Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weathervane Wednesday- a bit of humor in Londonderry

I've been collecting photographs of the many, many weathervanes in the Nutfield area (Derry and Londonderry, New Hampshire).  Last week I started a new meme at my blog called "Weathervane Wednesday" to feature some of this photography.  If you want a challenge, I'll post the locations at the bottom of the page so you can scroll down far enough to see the photo, but not the location, and try to guess where you may have seen these lovely weathervanes.

Weathervanes are a form of folk art now featured in fine art museum such as Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Currier Gallery Museum in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Prices for weathervanes have risen dramatically at recent auctions, and many have become victims of theft and vandalism.  By appreciating their beauty and history, perhaps we can preserve the weathervanes of New Hampshire.

Can you guess weather vane location #2?

This tractor weathervane was seen on a barn on Perkins Road in Londonderry.  And just as I took the photo and was about to drive away, I saw that the other barn on the same property had a different tractor weathervane, too! 

Two weathervanes at one stop!


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday- a bit of humor in Londonderry", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 31, 2011, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hawaii's Holt Family

Robert William Holt
1800 - 1862
About ten years ago, through a genealogy bulletin board, I made contact with Lisa Holt who was also searching for clues on the Jones sisters who married in Boston and went to Hawaii.  Her ancestors were Robert William Holt and his wife Ann Marie Jones, married in 1829.  She was the sister of my 4x great grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger.  Another sister, Mary Lambert Jones, married Captain John Dominis, and also went to Hawaii, never to live in Boston again.  Anne Marie had two daughters, yet died before Holt went to Hawaii, where he remarried.   I knew I had some distant cousins in Hawaii, and some “calabash cousins”* from the Holt second marriage.

You can read about this more at this post, such an interesting story it inspired my blog (my very first post!)   Since then I've blogged a lot about the Holts, Joneses, Dominises and other families in Hawaii and Boston.  You can see the links in the right hand column, and click on them to read these posts.   With Lisa Holt, and Corinne Chun of Washington Place, other Holt descendants and much research I've been able to piece together how I was related to this interesting piece of American History.  I also found how two more Jones sisters stayed in Boston, but still participated in Hawaiian history (one had a publisher son, William Lee, who printed Queen Lili'uokalani's biography, and another married the man, Snelling,  who shipped the windows, doors, etc. for buildingWashington Place).

Two years ago I reconnected with descendants of the Dominis family, and we met in Massachusetts and in Hawaii.   While in Hawaii  last year I met up with several calabash cousins descended of Holt and his second wife, and they all welcomed me as warmly as my full cousins.  In Hawaii we are all considered “ohana” (family) and the warmth of extended family was overwhelming.   Last month I connected with another cousin via Facebook, a descendant of one of Ann Marie’s daughters.  We met up during my vacation in California, and went to dinner together.  It was fun to meet up with full cousins and non-cousins related to the family in Hawaii.

Just a few weeks ago, Lisa Holt started her own website at this link
She reconnected with me via Facebook when she found a newspaper clipping via GenealogyBank that was an obituary for Robert William Holt published in the “Friend”, 9 August 1862 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  It listed him as a native of Liverpool, England, which was a terrific find. 

She also found this marriage record in the "Rhode Island American, 29 October 1829, Providence, Rhode Island...

It was about this time that Lisa began to mine Facebook for Holts.  She said she started with family members and their lists of friends and family members, and expanded out from there, searching lists for Holts in Hawaii, and moving on to the allied lines and married names of daughters.   Then she asked me if there should be a group for Holts on Facebook, for discussion, photos and genealogy.  I didn’t know how many Holts she would find, since most of the cousins and calabash cousins I know weren’t on Facebook.  She went ahead and started the group.  I added only two or three names.

Suddenly, within six hours there were 80 people on the Holt group.  I was amazed.  Everyone participated with a roll call naming their parents and often grandparents and siblings.  People began to post wonderful photos from the 1800, of people I had never seen before in photographs.   By this morning there were 131 people on line and a long waiting list for approval, sharing stories, posting lineages, offering scans of books, and reconnecting with cousins they hadn’t seen in years, and often with cousins they had never met!  These Holt descendants come from Hawaii, the mainland USA, England, and even Germany.

I’ve never seen a family group respond with such enthusiam.  I belong to several other family groups on Facebook, including “Descendants of John Howland”, and “Descendants of Edward Doty from the Mayflower”, and there are less active members (and less posts and participation!)  This group is strictly by invitation only, but if you are a descendant of Robert William Holt, or a “calabash cousin” like me, ask to join up, too, at “Hawaii’s Holts” at this link

Thanks, Lisa!  It seems that just a few years ago I didn’t know about this branch, and now I have added over 1000 names in my family tree because of this connection.

Holt Genealogy:

Owen Jones    m.      Elizabeth Lambert
(abt 1768 - 1850)     (abt 1775 - 1834)
       Ann Marie Jones m. Robert William Holt   m. Caroline Tauwati Robinson
(abt 1811 - 1832)          (abt 1800 - 1862)         (abt 1815 - 1891)
                     |                                                                    |
            Elizabeth Holt                              Four sons 1.  Robert Lawrence Holt (1836 - 1847)
m. William Arnold Aldrich                             2. James Robinson Holt m. M. Luukia
                     |                                               3. Owen Jones Holt m. Hanakaulani-o-kamamalu
Four children:                                                4. John Dominis Holt m. Hannah Auld
      1. William Holt Aldrich m. Minnie Choate Brown
      2. Anne Aldrich m. Willard Barton
      3. Helen Aldrich m. William Dunning
      4. George Albert Aldrich

Note:  The second daughter of Ann Marie Jones and Robert William Holt died soon after reaching Hawaii in 1851.  She died at age 19 and recently her grave was found and a new memorial installed.  See this blog post

*Calabash Cousin (from Wikipedia) "In Hawaii, a calabash is a large serving bowl, usually made from a hardwood ... It is used on a buffet table or in the middle of the dining table. The use of the calabash in Hawaii has led to terms like "calabash family" or "calabash cousins", indicating an extended family grown up around shared meals and close friendships. Food is very important in modern Hawaiian culture. The expression "e komo mai - Come, let's eat" was the standard welcome to anyone approaching a home."
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tombstone Tuesday- Mears Family, Essex, Massachusetts

Spring Street Cemetery, Essex, Massachusetts

The Mears plot is right next to the Allen plot
second plot in from Spring Street, next to the shed
on the far right side of the cemetery

1904 JENNIE A. MEARS 1999


(on the rear of the stone)
1875  EDWARD A.  1922
1878  LILLIAN E. 1946
1894  ANNIE M. MEARS  1991

(rear stone)
1904  -  1999

(front stone with flag)
PVT. CO. M 102 INF 26 DIV
This plot is right next to my grandfather's family plot in Essex at the Spring Street Cemetery.  The Mears Family were cousins to the Allen family.   In the top photo you can see the large "A" shaped stone that marks the Allens, right next to the Mears, and our little red convertible.

Samuel Alonzo Mears was the half- brother to Sarah Burnham Mears (1844 - 1913), my 3x great grandmother who married Joseph Gilman Allen.   Sarah was the daughter of Samuel Mears (1823 - 1904) and Sarah Ann Burnham (1821 - 1848), and Samuel Alonzo was the son of Samuel Mears and his second wife, Lydia Gray (1823 - 1914).

Samuel Alonzo Mears married Annie J. Perkins in 1872,  had six children:
1. Edward A. Mears, born 12 November 1875, died 1922
2. Lillian Estelle Mears, born 5 July 1878, died 1946
3. Marian Estelle Mears, born 5 July 1878 (twin)
4. Walter Irving Mears, born 12 April 1880, married Ida Unknown
5. George Melvin Mears, born 18 Aug 1884
6. Samuel Arthur Mears, born 19 October 1890, married Jennie A. Unknown (My mom just told me she remembers Jennie Mears running a dry goods store in Hamilton, Massachusetts for many years.  This is a good clue to investigate...)
7. Annie May Mears, born 8 August 1894, died 1991.

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 29, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Sarah Osborn Skinner 1760 - 1848

Back in 2001 I found a distant cousin on GenForum, and we were both descended of Sarah Osborn, who married Charles Skinner on 24 November 1774 in New Brunswick.  According to my calculations, Sarah was only about 14 when she married, not the 16 claimed in her obituary.  This is the article sent to me by the cousin with whom I was corresponding.  This was a wonderful clue to my 5x great grandmother's life, because records are very scarce in Nova Scotia!

The Christian Messenger, January 1848 ( a Baptist magazine):

"Died 15 January 1848 in Cornwallis [Nova Scotia], Mrs. Sarah Skinner in 88th year, daughter of the late Samuel Osborne of Martha's Vineyard, U.S. They removed to Casco, ME, to NB, then to NS. Born 22 July 1760, married in NB at age 16 to Charles Skinner, native of Connecticut. Leaves 8 sons, 7 daughters, 113 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren. Late W.A. Chipman was a brother-in-law. Edward Manning and George Dimock sons-in-law. Rev. I. E. Bill married a granddaughter."

Osborn Genealogy:

Generation 1: Reverend Samuel Osborn, born in Ireland about 1690 and died in 1774 Boston, Massachusetts; married on 1 January 1710 to Jedidah Smith, daughter of Benjamin Smith and Jedidah Mayhew.  Six children.  He was a graduate of the University of Dublin and became pastor of the church at Eastham, on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, but was dismissed for his Arminian opinions and removed to Boston.

Generation 2: Samuel Osborn, born 1711 at Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, died after 8 October 1753; married on 9 September 1731 in Edgartown to Keziah Butler, born about 1710 in Edgartown and died in October 1768 in Edgartown.  Ten Children.  Keziah remarried to Samuel Pease in 1752.

Generation 3: Samuel Osborn, born about 1732 in Edgartown, died in Nova Scotia; married on 28 April 1755 to Sarah Wass, daughter of Wilmot Wass and Rebecca Allen, born 24 January 1738 in West Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, died about 1813 in Nova Scotia.  Five children.

Generation 4. Sarah Osborn, born 22 July 1760 in Fredricton, New Brunswick, died on 15 July 1848 in Pleasant Valley, Cornwallis County, Nova Scotia; married on 24 November 1774 in New Brunswick to Charles Skinner, son of Aaron Skinner and Eunice Taintor, born 3 January 1748 in Colchester, Connecticut, died before 1837 in Nova Scotia.  Fifteen children including Ann Skinner, born 1786, who married Thomas Ratchford Lyons in 1802.   I descend from their daughter, Isabella Lyons, who is my 3x great grandmother who married the Reverend Ingraham Ebenezer Bill mentioned in the obituary.

For the truly curious:

Another blog post with a longer version of this obituary:  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Amanuensis Monday - Sarah Osborn Skinner 1760 - 1848", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 29, 2011, ( accessed [access date]). 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The New England Geneablogger Bash

On the eve of Hurricane Irene, ten brave genealogists and genealogy bloggers met up informally in Londonderry, New Hampshire for fun and fellowship.  No, not virtually on Facebook or Second Life, and not as a fleeting moment in the hallway at a conference, nor shouting across a banquet table at a luncheon.  This was a very relaxed cookout, with lots of fun conversation and non-genealogy discussion.  (Okay, so we discussed lots of family history, but no one is perfect!)  

In spite of an ominous weather forecast, it was pleasant enough to sit outside, and the weather held off for everyone to get home safely afterwards.  Except for Russ Worthington of the blog "Family Tree Maker User" who is on his way back to New Jersey as this is being written.  Make it home safely, Russ and Patti! 

Summer bounty from Michelle Robillard of the blogs "Call Me Shell"
and "Whispers Beyond the Stone" 

Russ Worthington trying out his new iPad to
keep up with the hurricane forecast

Genealogists sure can cook!
 Everyone brought some dish to share
It was fun meeting new blogger Elizabeth Handler who has two blogs
Jewish Genealogy Journey and
From Maine to Kentucky

Laura Prescott gives the scoop on Fold3
Check our Facebook group for more photos, information and to see when we will hold the next New England GeneaBloggers Bash

UPDATE!  Russ and Patti were safe at home in New Jersey by 10PM

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, August 26, 2011

Follow Friday - The Streets of Salem

A screenshot of the "Streets of Salem" homepage
Here is a “new to me” blog recommended by my first cousin.  I haven’t written many Follow Friday blog posts, but I was so impressed with this blog I wanted to share it with everyone.  “Streets of Salem”  isn’t even a year old, but the author Donna Vinson Segar presents a website that shares architecture,  history, stunning photography and local flavor in such a beautiful way you can’t help but spend time meandering through her blog.   I’ve spent many hours looking through her posts for ancestors, familiar local spots, and some great historical facts.

With a little help from Google I was able to find that Donna Seger is a member of the faculty of Salem State University, teaching history.  She is a graduate of Goucher College and holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University.   Since Salem is a city with almost 400 years of history, she has done a wonderful job of showing the world the story of the changing architecture of the city with her posts and photographs.   Occasionally she will write about other locations in New England, but with all the great blog fodder in her home city, she has (and will have) plenty of Salem stories.


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pickety Place

We recently decided to take a trip to Pickety Place in Mason, New Hampshire.  This little red house, built in 1786, is the same house used by Elizabeth Orton Jones to illustrate her version of the children's book "Little Red Riding Hood" in 1948.   It is now a museum, restaurant, gift shop and garden shop selling herbs, seeds, perennial plants and other garden things.  The restaurant features herbs and vegetables from its own garden, and serves children their lunch in a little basket covered with a red checkered napkin- perfectly following the Red Riding Hood theme.  My little daughter loved having lunch at Pickety Place, but could only  see the bedroom whilst peeking between her fingers since the wolf was still sleeping under the coverlet!

The wolf is still hiding in Grannie's bed...

The Red Riding Hood theme is found
 all over the house and gardens of Pickety Place

The cover of the 1940 version of
the Little Golden Book "Little Red Riding Hood"
illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones

I've always loved Jones's books, especially "Big Susan" published in 1947.  This is a story about a doll house and its inhabitants, my favorite toys as a child.  The illustrations remind me of another New Hampshire author, Tasha Tudor.   My favorite books by Tudor were also about dolls, such as "A is for Annabel", first published in 1954.  I remember taking this book out of the library for several weeks in a row before the librarian finally decided I needed a new book, and she introduced me to "Big Susan".

A biography of Elizabeth Orton Jones 

A Wikipedia article on Elizabeth Orton Jones

The website for Pickety Place

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weathervane Wednesday - A Centaur

I've been collecting photographs of the many, many weathervanes in the Nutfield area (Derry and Londonderry, New Hampshire).  I decided to start a new meme at my blog called "Weathervane Wednesday" to feature some of this photography.  If you want a challenge, I'll post the locations at the bottom of the page so you can scroll down far enough to see the photo, but not the location, and try to guess where you may have seen these lovely weathervanes.

Weathervanes are a form of folk art now featured in fine art museum such as Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Currier Gallery Museum in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Prices for weathervanes have risen dramatically at recent auctions, and many have become victims of theft and vandalism.  By appreciating their beauty and history, perhaps we can preserve the weathervanes of New Hampshire.

Can you guess weather vane #1?

This centaur weathervane is a well-known landmark in Londonderry.  Its on the cupola of the barn across Mammoth Road from the main farm stand at Mack's Apples.   This centaur was restored a few years ago and returned to its spot high above the orchard. The Mack farm was founded when John Mack came to Londonderry in 1732 from Northern Ireland.  Today the Farm is known as Moose Hill Orchards, or more commonly as "Mack's Apples".

For the truly curious:

Mack's Apples, Londonderry, NH:   

Click here to see the other weather vanes in this series   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday -  A Centaur", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 24, 2011, ( accessed [access date]).  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday- James McKeen, Derry, New Hampshire

This tombstone, erected by descendants in 1848, is located in Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire.  It contains a plethora of genealogical information!  According to this stone was carved by F. A. Brown of Haverhill

In memory of
A principal proprietor & Magistrate of
the little Colony which first settled this Town.
Who died Nov. 9, 1756:
aged 91 yrs.
His children by JANE COCHRAN his first
wife were ELIZABETH, the wife of ASA NESMITH
and JANNETT, the wife of JOHN COCHRAN;
and by ANNAS CARGILL, his second wife,
JOHN McKEEN, a member of the provisional
Congress in NH, JAMES McKEEN, JANE the wife
of Wm. ORR, MARTHA, the wife of JOHN DINSMORE,
and MARY the wife of ROBERT BOYD.
His other near relations were his sister MARY ANN
the wife of the REV. JAs. McGREGOR, ANNETT
the widow of his brother JOHN McKEEN and his &
her three sons & one daughter formerly of Londonderry
his 2d wife, who died Aug. 8, 1782
aged 94 yrs.
They were members of the presbyterian Church & to enjoy their
opinions in peace they & all the other Colonists emigrated from the
north of Ireland to this Country.  In gratitude to God & in honor
of departed worth this monument was erected in the year
1848 by certain descendants of the deceased. 

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 22, 2011

Amanuensis Monday- John Burnham's Will 1708

John Burnham left a will proved on December 17, 1708.  He was born on 8 April 1671 in Ipswich, Massachusetts and died in October 1708 in Ipswich. He was the son of John Burnham (1648 - 1704) and Elizabeth Wells (1646 - 1731), and was married to Sarah Choate on 13 April 1693 in Ispwich.  Deacon John Burnham is my 8x great grandfather, but I am also descended of his two brothers, Thomas (1693 - 1748) David Burnham (1688 - 1770).  The Burnham family tree is a very tangled genealogy!  He names eight children in this will.


In the name of God, Amen. I John Burnam, Senr of Chebaco, in Ipswich In the County of Esix In the province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, Yeoman, being att this present time through Gods Goodness of Good understanding and firm and sound in memory and of a Disposing mind tho very weak and infirm of Body, not knowing how soon it may please God to call me hence to my long home.

I Do here by these presents make this to be My last will and Testament. I Committ My Imortall Soull into the mercyfull hand of that Gracious God who gave it and my Body to the Grave and to a Descent Buriall in hopes of a Glorious Ressurection thro Jesus Christ who i trust hath Redeemed my Soul from Death. And as to what Outward of this World God in the Way of his Good providence Bestowed upon me, I give and Bequeath as hereafter followeth.

1. I Do hereby Give & Bequeath as hereafter followeth. John Burnam & Thomas Burnam all my housing & upland & Marsh & Meadow Ground that i do now posess & Enjoy to be Equally Divided Between them Both for Quantity and Quality only my Son John Burnam Shall have my Dwelling house & homestead with the outhouses adjacent which i now inhabit and half of all my Land Lying most Convenient to it as aforesaid & my said son Thomas Burnam Shall have the Dwelling house that lyeth abut Southwest from my now Dwelling house & his half of the said Land to be to him as may be most convenent adjoining thereunto.

2. Also I Give my said two sons all my Quick Stock to be Equally Divid Between them & also my Carpenters tools & untensills husbandry all to be Divid as they Shall agree, or as judicious men Chosen Between them Both Shall Determine. They Equally paying the Legacies & performing the Severall Dutys that be hereafter Mentioned & they Equally to pay all Debts that my be Due from the Estate & Equally to receve all that my be Due to the Estate & my two Said sons John & Thomas Burnam to have their Equall Share of all my Common Rights.

3. I do hereby Give & bequeath unto my well Beloved wife Sarah Burnam all my household Goods & furniteur of Every Room in my House to be att her Dispose among her Chilldren as se may See cause or for her own use. also two Cow & then Sheep, ewes to be provided by my said two Sons Equally and from time to time to be Equally Maintained Both winter & sumer by them for her own proper use Behoff and Benefit also my Said wife shall have the use of one end of my now Dwelling house which She Shall Chuse & what priviledg She may have Occasion for In the Cillar & so as to the Ovens, well & other necessaries & convenenices that she may stand in need of; My said two sons shall Equally provide and maintain a good able horse Sutable for thir mother's use and also to pay her yearly Equally Between them the full sum of Seven pounds In money or in other species as money also they Equally are and shall provide firewood for one fire-room Drawn home and ready cutte fitt for her use and all these severall perticulars shall be continued and performed By my said two sons to my said wife Sarah so long as she remains my widdow.

4. I Give to my Eldest Daughter Sarrah wife of Jacob Brown what she hath allready had which is her portion also i give her ten shillings in, or as money as a token of my Love to be payd Equally by my two sons above named in one year after my Decese.

5. I give and Bequeath to my youngest sons jonathan Burnam & Robert Burnam forty pounds apice In money or other specie as money to be paid to them when they arrive successivley at the age of twenty and one years By my said two sons John & Thomas Burnam Each of them their Equall part which is forty pounds apice.

6. I hereby Give and Bequeath to my three youngest Daughters viz. mary Burnam Elizabeth Burnam & Hannah Burnam Each of them thirty pounds apice in money or other speces as money to be paid to each of them succesfully upon marrage or when they arrive succesfully att the full age of twenty and one years the three said Legacies which amount In the whole to Ninety pounds to be equally paid as abovesaid by my two sons John Burnam & Thomas Burnam.

7. I Do hereby constitute & appoint by trusty and well Beloved freinds Mr. William Thompson & Leutt John Cogswell to be overseers of this my Last will and testament & they to be satisfied for what trouble they are att in sevin herein & in witness that this is my last will and testament I the said John Burnam have thereto Set my hand and seal this seventeenth Day of December Anno Dom one thousand seven hundred & Eight.


Signed Sealed as the Last will & testament of the sd Jno Burnam Senior In presents of us three witnesses.
William Thomson
John Cogswell, Junr.
Mathe Rust Sen.

Copia Vera as on record
Attest Daniel Rogers, Regstr.

The Burnham Genealogy:

Generation 1:  Thomas Burnham,  born 1623 in England, died 19 June 1694 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts; married abt 1643 in Ipswich to Mary Lawrence, daughter of Thomas Lawrence and Joan Antrobus, died on 27 March 1715 in Ipswich.  Fifteen children.  He erected a saw mill on the Chebacco river near the falls, and participated in the Pequot Expedition in 1636 and 1637.

Generation 2: John Burnham, born about 1648, died on 12 January 1704 in the Chebacco Parish; married on 6 June 1668 to Elizabeth Wells, daughter of Thomas Wells and Abigail Warner, born on 31 July 1646 in Ipswich, died on 9 June 1731.  Nine children.  He was the proprietor of a grist mill.

Generation 3: John Burnham, born on 8 April 1671 in Ipswich, died in October 1708 in Ipswich; married on 13 April 1693 in Ipswich to Sarah Choate, daughter of John Choate and Ann Unknown, born about 1672, died in June 1746.  Eleven children including those named in the will above.

See this link for more about Thomas Lawrence and Joan Antrobus

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011 Old Home Days, Londonderry, New Hampshire

The Morrison House Museum
surrounded by apple orchards,
run by the Londonderry Historical Society

Inside the Morrison House Museum are
local artifacts like a snip from Ocean Born Mary's silk dress
and the weathervane from the Robie House barn

The town common is full of Old Home activities

A colonial encampment outside the Morrison House

Kate Kilgus demonstrates spinning

Yours truly demonstrates weaving

BOOM!  A Revolutionary era cannon!
2010 Londonderry Old Home Day blog post

Londonderry Old Home Days

Kate Kilgus is the Nutfield Weaver

Londonderry Historical Society

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

New England Scots Irish Study

Are you of Scots Irish descent?  Many of the vocal voices of Scots Irish immigrants are from the Southern American States, but an Irish researcher is reaching out to interview descendants of Ulster Presbyterians who stayed in New England.  If this sounds like your family tree, then please continue reading!

Professor Roe of Seattle Pacific University sent this message to the Londonderry Historical Society  “For the past ten years or so, I have been studying present day Scots-Irish, and currently I am in the midst of a study focused on the Scots-Irish in the New England/Northeastern states. The Scots-Irish story has been dominated by Southern voices (like Barry’s), and I am trying to provide a means for learning about the New England/Northeastern Scots-Irish experience.

This study is designed to “listen” to personal and family stories of Scots-Irish. I am looking for men and women, 18 years of age or older, to participate who are (1) of Scots-Irish ancestry rooted in the Northeastern U.S., (2) consider themselves to be Scots-Irish, (3) are interested in their Scots-Irish history and family stories, and (4) are willing to describe their experiences—to be storytellers in fine Scots-Irish tradition.

Participants will be responding in writing to a series of questions about their family roots and their present day activities, opinions and identity as Scots-Irish. Confidentiality, of course, will be maintained. The entire experience should take no more than one hour, although all are encouraged to write in as much detail as possible, so some may decide to spend more than an hour on their responses. Feedback from past participants indicates that most enjoyed describing their Scots-Irish roots, and so our expectation is that this study too will be a motivating and enjoyable experience for all.”

Michael D. Roe, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Dean, School of Psychology, Family, and Community
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle, WA 98119 U.S.A.
Phone: (206) 281-2252
Fax: (206) 281-2695

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19, 1692 - Salem, Massachusetts

On this date in 1692 five people were executed for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.  Only one was a woman, contrary to popular belief.  On this particular day George Jacobs, Sr., Martha Carrier, the Reverend George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard were hanged on Gallows Hill.   Five innocent people.  One month earlier the upstanding citizens Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes were executed.   Two months earlier, on June 10, Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem as the first official execution of the Salem witch trials.    Over that summer, nineteen innocent lives were lost to gossip, heresy and lies. 

What has been learned since then?  Did anyone change their ways because of this?

In 2011, modern “witches” have taken over Salem, Massachusetts- people like Laurie Cabot, who exploit the deaths of innocent Christian people for their own profits.  My daughter’s AP History Class took a field trip to the “Witch Museum” in Salem after reading Miller’s play The Crucible.  I was shocked to hear myths being re-told during the presentation, and then the narrator invited the school children to the back of the museum to see a display of modern pagan witch artifacts “by the descendants of the original witches!”   I was flabbergasted, as a chaperone, to know that these myths persist.

The truth is that none of the original nineteen people were witches, nor were they practicing witchcraft.  The people of Salem were God fearing Puritans, however they did believe the Devil dwelt amongst them in Massachusetts.  The Devil’s work was truly the gossip, lies and heresy told by neighbors and friends, and not the work of witchcraft.  Over the years these innocent victims have all had their records expunged from the criminal court system. 

If you want to see any actual sites related to the trials of 1692, you are better off going to Danvers, Massachusetts to visit the Archives where some of the original documents can still be read, or the memorial to the victims on the site of the original meeting house, or the well preserved Rebecca Nurse Homestead.   In the city of Salem, there is only a memorial (cenotaphs) to the executed victims, Judge Corwin’s house, and the disputed site of Gallows Hill.  In Salem you will find several museums of dubious quality and inaccurate displays.  You are better off touring the world class Peabody Essex Museum in Salem than any of the other witch attractions, and thank goodness the PEM has removed the display of George Jacob’s finger.

On this date in 1692 two of those five people hung on Gallows Hill were my 9x great grandfathers, George Jacobs and John Proctor.  Bridget Bishop was my 9x great grandmother.  In 1992 the descendants of George Jacobs removed his body from where it had been secretly buried on the Jacobs homestead, because the land was being sold for commercial development.  We had his body re-interred with a very nice headstone at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers, Massachusetts.   Laurie Cabot, nor any of the merchants profiting from “witchcraft” in modern Salem, did not donate a penny towards the re-internment.  It is the only actual gravesite of a witch trial victim, since the others were buried in a crevice, and not allowed to be buried in the town burial grounds.  Rebecca Nurse was reburied in secret on the grounds of the family farm.  No one knows where she is located exactly, and hopefully she has been at peace ever since 1692.

George Jacobs
"Because I am falsely accused. I never did it."

Bridget Bishop
"I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it."

Margaret Jacobs
"... They told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should save my life."  [note:  Margaret was forced to confess and to accuse her own grandfather, George Jacobs, of witchcraft]

Engraved on a cenotaph to Rebecca Nurse, at the Nurse Family Burial Ground in Danvers, Massachusetts:
“O, Christian martyr!  Who for truth could die,
When all about thee owned the hideous lie!
The world, redeemed from superstitions sway
Is breathing freer for thy sake today.”
By John Greenleaf Whittier

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Late Summer Genealogy Calendar

Genealogy Club Meeting, 1:30 PM every second Friday of each month at the Rodgers Memorial Public Library at 194 Derry Road, Hudson, NH 603-886-6030 or

Genealogy Club Meeting, 1 p.m. every 3rd Tuesday of each month, at the Kelley Library, 234 Main St., Salem, N.H. in the Beshara Room. The ongoing group explores genealogy topics and use of the library's online resources. 603-898-7064 or

Jewish Genealogy Nights  - The Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston will be holding free sessions on Jewish genealogy at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston on Wednesday nights starting on September 21, 2011 from 6 - 8PM.  For information contact Judi Garner at  or see the website

Fire on the Water: Portsmouth's Kearsarge Sinks the Deadly Confederate Raider Alabama, curated by Richard Adams, at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, in observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Through Sept. 17.  For more information, call the Athenaeum at 431-2538. The Athenaeum is a nonprofit membership museum and library founded in 1817.

John Paul Jones: American Naval Hero, Real & Imagined (1747-92), through Oct 31st, Portsmouth Historical Society focuses on their famous historical character for the first time and hosts several Gallery Talks and a fall Symposium to consider aspects of the actual career and folk culture symbolism of John Paul Jones. Adults $6. Seniors/AAA $5, children 12 and under free. John Paul Jones House Museum, 43 Middle St., Portsmouth, Open 7 days 11-5. 436-8420,

Portsmouth Sillouettes, through Oct. 31st.   John Paul Jones House, 43 Middle St., Portsmouth, The popularity of silhouette images peaked in the early 19th century. Several traveling artists, among them William King and William Bache set up shop in Portsmouth for brief periods and offered their services. 436-8420,
Icons of History: Objects that Define New Hampshire, through December 31, 2011 at the New Hampshire Historical Society, 6 Eagle Square, Concord, NH. An exhibition of objects reflecting NH’s rich history, character and culture.   Museum admission required, please see the website or call 603-228-6688.  

Songs of Old New Hampshire, August 21, 2011 1PM, Center Club, East Washington Road, Hillsborough, NH  Contact Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce 603- 464-5858.  Ballads, love songs and comic pieces reveal daily life before movies and sound recordings.  Songs from the lumber camps, sailing ships, textile mills and the war between the states.  Also repeated August 25th, 7PM at the Cathedral of the Pines, 10 Hale Hill Road, Rindge, Contact Cathedral of the Pines 603-899-3300. 

Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day,  5 September 2011, Statewide program commemorating the signing of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1905.. Highlights around Portsmouth include a salute by the Navy at the Naval Shipyard followed by bell ringing throughout the area and beyond at 3:47PM.  A talk on Theodore Roosevelt’s Nobel Peace Prize and the citizen diplomacy of the people of New Hampshire in 1905.  Phone 603-226-2312

Autumn Muster in the Mountains, September 8 – 11, 2011 at the Mount Washington Auto Road, Pinkham Notch, NH  An annual re-enactment of the Revolutionary War, Native American and Mountain Men.  This event includes a demonstration day for school children and the general public, competitions with period weapons, period crafts and cooking.  For more information contact Bob Ross, 603-466-5062 or email

Family Research Day, Saturday, September 10, 2011, 8:30 – 4 PM, Lynnfield Family History Center, 400 Essex Street, Lynnfield, MA.  FREE, a full day of workshops, lectures and well known speakers.  ESOG and MSOG will have tables, and several speakers will bring books for sale.  Tickets required, proceeds to benefit local non-profit organizations.  Registration is required, please see the website    This is a wildly popular event, and tickets sell out!  Register early!

2011 Tour of Fairy Houses of Portsmouth, Saturday and Sunday, September 17 – 18, noon – 4PM, Portsmouth, NH, sponsored by the Friends of the South End.  A self guided walking tour of whimsical fairy houses in historical house gardens inside Strawbery Banke, Prescott Park, the Gov. Langdon House and the Wentworth Gardner and Tobias Lear Houses.  See for more information.

Maine Genealogical Society’s 2011 Family History Conference, Saturday, 24 September 2011, at Spectacular Event Center in Bangor, Maine.  $40 for MGS members, $50 for others, $15 for the luncheon.  Send registration to Maine Genealogical Society, c/o Celeste Hyer, 69 Loop Road, Otisfield, Maine, 04270.
Colonial New Hampshire, October 3, 2011, 7PM by Professor Jere Daniell at Stevens Memorial Hall, 1 Chester St., Chester, NH, for more information contact Web Anderson 603-887-4911

Front Row Seat on the New Hampshire Primary, Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 7:30 PM at the Nashua Historical Society, 5 Abbott Street, Nashua, NH, FREE, Mike Pride, Editor Emeritus of the Concord Monitor outlines the history of the NH Primary with stories of the 8 presidential primaries he covered while a reporter.  For information email or call 603-883-0015

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The 112th Old Home Day Celebration, Londonderry, NH!

This year Londonderry will be celebrating it's 112th Annual Old Home Day on August 20, 2011.  It is one of a handful of New Hampshire communities that still celebrate Old Home Day on the third Saturday in August, as decreed by Governor Frank Rollins in 1899.  This holiday was designed to bring home those townspeople who moved out of state, out west or to work in the mills of Massachusetts.   Today, it is called Old Home Days (plural) in Londonderry because it has morphed into a five day event.  There is a A Senior Citizen's Night with Barbeque and Swing Music concert, a Kids's Movie Night on Thursday, the traditional Friday night baseball challenge between the police and fire departments, a Saturday parade and town common celebration followed by a bonfire and concert, and a Sunday ecumenical service on the common.

Here are some photos from past Old Home Days in Londonderry....
1920 Old Home Day Photograph
In front of the Presbyterian Church

The 1941 Old Home Day Program

The 2005 Old Home Day Parade

The 2009 Colonial Re-enactors

The 2009 Old Home Day Parade

For more information:

The official website for Londonderry Old Home Days

A listing of NH Old Home Days   My blog post from last year with the history of Old Home Day in New Hampshire and Londonderry.


Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Lucy Martin, Derry, New Hampshire

This stone was photographed at Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire

Memento Mori
In Memory Of
consort of
who departed this life
JULY ye 20th 1787 In the
44th year of her age.
Death like an overflowing flood
Doth keep us all away
The young, the old, the middle aged
To death becomes a prey

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo