Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Just for Fun! Pilgrim Names Seen Around Plymouth, Massachusetts

 These fun images were photographed around the town of Plymouth last fall during the General Society of Mayflower Descendants Board of Assistants meeting.


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Just for Fun!  Pilgrim Names Seen Around Plymouth, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 18, 2022, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2022/01/just-for-fun-pilgrim-names-seen-around.html

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Sailing Ship in Maine - Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was spotted whilst driving along Route 1, the coastal route, from Bath to Bar Harbor, Maine. Somewhere near Wiscasset or Damariscotta, but I neglected to write down the location! 

This two dimensional weathervane is mounted above a cupola over a former barn that has been converted into an antique shop.  There are three masts and a very distinctive flag at the stern or the ship, rather like the Betsy Ross 13 star flag.   

Does anyone know the location of this weathervane?  Or the story behind this interesting ship?

To see 450 other weathervanes featured at this blog, click on this link:



To Cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Sailing Ship in Maine - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 12, 2022, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2022/01/sailing-ship-in-maine-weathervane.html: accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

What did Genea-Santa Bring? Christmas Books 2021


Every year I post the books that Genea-Santa brought to my Christmas tree.  The photo above shows the genealogy and family history books I received this year.  Last year my haul of gift books was heavily slanted towards the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower.  This year the list is well rounded, and includes two books of historical fiction. Thank you, Santa!

I hope you find a few books on this list for yourself and your family history research, too! 

First Yankee: David Thomson, 1592 - 1628 - The Story of New Hampshire's First Settler, was published in 1997 by Ralph and Matthew Thomson.  Santa bought this edition at the gift shop at the Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park, the location of David Thomson's fishing colony in 1623. David Thomson is my 9th great grandfather, and husband to Amyes Colle.  She was married to two of my 9th great grandfathers - Thomson and also to Samuel Maverick of Boston. I can't wait to read this book! 

This is the sixth edition of the Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research, edited by Rhonda R. McClure and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  I've owned every edition of this book, and find it invaluable for New England family history research.  This edition updates lots of contact information, new resources, and things that I've been waiting for (such as the probate information from Connecticut missing from the last edition).  It looks wonderful, the true test will be actually USING this book for some upcoming projects. 

For a change of pace, I've included two books of historical fiction on this blog post because BOTH have to do with some of my family history.  J. Dennis Robinson, the author of Point of Graves: A New England History Mystery, has always written some of my favorite books, articles and short stories from the New Hampshire seacoast region.  Now he has written a mystery, and I can't wait to read it!  The Point of Graves is one of my favorite cemeteries in New Hampshire, and is featured in the title and on the cover.  I'm looking forward to reading this! 

This little volume was put together by my daughter with highlights of my granddaughter's sixth year on the planet.  She actually makes one of these every year, and I should have included it in previous blog posts.  

This large format book (380 pages) The Mayflower Quarterly Diamond Jubilee Edition was published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in 2012.  It was originally sold for $50, but Genea-Santa saw it for sale at the GSMD board of assistants meeting in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It is still for sale for $15 at the GSMD website, so don't miss out on this lovely book that features a compilation of the "best of the best" from the journal produced by the Mayflower Society. 

This very heavy book (printed on glossy photographic paper and 453 pages) Made in America - The Pilgrim Story and How It Grew was written by James W. Baker, former historian from Plimoth-Patuxet museum (formerly known as Plimoth Plantation).  I've enjoyed his previous books, and this one I started on Christmas night and read straight through to the end!  In this volume he doesn't explore the history of the people known as "The Pilgrims" but he delves into the phenomenon behind their becoming myth and legend.  Very interesting, and very historical in its own way!  

This is another historical novel, Bound For Gold: Novel of the California Gold Rush, by William Martin.  He is the author of many of my favorite historical fiction books such as Back Bay, Cape Cod, and Harvard Yard.  He wrote this book in 2019, but I have not read it yet.  I'm interested not only because I enjoyed his earlier books very much, but because I had an ancestor leave Boston for California as a '49er (he actually returned with a nugget or two!).  This book should prove to be very interesting because William Martin does such meticulous research on his subjects.  I follow him on Facebook, and look forward to reading Bound for Gold. 

This is volume 2 of Early New England Families 1641 - 1700 edited by Alicia Crane Williams.  I own volume 1 and used it a lot for my research, and look forward to having this book on my shelf.  It includes sketches with several surnames from my family tree - Carter, Fairbanks, Glover, Maverick, Stone, etc. These are families that arrived AFTER the Great Migration and are not include in Anderson's series.  These sketches are also available online at the database at AmericanAncestors.org 

I'll let you know later what I think of all these new books!  It will take me some time to read them all!

Christmas Books 2019

To Cite/Link to this Blog Post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "What did Genea-Santa Bring?  Christmas Books 2020", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 6, 2021, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2022/01/what-did-genea-santa-bring-christmas.html: accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Chicken Farmer, I Still Love You! - Who was the Chicken Farmer?


Anyone driving through Newbury, New Hampshire on their way to Mount Sunapee has passed this unusual bit of graffiti, which has been on this boulder since the 1970s.  And I'm sure most of the passers-by have wondered "Who was the chicken farmer?"  or "What's the story behind this?"

Over the years the sign has been repainted, and the vegetation has been cleared, making it visible to everyone passing by on Route 103.  In 2011 the New Hampshire Department of Transportation painted over the rock after a graffiti complaint, but this caused a local uproar and the Chicken Farmer sign reappeared and has been freshly repainted annually ever since.  It is such a local favorite, this story even appeared on NH Public Radio's "Fresh Air" as a full episode. 

Originally the rock read "Chicken Farmer I Love You", but after the town of Newbury (less than 2,000 souls in Newbury, and 192 signed the petition) complained to the state of New Hampshire to have their graffiti remain on the boulder, the message now reads "Chicken Farmer I Still Love You".   No one knows the real story, but many people have theories.  I've included some links to stories I found online that explore some of these theories. 

The Chicken Farmer Rock has been the subject of a story in the February 1998 Yankee magazine, bumper stickers, a movie, in the book Chicken Soup for the Lover's Soul, and there is even a Chicken Farmer 5K race every year in Newbury.  If you haven't seen it, take a detour off Interstate 89 and drive along Route 103 to see it for yourself!

For the truly curious:

The Chicken Farmer Rock is on the right side of Route 103 heading west, about 4 1/2 miles after the intersection of Route 114. It is difficult to see heading east, and is located just after Colburn Farm Road. 

Atlas Obscura:  https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/chicken-farmer-rock  

NH PR "What's up with that Chicken Farmer I still love You rock?": https://www.nhpr.org/nh-news/2017-11-03/you-asked-we-answered-whats-up-with-that-chicken-farmer-i-still-love-you-rock  

Youtube film version of the Chicken Farmer story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK4nK7l9d38&t=1s  

New Hampshire Magazine:  https://www.nhmagazine.com/nh-love-stories-chicken-farmer-rock/  


To Cite/Link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Chicken Farmer, I Still Love You!  - Who was the Chicken Farmer?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted January 4, 2022, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2022/01/chicken-farmer-i-still-love-you-who-was.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

An Old Christian Symbol over a Baptist Church - Weathervane Wednesday


This simple, two dimensional, fish weathervane above the Village Baptist Church in Kennebunkport, Maine is gilded, and can be seen from quite a distance.  The fish is an ancient symbol of Christianity,  known as the ichthys or ichthus.  The fish symbol of two arcs was originally a secret symbol for early Christians.  It is popular for weathervanes, and I have blogged about a few HERE and HERE (among others, including this one in Spain HERE!)   It is very appropriate for a church in a small coastal town like Kennebunkport. 

The Village Baptist Church was built in 1820, and renovated over time.  The steeple was refurbished in 2013, and the bell tower removed.  The original weathervane was replaced back on top of the steeple. 

For the truly curious:

The Village Baptist Church, Kennebunkport, Maine:  http://vbc-kennebunkport.org/  

Ichthys (Early Christian Symbol) at Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys  

Click here to see over 450 more Weathervane Wednesday blog posts:



To Cite/Link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "An Old Christian Symbol over a Baptist Church - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 29, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/10/an-old-christian-symbol-over-baptist.html: accessed [access date]). 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Lobster Pot Trees - Merry Christmas!

 These lobster pot trees are a New England tradition.  In the past, lobster fishermen have piled their traps in their yards for the winter, and some were creative in making them into Christmas trees for the holidays.  Then some appeared in harbors and on village greens.  Now coastal towns are featuring more and more lobster trap trees.  No two are alike, and all are welcome signs of the holidays!

Kittery, Maine

Marblehead, Massachusetts

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Rockland, Maine

York, Maine

Winthrop, Massachusetts

A buoy tree
Kittery, Maine

Seabrook, New Hampshire

Some variations on the theme:

Lobster Trap Menorah, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Potato Barrels, Fort Fairfield, Maine

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Hood's Milk, Concord, New Hampshire - Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed over the Hood's Milk office at 330 North State Street, Concord, New Hampshire. 

The H. P. Hood Milk Company began as a delivery service in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  The owner, Harvey Perley Hood, expanded his business by buying a dairy farm in Derry, New Hampshire in 1856 and delivering the milk to the Boston area by train.  Hood's milk grew throughout New England and nation wide.  For years the main plant in Charlestown, Massachusetts was seen by millions of people just off the overhead I-93 expressway just outside of Boston, but it is now closed.  

This two dimensional dairy cow weathervane is very appropriate for this building, don't you think?  

For the truly curious:

"H.P. Hood, Derry's Famous Milk Man"  2009:

To see almost 450 more weathervane posts, click here!


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Hood's Milk, Concord, New Hampshire - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 22, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/10/hoods-milk-concord-new-hampshire_01269621597.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The First Christmas of New England by Harriet Beecher Stowe


This little, hardcover book of just 45 pages was written by Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (14 June 1811 – 1 July 1896).  The First Christmas of New England is a short story originally published in an 1876 volume containing three separate stories.  Stowe was a prolific writer for her time, authoring over 30 books, which often contained social commentary including abolition of slavery, women’s rights, temperance, and American History. Her most famous book Uncle Tom’s Cabin criticized the Fugitive Slave Act, inflamed the South and energized abolitionists in the North prior to the Civil War.

Harriet was born into the religious family of Rev. Lyman Beecher.  Three of her brothers became ministers, and her father was the famous Reverend Lyman Beecher. Her mother was Roxana Ward Foote, a descendant of Nathaniel Foote (about 1593 – 1644), Nathaniel Bliss (1622 – 1654) and Deacon Samuel Chapin (1598 – 1675) early Connecticut settlers, and my ancestors, too.  As far as I can tell, Harriet Beecher Stowe was not a Mayflower descendant, but she did write about the Pilgrims several times in her books.

All of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s books were well researched. This little story about the 1620 Christmas and the Pilgrim’s first winter in New England is written as fiction but quotes from Bradford’s journal and other primary sources. She doesn’t tell any myths about the Plymouth Colony. I don’t know why her book isn’t more well known. I stumbled across it for a few dollars at a used bookstore. You can find it for sale at Amazon and sellers like Abe Books online.

The small size of the book and the simple woodblock style illustrations would make this an excellent gift for young people. Although it was written in the middle of the 19th century, when many of our myths about the Pilgrims and the Plymouth colony were first dreamed up, this book doesn’t romanticize their story.  The first Christmas took place a few weeks after landing in the New World, while many of the Mayflower passengers were still living on board the ship. By Christmas Eve, some of them had already died.  There was no celebrating of a pagan holiday, on December 25, 1620, they worked hard at building shelter for the new settlement.

Within a few more weeks (after the ending of the book), half of the Mayflower company would be dead.


The Beecher Family 

For the truly curious:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or, The History of a Christian Slave, first published in 1852

The Mayflower, or, Sketches of Scenes and Characters among the Descendants of the Pilgrims, published 1843

Betty’s Bright Idea (and other Stories) published 1876 includes “The First Christmas of New England”.

The First Christmas of New England, published by Applewood Books of Bedford, Massachusetts, 2002 also available online at the following links:

A PDF version in full:  https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/journeys.dartmouth.edu/dist/1/686/files/2015/12/Stowe-First_Christmas_of_New_England.pdf 

This version is readable online, but scroll down to the First Christmas story (it's the second of three stories by Harriet Beecher Stowe on this website):  https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_First_Christmas_of_New_England_Other/WrLoDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=the+first+christmas+of+new+england&printsec=frontcover 

The ancestry of Harriet Beecher Stowe can be found at this link:  https://famouskin.com/family-tree.php?name=48996+harriet+beecher+stowe 

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, Connecticut:    https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/  


To Cite/Link to this blog: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The First Christmas of New England by Harriet Beecher Stowe", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 13, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/12/the-first-christmas-of-new-england-by.html