Friday, July 31, 2009

Nutfield's Royal Connection

Doña María del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y Silva

The Duchess of Alba, the grandest grandee in Spain, is said to be able to cross the country from north to south without leaving her estates, and to possess more titles than the Queen of England. She is one of the wealthiest women in the entire world. She has 44 noble titles and 150 hereditary titles. Her name is splashed on headlines in Europe more than the Octomom, Michael Jackson and Angelina Jolie combined in the United States.

I married a Spaniard, and in all our trips to visit the in-laws in Madrid, we often pass the Duchess of Alba’s grand mansion. Of course, I only see it whilst jammed into a public bus, peeking out between the elbows of other Madrileños. We all hope to see the Duchess perhaps in her limo, or out watering the roses.

I recently saw that on top of all her titles, she was applying, with her sisters to belong to DAR. Now, here in lowly Londonderry, membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Mayflower Descendants might be the closest your average Jane Doe can attain to having a “title.” I guess Doña Cayetana wanted to pile another title on her crown.

When I found out how she qualified for DAR membership, I had to chuckle. The lineage was public knowledge, and is easily found with a little time spent googling on the internet. Now thousands of Americans may claim her as a cousin, and perhaps want to crash on her sofa while taking in the sites in Madrid!

William McKean (pronounced McCain, like the presidential candidate) was a Scots Irish immigrant from Northern Ireland, just like most of the first settlers in Nutfield. He, like so many of the Scots Irish, didn’t stay put in New Hampshire, but he removed to Pennsylvania. His grandson, Thomas McKean, was a lawyer and politician, as well as a Revolutionary War officer. He married well twice, and lived in luxury in Philadelphia. He became a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Continental Congressman, President of Delaware and Governor of Pennsylvania, among other triumphs. I guess grand titles run in this family!

His daughter, Sarah, was only a teenager when she caught the eye of a Spanish grandee at a state dinner in Philadelphia. Señor Don Carlos Martinez d’Yrugo quickly married her and had three children before returning to Spain. Their son Don Carlos Fernando Martinez de Yrujo y McKean became prime Minister of Spain, and the second Marquis de Casa Yrujo, Duke of Sotomayor. He married even better than his grandfather and mother, and his children and descendants began collecting titles, estates and power in Spain. Thus a dynasty was born in lowly Londonderry!

Doña Cayetana FitzJames Stuart is also a direct descendant of the King James II of England by his illegitimate son James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick by his mistress Arabella Churchill.

The Family Tree....

  • Gen. 1. William McKean b. 1704 Northern Ireland d. 18 Nov 1769 in Londonderry, New Hampshire m. Letitia Finney

  • Gen 2: Thomas McKeen b. 19 Mar 1733/4 in New London, Pennsylvania d. 24 Jun 1817 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania m. Sarah Armitage on 3 Sep 1774 in Newcastle, Delaware

  • Gen 3: Sarah Maria Teresa McKean b. 8 Jul 1777 in Newark, Delaware d. 4 Jan 1841 in Madrid, Spain m. Carlos Martinez on 10 Apr 1798 in Philadelphia

  • Gen 4: Carlos Fernando Martinez b. 14 Dec 1802 Washington, DC d. 26 Dec 185 in Madrid, Spain m. Gabriela de Acazar

  • Gen 5. Carlos Manuel Martinez b. 5 Apr 1846 in London, England d. 14 Sep 19 in San Sebastian, Spain m. Maria Caro

  • Gen 6. Pedro Martinez b. 3 Oct 1882 d. 5 Sep 1957 San Sebastian, Spain m. Ana Maria Arazcoz Labayen on 26 Oct 1910

  • Gen 7. Luis Martinez b. 17 Nov 1919 in Madrid, Spain d. 6 Sep 1972 in Houston, Texas m. Maria del Rosario Fitz-James Stuart on 12 Oct 1947 in Seville, Spain as her first husband. 
      The children of her first husband are eligible for DAR or to join the "Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence" and other patriotic organizations because of this marriage.  

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ellis Island Immigration Journal- John Peter Bowden Roberts 1915- Leeds, England to Beverly, Massachusetts

A scanned image of John Peter Bowden Robert's Immigration Journal

Although I have many ancestors who came from England on the Mayflower or with the Winthrop Fleet, I also have some ancestors who came to Massachusetts via Ellis Island in 1915. My grandmother, Bertha Louise Roberts, was just nineteen years old at the time, and she traveled from Leeds, Yorkshire with her parents and her older brother, Horace.

My great –grandparents were John Peter Bowden Roberts and his wife, Emma Frances Warren. John Roberts had a job as a stationary engineer in a brewery in the city of Leeds. His younger brother, Harry, had removed to Beverly, Massachusetts sometime in the early 1890s. His eldest daughter, Hilda, had married and removed to Beverly in 1911. Her letters home to her parents described Beverly as a lovely seaside town, and so they decided to sell everything they owned and join her.
Since my grandmother was a young woman during her voyage, when I was growing up she was able to tell us quite a bit about her trip. She remembered having her first romance on board, with a young man who unfortunately traveled on to settle in Seattle. She remembered the music that the band played, and the clothes she wore with vivid detail.

As a child I could almost picture her on the trip.One detail I used to love to hear was about their trip from the train station in Liverpool to the dock that held their ship, the Orduna. It had been only about two months since the Lusitania had been sunk in the Irish Sea, and only a few years since the sinking of the Titanic. Everyone they met in Liverpool told them not to board the ship. People were lined up on the sidewalks by the ship begging them not to sail. It must have taken all their courage to climb the gangplank to board the Orduna.
I recently found that John Roberts had written a journal during his voyage to America, and it was in the possession of my cousin in Maine. I was allowed to photocopy the journal and transcribe it. Written by an engineer, it describes his voyage in quite unimaginative language. Unfortunately, it does not contain all the colorful details my grandmother used to relate to her grandchildren, but it is interesting nonetheless (especially the spelling!)

- - - - - - - -

John Peter Bowden Robert’s Immigration Journal
In the possession of Susan Wilkinson Parker, his great-grandaughter, of Bradford, Maine

“My First Sea Voyage”
Commencing from Leeds on August 7th, 1915

After taking leave of our friends for Liverpool when we boarded the S.S. Orduna for U.S.A. Setting our course by the North of Ireland to escape the submarines. Started out of dock 6 p.m. we was in the danger zone until late on Sunday 8th.

Sunday 8th
After having a good nights rest we went on deck and had a good look around. We have just finished the 1st Lifeboat drill everyone on board had one and the signal blown we was informed that would be the signal each passenger had a ticket given with the number of lifeboat not a very pleasant thing to sleep against our lifebelts however we was told we was out of the danger zone.

2nd day 217 miles

Mon 3rd day
Rather rough this morning a heavy swell but the morning is fine. The boat rocks as she is lightly loaded (water ballast) there is a good deal of sea-sickness today. 336 miles

Tues 10th
5-30 I am on deck there is a great sea this morning spent some time walking just finding my sea legs went down to breakfast but was soon back on deck the sun is shining beautiful and the sea is calm and all kinds of sports are taking place later on in the evening it was cold and squally altogether a pleasant day was spent

327 miles

4th day Wed 11th
A rough sea and a stiff breeze and every appearance of a fine day the day has been spent very pleasantly plenty of amusements 5th day 377 milesAug 12th A fine morning and a calm sea promised to be a real good day most of the passengers are card playing, singing, and games a consort was held on board at night and some good songs was rendered and another good day was spent.

372 miles

6th day 13th
The morning is very dull a mist over the sea at 5-30 a.m. A large iceberg appeared at Breakfast time we had a good view there was also during the day a lot of vessels in sight one bearing the French flag we are now nearing the banks of Newfoundland the afternoon is fine and clear and lots of large fishes darting out of the water. The ship is going so steady you can hardly imagine you are on a ship. The Orduna is a most splendid ship.

The early morning was very fine with a stiff breeze. Passengers coming and going on the deck. The afternoon is beautiful not a cloud to be seen the passengers seem to be having a fine and easy time a consort was arranged and a few songs was sung and a pleasant crossing was spent.

379 miles

Sun 15th
A glorious morning The sun is very powerful and the passengers are seeking shady places Discussions are taking place on various topics There was news posted daily. A very good day has been spent. Scarcely a movement a calm sea we are nearing the end of our journey The first experience of my sea life civility from the officer of highest rank to the lowest The food is excellent

370 miles.

A splendid morning we are near to the coast Several vessels are seen from the deck we arrived at New York 11-30 a.m. and finished our trip on the 17th arriving at Beverly at about 9-30 am

No. of crew 350
Passengers 260
Length of the S.S. Orduna 650 feet

To read more about the S.S. Orduna, click here:


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Ellis Island Immigration Journal- John Peter Bowden Roberts 1915- Leeds, England to Beverly, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 20, 2009,  ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hawaii- the Boston connection to a royal lineage

Mrs. John Owen Dominis
AKA Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii

My search for the Hawaii/Boston link started back when I took the AP American History class in high school. When our teacher told our class we could all write a final paper on any topic (with her approval, of course) I knew that I was going to write about Queen Liliuokalani and how she lost the Hawaiian throne. I was the first student to ask to have my topic approved, and the teacher looked puzzled. It was a topic we barely covered in class, and there was nothing on the subject in our school or town library. I told her I would drive all the way to Boston to find out more....

I wanted to do some research on Queen Liluokalani because my maternal grandfather's family always told a tale of "Auntie Lydia" coming to Boston to meet the relatives. No one living in 1977 was alive 100 years earlier when the Queen came to Boston, and on one living could tell me how we were related. Nor could I find out why we called her "Auntie." I did my research paper and got an "A-" for the class, but my research told me nothing about the Queen's extended family. All I knew was that her husband, Governor John Owen Dominis, had a mother from Boston. I still wanted to know more about the Queen's connection to Massachusetts.

Queen Liliuokalani was known as Lydia, and in her autobiography I found only a few clues. She mentioned two visits to Boston to visit her husband's family. The families mentioned were Emerson, Jones and a few other unfamiliar names. The only name that matched our family tree was Emerson, which is surprisingly common in Boston. Little did I know that this would be a 30 year challenge!

Searching my family tree brought me back 500 years, eleven Mayflower passengers, several links to presidents and military heros, authors, ministers, inventors, and other interesting New England characters, but no Hawaiian clues. In the published Emerson genealogy I found a clue, my great great grandmother was known as Mary Esther Harris, but she had been adopted by an aunt, and her real name was Mary Esther Younger. She married George Emerson in 1845. A search of the Younger family found that her parents were Levi Younger of Gloucester and Catherine Plummer Jones of Boston. Catherine died young, so Levi's sister, Mary (who had married David Harris of Boston) had adopted her. But the records gave no clues to Catherine Plummer Jones. Of course, a Jones could be a brick wall - there were many thousands of Jones records now to pick through.

And that strange name Dominis? Not common at all in Boston, and when I searched I found several strange names with Dominis as middle names.... hmmmm, Dominis as a clue?? The Queen's husband was John Owen Dominis... a painstaking search through the Boston records started to reveal a few links here and there. An Agnes Jones married William Hart in 1837 and had sons named Owen Jones Hart and John Dominis Hart. And in the Hawaiian record books, a mysterious Hawaiian relative of Prince John Owen Dominis had sons named Owen Jones Holt and John Dominis Holt.

Agnes's parents turned out to be Owen Jones and Mary Lambert. Holt's first wife turned out to be an Ann Marie Jones of Boston, sister to Prince Dominis's mother, Mary Lambert (Jones) Dominis. Records proved Agnes, Ann Marie and Mary were sisters. A further search found that the publisher of the Queen's autobiography was William Lee, of the famous Lee & Shepard's company in Boston- and his mother was Laura William's Jones, another daugher to Owen and Mary Jones of Boston.

Several times over the years I had written to officials in Hawaii, begging for family letters that might help me prove some sort of kinship to the Prince's maternal ancestry. Many curators and archivists told me that the letters mentioned no names. I was saving my pennies to travel from New England to Hawaii to take a look at the archives myself when suddenly there was a reply from the curator in Honolulu's Washington Place, the home of Captain John Dominis and his Boston wife, Mary Lambert Jones- and later the home of Queen Liliuokalani. She had a letter written by publisher William Lee to the widowed Mrs. Dominis, mentioning the Queen's visit and all the relatives who came out to see her- including "Aunt Esther Emerson" the daughter of Catherine Jones.

And the curator also wanted to know the connection to Sarah Dargue Jones, who married Enoch Howes Snelling. Snelling was a Boston glazier who designed and sent the windows, doors and sidelights to the grand entrance at Washington Place. Now I could place my 5x great grandparents as Owen Jones and Elizabeth Lambert, married on 11 May 1793 at the 2nd Baptist Church in Boston and their children as:
1. Sarah Dargue Jones b. abt 1794 d. 27 Sep 1875 in Boston m. Enoch Howes Snelling
2. Catherine Plummer Jones b. abt 1799 d. 2 May 1828 in Boston m. Levi Younger
3. Mary Lambert Jones b. 3 Aug 1803 d. 25 Apr 1889 in Honolulu, m. Capt John Dominis of Slovenia
4. Owen Jones, jr. b. abt 1808 d. 1846 on a voyage to Shanghai, China
5. Laura Williams Jones b. bef 14 Jul 1809, d. 10 Dec 1887 Brockton, Mass m. John Lee
6. Ann Marie S. Jones b. abt 1811 d. 15 Aug 1832 in Boston, m. Robert William Holt as his first wife
7. John Eliot Jones b. Jan 1814 d. bef 5 Jul 1814 Boston
8. Agnes Jones b. 12 Nov 1816 Boston, d. 26 feb 1890 m. William N. Hart

Robert William Holt remarried in Hawaii, taking his two Boston born daughters with him. His second wife, Caroline Tawati Robinson, gave him four sons: Robert Lawrence Holt, James Robinson Holt, Owen Jones Holt and John Domins Holt. The Holt family is HUGE, and the names Owen, Jones, Dominis, etc. have been repeated through the generations- even down to girls being named Owena in my generation!

The Holt family, has been wonderful in sending me tons of information on the Holt family, and what little they know about the two daughters from Boston. I'm piecing together a GIANT family tree that is now stored at the manuscript room at NEHGS.

The Queen and her husband, Governor John Owen Dominis did not have any children. However, Dominis left a child from a relationship with one of the Queen's honor attendants. The Queen graciously accepted this son as her heir upon her husband's death. There is a line of descendants from this side, who are my true blood cousins. My new Hawaiian cousins from the Holt family say I'm a "Calabash cousin" and I'm grateful for their kindness in helping me to untangle this web. One calabash cousin has put me in contact with the great grand daughter of Governor Dominis, and we are meeting for dinner in Massachusetts next week!

So the saga continues with proving all these links with vital records, church records, letters, deeds and wills. I hope that my dinner next week brings along the names of many, many more cousins. Hopefully I'll have some photos to post from this adventure soon!

UPDATE ~ click on the keywords "DOMINIS" or "HAWAII" or "LILIUOKALANI" to see all the stories I have written on this blog about the extended family in Hawaii since this first blog post in 2009.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo