepted to be a delegate with the Junior Statesmen at both party conventions, she was ecstatic!  However, family finances being what they were, we told her she had to make a choice.  The Democratic Convention in 2004 was being held in Boston, and the Republican Convention in New York City.  Both were within driving distance (thank goodness for me!).  She had no political affiliation to either side, so the decision came down to location.  She finally decided that New York would be the more exotic locale and she chose to attend that one.  This is a very important point when you are a teenager.

Madison Square Garden 2004

It was fun to see the convention through the eyes of a teenager.  Of course, the political platform of the candidates were not as important as the excitement around the entire convention.  Media stars, collecting buttons, and getting INTO the actual convention were the most important things to her that week.  The Junior Statesmen attended outside events from neighborhood level meetings, meeting the mayor of New York, the Governor and even going to the United Nations.  But getting inside the security line of Madison Square Garden was not included except for tours and day events.

However, the kids soon learned that schmoozing is a big part of politics.  She was the only kid there from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont or Massachusetts while there were about a dozen kids each from bigger states like California.  The imbalance was in her favor.  She was invited to the delegates breakfasts of all four of those New England States, and attended for New Hampshire and Massachusetts. At each she received a goodie bag full of cool stuff, but the most important were the passes to get INSIDE Madison Square garden.  Now she suddenly had four passes to share (two from each state for the week) and she was the most popular kid!  Her passes were for the nosebleed section in the rafters, but they were still inside.

Pins, pins, and more pins!

She also learned that schmoozing got her places, like her elevator talks in the extremely crowded elevators at her hotel right across the street from Madison Square Garden.  She met delegates in the elevators from most of the states in the union, and each one offered her passes, buttons, business cards, and even scholarship applications and other goodies.  She schmoozed her way into the CNN cafĂ©.  She schmoozed her way into passing out brochures to delegates on the floor of the hall (better than sitting in the rafters).  She collected pins from all types of delegates, protestors, media companies, and other folks through trading, swapping and just asking – “I love your pin, how do I get one of those?”

The CNN Cafe (media only) across
from the Madison Square Garden

 She even schmoozed her way into sitting on the second level of Madison Square Garden on the last night.  Unknown to her she was sitting in the booth right next to the candidate’s family.  Since the candidate was George Bush, this meant that his parents (ex-president Bush and his wife) and the Bush daughters were sitting there.  A secret service agent stood behind her during the entire night, but did not question her pass.  My daughter was a bit nervous, but instead of sneaking out at the end of the night she tried the ultimate schmooze- chatting up the secret service!  She actually said to him “That’s a great pin.  How can I get one of those?” and pointed to his secret service pin on his lapel.  He said that it was a special pin for guarding the first family.  She knew that there would be no pin trading with this guy.  However, after the famous balloon drop,  as she was leaving Madison Square Garden he tapped her on the shoulder and handed her the pin right off his lapel!  It is now the most prized pin in her collection.

Over this week in New York my daughter learned a lot about history, politics, political protesting and the political media circuses surrounding events like the national party conventions.  She also learned that the delegates attending were more than happy to chat up young people, share ideas (as well as pins!) and encourage them to continue their interest in politics.  I’m sure she will never forget her time in Madison Square Garden in 2004.  She entered college planning to major in international relations, but soon changed that to public relations.  With all the schmoozing skills she perfected in New York, it was a perfect choice for her!

Junior Statesmen of America

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Iberia Airlines, about 1965

This photo was taken about 1965.  Remember when flying was a big deal, and there was a photographer at the doorway to take your photo?  Remember when everyone flying dressed up in suits, even the little boys? This is my father-in-law and my husband as a little boy.  My father-in-law worked in New York City at the United Nations, and they would fly home to Madrid several times a year on Iberia Airlines.  Later, my mother-in-law became a ticket agent and manager for Iberia, and they were able to continue flying home to visit family several times a year- even after my father-in-law stopped working at the UN and became a professor.

I often wonder if all this intercontinental flying my husband did as a little boy influenced his desire to become an aeronautical-astronautical engineer?

We found this photo in a box of memorabilia in Madrid, and scanned it with my Flip-Pal scanner.

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - A nephew's letter, 1883

Hawaii State Archives, Queen Liluokalani Collections,
M-93, Box 11, Folder 103,
Letter from William Lee to Mary Dominis, 23 March 1883 

[Engraved Stationary Letterhead]
47 Franklin Street (Up-Stairs)
New York Office                       Boston Mar. 23 1883
678 Broadway

Dear Aunt Dominis

                Your very welcome favor
reached me two or three days
ago- of course the photograph didn’t
look like me- I had it taken
on purpose because it would
not look like me!  You see I had
my hair cut as short as we do some
of the horses- and it altered my
appearance so much, I at one
had my picture taken, for a
memento= when my hair gets
grown out lengthy, I shall have
some other pictures taken, and
will send you one if you will ac-
cept it- then you will say this
thick-haired one is the best

               Mother is very well this


Spring and stays at Brockton
Like a hen among her chickens-
Our sister, Agnes’s only boy, Herbert, is very ill
Just now, and Mother is very anxious
About him-pneumonia- so a day or two
 will decide it.

                Mrs. William Lee, (my “Colonel”) has been very,
Very ill, but she is about again, in
Her usual health, which I regret to say
Is very poor.  She lives, so she says, in hopes
Of going to your beautiful islands to see
You- ever since she saw John & Tho. King
She has made you and yours her ideal.  She
Keeps John’s picture hanging in her rooms
To show her company her cousin, who is
Married to the sister of the King, etc., etc. etc.
You understand how these things work &
But I don’t believe we shall ever have
The pleasure & happiness of going to see
You, for we don’t get rich very fast
And one cannot leave business &
Home to go traveling unless he has
“the rocks” as our Yankee boys say.
You must tell John that both
Mr. Shepard & myself are very proud
of our invitations to the grand occasion
of the coronation- and perhaps if


they had reached us before the cer-
emony took place, we should have
been honored by attending.  As it
is we mean that it was a highly
successful affair- and we con-
gratulate you all “than it is done
 over” as the dandies say.

                I wish I knew what would cure
The rheumatism that you and
John might be relieved.  Now-
a-days the doctors say it is the state
of the blood that produces rheumatism and
its attendant pain.  Lemons is the
remedy here.  I have been so lucky
thus far I have escaped as such
complaints and have to thank
the good Father for a very com-
fortable life, with much more
happiness than I deserve but I
have greater hopes for the life to
come, just think of it, I am 57


years old and I can remem-
ber going to see you in Dorchester
more than fifty years ago! Ah!
Me! We must believe that the
good Father intends we shall meet
our loved ones to part no more-
This a good faith to have even
in this life and I have held to it
through thick & thin.

You don’t know unless your
ears tingle to tell you, how much
we talk about you and your
at home-

May God Bless You! With much
love to you and yours,

Love Very Affectionately
Your nephew,
William Lee

Mrs. Lee & Alice all send their
love to you- and charged me over
and over not to forget.

               W. L.
This letter was written by Boston publisher William Lee (1826 - 1906) to his maternal aunt, Mary Lamport (Jones) Dominis in Honolulu, Hawaii.  His mother, Laura William (Jones) Lee, is mentioned above, living in Brockton, Massachusetts.  There were six sisters in the Jones family, including my 4x great grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger.

Of all the letters I have transcribed from the Hawaiian Archives, this one doesn't give much new family genealogy information, but it is still a very important family letter.  I'll list the reasons below:

1.  It is dated after King David Kalakaua (1836 - 1891) had become King of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  He had visited Boston in 1874 when he had official business in Washington, DC.  No doubt he also visited with William Lee and the rest of the Jones family, since Mary Dominis's son,  John Owen Dominis was married to Kalakaua's sister, Lili'uokalani.   She would become Queen when he died in 1891.   There are references to all this in the letter.

2. Herbert, his nephew with pneumonia, must have survived because there is an 1887 marriage record for him in Brockton to a Miss Ida F. Norton.

3. William Lee's first wife, Anna M. T. Leavitt ( whom he refers to as "the Colonel") died not long after this letter was written, on 19 September 1883.  She was in her final illness mentioned here, and never visited Hawaii.

4.  The daughter, Alice, mentioned in the postscript, was an adopted daughter born as Alice Gookin,  daughter of Anna's sister, Mary Leavitt and George Gookin.  George died in 1861, but Mary didn't pass away until 1891 so I don't know the circumstances of this adoption.   The book "Seek and Find, or the Adventures of a Smart Boy" by Oliver Optic, published by Lee & Shepard, is dedicated to Alice Lee Gookin on page 3.

5.  I've been searching for the business papers or personal papers of William Lee.  His partner, Charles Shepard's papers are in the American Antiquarian Society Library in Worcester, Massachusetts.  I haven't found Lee's papers in any Boston library, but perhaps they are in a New York institution?  The letterhead here is the only one I have seen with a New York address, so they must have had an office in New York City.

6.  Dorchester is a clue to the family address of the Joneses.  In censuses and city directories they are found living in Boston's North End neighborhood through 1842.  I haven't found them in an 1850 census yet, but father Owen Jones died there according to a notice in the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, (July 1850) Volume 4, page 293 "Jones, Mr. Owen,  Dorchester, 22 April, ae 82, formerly of Boston".   No death record has been found. 

7.  I have transcribed many of the letters written by Boston family members to Mrs. Dominis (you can find them by clicking on the keyword DOMINIS in the right hand column of this blog) and they all are very sentimental.  The great distance letters had to travel to and from Boston to Hawaii in this time period, and the fact that Mary had not been to Boston since the 1830s make these letters very poignant.

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Columbus Day!

Columbus Square, NYC 2009
There are at least two statues of Christopher Columbus in Boston. One is on Beacon Hill, inside the private park at Louisburg Square (sorry! You need a key to get closer), and the second, more famous, is located at Christopher Columbus Park in the North End. This last park is the one on the waterfront next to the Marriott Hotel. The Italians of the North End claim Columbus as a national hero, but so do the Spaniards, Portugese and citizens of various Caribbean nations. This statue made headlines in June 2006 when vandals decaptiated Columbus. Later, after repairs, it was vandalized again on Columbus Day 2006 with a coat of red paint. This has been a regular occurance, unfortunately.
Columbus Park, Boston
I’ve seen similar statues to Columbus in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (where he actually landed); Granada, Spain (where he spoke to Isabella and Ferdinand); Madrid, Spain (in the center of Plaza Colon); New York City (in the center of Columbus Circle); Revere, Massachusetts; San Juan, Puerto Rico (Plaza Colon again); and Worcester, Massachusetts (near the Amtrak station). There must be hundreds of other statues of the famous explorer sprinkled across the globe.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- The Patterson Family

The Patterson Family Monument
Glenwood Cemetery, Londonderry, New Hampshire
located right by the stone wall along Mammoth Road

Governor George Washington Patterson (1799- 1879)of New York State
erected this monument to his family in 1870
He paid $700 for the large stone of New Hampshire Granite,
and had it inscribed with the names of all the Pattersons
descended of Peter Patterson (1716-1800) the original Nutfield immigrant

Governor Patterson was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Wallace) Patterson.
He graduated from Pinkerton Academy and went to the Genesee Valley, New York
with his brother George. Later, brothers Robert and Peter joined them in New York.
The last brother, Thomas Patterson stayed in Londonderry.

Thomas Patterson lived on the Patterson Homestead on Adams Road.
It is now a cellar hole on Mack's Orchard land.
The Patterson Monument was photographed for RAOGK
and for a genealogy request through the Londonderry Historical Society.

Names incribed on the Patterson Monument:
Stone #31
Patterson, David 2/11/1793 - 2/12/1793
Elizabeth (Baker) 6/10/1791 - 6/6/1875
Elizabeth (Burns) 1765-1848
Elizabeth Wallace 10/14/1755 - 12/30/1875
Grisey (Barret) 3/26/1776 - 11/13/1850
Grisey (Burns) 1761 - 1845
Hannah 4/26/1798 - 11/12/1869
James 11/21/1777 - 6/4/1815
Jane (Frank) 10/30/1795 - 2/19/1867
John 1750-1793
Margaret (Holmes) 1755 - 1838
Mary (McNeill) 4/11/1783 - 2/22/1812
Peter 11/14/1779 - 2/18/1865
Peter 1716-1800
Rachel (McNeill) 1752- 1838
Robert 1744-1828
Thomas 10/23/1746 - 5/20/1834
Thomas 8/11/1786 - 10/27/1838
William 6/4/1789 - 10/27/1869

Also listed are several Wallaces and Wilsons and 1 Washington on Stone #31
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, May 10, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Bertha’s Audio Tape- Part 5

Bertha Louise (Roberts) Wilkinson
This photo was taken about the time of her arrival in America in 1915

I read about Amanuensis Monday in Randy Seaver’s blog “GeneaMusings” and Randy read about it on John Newmark’s genealogy blog “TransylvanianDutch”. Amanuensis: A person employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts.This is an ongoing series of Monday posts to transcribe an audio cassette tape my Grandmother, Bertha Louise (Roberts) Wilkinson (1897 – 1990), made in the 1970s. In this section of the tape she describes the extended family and their trip to America via Ellis Island in 1915.
“We had lots of good times with the family. I remember my grandma coming and visiting, my father's mother. She was a sweet little old lady and she wore a jet bonnet and a jet cape and she would come and visit us and when she came we used to tease her and play games with her. And then I had, I don't remember my other grandma, but she did bring me into the world. And at the time my mother said I had thick black hair when I was born and her other children were all very light, not much hair. My other grandma lived with my mother and Dad but I don't remember her because I was quite..., just a baby when she died.

My aunts and uncles would come and visit us. My father had five brothers and two sisters. One of his brothers came to this country when he was 18 years old. And he had, there was Edward, Frank, Jim and Sam were twins, and my father. The twins were Jim and Sam and one of the sisters was the mother to the one that married my sister. She was my father's sister and they had a drapery store in Armley (?) not too far away from Leeds. And I remember going over there when I was a little girl. We used to visit them. And I loved to go in the store and my uncle would let me measure the ribbons and I thought that wonderful. It was quite a nice store and they sold a lot of lovely things and they had five girls and just this one boy, Herbert.

My sister... my mother had four sisters and two brothers. The sisters were Betsy, Liza, Mary, Hetty and my mother. My mother's name was Emma Frances. The two boys left home and went to New Zealand when they were just young boys and it was very sad because my mother didn't hear from them. My grandma never heard from them for years and years and they never wrote and we never heard from them until after I was married even, and we heard from one of the widows saying that this George had passed away and was always talking about home. He was blind for quite a while and she sent news, but we never heard from Arthur the other boy.

So my father was just a young child and there was this girl taking care of him and he fell in this pond wherever it was, and this man saved his life, and brought him home to my mother and he said "Has this child been christened?" Well, he had been … He was named John, but his man's name was Peter Bowden, and he said, "Will you give him my name, too?" So my mother called him John Peter Bowden Roberts. Now this man was a very wealthy man and he lived in London. Once in a great while he would come up to Leeds and he would visit. And he would tell my father to be a good boy and to learn all he could and he would give him a gold piece. He would give all the other children a silver piece. My, I think that they thought he would take care of my Dad but he left his money without a will. So when that happens it goes to Chancellery.

Anyway, Dad started working very early because my people were just well they didn't have much to do with really. And so he started working half days when he was 10 years old. And his father was an engineer and he showed him, told him all about trade, being an engineer. Before my father married he took care of his mother for quite a while and they lived nearby. And my mother took care of her mother. My mother worked in a shoe shop and she would bring home her work so that she could stitch at home and make extra money. Many times my father would go to walk to… they worked in the same factory, and he would walk there to…. And look through the window and my mother would be asleep at the sewing machine. So she really neglected herself and didn't get enough rest. And she wasn't too well. Even when they got married she was wasn't too well. She had a cough and I remember one time she went away to the hospital for quite a while. And I remember going to visit her. But she did work hard, all her life and….

I think I told you all I can remember about my childhood. Then when we came to this country we were treated very good. Of course, we had to come third class. The captain was very nice. My mother and I shared a room and my father and brother shared another room. But we ate at the table together and I enjoyed the voyage very much, although it was really risky because it was during the war. In fact when we were booked to go on this Orduna Cunard liner and the voyage before the Germans had almost torpedoed it. The torpedo had just missed the boat. So they were yelling out the news that this had happened. So when we went to Liverpool to go on this boat, everybody was looking at me saying they didn't think it would make it. They thought that it would be torpedoed. Well, they had a life belt drill. Oh, we waited until the middle of the night. We went down the river Mersey and it stopped there and then in the middle of the night it started up. And the only ones who know which way we were going was the pilot and the Captain. And they had a life belt drill to tell us what to do if the siren sounded. We had a life belt. Each one of us had a life belt and they were looking out all the time for submarines.

My father wrote a diary and I gave it to my granddaughter. He had very little schooling but he was a wonderful writer and he was a smart man. Well, we enjoyed the voyage and we got there safely. And when we got here my sister had decided to meet us with a cousin of hers and the baby. But she missed us, so the guide put us on the train to Beverly, Mass. from Boston and we got off at Montserrat station. Now Beverly at that time was a beautiful city. It was called a garden city, and I thought it was just beautiful. We didn't know exactly where 60 Colon Street was, but we took a taxi and my mother was quite sick. Well, we got to the house and a neighbor came out and she had the key to the house and she said that my sister would be back again. And my sister had everything ready for us to have a nice dinner. And my uncle, the one who came when he was 18 lived in Beverly, Mass. And, of course, he and his wife and children came up to see us. Well, that night the older people talked all night, they had a lot to catch up with.

And this young cousin I had, the next morning we went for a lovely walk to the Beverly country lanes. Now since then it's all been built up and Beverly isn't as pretty as it used to be. It's deteriorated like lots of cities do, but it was beautiful then. [I’d love to tell her that Beverly, Massachusetts is again a beautiful seaside city!]

My father got work at the United Shoe. I worked as a ladies tailor. I didn't care for that kind of work and finally I got work in the United Shoe. And I worked there for 10 years. And we lived with my mother and father. But my father had to start work as a fireman and work his way up to be an engineer. But it wasn't too long and he started to get sick. Well, we finally found out he had a large cancer in the rectum and he was a very sick man. He had an operation and a colostomy, and was sick a long time. And my mother wasn't a bit well. So for quite a while my mother was upstairs sick and my father was downstairs sick. Well, I had an aunt come during the week to take care of them. And then weekends I stayed home and well... when I met my husband in a church in Salem through a friend, and then my father died. Don would come over all the time to see me and of course we couldn't go anywhere but he would shave my father and we would sit on the porch in the summertime like that, and then my father passed away.”

Click here to see my blog post from July 2009 with a transcription of my great grandfather’s journal during their trip from England to America via Ellis Island

Click here to see Part One of this series on the audio tape by Bertha

More about the SS Orduna at this link: 

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Ellis Island 1975

(very poor quality photos
from an old slide scanned in before it deteriorated further)
The World Trade Center was new back then in 1975

My sister and I on the ferry to Ellis Island
I was thirteen, she was about nine
I remember that it was January and we were freezing!

Dad had us pose next to the immigrant exhibit (don't we look thrilled!)
His mom had passed through Ellis Island in 1915 from Leeds, England
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cousins Collaborate on a Genealogy Story

Sometimes I will post certain stories from “Nutfield Genealogy” at the website GenealogyWise. This is a social networking website for genealogists. There I had re-posted my series of stories about my 4x great aunt Mary Lambert Jones (1803-1889), who married Captain John Dominis and removed to the Hawaiian Islands. She built an impressive home in Honolulu, and lived there with her little boy, John Owen Dominis, who later became the husband to Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii. A few years earlier, her two teenage daughters died whilst at a boarding school in Schenectady, New York. The little girls never saw Honolulu.

Captain Dominis disappeared on a trip to China in 1846. Mrs. Dominis moved into her big mansion home built by her husband in 1847, and lived as a widow. Because she was now deprived of her husband’s substantial income, and she had to support her large home, she took in boarders. Most of the boarders were visiting Americans. One boarder, a Mr. Ten Eyck, suggested the name “Washington Place” for her new home because it looked like Washington’s Mount Vernon.

I’m sure that Mary Dominis missed her homeland, her little daughters and her husband very much. The endless boarders coming and going at Washington Place must have entertained her mind and given her company. Two little girls came to her as boarders in 1848, and their presence at Washington Place must have been quite a blessing. These two girls were Estrella Charlotte Mott (b. 1835) and her sister Eveline (1830-1849).

And so the granddaughter of Essie Mott wrote to me via Genealogy Wise that she had read my post about Mrs. Dominis and Washington Place. Even better, she had a memoir, written by Essie in 1913, reminiscing about her voyage in 1847 and 1848 from her boarding school in New York to Hawaii on the way to reunite with her family in Mazatlan, Mexico, where her father had business. Her journal was 50 pages, and Leah at the blog “The Internet Genealogist” has been patiently transcribing the journal and posting a few pages at a time. Leah is the great niece of the owner of Essie’s journal.

It is definitely serendipity and a blessing that these two women have shared Essie’s journal with me. Through Essie’s stories about her six months at Washington Place I have learned quite a bit about Mrs. Dominis and her son, the then sixteen year old John Owen Dominis. Essie also reminisces about meeting the children at the Royal School, including Prince Alexander and Prince David (Lili’uokalani’s brother, the future King Kalakaua). Essie even attended a reception at the Royal Palace, and mentions some other members of the Hawaiian Royal family. I have also passed along copies of the scanned images of Essie’s journal to Dominis descendants, and to the curator of Washington Place Museum.

I have also learned that not only do I share this story with Leah; we are also Haley/Healey cousins. Essie’s sister, Mary Gertrude Mott (1852-1927), married Comfort Gordon Haley (1838-1910) of Nova Scotia. Comfort was cousin to my 4x great grandfather Joseph Edwin Healy (1823-abt 1860) who removed from Nova Scotia to Beverly, Massachusetts. The power of the internet strikes again!

Washington Place served as the home to the Dominis family for many years. Queen Lili’uokalani served her imprisonment here, and left the home to her heir John Aimoku Dominis. Later, the Dominis family left the home to the state of Hawaii and it served as the Governor’s residence. It is now a museum.


Please visit Leah’s blog “The Internet Genealogist” at

Leah’s transcription of Essie Mott’s journal, with her arrival in Honolulu is at this link

and a second part of the journal, with more about Mrs. Dominis's house at

and a third section of Essie's journal, with stories about parties in Honolulu and Prince Alexander

Leah’s genealogy webpage is


My previous blog postings about Mrs. Dominis:

February 2, 2010 Four John Dominises

February 1, 2010 Chronicling America and Hawaiian Cousins

December 7, 2009 Christmas in Hawaii

July 27, 2009 Hawaii- The Boston Connection to a Royal Lineage


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Other Mayflowers Series

An Iberia Airlines Lockheed Constellation, how my husband's parents arrived in America The Newlyweds 1960 Madrid, Spain 1960 Lockheed Constellation- Madrid to New York City This week before Thanksgiving will be dedicated to blogging about my other family members and ancestors who came to the New World, not just my Mayflower ancestors. There are a lot to choose from, but I’m going to start with my mother and father-in-law, who arrived in New York City in 1960 aboard an Iberia Airlines Lockheed Constellation prop plane from Madrid, Spain. It was 340 years after my ancestors came to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the most recent of any immigrants in our combined family trees.

My father-in-law had been working at the United Nations for a few years, and went home that winter to be married and bring his bride back to the United States. They left their families, and Spain under Franco, to come immediately to New York City. My mother-in-law found herself soon as a new bride, pregnant later that year, in a strange new country. They were married in January (yes, a fiftieth anniversary is coming up soon!) and my husband was born in Manhattan in November of that same year. (Yes, count the months, it works out OK!)

The Lockheed Constellation was a four engine airliner that won fame for its service in the Berlin Airlift. The Constellation had one of the first pressurized cabins, and was used by TWA, Pan Am, and Eastern Airlines in the USA. It was also President Eisenhower’s presidential aircraft named Columbine II and Columbine III. By 1967 it was no longer being used by airlines, and new jet airlines such as the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8 made their debut. There is a Super Constellation on display at the National Air and Space Museum Center at Dulles Airport in Virginia, and three years ago our family saw it there. It was sort of like visiting Plymouth and seeing the Mayflower for the Rojo family!

Flying in a pressurized cabin across the Atlantic as an immigrant to America seems pretty posh compared to some of the horrid shipboard conditions earlier immigrants to America had to endure. However, anyone who had the pluck and bravery to start out a new life in a new country gets my applause. Especially a move where new customs, language and traditions are involved. Most of my own ancestors from my own side of the family tree removed from England to English speaking Massachusetts, which was difficult enough in the 1600’s and early 1700s, but at least the culture remained very similar. From 1960 Spain under Franco to New York City in the United States was a very brave voyage.

For more about the Rojo lineage, and the Spanish Civil War, see my blog post on September 3, 2009 "Mass Grave at Monte Costajan"

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo