Friday, July 29, 2011

Taylor Family Reunion 2011

The Descendants of Matthew and Janet Taylor
are gathering in the Upper Village Hall,
Derry, New Hampshire. 

This quilt shows the Taylor family tree,
first generations, as an oak tree with acorns
symbolizing Nutfield (the original patent for Londonderry)
-click to enlarge-

Pat Taylor Jennings, the quiltmaker

On Friday afternoon the first Taylors began to gather

There were five large genealogy charts on the walls
for the children of Matthew and Janet Taylor

A hooked rug by Heather Taylor Facey
showing Matthew and Janet Taylor
arriving in America in 1719
(with another nut tree)
This is the 290th anniversary of the arrival of Scots Irish settlers Matthew and Janet Taylor in Londonderry (now Derry), New Hampshire from Northern Ireland.  The descendants are celebrating with a large family reunion this weekend.  Today they are gathering at the Upper Village Hall, and taking a tour of Forest Hill Cemetery with expert Dorothy Goldman.  Tonight they will attend the spaghetti supper at the First Church, across the street, the same congregation attended by the original Taylor settlers back in the days when it was a Presbyterian church.  Tomorrow are more reunion activities including a family picnic at the Taylor Up and Down Sawmill and a silent auction, which includes the quilt and hooked rug shown above, as well as other goodies.  When I dropped by this afternoon, the Taylors were all busy looking at genealogy information, which was posted on wall charts, and being shared on tables in books and more family trees.  It looks like the Taylors are going to have a fun weekend!

For more information on the Taylor Family see the website:

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Serendipity Week #3 A letter between two teenagers 1848

This past week, several interesting emails and comments have led me to make several interesting genealogical breakthroughs in my research.   Today I am focusing on the third story- # 1.) about a painting, 2.) a Civil War Veteran, and 3.) a letter between a teenage girl and boy in the 1840s.

Hawaii State Archives, Queen Lili'uokalani Collections,
M-93, Box 11, Folder 103
Letter from "Charlotte" to John Owen Dominis, undated

As you might know, I photographed hundreds of letters at the Hawaii State Archives last summer, and I’m using them to build up an extended family tree of the Jones sisters of Boston, Massachusetts.  One of those sisters was my 4x Great Grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger (1799 – 1828), and another was Mary Lambert (Jones) Dominis (1803 – 1889), who lived in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Mary Dominis lost her husband, Captain John Dominis, at sea in 1846 while he was on a voyage to China to buy her some furnishings for a new house in Honolulu.  This large mansion became a boarding house to help make ends meet for the new widow.  In the year 1848 two of the boarders were the teenaged sisters Estelle Charlotte and Frances Evaline Mott, who were returning from boarding school in New York to meet their parents (Mr. Mott was a diplomat to Mexico on the West Coast).    At this time, Mary’s son, John Owen Dominis (1832 – 1891) was sixteen years old.

If you read the links below, where Leah Allen transcribed Essie Mott’s memoirs in a series of blog posts, you can see that the Mott girls had fun at the Dominis home.  They spent a lot of time socializing with John Dominis and several of the young princes of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  They rode horses, attended parties and dances, and explored the social life among the New England families who were living in Hawaii at this time period.  There was quite a bit of socializing and flirting between fourteen year old Essie and young John Dominis, too.   Upon the return of the Mott family to San Francisco, Mr. Mott sent a letter of disapproval to John, asking him to stop writing to his daughter.

I found Mr. Mott’s letter amongst the other letters I photographed at the Hawaii Archives.  Recently, still working my way through these letters, I found a simple note to John O. Dominis signed by “Charlotte” written in schoolgirl pencil on lined yellow paper.  The note is in reply to a request to go out riding.  I suspected that this was Essie (Estelle Charlotte Mott), who went by the name Charlotte. 

I wrote several emails to Leah Allen, who is a descendant of the Motts, and has several writing samples of Essie/Charlotte’s.  Unfortunately, the memoir she transcribed was typed and not hand written.  Although the letter is undated, and only signed “Charlotte” we both think that is was from Essie to John O. Dominis.  Of course, one was written when Essie was a girl, and the other later in life, so there is a slight difference in penmanship.  Thank goodness that Leah and I met through blogging, and we've made connections like this for sharing documents.  What do you think about the handwriting samples?
Dear John,
I shall be most happy
to accept your kind
invitation to ride this afternoon,
And if you will send "Tramper"
around I shall be ready to
accompany you any time after
half past four o'clock,
Yours in haste,

Click on this link to read the letter from Mr. Isaac Thomas Mott to young John Dominis, asking him to cease corresponding with his daughter:

 Leah Allen’s blog post with the first part of Essie Mott’s memoir about her time in Honolulu. 

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday- Mending Stockings

In 2008 I was a delegate to the Mayflower Congress in Plymouth, Massachusetts and my husband came along and spent the days wandering museums, beaches and the historic sites nearby.  In getting ready for the 2011 Congress, I found his files of photographs from 2008.  He took hundreds of great photos of Plimoth Plantation, and this one has been on my Facebook photo album for almost three years.  The re-enactor here, Justin Squizzero, found it and used it on his own Facebook page (he's been a re-enactor at Plymouth, Old Sturbridge Village and the Coggeshall Farm Museum and probably other places).  Here he is as a pilgrim, mending a stocking. You can catch a glimpse of a 20th century person in the doorway to the left.

I hope to post more of these photographs soon!

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Happy 2nd Blogoversary to me!

Recently I posted that I passed the 600th mark for posts at Nutfield Genealogy.  This was a revelation for me, since I never realized or added up how many stories I’ve put online.  There are several other facts pulled from my statistics page that blew me away…
I’ve published about 1025 comments (I won’t tell you how many spam comments I’ve deleted!)
82,144 pageviews in two years.  Believe me that the first year was slow, much slower than this!
My highest month for readers was last month, June 2011 with almost 11,000 pageviews. 

Bigtime bloggers like Dear Myrtle and Dick Eastman are probably sniggering at my stats, but I’m still impressed since only a year ago, last July 2010, I was only averaging about 2,500 pageviews.  I can thank people like Randy Seaver atGeneaMusings, and Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers for mentioning my posts in their own blogs and Thomas for having me on his BlogTalk Radio show last April.   Other bloggers have also mentioned me on their own blogs, Tweets or Facebook, and also being named in Family Tree Magazine’s top 100 genealogy blogs has helped me to increase my readership.  By the way, Randy Seaver recently posted his 5,000th story at GeneaMusings, and Thomas MacEntee recently celebrated his 2,000th post at ! 

When I started blogging, I didn’t know about the statistics page on my blog and I didn’t care who was following me.  I began my blog as a way to practice writing out the stories from my family tree, and to share them with family.  I started on the community blog  and saw how easy it was to post stories.  Eventually I began to include local history and genealogical lore from New England and before I knew it, I had created my own blog at Nutfield Genealogy. 

I’m seriously considering not looking at the statistics at all this next year, and just writing for the pure pleasure of putting these stories out there for everyone’s enjoyment.  However, I love checking out the “Traffic sources” every night just to have a nice after dinner laugh over all the silly search terms I find listed.  Not only do I find a few good chuckles, I love to puzzle over what folks are looking for in their searches, and have a good rant when it appears that a cousin might be looking for a common ancestor.  It’s a “curiosity killed the cat” sort of dilemma.

If you have a blog, what is your opinion of the statistics page?

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Serendipity Week #2 A Civil War Hero

This past week, several interesting emails and comments have led me to make several interesting genealogical breakthroughs in my research.  Today I am focusing on the second story- # 1.) about a painting, 2.)  a Civil War Veteran,  and  3.) a letter between two teenage girl and boy in the 1840s.

Last week I received an interesting email from Michael Collins, the Commissioner of Public Services and Engineering for the City of Beverly, Massachusetts.  He had found my blog stories about my Great Great Grandfather Joseph Edwin Healey and had some information for me that was quite exciting.

I had an 1860 Federal Census from Beverly that listed Edwin Healey as a mariner, living with his wife and family.  In the 1870 census I couldn't find him alive, and his wife Matilda was listed as a widow living alone.  I couldn't find any Joseph Healey serving in the Civil War from Massachusetts, and I thought that perhaps he had died at sea, since there were no death records in Beverly or in the Massachusetts Vital Records.  I had many family members who had died at sea, and they were not found in town or state records. 

However, Mr. Collins said that Joseph Edwin Healey enlisted in the Navy in 1861, and he was killed aboard the USS Mound City at the Battle of Saint Charles, White River, Arkansas in 1862.   As the Public Services Commissioner he said "My quest is to document the veteran squares in the city of Beverly and when I came to Healey Square, I turned up the details here.  The intersection of Cabot and Judson is known as Healey Square.  This is right next to the Cabot Theater.  I hope I have the right person.  If so, you should know that he was honored as a hero.  My goal is to raise awareness of the veterans for whom we have dedicated squares.  In this case I would be replacing the existing wooden sign with a new cast sign.  I hope in the end to have a web page dedicated to each square."

Mr. Collins also sent a photo of Joseph Edwin Healey's civil war tombstone.  I never knew this existed, since I had no death record to point to a cemetery.  He was also buried next to a tombstone that read "MOTHER" (I assume this was Matilda?), and his son and daughter-in-law.  All this was nearby to Healy Square, which, another big surprise, was very close to where the family lived on 43 Bartlett Street in Beverly!  My mother knew her own grandmother, who grew up in this house, and no-one ever spoke about Healey Square being named for a family member!

Mr. Collins has a Veteran's agent, Jerry Guilebbe,  researching the archives in Worcester for the Civil War records.  The cemetery lists Joseph as "lost at sea, GAR".    I was close thinking he was lost at sea, but I never knew he was lost during the Civil War.  On a list of the casualties for the USS Mound City, he appears to have been listed as "Edward Healey", just like on his tombstone.

If this isn't enough serendipity for one story, it turns out that Mr. Collins worked in the same city department as my Uncle Don (from the story about Beverly's Lynch Park).   His efforts to research and document all the Veteran's Squares in the City of Beverly are a wonderful project.  He also told me "For the last several months I have had my staff scanning cemetery records and creating a database and that helped here.  We are back to the early 1900s.  Should make everyone's life easier when done."  I hope to find out if that database will be available to the public, since Beverly was founded in the early 1600s and there might be hundreds of thousands of descendants interested in that cemetery information!

I hope to get to Beverly soon to see the Healey family plot, visit Healey Square and perhaps see if the local library has any newspaper records of the story behind Great Great Grandpa's Veteran's Square sign.  Thanks to Mike Collins and Jerry Guilebbe, I have found a part of my genealogy that is a nice surprise to my whole family!


Generation 1: William Hele, born about 1713 in Cornwood, Devonshire, England, died 18 November 1683 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; married on 15 August 1661 to Phebe Green, daughter of Bartholomew Green and Elizabeth Unknown, born about 1629 (one of five wives!)  Four children by Phebe, thirteen children in all. 

Generation 2: Paul Healy, born about 1664 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, died 3 December 1717 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts; married about 1695 to Elizabeth Unknown.  Fourteen children.

Generation 3: Ebenezer Healy, born 21 January 1708 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, died 14 February 1777 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; married first to Grace Bullen, daughter of John Bullen and Sarah Underwood, born about 1727 in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Eight children. 

Generation 4: Comfort Haley, born 1754 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, died 15 May 1821 in Chebogue, Nova Scotia; married on 21 July 1777 to Abigail Allen, daughter of Jeremiah Allen and Eunice Gardner, born 23 July 1753 in Manchester, Massachusetts, died 16 June 1799.  Seven children. 

Generation 5: Comfort Haley, born 9 October 1787 in Chebogue, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, died 3 December 1874 in Chebogue; married on 12 August 1808 in Chebogue to Rebecca Crosby, daughter of Ebenezer Crosby and Elizabeth Robinson, born 19 December 1789 in Yarmouth.  Eleven children. 

Generation 6: Joseph Edwin Healey, born 12 August 1823 in Belfast, Maine or Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, died 19 June 1862, killed when the USS Mound City was sunk at the Battle of Saint Charles, Arkansas; married on 3 February 1848 to Matilda Weston, daughter of Zadoc Weston and Mary Clements, born October 1825 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, died 19 August 1909 in Beverly, Massachusetts.  Four children.


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, July 25, 2011

Serendipity Stories #1 A Folk Painting

This past week, several interesting emails and comments have led me to make several interesting genealogical breakthroughs in my research.  Today I am focusing on the first story- # 1.) about a painting.  The rest of the week will include 2.)  a Civil War Veteran,  and  3.) a letter between a teenage girl and boy in the 1840s.

I previously blogged a few times about the 1804 House my cousin is rennovating in Manchester, Massachusetts.  First I wrote about some of our family's genealogical connections to the Israel Forster family, and then I wrote about a gravestone from the Forster family found in the basement! 

My cousins have done an admirable job researching the history of their historic house, and in hiring a design team that specializes in historical homes.  As part of their research they found that the man who built the home in 1804, Israel Forster, had a portrait that was currently up for sale at an exhorbitant price (especially for a family paying for a large rennovation project!).  We joked that perhaps we could talk the owners into letting us scan the painting so a facsimile could hang over the fireplace when the restoration was completed!

Lo and behold! Along came Bill Pease of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  You might have seen Bill's posts at GenForum, where he publishes notices of family portraits up for sale or auction, with some genealogy and art history information usually attached to a message that  usually reads something like this:

 “…this fine portrait should be made known to family and descendants… I am scanning it in case any of the descendants might like a copy, either by email or by postal mail. Someone in the families ought to have it--it is too good to be missed by the family. It may not have extensive genealogy value, but it certainly does have a whole lot of family and historic value.”  
His posts usually end with the line “If it were a portrait of a Mr. Pease, I'd certainly want someone to do the same for me.”

My cousin found Bill Pease's post dated February 2010 about the Israel Forster portrait “The Winter/Spring 2010 issue of ANTIQUES & FINE ART magazine on p. 75 pictures in an advertisement a fine 1797 portrait of Israel Forster (1779-1863) of Manchester, MA. The portrait is dated 1797.”  Bill likes readers to respond directly  to his email address rather than responding to his posts, which number in the hundreds.   Just check out his message posting history and you might find something related to your own genealogical research.
The gallery that sold the painting is in Newbury, Massachusetts and their website is   Check out their inventory, and you might find a portrait of someone from your own family tree.

An advertisement for this painting reads:

"Portrait of Israel Forster attributed to Rufus Hathaway
Striking portrait of a young man, identified as Israel Forster and dated 1797 in an early note on the painting's stretcher when it was included in an exhibition of the artist's work in Duxbury, Massachusetts in 1987.

Hathaway is known primarily for a small group of portraits from the 1790's of citizens of Duxbury, the town in which he settled after a number of years of itinerant painting, married, and became a physician.  The oval within rectangular format is seen in a number of works representing young sitters from this period.

Forster, born in Manchester, Massachusetts in 1779, may have been a student at Phillips Academy in Andover when this work was painted.  He later returned to Manchester, and he was a Major in the War of 1812.  His House still stands on ----- Street, and his grave in the local cemetery marks his death at age 83 in 1863.

Illustrated in Rufus Hathaway: Artist and Physician, 1770-1822, pp. 68 and 69, by Lanci Valentine.  Exhibited March 18 - May 17, 1987 at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury.

Sight size 16 1/2 inches by 20 1/4 inches"
[I removed the address of the home for my cousin's privacy]

Thanks to Bill Pease, and other genealogists like him, people researching their family history, or their house history in this case, find treasures on the internet.  Just image your research without the thousands of people posting vintage photographs, family bible genealogies, transcribing local history, or helping the LDS church with transcribing thousands of scanned documents for their huge database.  Imagine genealogical research without websites like, or (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness), or   Outside of the internet, thousands of volunteers man the corresondence to historical societies, local libraries and museum by answering genealogical queries for free or for less than the cost of a tank of gas or plane ticket to faraway places.  It's nice to be associated with a group of people who are so friendly and altruistic!

To find Bill's message posting history at click on this link: 

PS  My daughter is working with some photo editing software to make a nice copy of the Israel Forster painting so that we can return him to his place over the mantel at the house in Manchester, Massachusetts.  I think it belongs there!

Three previous stories about the Forster Leach House
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beat the Heat!

Last night online a genealogist  asked  "How did our ancestors survive heat waves?"  I know that when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s no one in my neighborhood had air conditioning, not even in our cars!  How did we survive the occasional heat wave?  What did our ancestors do?

Herbert Robson and Helen Hitchings (my great aunt)
at the beach in 1925, Beverly, Massachusetts

1936 Heat Wave kills thousands, strengthens the Dust Bowl
People sleeping outdoors in St. Paul, Minnesota during the Great Depression
Photo from the St. Paul Daily News, Minnesota Historical Society
Photograph collection 7/1936 Location No. QC1.3r5

Beverly, Massachusetts Misery Island 1948
my Dad on the far left  

My mom on vacation at a pool in Mexico, 1959

Hanging out on the stoop in Beverly,
Three generations of the Allen Family 1967

Holden, Massachusetts Public Pool, 1972
my sister and I with neighbors 

My Dad and a neighbor, during a 1975 heat wave in Holden,
There's nothing like a sprinkler, lawn chair, and a cold beer!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Beat the Heat!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 22, 2011, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pinkerton Tavern Update

The former Pinkerton Tavern photographed 2009
In 2009 I wrote a blog post about the Pinkerton Tavern in Derry, New Hampshire.  It was a Halloween story because even though this beautiful building has an interesting history, it is most famous as having a resident ghost!   Please click on the link at the bottom of the page to read this story.

This 270 year old building is back in the news.  The restaurant inside closed a few months ago, and it is now for sale.  However, the building must be moved due to a project to widen Manchester Road in Derry.   Hopefully the building will be relocated nearby, but who knows its fate?  This is a nearly $6 million dollar project being held up while the town negotiated for property from 15 different property owners from Crystal Avenue to Ashleigh Drive.  One of the last parcels is where the tavern stands now. 

There is great concern around town for the building.  Someone even started a “SAVE THE PINKERTON TAVERN” facebook group!    The town of Derry was accepting proposals for a buyer who would move the building and possibly renovate it, and there were several interested parties who toured the building.  No one came forward to move the building.  You can make a proposal at, or you can make a bid at the town hall.  The town is hoping to begin the roadwork in the fall.  Since no one was willing to relocate the building, the town is now looking for a buyer to dismantle the tavern for parts or to sell it as salvage.  For information or to tour the building, please call the public works department at 432-6144.

Last week the members of the Derry Heritage Commission toured the property for items of interest to preserve for the Derry History Museum.  They plan on producing a local access cable TV show on the 270 year history of the Pinkerton Tavern.  There were not many items worth salvaging, since the building had been remodeled so many times.  Most of the building is new, or not original to 270 years ago.  The curator of the museum, Karen Blandford- Anderson, took a small rock from the original fireplace for display in the town museum. 

My post on the history of the Pinkerton Tavern in Derry, New Hampshire:   Nutfield News 20 July 2011, "Residents Find Little to Preserve as Pinkerton Tavern Faces Dismantling"

Derry News, 24 March 2011, column “More tales to tell before Pinkerton Tavern is gone” by Rick Holmes, former Derry Town Historian and author of “Nutfield Rambles”,

Derry News, 15 June 2011 “Buyer- and mover- sought for tavern”
Derry News, 6 July 2011 “It’s the end of the road for tavern building”

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday - Pemaquid, Maine

We traveled up to Pemaquid, Maine to see the area where the ship "Angel Gabriel" wrecked in 1635.  Several ancestors were on this ship, but ended up in Essex County, Massachusetts since all survived the disaster of being blown off course to Maine by a hurricane.  I have a previous blog story about the shipwreck at this link: 

Pemaquid Lighthouse
if it looks familiar it's on the Maine State Quarter!

Plaque by the Blaidell Family Association

Plaque by the Cogsell Family Association

The view from the top of the lighthouse!

A Revolutionary War encampment at the fort

Pemaquid Fort

All adventures in Maine end with a seafood dinner.
We found an "in the rough" restaurant right in Pemaquid Harbor
(steamers, lobster, onion rings, chowder, Mmmmmm!)


To Cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Not So Wordless Wednesday - Pemaquid, Maine", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 20, 2011.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday- Wilkinson Cemetery, Gilford, NH

I have used the website for many years, and have even contributed many gravestone photos and information to the website.  Recently I made my first photo requests to for some gravestones of distant family in Gilford, New Hampshire.  I was very lucky to make contact with a very nice woman, Carol Twomey, and it was her first volunteer effort! She found the Wilkinson family burial ground, and took these fantastic photos for me.  She also posted them on Picasa and at    Thank you!  THANK YOU, Carol!

According to Carol Twomey, this cemetery is
located on the south side of route 11B, about 1/4 mile west
of the intersection with route 11C 

Dec. 5, 1805   April 22, 1883
Sept. 30, 1810   Sept 1, 1905
Mar. 21, 1831    June 12, 1903

July 15, 1829
 Aug. 1, 1898

Apr. 13, 1840
May 20, 1898

Sept. 16, 1832
May 15, 1898

wife of
Apr. 12, 1871
AE. 30

wife of
George H. Wilkinson
June 6, 1837
May 18, 1876
sweetly resting

Wilkinson Genealogy:

Jacob R. Wilkinson, born 1 Jan 1805 on Stonedam Island, Gilford, New Hampshire and died on 22 April 1885 in Gilford, son of Benning Wilkinson and Deborah Langley.  He married on 25 June 1825 in Gilford to Leah A. Rundlett, daughter of Theophilus Rundlett and Patsy Taylor, born on 30 September 1810 in Gilford, and died 1 September 1905 in Gilford.  Five children:

1. Leonard Wilkinson, born on 15 July 1829 in Gilford, died on 1 August 1898 in Gilford; married to Emily J. Dockham, daughter of  John Dockham, born 16 September 1832 in Meredith, New Hampshire and died on 15 May 1898 in Gilford.  Four children..

2. Elnora Deborah Wilkinson, born on 21 March 1831 and died on 13 June 1903 in Gilford.  Unmarried.

3. Mary Amanda Wilkinson, born on 6 June 1837 in Gilford, died on 18 May 1876; married on 29 November 1862 in Gilford to her first cousin as his first wife, George Henry Wilkinson, son of Bradbury Wilkinson and Hannah Huckins, born on 22  May 1837 in Campton, New Hampshire and died on 3May 1899 in Laconia.  George Henry Wilkinson married second on 28 October 1878 in Laconia to Elizabeth A. Tyler, daugther of James Tyler and Clara Damon of Canaan, New Hampshire.

4. Marcus M. Wilkinson, born on 13 April 1840 in Gilford, and died on 20 May 1898; married first on 24 February 1862 in Gilford to Mary F. Saltmarsh, daughter of Thomas Saltmarsh and Sally H. Gilman, born on 12 May 1840 in Gilford, and died 12 April 1871.  He married second on 12 December 1874 in Lake Village, Gilford to Clara I. Hovey, daughter of John and Alice Hovey of Weare, New Hampshire.

5. adopted daughter, Hattie A. Huckins (probably a relative since there were several Wilkinson/Huckins marriages), born about 1859, no further information.

Photos taken by  Carol Twomey, New Hampshire, 28 June 2011

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - A nephew's letter, 1883

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

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

Dear Aunt Dominis

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

               Mother is very well this


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Love Very Affectionately
Your nephew,
William Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, July 15, 2011

Caroline Wilkinson, Simmons College Class of 1907

Caroline May Wilkinson
Candidate for a degree
Born at Laconia, New Hampshire, December 7, 1883
Attended Laconia High School
Address:  Laconia, New Hampshire
"As merry as the day is long"

Caroline loves all library work,
Its methods she's made her own.
She catalogs and classifies and verifies each tome;
She enters noes on neat P. slips,
Sher arranges them by sub-heads;
And then, to make them seem more real,
She gives them a title page.

What a treasure trove can be found in college and university records!  My own daughter graduated twice from Simmons College in Boston.  I knew that Caroline May Wilkinson had graduated from Simmons with a library degree.  It is still one of the top schools in the North East for Library and Information Science.  The archivist at the Simmons library found these pages from the 1907 Simmons Yearbook and mailed them to me.  Have you tried looking for school records for your ancestors?

Wilkinson Genealogy

Generation 1: Samuel Wilkinson, born about 1722 and died about 1795 in Deerfield or Epping, New Hampshire.  He was a Revolutionary War soldier under Brigadier General John Glover.  A deed with his name was found in the Rockingham County records dated 1796. He is a possible son or relative of Thomas Wilkinson (abt 1690 - before 1739) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Generation 2: Benning Wilkinson, born about 1764 "of Epping", and died 20 October 1851 in Center Harbor, New Hampshire; married on 4 December 1786 in Northwood, New Hampshire to Deborah Langley, born 17 July 1765 in Nottingham, New Hampshire, died 20 August 1845 in Center Harbor. Benning also served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  Twelve Children.

Generation 3. Bradbury Wilkinson, born 19 April 1793 in Allenstown, New Hampshire, and died 22 November 1851 in Campton, New Hampshire; married on 23 January 1820 in New Hampton, New Hampshire to Hannah Huckins, daughter of James Huckins and Dorcas Bickford, born 22 January 1796 in New Hampton, and died 17 February 1882 in Plymouth, New Hampshire.  Six children.

Generation 4. George Henry Wilkinson, born 26 May 1837 in Campton, died 3 May 1899 in Laconia; married first to Mary A. Wilkinson, daughter of Jacob R. Wilkinson and Leah A. Rundlett, his first cousin, on 29 November 1862 in Gilford, New Hampshire.  No children.  Married second to Elizabeth A. Tyler, daughter of James Tyler and Clara Damon, on 28 October 1878 in Laconia.  She was born on 23 April 1846 in Canaan, New Hampshire, and died on 14 October 1912 in Laconia.  George and Elizabeth had four children.

Generation 5. Caroline May Wilkinson, born 7 December 1884 in Laconia, died 30 June 1973 in Brockton, Massachusetts; married on 31 March 1913 in Newton, Massachusetts to William I. Carleton, son of Harvey Percy Carleton and Annie Barker McIntire.  He had a filling station in East Bridgewater, and  the family resided at 44 Plymouth Street.  Two children: Harvey W. and David T.  


Notes of the Wilkinson Family, by Mrs. B. J. Wilkinson, 1940, from the Tuck Library, New Hampshire Historical Society

Simmons College Senior Book 1907, Simmons College Archives, 300 The Fenway, Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

600 Blog Posts

Every three months I make a book out of my blog posts.
Notice how the first book had no dates on it?
Back in the beginning I never thought I'd still be blogging two years later!

Last week, genealogy blogger Bill West noted that he had reached his 1,000th blog post at his West In New England, and then a few days later Susan Peterson noted her 500th blog post at her Long Lost Relatives blog.  Congratulations to both of them, and to anyone else who has reached this milestone. 

 I enjoyed reading their reflections on blogging very much, and wondered how many posts I had written.  I didn’t know how to find out this data, but by adding up some numbers on my blog statistics page I saw that I had missed announcing the 500th post mark, but was still a long way from 1000.  Then Blogger changed its platform and the new format had an interesting new tag across the top of the page.  On July 12 it stated that I had written 599 posts!

By the time you read this I will have passed the 600th blog post!
Well, that stat is enough for me to celebrate!  Also, my 2nd anniversary for Nutfield Genealogy will be on July 27, which is just two weeks from today.  I remember starting my blog with only two or three posts, and then taking a long break while we entertained some cousins from Spain.  The same thing will happen later this month, when I will probably be incommunicado for the same reason, with the same cousins from Spain visiting New Hampshire.  Isn’t it funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same?
Two years ago I thought I had lost my momentum right at the beginning, but I guess I was able to jump back in, and haven’t run out of story ideas or genealogy information yet.  There have been more vacations, several ice storms and losses of electrical service, illnesses and family issues, but I’ve kept plugging along.  I’m glad I have a few weeks before my “Blogaversary” to ponder over all these things.  It looks like Nutfield Genealogy is here to stay…

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hanging Out with Google+

I’ve been having fun exploring the new Google+ social networking application.  It’s to my advantage that genealogists have jumped all over this product.  It wouldn’t be fun exploring  this new world without a big circle of followers, but I already have about 100 genealogists in my circles, as well as various friends, family and acquaintances.  I started a circle for Mayflower cousins, and it still has ZERO participants- are you surprised?  It would be hard to explore Google+ without a lot of circles and friends posting.

For the past two nights I’ve checked out the “Hangout” feature.  This is the one new feature that Facebook doesn’t offer.  The first night I joined in on a pre-arranged hangout hosted by Ginger Smith, and about six or seven genealogists chatted for about an hour.  Last night I started a hangout, which attracted six chatters, with no more than four of us at a time on screen as some chatters only stayed for a few minutes just out of curiosity!
The first night was a real experiment, since folks didn’t know that a patch was required for the video chat, and some of us had trouble logging on to the chat.  I had to reboot several times, and the chatters could see my name appear and disappear with each attempt.  I finally got onboard, yet lost my wireless connection before the hour was up.   There were a variety of platforms being used by participants, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc. and the one causing the most problems seemed to be Chrome (which is a Google product, believe it or not!)  Dick Eastman mentioned that he had to close all his other windows to run the chat properly, and he blogged aboutthis, too.

Another thing I found out is that after the chat, Google+ automatically posted a notice that I “hungout with 6 people”  and listed their names X, Y and Z.   This is an automatic feature, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to edit or change this?  Maybe I’m wrong, but it would be important to know ahead of time that the world is going to know everyone you include in your “Hangouts”!   I suppose you could always delete this post, but for some people that might pose a bit of a problem.
The more people who join your chat, the slower the video seems to run.  The audio kept up just fine, but at some point the video became very jerky.  People would seem to disappear off the screen, instead of seeing them get up and walk away.  A chart held up in front of the camera would appear and disappear, so it would be important to remember to hold it there for a minute or two instead of just waving it in front of the computer (a good hint for genealogists!) 

The second night’s hangout was initiated by a prearranged time, but most people just saw the open invitation to hangout on the stream and joined in that way.  Spontaneous hangouts seem to be the most fun.  I can see that if a family wanted to chat about a topic, or a group of friends decided that posting on line was getting tedious they could just break into a spontaneous video hangout to continue the conversation face to face.
Marian Pierre Louis, who is a professional genealogist, had some concerns right away during our chat about how she looked on video.  Lighting, background, and background noises all seemed to matter a lot in how participants looked and sounded.  One participant had a TV on in the background, and another seemed to be too far away from the microphone and was hard to hear.  Russ Worthington wore a headset (earphones and mic) and he sounded the best to everyone who was listening.  This is not important for just socializing, but for a client conference or a more important conversation these are all things to keep in mind.

It was not necessary for participants to have a webcam and microphone, since there was a built in chat box on the screen.  We experimented with sending messages on the chat wall, and it seemed to work just fine.  It reminded me of the chat wall where the Peanut Gallery posts comments during Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy BlogTalk radio shows.  I liked this because everyone can participate this way, even if they don’t have a webcam.   Everyone will see the video, even if they are just chatting.  There is a button to “mute” the camera (if you are in your PJs!) or to “mute” the audio (in case the phone rings, which happened to me!).
Since I had initiated the hangout, I was curious to see what would happen when I logged off the conversation.  Would it end the video conferencing?  Or would the other participants be able to continue their chat?  Fortunately, when I logged off, they could continue- which is a nice feature to know about ahead of time.

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo