Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day- Thank you, Uncle Al!

Stanley Elmer Allen Junior (1925 - 2003)

My mom had five brothers, and her oldest brother was still in high school when World War II broke out. His parents made him promise that he would wait until he was 18 to enlist, and to finish his education. I can tell from his enlistment record that he kept his promise, but just barely. He enlisted at Fort Devens, Massachusetts on 25 May 1944.

Stanley Elmer Allen was born on 15 Jun 1925 in Beverly, Massachusetts, and all his life he was known as “Junior” to most people, but we called him “Uncle Al”. He eventually served with the Army Air Corps in the South Pacific. I know he wanted to be a pilot, but somehow that never happened. He served under General Curtis Emerson LeMay (1906 – 1990) in the 21st Bomber Command as a tail gunner on board a B-29 Superfortress named “Orpen’s Orphans.” His unit was based at the northwest field in Guam, and was involved with the final bombing of Japan and Toyko.

I did some research online, and I think the name on the plane refers to Colonel Bud Orpen (Julius H. Orpen, 1919 - 2009) who was in charge of the 501st Bomb Group. General LeMay was a controversial character, not attending West Point, but rising through the ranks to general starting with ROTC training. When General Hap Arnold had a hard time finding a use for the new B29s in combat service, he brought in LeMay. He abandoned the longtime American practice of daylight, precision bombing, and LeMay stripped the plans of guns, loaded them with incendiaries and sent them out at night. This new strategy devastated Tokyo, and with the dropping of the atomic bombs in August 1945 brought the war to an end. LeMay broke the record, serving as a U.S. general for seventeen years.

Uncle Al attended the 50th reunion with his squadron in 1995, and he died on 14 Jul 2003 at the Maine Veteran’s Hospital in South Paris. He never spoke about the war until after his reunion. This seems to be common with many of our World War II Veterans. He had only a few years to tell his three sons and family about his war memories. I remember visiting him soon after his military reunion, and he proudly showed me all his memorabilia.

After returning to civilian life he married my Aunt Mary (Horgan) in 1947, and worked hard with his cousin Harold at expanding the Allen Fuel Oil business in Hamilton, Massachusetts until the 1980s. After retirement he lived in Maine, where he always spent his summers at his camp along the Crooked River. There were many family reunions and cookouts there at the camp when I was growing up.

We have many fond memories of Uncle Al, and are very grateful for his service to our country during a horrific war. He and other pilots went into harms way to keep those at home safe. These few photos of his time in Guam with his squadron and his plane “Orpen’s Orphans” are historic memories of World War II.

For another war time story about Uncle Al, please see my blog post “A Post Card from a Stranger” at

The website had much interesting information on the Northwest Air Field in Guam, the 501st Bomb Group and the 21st Bombardment Squadron.

UPDATE!  Amazingly, a few years after I wrote this blog post I found the photo below on the wall at the Pima Air and Space Museum.  See this link to another post!

Transcription from the back of the class photo (it's amazing that Uncle Al wrote all the names AND he wrote down their home towns. Is your ancestor or relative on this list?)

"Taken Feb. 1944
52d CTR
Raleigh, North Carolina"

Left to Right
B. H. Cohen -Hartford, Conn.
E. Fishman -Lynn, Mass
R. Connick -Lynn, Mass
D. Whipple - Ascutny, VT
R. N. Aloy, -Chicago, ILL
J. Peprerilla -Andover, Mass
M. Rickard -Worcester, Mass
D. Anderson -Chicago, ILL
S. Allen -Hamilton, Mass
H. Ramsey -Worcester, Mass
J. Audette -Montreal, Can
L. Zivaggo -Bridgeport, Conn
O. Roden – Alabama
B. Wyman – Durham, NH
C. Saunders –Hartford, Conn.
J. Matthewson –Somerville, Mass
S. Kemenski –Boston, Mass
R. King –Durham, NH
R. Ambro – Rockford, ILL
A. Lemoi –Warwick, RI
R. Sowell –Georgia
D. Snow –Keene, NH
E. Bethiume –Worcester, Mass
R. Ward –Bridgeport, RI
Eckwald -Hartford, Conn

Background L to R
Lt. Basinas –Lowell, Mass
G. Stacy –Boston, Mass


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Memorial Day-  Thank you, Uncle Al!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted May 30, 2010, ( accessed [access date]).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Follow Friday- Bing vs Google vs Dogpile

Bing vs Google vs Dogpile for Genealogy

Sometimes I play around with search engines to see which might be best for genealogical purposes. This is not a scientific study, but just some observations. My usual method is to take a name and try it out in the search box, first without quotations (for example, John Smith), then with quotations (“John Smith), and then “John * Smith” to see what the variations turn up. If I get too many hits, sometimes I’ll add in a town or state name as a limiter.

The other day I was trying out some of the more unusual names in my family tree. Poor ubiquitous John Smith was not one of them. I tried out the name Romanus Emerson, which gives me about 90% useful hits in most of the time in Google. Here are some of the strange things that came up….

Bing – the first and third results were from the Hancock, New Hampshire Town Record Book (where he lived before removing to Boston), the second and sixth results were from my own blog, and the 10th was from eBay (a book of cartes de viste from the Civil War era, including a portrait of Romanus Emerson II, but for sale for $9,995- *sigh* I must buy a lottery ticket for that one). Two other results were from Blogcatalog referring me back to my own blog.

5th on the list of results is from Wikipedia “Past Members of the Boston City Council” Interestingly under the City Council of 1843 “Aldermen: Simon Wilkinson; Josiah Stedman; Jonathan Preston. Common Council: Jacob George Lewis Libbey; Daniel Bartlett, Jr; William Henry Learnard; Joshua B. Fowle; Henry Davis; James Whiting; James Harvey Dudley; George Washington Crockett; Willard Nason Fisher; James Fowle; Kimball Gibson; Peleg Whitman Chandler; John Slade, Jr; George Tyler Bigelow; Andrew Townsend Hall; Clement Willis; Isaac Cary; Greenleaf Connor Sanborn; Romanus Emerson.” Three of these men were in my family tree data base: Romanus Emerson (1782 – 1852) is my 4x great grandfather, Simons Wilkinson (abt. 1779 – 1860) is a distant Wilkinson cousin (Wilkinson is my maiden name), and Jacob George Lewis Libbey (1797 – 1846), who married a distant cousin, Elizabeth Simonds. The Fowles of Boston intermarried several times with the Simonds family, so I’m looking into the two Fowle men on this list. This was a very fun find. Thank you!

Dogpile- What strange results! The first one was for an Emerson Appliance company, and I don’t understand where the word “Romanus” matched this one. Then three hits for my own blog and one for my FamilyTreeMaker webpage. One for that book of Hancock, NH town records, and then a hit for the pop group “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (again, how does “Romanus” match that one?). It seems that Dogpile gives advertising products an edge over matching your search words? If anyone can explain this one, please go right ahead!

Google - Since Google gives me a general web result, as well as a book result, image results, news (including archived news) results, etc. their hits were generally more useful and relevant to genealogy. They give many more hits than Bing or Dogpile, and I like that. I like being able to choose what I think is relevant or not. But it’s worthwhile using the other search engines, at least, once in a while just to see what comes up. Does anyone have an extra $9.995 I can use for that eBay book?

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Racism in the Press regarding Queen Lili'uokalani

This is part two of a story I first posted on Monday,

Lewiston Saturday Journal, Lewiston, Maine, February 4, 1895, page 1
Hawaii’s Dusky Ex-Queen May Come to America”

The Evening News, San Jose, California, November 9, 1908, page 1
Former Ruler of Hawaii is in San Francisco”

My Memories of Eighty Years, by Chauncey M. Depew, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921, page 279.
[How anyone could believe this story is beyond me, but here it is…]
“…at the dinner the dusky queen said to Queen Victoria: “Your Majesty, I am a blood relative of yours.”
“How so?” was the queen’s astonished answer.
“Why,” said Liliuokalani, “my grandfather ate your Captain Cook.” “

The myth of a black pagan queen demanding obedience from an uncivilized, uneducated island population was perpetuated through the press. In reality the Hawaiian Kingdom was almost 100 percent literate, with a royal palace more technologically advanced than the United States White House (King Kalakaua had an advanced electrical system, modern plumbing and ventilation installed during the construction of Iolani Palace in 1882) The population was largely Christian, and the government had a constitution, its’ own currency, postal system and stamps. Honolulu had hospitals and transportation more advanced than most of America. President Grover Cleveland had opposed the takeover, and demanded the withdrawal of the oppressors. However, distance, communication and the changeover to a new administration with the term of President McKinley caused the disintegration of the plan.

Some of the cartoons in the popular press were overly sexist and racist. They depicted the Queen using her feminine wiles, or as a wild native of Africa to denigrate her authority. The Hawaiian monarchy and culture were compared to an uncivilized civilization. I gave an example of a racism cartoon in my last blog post about the Queen in the press, here is another:

Cartoon titled "We Draw the Line At This" appearing in the magazine, The Judge, a US national magazine loosely connected with the Republican Party, depicting "Queen Lil" (depicted as an African) being carried on a plate by American marines. 1893. Courtesy of “Hawaiian Monarchy” Facebook Group. Cartoon, color lithograph. [New York], Judge, v25, 6331, December 2, 1893. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Archives. Honolulu, Hawai'i. Drawer Ills. press 1-2, Negative no. CP103.862, slide no. XS 30.786

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Not so Wordless Wednesday- History is Everywhere!

We were shopping on South Willow Street in Manchester, New Hampshire when my husband dropped into a McDonalds restaurant to pickup an iced coffee. He snapped this photo for me. This plaque was on the wall near the cash register.

Click here for a story by Jan Brown about the McDonald Brothers, Richard and Maurice, and their genealogy:

The URL for this post is
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Princess Ka’iulani in Cambridge again!

A photo of Princess Ka'iulani and Mr. Davies
taken in Boston, Massachusetts 1893

Some historical facts:

Upon hearing of the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Princess Ka’iulani left England for the United States. They landed at New York City. On March 4, 1893, the day before Grover Cleveland’s inauguration as President, the seventeen year old Princess Ka’iulani and her guardian Mr. Theo Davies headed to Boston to visit his son, Clive, a student at MIT. Clive met them at the train station in Boston, and they checked into the Hotel Brunswick. The Davies treated the Princess to a ride in a Russian sleigh, her first such ride. It was rumored that she would attend Trinity on Sunday, so instead she went to St. Paul’s Church with the Davies and worshipped in peace, whilst Trinity was crowded with rubberneckers hoping for a glimpse of royalty. She visited MIT, and Wellesley College where another rumor had started that she would matriculate. Most important was the reception held for her in Boston, attended by Hawaiian friends, politicians and the press. Again, the newspapers described her lady-like demeanor and beautiful clothing. Some of the MIT students attended the party with Clive Davies, and were all entranced by the young Princess. On Wednesday she boarded a train for Washington, DC with Mr. Davies, hoping to meet with President Cleveland.

And a movie review:

And so, just by luck, one of the only two places in Massachusetts to see the new movie “Princess Ka’iulani” was at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge, Massachusetts this week. This theater is just a block or two from MIT. We went to the Saturday night screening. There were about twenty people in attendance- a very poor attendance rate for a movie that has been getting poor reviews in the local and national press. Several native Hawaiians were sitting behind us, probably MIT students.

The problem with movies is that they are never true to the book, whether or not it was a fiction book like Lord of the Rings or Pride and Prejudice, or a non-fiction story from the history books, like the Titanic or the Princess Ka’iulani. As such, it is almost unfair to rant about any changes to the story, or liberties with historical fact. Movies are art, not exact reproductions of fact.

However, even though this movie has generated great interest in the public about the circumstances surrounding Hawaii’s annexation, it does not excuse the fact that history has been played with too liberally. It is not unknown in movies to introduce a romance where none existed, or to twist the dates around, or to create tension to carry the story along, but in this movie there were some glaring examples of inaccuracy. The most terrible injustice was to create a hero out of Sanford Dole for the climactic ending of the movie! Because of this, I feel that some sort of disclaimer should accompany the opening credits, like “this is a work of fiction”! In fact, I feel it should be mandatory, since it has upset so many Hawaiians and supporters of the Hawaiian monarchy.

And so, I will not list all the historical facts misrepresented in this movie, there has already been plenty of that in the press. It was a lovely costume drama, beautifully filmed and acted. It was filmed on location in England and Hawaii, using the actual Iolani Palace and Washington Place settings. Q’oriana Kilcher played a very refined, subdued Princess Ka’iulani, just as she did in the acclaimed film “A New World” when she portrayed Pocahontas. The truly gifted actress and scene stealer in the entire “Princess Ka’iulani” film IMHO was Leo Anderson Akana who played a wonderfully true to life Queen Lili’uokalani. Enough to make me wish for a Queen Lili’uokalani movie, but then again, I would probably be disappointed by the artistic license of any producer, so let’s leave Auntie Lydia’s story for the history books.

By the way, none of Ka’iulani’s trip to Boston was in the film, nor any mention of the Dominis family. In fact, Governor J. O. Dominis was not shown or mentioned in the entire film. That is OK by me, since the story was about Hawaii and Ka’iulani, and not about Lili’uokalani or her extended family. I was happy to see Ka’iulani call her by the name “Auntie Lydia”, since that was how my grandfather and my great grandmother also called her.


For more information:

Please see my other blog posts on Princess Ka’iulani from earlier this month, October 2009 and March 2010.

Princess Ka’iulani, released May 14, 2009 by Matador Pictures, but premiered as “Barbarian Princess” in November 2008 in Honolulu at a film festival. some historical information about Princess Ka’iulani and her trip to visit the White House in 1893.

Princess Ka’iulani: Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People, by Sharon Linnea, 1999 (where this copy of the photo of Ka’iulani and Theo Davies taken in Boston was found) a website dedicated to celebrating the life of Princess Ka’iulani


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tombstone Tuesday- Lane Family, Hampton, NH

Lane Family Tombstone
Pine Grove Cemetery, Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, New Hampshire.

William Lane, junior. and his wife Sarah Webster were my 8x Great Grandparents. Their names are on a 1681 list of the members of the 2nd Church in Boston, and sometime after that they removed to Hampton, New Hampshire. Sarah was William’s first cousin. They lived near Sarah’s father, Thomas Webster, near where Hampton Academy now stands. William Lane was a tailor. Deacon Joshua Lane was his son. I descend through his brother, Samuel Lane who married Elizabeth Blake. William Lane senior, his father, and Mary Brewer, his mother, are also listed on one side of this stone, and they also died in Hampton.

[Front left side]
Dea. Joshua Lane June 6, 1696 Was Killed By Lightning June 14, 1766
His Wife Bathsheba Robie Aug. 2, 1696 Apr. 13, 1765
16 Children

[FRONT right]
William Lane Oct 1, 1659 Came To Hampton 1685 Feb. 14, 1748
His Wife Sarah Webster Jan. 22, 1660 Jan. 5, 1745
7 Children
[not listed here]

The Children of Dea. Joshua Lane
Samuel 1718-1806 Stratham
Bathsheba 1729-1757 Hamp.
Mary 1720-1795 Hampton
Isaiah 1730-1815 H. Falls
Joshua 1721-1723
Jeremiah 1732-1806
William 1723-1802
Ebenezer 1733-1796 Hampton
Josiah 1724-1729
Abagail 1734-1826 No.H
Joshua 1724-1794 Fremont
Elizabeth 1736-1806
John 1726-1811 Kensington
Josiah 1738-1821 Hampton
Sarah 1727-1784 Seabrook
Anne 1741-1780 Readfield, Me.

[RIGHT side]
William Lane
In Boston 1650
Made Freeman May 6, 1657
His Wife Mary -----
Died May 22, 1656
3 Children
His Wife
Mary Brewer
Mar'd Aug 21, 1656
4 Children

[LEFT side]
To The Memory of
A Worthy Ancestry
By Descendants
and Kindred
The Town of Hampton
By Vote Consenting
March 10, 1885

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, May 24, 2010

Amanuensis Monday- The Boston Press reports on Queen Lil'uokalani's visit

I was unhappy, but not surprised to read the racist comments in the newspaper accounts of Lili’uokalani’s two visits to Boston. The people of Boston may have had the reputation as liberal reformers, but interracial marriage was still not acceptable in the mid 1800s. She made her first visit to Boston in 1887, when she was still a Princess accompanying her aunt, Queen Kapiolani, to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee (50th anniversary of her reign as Queen of England). Her second visit to Boston was in 1897, after being deposed, as a private citizen on her way to Washington DC to intercede on behalf of her people to overturn the annexation of Hawaii.

John Owen Dominis, Queen Lili’uokalani’s husband, had a cousin named William Lee (1826 -1906) a famous Boston bookseller and founder of Lee & Shepard publishing company. His mother, Laura (Jones) Lee was sister to my 4x great grandmother, Catherine (Jones) Younger, and also sister to John Owen Dominis's mother, Mary (Jones) Dominis. Lee published the Queen’s autobiography Hawaii’s story by Hawaii’s Queen in 1898, the same year that Hawaii was annexed by the United States. His second wife, Sara White (1849 – 1925) was a good friend to the Queen during her second Boston visit, in the wake of the overthrow. The newspapers were particularly nasty during this second visit.

Mrs. Lee was a socialite, one of the founding woman members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (in 1897 they voted to admit the first 29 women members), and the wife of a well respected business man. She bravely stood up for her kinswoman and friend, Queen Lili’uokalani. The Boston Globe actually printed this as a pro-Lili’uokalani story, and the Queen repeated it in her autobiography. I don’t know if Mrs. Sara White Lee suffered any social repercussions because of this article that appeared in the Boston Globe newspaper, Dec. 4, 1897, but I am glad she said these words:

“Mrs. Lee talked about her friend Liliuokalani, whose name she said, signifies the preservation of the heavens, and gave an interesting description of Hawaii's history and the peculiar customs of the people.

She asserted that the native Hawaiians are more intelligent and better educated than they are generally credited with being; most of them being able to read and write their own language, and many of them being equally accomplished in English.

Their constancy and their trustful nature, she claimed, have been their misfortune. At one period, she said, Hawaii was governed by no laws save the Ten Commandments.

Mrs. Lee expressed the opinion that in view of the power wielded by the whites, and the little influence possessed by the natives at the time of the late revolution, it was no wonder the Queen wished to promulgate a new constitution to restore to her people some of the rights of which they had been deprived.

She said further: "I tell you from the bottom of my heart, I have never found a more devout and perfect Christian under all circumstances than Liliuokalani. I have never yet heard her utter an unkind word against those who persecute her.

I am an American by ancestry from the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and I love the American flag, and would be the last to see it hauled down if rightly raised; but (here Mrs. Lee spoke with visible emotion) if a Captain Kidd or any other pirate should raise the American flag simply as a decoy in order to destroy, we should be the first to resent it.

I do not oppose annexation as such, but it grieves me to see the way our countrymen have gone to work to bring it about.

I believe the Hawaiians should have their independent government and that the natives should have something to say as to what that government shall be."


Cartoon titled "School Begins" appearing in the magazine, The Puck, a US national magazine loosely connected with the Democratic Party, depicting Hawai'i, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Cuba, (all in the front row) being taught by Uncle Sam while the rest of the Latin American countries are seated behind them. Note that a Native American character is sitting in the corner, and an African-American character is cleaning the windows. 1898. Courtesy of “Hawaiian Monarchy” via Facebook.

Dalrymple. “School Begins”. Cartoon, color lithograph. [New York], Puck, 1898. Hawai'i State Archives. Kahn Collection 37:39 Caption: Uncle Sam (to his new class on civilization) - "Now, children, you've got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and remember that in a little while, you will be as glad to be here as they are!"


Queen Lili'uokalani's relatives in Boston:

Owen Jones (about 1768 - 1850) and Elizabeth Lambert (about 1775-1834) married in Boston on 11 May 1793 at the 2nd Baptist Church, Eight children including:

1. Sarah Dargue Jones (about 1794- 1875) married Enoch Howes Snelling (1790 -1866), a North End glazier who helped supply and ship parts of Washington Place, Queen Lili'uokalani's residence in Hononlulu. Their son, Nathaniel (1823- 1902) held a party at his residence for Queen Lili'uokalani when she came to Boston.
2. Catherine Plummer Jones (abt 1799- 1828) married to Levi Younger (1786-1858) . My 4x great grandparents. Their descendants met with the Queen in Boston.
3. Mary Lambert Jones (1803 - 1889) married to Captain John Dominis (d. 1846 at sea), their son, and only surviving child, John Owen Dominis (1832- 1891) married Queen Lili'uokalani
4. Laura Williams Jones (abt 1809 - 1887) married John Lee (d. 1847), their son, William Lee (1826 - 1906) was the publisher of Queen Lili'uokalani's autobiography (Lee & Shepard of Boston) mentioned above (married to Sara White).
5. Ann Marie Jones (abt. 1811 - 1832) married to Robert William Holt (1792 - 1862), Holt was a business man in Hawaii, who remarried to Caroline Tauwati Robinson (1815 - 1891) and had a large family in Honolulu.

UPDATE 2012 - There were two sons in this family!  An Owen Jones, Jr. and a John Eliot Jones.


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tour Guides and their "Myths"

A few years ago Philadelphia began a campaign to stop tour guides from telling myths and to start studying history before beginning their jobs. They plan to certify each guide with an exam, and fine them for leading tours without this certificate. Philadelphia is the city where the Betsy Ross House is a top attraction, and there is no evidence that she ever even sewed a flag. In my opinion, a certificate should not be required by law, but I would choose take a tour with certified guides over one without certification? Just like hiring a genealogist- would I hire one without certification over one without?

I like to do research in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. As I walk from library to library, I often hear the tour guides on walking tours or in the famous “Duck Boats” blathering on about history. Sometimes I am shocked at the lies they repeat, and how the tourists just sit and absorb it all! Entertainment rules over education on these tours. Quack quack! Here are samplings of things I have actually overheard tour guides say:

Salem Tour Guides

Myth -“This is a witch burned at the witch trials in 1692…”
Truth- This is a statue of Roger Conant, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and he died in 1679- thirteen years before the witch trials. Perhaps his hat is the problem? And by the way, no one was burned at the stake in Salem.


Plymouth Tour Guides

Tour guides here repeat the myth that the Pilgrim’s November Thanksgiving feast was about religion. If it was a religious celebration they never would have invited the Indians, and they wouldn’t have had food and games. What we know of as Thanksgiving was actually “Harvest Home” a secular English tradition every fall. Actual Puritan thanksgiving days [not capitalized because they were not holidays] were days of fasting and praying throughout the year, not just in November.


Cambridge Tour Guides

This is John Harvard’s statue in Harvard Yard at Harvard University.
Myth #1- This is not the founder, he was the first Harvard benefactor.
Myth #2- Harvard was not founded in 1638, it was 1636.
Myth #3- Never, ever kiss the shoe, no matter what the Harvard student tour guides tell you (They’ll say it’s for good luck before exams) Judging by the shiny shoe, many tourists and Freshmen fall for this. I can’t tell you what Harvard students do to this shoe and statue, it’s too disgusting to repeat here. Tourists continue to rub or kiss the shiny shoe, whilst the students snigger in delight.


Boston Tour Guides

The tour guides love to talk about the Pilgrims in Boston. The only Pilgrims in Boston were a baseball team from 1901 to 1907. Yes, there were Puritans in Boston, but no Pilgrims or Separatists- they lived in Plymouth.

The Battle of Bunker Hill actually happened on Breed’s Hill, which was bulldozed long ago to fill in Boston Harbor. So forget the blow by blow battle descriptions by the tour guides as they stand on Bunker Hill. They’re not in right neighborhood.

The tour guides will tell you that Mother Goose and Benjamin Franklin are buried in the Granary Burial Ground. There is a grave marked “Elizabeth Goose”, and a memorial raised by the Franklin family to their parents- Josiah and Abiah Franklin. Ben Franklin is buried in Philadelphia.

Even though it sounds like a good theory, the wandering one-way streets did not start as cow paths. It was just a lack of urban planning in the early days that made the streets so crooked. By the time Back Bay was built, urban planning had progressed.

The Boston Massacre was not really a massacre. Only five people died, and it was more like a street riot. The revolutionaries used the event as a good chance for propaganda.

Don’t even get me started on Paul Revere myths- there isn’t enough room in this blog!

Part Two with more myths told by tour guides! 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tour Guides and their 'Myths'", Nutfield Genealogy, posted May 21, 2010, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Deliverance of Bermuda

The Deliverance replica as seen from the top deck of our cruise ship, in port at St. George, Bermuda
This beloved ship has been recreated and on display at St. George, Bermuda. We took a cruise from Boston to Bermuda several years ago, and our cruise ship moored right next door to the Deliverance replica. In 1609 the Sea Venture set sail from Plymouth, England as the flagship of a seven ship fleet destined as the Third Supply to Jamestown, Virginia. The fleet ran into a hurricane and the ships were separated. The Admiral Sir George Somers ran the ship into the reefs of Bermuda which allowed 150 people to get safely ashore.
Not only was this the story of the founding of Bermuda by English settlers, it was also the story William Shakespeare used when writing his play “The Tempest”. Two new ships, Deliverance and Patience, were built out of the wreck of the Sea Venture and local Bermuda cedar. Some of the settlers died on Bermuda before the company set sail for Jamestown again, including the wife and infant of John Rolfe, who would find a new wife, Pocahontas, in Virginia. Also in this company was Stephen Hopkins, who survived this wreck, survived Jamestown, went back to England, survived passage again on the Mayflower and its first infamous winter in New England with his family. Three men stayed behind in Bermuda, as its only inhabitants until the Plough arrived in 1612.
There was an abundance of food and wild pigs on Bermuda, and the Jamestown settlers were dying of starvation. An expedition to collect food in Bermuda for Jamestown was made in 1610. Admiral Sir George Somers (1554 -1610) died on this voyage, and had his heart buried in Bermuda. The rest of his body was buried in his hometown of Lyme Regis, England
A memorial to Admiral Sir George Sommers in St. George, Bermuda
click to enlarge

For more information:

Here I Shall Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins, Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor, and Mayflower Pilgrim, by Caleb Johnson, Xlibris Corp., 2007.

Sea Venture: Shipwreck, Survival, and the Salvation of the First English Colony in the New World, by Kieran Doherty, St. Martin’s Press, 2008. the story of the wreck of the Sea Venture and Admiral Sir George Somers, by The Royal Gazette, Bermuda’s only newspaper.

UPDATE 13 May 2013

I had originally called the replica ship in the photo The Sea Venture, but thanks to a message on Facebook I received from Rick Denham, who had been to Bermuda with the "Hopkins' Cruisin' Cousins" he identified the ship as the Deliverance.  I just confirmed this with the official Bermuda tourism website, too.  Rick Denham invites everyone who is interested in the story of Stephen Hopkins to visit the Pigrim Hopkins Heritage Society at   Thanks, Rick!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday - Cradle Roll Certificate

Last year I read in the blog "Dear Myrtle" on 27 July, 2009 a post entitled "1925 Nowata Cradle Roll." I knew that my mom had one of those cradle roll certificates hanging on her bedroom wall from 1936. The certificate was beautiful, and I had always admired it.
Then this past month in the blog "Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories" on 15 April 2010 in the post "Treasure Chest Thursday - Cradle Roll Certificate" there was a photo of a certificate that looks very similar to Mom's. The very next day, in "a3Genealogy" there was another photograph of a certificate in the 16 April 2010 post "Cradle Rolls", along with a very nice history of the tradition.
I vowed to get a photo of my Mom's cradle roll certificate, but we didn't get down to Massachusetts until Mother's Day. Here is her document, which interestingly was signed at the bottom by the woman who would later become Mom's 8th grade teacher. It is from the South Hamilton Methodist Church, but Mom later attended the Episcopal Church, and was also married there.
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- St. Peter's Church, Bermuda

St. Peter's Church is the oldest Protestant church in the New World. The original building was built in St. George, Bermuda in 1612, and the present building was constructed in 1713.
There are two graveyards. One, a walled area in the west was for slaves, and the burial area in the east was for the white settlers.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, May 17, 2010

Madness Monday- Princess Ka’iulani Movie Update 2

Princess Ka'iulani

I sometimes post some of the stories from my blog on the website I had almost stopped doing this when I received a message through about the Essie Mott memoirs. This resulted in a lot of fun blogging connections and many blog posts, so I continue to post a few stories on GenealogyWise, just to see what will happen next.

I noticed last week that a story I had posted on GenealogyWise on 16 October 2009 was their second most popular blog post. This was the post “Princess Ka’iulani of the Kingdom of Hawaii” that I posted on my Nutfield Genealogy blog on the same day. I knew that the movie, originally titled “Barbarian Princess” and then renamed “Princess Kaiulani” was due to be released in the continental United States in May 2010, and this must be driving my post’s popularity via Google.

I belong to several Facebook groups which have been following the movie since its premiere in Honolulu last fall. The most interesting is the official Facebook group from Iolani Palace. Some of the scenes were shot on location at the Iolani Palace, and they have been walking the fine line of preserving the historical integrity of the movie and placating the Hawaiians who have been upset by some of the liberties the producers took with their beloved Princess’s story. It seems that Hawaiians think the movie was important to bring the story of the overthrow to the public, but they were disappointed that the producers did not stay true to history.

Another Facebook group, more outspoken and with more political overtones, is the group “Hawaiian Monarchy”. Their statement on May 14, 2010 is “Since I keep on being asked about that "Barbarian", I will state that only 20 to 30% of that movie has a factual basis. The dates are all wrong. The relationship between the Davies is wrong. The movie does not even bother to mention Ka'iulani's engagement with Prince Kawananakoa or the fact that Princes David Kawananakoa and Jonah Kalanianaole were also in England. Where is Toby? The movie is fictional.” They have been posting reviews, both positive and negative for the movie.

My fellow genealogy blogger and movie buff Barbara Poole of “Life from the Roots” alerted me that there was a listing of show times for the movie “Princess Kaiulani” available on line, and I found two locations in the Boston area showing the movie this weekend. A distant cousin in Hawaii attended the premiere in Honolulu last fall, and she said “To make it interesting to the folks out there that are not familiar with the Hawaiian history of that era, the author stressed the love line. It is true that K had many beaus, but they stressed only one, the son of Theo. H. Davies, who was a businessman here, made a fortune and returned to England to live off of his profits.”

The madness is that the movie is in a “limited release”, which means that only some theaters across the nation will be showing it in May. There are exactly ZERO theaters in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont showing “Princess Kaiulani”. The two theaters showing the movie in Boston are known for showing art films, documentaries and foreign films. Hopefully this important movie will be like “Whale Riders” or “March of the Penguins” and become popular enough to be shown in regular theaters nationwide.

I’ll report back here after I see the movie this weekend in Boston.

Click her for My original post on Princess Ka’iulani and the possible movie release dated 16 October 2009
Click here for My second post, 19 March 2010, on the updated movie release and the movie trailer link

Other links with more information: A blog for those interested in learning more details about the Princess’s life story. They also have a group on Facebook named “The Princess Kaiulani Project”. A website by the administrators of the above blog and other individuals.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Amanuensis Monday- Bertha's Audio Tape- Part 6

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.

Bertha and Donald Wilkinson
Circa 1925
7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts

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. She was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, and came to America with her family in 1915 via 1915. She describes her childhood, immigration, and youth in the previous transcriptions of this audio tape. In this last part of the tape Bertha describes her marriage, in Beverly, Massachusetts, and her three sons. The story ends suddenly, as if she just ran out of tape. I’m sure that she would have kept going if the tape allowed, Grammy loved to talk and tell stories!


“I married Don and his people were very nice to us. And when we got married we just had a quiet family wedding. I still kept on working for a while. And of course we were married on a Thanksgiving Day 1926. I think the date was November 25th, 1926. I remember that day was quite hectic but we had the family, and an Episcopalian minister married us. We went to Boston for just a couple of days. My sister stayed with my mother and then I kept on working. Oh, when we went away for our honeymoon Don's sister tried to pull away his suitcase for him. And he kept hanging on to it and he got a black eye from the door banging into his eye. So he had a black eye on our honeymoon and people joked about that but he really didn't feel a bit good. And Don's cousin gave us tickets to see "The Student Prince" and then we went to the "Miracle" while we were in Boston.

So then time went along and I wanted a baby in the worst way and my mother couldn't understand why I would want a baby when she was so sick. But finally I did get pregnant and I kept on working just the same and I worked really longer than I thought because I didn't expect my baby to com until the latter part of January. He came New Year's Day 1927. We were going to a party at Don's aunt's the night before but I landed in the hospital. My baby was the first baby born in Beverly that year. But they didn't do anything about it then. But I saw him born and my doctor... I thought he was ... It was just wonderful. Don saw him born, too. He stayed in the room with me and so when the baby was born he looked just like he had a haircut. He had auburn colored hair. It was so pretty. But he cried an awful lot. I think it perhaps was because of the sadness I had in my home. I tried to keep going and it was sad. Anyway, I loved my baby and we went over to... before he was born I went over to Don's people because I was exhaused and my mother went over to my sister's house and my mother passed away over there. And my baby was six weeks old when my mother died. I took the baby over there to show her the baby and then she was buried from the house on Dearborn Avenue. My baby....

Then I had a pregnancy and I had a miscarriage and then I named my first baby Robert Munroe and my second baby Richard Albert. He was born May the 9th, 1934. He lives in Long Beach California. Then I had my youngest son John Warren Wilkinson. He was born January the 3rd, 1932. No, Richard was born in 32 and Jack was born in 34. January the 3rd.

So I enjoyed my children very much and my husband didn't make too much money and we went through the Depression and of course he worked on short time for quite a while. But, we didn't… we managed and I did some things to help out. We boarded some children for a while. And then I had a young lady live with me for a long time, about eight years. And she was like a daughter or a younger sister. I had a little boy live with me for four years. So I did things to help out. And I did quite a bit of babysitting, too, when the children got older. Then when the children got older I went to work at the General Electric. Because there was a war going on and I had to go in as a matron, and I worked as a matron for a while and then I got transfered down to the sheet metal department. I worked there on the night shift. It wasn't too easy though because I would work from eleven to seven in the morning. I got a ride bck and forth but it wasn't too good for me healthwise and I was sick after a while. I had my veins stripped in my legs and …... they were stripped. And I had to walk as soon as I could after they were stripped. So I went back to work soon after that and my boss let me go to the tool department and do errands for him so I could walk. But my legs have been pretty bad. I had them stripped twice and then...

I will have to tell you about coming to this country… All the things that I have said up to this point were all in this country of course. I became a citizen and married my husband. He was a citizen of this country and had my children and now they went to high school. The high school was very near where we lived. And when my oldest boy graduated, he wanted to get in the service. His eyes were quite bad but he did finally get into the infantry but he got into the paratroopers. Of course, he went to Japan and while he was on the way there they transferred him to the paratroopers medical corps. He was in Japan. The war was over then but really, I think he enjoyed his stay over there in Japan. He should have, he really should have studied to be a doctor because while he was in high school he would go to the hospital as an orderly with another boy. And, but, he didn't want to study hard enough for that. He had a high IQ but he really didn't care too much about being indoors and when he first went to school he used to ask if he could stand near the window 'cause he was outdoors so much before he went there.

Then my second son, he went... After he finished high school he went to Northeastern College for a while. Oh, he went into the service and he was in Japan. But he was in the intelligence and he was in Kyoto, a beautiful place. It used to be the capital city. He would write, send tapes to us about the life over there and we would sent tapes back and he would write. He used to write beautiful letters telling all about the life in Japan. Some of his companions were just helling around with the girls but he wrote these letters and said for me to send his music. He had studied the piano. He started when he was about 8 years old and he wanted his music. They had told him at the hotel in Kyoto that he could play whenever he wanted to. He said he wanted to be as good as the girl he married. He came home, but he wanted, too, before he went to Japan, he and some of his companions thought they would like to go to UCLA. Richard was interested in studying foreign languages so when he came home after a while he was really... was undecided about what to do. He really wanted to come back to California. He had an opportunity to chauffeur two elderly ladies. He came earlier than he intended and he was homesick though for quite a while. But he worked for a year, then he went to City College and then he went to state university and he's been teaching a long time. He teaches junior high. He also teaches piano and while he was here he got interested in the Mormon Church. We didn't know what it was all about and he wanted to be married to this girl, Louanne Miller. She was in the church. And he studied it and finally decided to join. Then he told us about it. The missionaries came to explain things to us. And we knew we couldn't see him married unless we were members. But we did come the following year for a month. And so we studied the church, too..." End of tape

Donald and Bertha, My grandparents
In the 1970s, as I remembered them!


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, May 14, 2010

Felton Family Reunion

The 2000 Felton Family Reunion
At the homestead in Peabody, Massachusetts

This year the Felton Family Association is having its reunion on July 31st and August 1st, 2010 at the Felton Smith Historic Site at Brooksby, Farm in Peabody, Massachusetts. The reunion will be at the Smith barn, with the usual tours of the Nathaniel Felton Senior and Junior houses, food, and fellowship. Our annual hostess, Cora Felton Anderson will available to answer any questions about the family genealogy, as she is working on revising and correcting the published Felton compiled genealogy books.

The Felton Family Association was formed by the descendants of Nathaniel Felton (circa 1615 – 1705). He arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1633 with his mother, Eleanor (Thrower) Felton and his uncle Benjamin Felton. He married Mary Skelton, daughter of the Reverend Samuel Skelton, who was the first minister of Salem, educated at Cambridge University. Nathaniel Felton built a house on Felton Hill in 1644, which is still standing. This part of Salem became Danvers, and in 1876 it became Peabody, Massachusetts.

Nathaniel and Mary had eight children, including Nathaniel, Jr., whose home is also still standing next door to the “Senior House”. The two Felton properties, and the surrounding gardens, land and orchards are now run by the Peabody Historical Association as “Brooksby Farm”. The houses are usually open only by appointment, but will be available for tours during the Felton Family Reunion. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are a rare example of surviving father and son homes from the 1600s.

For more information:

The Felton Family Association website

Cora Felton Anderson’s email

Reprints of the following Felton Family Genealogies are available from Higginson Book Company at

History of the Descendants of Lieutenant Nathaniel Felton by Cyrus Felton, 1886

Some Descendants of Nathaniel and Mary Felton by Cyrus Felton, 1877

Felton Family History by Nancy Felton Koster, 1935

The Nathaniel Felton Family Descendants by William Reid Felton, 1963

The Peabody, Massachusetts Historical Society website, which contains photos and information on the Felton Home Sites, click on “properties”


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday- James Wilson, America’s first Globe Maker

A Wilson Terrestrial Globe

James Wilson was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire on March 15, 1765. His father was a farmer, and James was an apprentice to a blacksmith. He had little formal education. In 1796 he removed to Bradford, Vermont and taught himself cartography. To make up for a lack of education, he bought a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. At Dartmouth College he saw a pair of English globes, and became interested in producing his own. He began by turning solid blocks of wood, and covering them with maps. He was not satisfied with the results until he learned the art of fine copper engraving with Amos Doolittle.

Wilson’s first 13” globes were sold for $50 in 1813 in Boston, a luxury item for the time. His mass production began in 1815 in Albany, New York. His best globes were those created in 1826 from new engravings, and came in three sizes. His celestial globes showed the stars and planets, and his terrestrial globes showed the continents, cities and rivers.
A Wilson Celestial Globe

James Wilson died in 1835. His sons, John and Samuel Wilson, continued with the globe business in Albany. One of James Wilson’s original terrestrial globes is in the Harvard University Map collection.

Family Tree Information:
Generation 1: Alexander Wilson, born in 1659 probably in Londonderry, Ireland. He fought in the siege of Londonderry in 1688/9 and came to America in 1719. He died on 4 March 1752 in what is now Windham, New Hampshire.

Generation 2: James Wilson, born about 1680 and emigrated from Londonderry, Northern Ireland to Londonderry, New Hampshire, died in Londonderry 12 June 1772 aged 70 years; married Janet Taggart, who died 12 January 1800, aged 97 years. Thirteen children (Agnes, George, Alexander, James, Mary, Jeanette, John, Samuel, Annis, Margaret, Eleanor, Samuel and George).

Generation 3: James Wilson, born 15 May 1733 in Londonderry, died 1843 in Bradford, Vermont; married 1 June 1758 in Londonderry to Eleanor Hopkins, born 1738, died 1822 in Bradford, Vermont, daughter of Robert Hopkins and Elenor Wilson. Nine children (Robert, Martha, James, Janet, David, Agnes, Elenor, Samuel and Betsey).

Generation 4: James Wilson, born 15 March 1763 in Londonderry, died on 26 March 1835 on the Upper Plain, Bradford, Vermont, aged 92 years; married first to Molly Highland of Londonderry, one son; married second to Sarah Donaldson, ten children; married third Agnes McDuffee of Bradford, Vermont, three daughters.


For the truly curious:

The History of Londonderry, edited by Edward L. Parker, Boston, 1851, pages 251-254.


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Treasure Chest Thursday- James Wilson, America’s first Globe Maker", Nutfield Genealogy, posted May 13, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weird Wednesday- Baby John's Mummy Disappears

In 2006 the police seized a mummified baby from the home of Charles Peavey in Concord, New Hampshire. The body, known as Baby John, was supposed to be a still born relative from 100 years ago, and it had never been buried. It is possibly the illegitimate son of a great-great uncle. The police were called in when a four year old niece had told her preschool that her uncle had a dead baby in a dresser drawer. No evidence of foul play was found, but the Peavey family grieved to lose what they called a “family heirloom.”

The seizure made big news at the time, and Peavey went to court to retain custody of the body. He could not afford the DNA test to prove that the child had been a relative. In the end a judge ordered the remains to be buried in an unmarked grave at a The Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord in 2008.

On May 3, 2010 it was discovered that Baby John had been stolen from his grave. The little casket was left behind. Police searched Peavey’s home and car, but he has not been named as a suspect or charged with a crime. In New Hampshire it is a class B felony to disturb a burial site, and it is also a felony to be found guilty of “abuse of a corpse.” Anyone with information is urged to call the Concord Regional Crimeline at 603-226-3100 or to submit information to the website All tips will remain anonymous.

Just as a genealogical aside, the Peavey family seems to be quite numerous in New Hampshire. According to Charles Thornton Libby’s “Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire”, page 590, the first known Peavey was Thomas Peavey who married Martha Eaton on 8 December 1687. The name is sometimes spelled “Peve” in early records.


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo Announces Top 100 Genealogy Websites

Surprise! Early this morning I received several email messages from friends telling me I was on the list at for the “Top 100 Genealogy Websites”. I was quite intrigued, since I had received an email from MyHeritage a week ago, and I had just started to explore their website.

You can read all about it here at The list is an alphabetical listing of blogs, technical websites, tools and services (such as my favorites “The Peerage”, “The Chart Chick” and “GenDisasters”). Some of the websites are new to me, so I’m learning a lot, and some are old standards to me. Quite a few are New England genealogy blogs by friends I have made this past year through the genealogy blogging community (Barbara Poole’s “Life from the Roots”, Martin Holleck’s “Slovak Yankee”, and Bill West’s “West in New England” to name a few). I’ll be having fun perusing the list, and I hope you will, too!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday- Myles Standish Monument

Captain Myles Standish, (abt. 1584 - 1656)
Mayflower passenger and military leader
My, 8x great grandfather

The Myles Standish Monument

Duxbury, Massachusetts

Strangely, this statue on top of the monument depicts

Myles Standish in a steepled Puritan style hat, not a helmet

This little racoon lives in the hollow tree near the parking area

Look for him the next time you are here!


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tombstone Tuesday- Wilkinsons at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett, Massachusetts

John Henry Wilkinson (1819 - 1901) and his wife Hannah E. Raymond (1829 - 1911)

Close up

Back of the Monument

Mary L. Wilkinson wife of Harry H. Wadsworth (1863-1942)

Jessie H. Wilkinson (1866- 1946)

Elizabeth S. Wilkinson (1858 -1959)

Grace F. Wilkinson wife of John A. Odiorne (1868 - 1944)

John A. Odiorne (1868 - 1948)

[Daughters of J. H. Wilkinson and H. E. Raymond]

John L. Raymond (1790- 1878)

Mary Raymond (1795 - 1855)

James H. Raymond (1835 - 1863)

Benjamin G. Raymond (1835 - 1878)

[family of Hannah E. Raymond, John H. Wilkinson's wife]

Arthur H. (1853 - 1858)

Marietta G. (1854 - 1865)

Emma E. (1856 -1871)

Children of J. H. & H. R. Wilkinson

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: 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Amanuensis Monday - Bertha’s Audio Tape- Part 5", Nutfield Genealogy, posted May 10, 2010, ( accessed [access date]). 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day- My Matrilineal Line

Mom (circa 1945, about 10 years old)

Grandmother- Gertrude Matilda Hitchings
Graduation photo from Beverly High School
(b. 1905 Beverly, Massachusetts
d. 2001, Peabody, Massachusetts)
Great Grandmother- Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
b. 1871, Beverly, Massachusetts
d. 1941, Hamilton, Massachusetts

Great Great Grandmother- Mary Etta Healey
Seated, with the baby on her lap
(The other woman holding a baby is Florence Etta Hoogerzeil)
b. 1852, Beverly, Massachusetts
d. 1932, Beverly, Massachusetts

Great Great Great Grandmother- Matilda Weston
b. 1825, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
d. 1909, Beverly, Massachusetts

Great Great Great Great Grandmother- Mary Clements or Pratt?
Wife of Zadoc Weston b. 1761 Massachusetts
d. 1849 in Nova Scotia

There is a story here. The Mayflower Society’s Five Generations Project Book (Silver Book, Myles Standish ,2007, page 121)lists the wife of Zadoc Weston as Mary Pratt of Chester, Nova Scotia. However, my 3x great grandmother’s death record in Beverly, Massachusetts lists her parents as Zadoc Weston and Mary Clement. Did Mary Pratt remarry someone named Clement? Was there a completely different woman, also named Mary? Was the informant wrong? If anyone knows the answer, please contact me, for my matrilineal line ends here!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo