Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Genealogy and Local History Events

Local Club Meetings

Hudson Genealogy Club, at the Rogers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road, Hudson, NH  every 2nd Friday of the Month, at 1:30 PM contact Gayle St. Cyr 603-886-6030

Genealogy Roundtable, at the Derry Public Library, 64 East Broadway, Derry, NH  every first Tuesday of the Month, at 1 – 2:30 PM.   contact: Christine Sharbrough 603-432-6140

Chelmsford Genealogy Club, at the Chelmsford, MA Public Library, first Tuesday night of the month at 7PM in the McCarthy Meeting Room, contact Judy Sylvia 978-256-5521

Rye Genealogy Club, at the Rye Public Library, first Tuesday of the month at 2PM.


Lunch & Learn – Plimoth Plantation Lunchtime Lecture, October 4, 12 – 1 PM at the Accomack Building in Plimoth Plantation Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Lecture on “Crime and Controversy in Colonial New England” by Diane Rapaport, author of the book The Naked Quaker: true Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England. Bring a Bag lunch!

Unearthing the Past: The Alden Archaeology and Local Discoveries, Saturday, October 6, 1PM at the Alden House Historic Site, 105 Alden Street, Duxbury, Massachusetts, 781-934-9092 sponsored by the Alden Kindred of America FREE.  Explore the archaeology of the homestead of Mayflower passengers John and Priscilla Alden, as well as some discoveries unearthed in an area rich with colonial history.

Irish Genealogy, Saturday, October 6, at 2PM at the Amesbury, Mass Public Library, presented by Tom Toohey, this program offers a description of six ways to research Irish families.  Toohey will return on Saturday, November 3, at 2PM to present six more ways to find one’s Irish ancestors. Space is limited and pre registration is required.  Visit or contact Margie at the library at 978-388-8148, ext. 610 or email

Meet the Author of an American Girl Book for Afternoon Tea,  Sunday, October 7 at 2PM at the USS Constitution Museum's Figgie Theater, Charlestown, Massachusetts.  $25 per person ($20 USS Constitution Museum members) space is limited, please make a reservation at 617-426-1812, ext. 113.   The newest American Girl doll is Caroline Abbot, a girl who lived through the War of 1812, and the author of these books is Kathleen Ernst.  Dress up, bring your doll and enjoy an 1812 tea while listening to Kathleen's program about Caroline's world and how she developed her character.  Have your books autographed, too, and take photos with the author!

The Rise and Fall of Poorhouses in Massachusetts, Wednesday, October 10, 6:00 PM in the Orientation Room at the Boston Public Library.  FREE.  Heli Meltsner, author of the recently published Poorhouses of Massachusetts will describe life in a poorhouse, and the records available.

Runaway Wives: When Colonial Marriages Failed, Wednesday, October 10, 6:30 PM at the Weeks Public Library, Greenland, New Hampshire.  603-436-8548.  FREE.  When 18th century wives tired of the marriage contract they could run but they could not hide.  Husbands chased them down with newspaper ads, effectively removing their sources of credit and income.  Presented by Marcia Shmidt Blaine of Plymouth State University.

Remembering the War of 1812: A Sailor's Life in War, Wednesday, October 10, 7PM, at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth,NH, 603-431-2538, or  What was life really like for sailors during the War of 1812?  Join Sarah O'Connor for a discussion as she demonstrates clothing, weaponry and tools.  Refreshments will be served.  $10 or $25 to become a Friend of the Portsmouth Athenaeum and attend the entire program series for free.

Researching the History of your Derry Home, Thursday October 11, 6:30 - 8PM, at the Derry Public Library, 64 E Broadway, Derry, New Hampshire.  603-432-6140.  Presented by Genealogist and Reference Librarian Christine Sharbrough.  Come learn what resources are available at the library and other local repositories to research your home.  FREE

Tales and Ales, Friday, October 12 and 13, 6:30 – 9PM at the Swett Isley House, 4 High Road, Newbury, Massachusetts, $35 Historic New England members, $55 non members.  An evening of historic fun around a tavern table enjoying local brews and a hearty tavern dinner while listening to true tales of sword fights, scandalous romances, and bloody brawls.  Registration required at 978-462-2634.

Digital Revolutions: Interpreting and Historicizing American Culture, the New England American Studies Association Fall 2012 Conference, Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13, 2012, at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus, Providence, Rhode Island.  For more information and registration see and email with any questions.

Descendants Celebration Sunday, Sunday, October 14, First Congregational Church of Hampton, New Hampshire, 127 Winnacunnet Road. As part of the celebration of the 375th anniversary of the founding of Hampton descendants of founding families are invited to worship, a picnic lunch, a tour of the Tuck Museum and area cemeteries. Aids are available for genealogy research, see the registration form.  $5 for lunch on site, area restaurants are nearby, too.   Pre-registration is required by the form online.  

Dissent Among the Puritans, Monday, October 15, 2:15PM at the Havenwood Heritage Heights Auditorium, 33 Christian Ave, Concord, New Hampshire.  603-229-1185. .  Presented by Linda Palmer, a living history presentation as Ann Vassall in 1637, wife of one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Company.  Her wods of advice and narration of the events going on in town make you wish you had stayed in England or look towards New Hampshire or Connecticut as a place of settlement.  FREE

Food and Family - An Evening with Chef Jeremy Sewall, Tuesday, October 16, 6PM, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 Newbury St., Boston, Massachusetts.  Join NEHGS, Chef Sewall and author Eve LaPlante for an evening of discussion of the Sewall family roots, including Salem witch trial judge Samuel Sewall.  The evening will include a reception and sampling of Chef Sewall's cuisine. Tickets $30, registraton required at 617-226-1226 or online at

Gravestone Girls Present a Virtual Tour of East Brookfield Cemeteries, Wednesday, October 17, 6:30PM, East Brookfield Public Library, 122 Connie Mack Drive, East Brookfield, Massachusetts, FREE 508-867-7928 , The “Gravestone Girls” will present a 90 minute presentation of photographs taken in East Brookfield, of graves dating back to 1673.  There will be a demonstration of gravestone rubbing with hands on practice.

Witches, Pop Culture and the Past, Thursday, October 18, 6:30 PM at the Seabrook Library, 25 Liberty Lane, Seabrook, New Hampshire, 603-474-2044.  We still discuss the 1692 witch hysteria in everyday conversation, pop culture, literature, tourism and film  The truth, both moral and macabre, vies with spooky thrills for its authentic place in history.  Presented by Robin DeRosa, Plymouth State University.  FREE

Genealogy Discovery Day, Saturday, 20 October 2012, 1:30 – 4:30 PM at the Chelmsford, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, in the main library of Chelmsford’s McCarthy Meeting Room.   To volunteer or to obtain more information, please contact: Judy Sylvia at or Paula McCarron at  See the website

Edward Lodi on Women in King Philip’s War, Sunday, October 21, 3PM at the Acton Memorial Library, 486 Main Street, Acton, Massachusetts 978-929-6655 FREE A number of remarkable women played major roles in King Philip’s War.  Mr. Lodi also includes accounts of what daily life was like for women on the frontier settlements.  A book signing will follow. 

Find Your Military Ancestors on, Wednesday, October 24, 6:00 PM in the Orientation Room at the Boston Public Library, FREE.  Laura Prescott, a consultant at and past president of the Association of Professional Genealogists will show you how to find your ancestors in the millions of military record images available on line. 

NH African Americans in the Revolutionary War, Thursday, October 25, 6:30 - 8PM, at the Derry Public Library, 64 E Broadway, Derry, New Hampshire.  603-432-6140.  Presented by Genealogist and Reference Librarian Christine Sharbrough.  Almost 200 African and Native Americans from New Hampshire fought in the Revolutionary War.  FREE


Third Annual Cemetery Tour, Friday, October 26, 7PM and Sunday October 28, 3PM, The Olde South Burial Ground, corner of Main Street and Shawsheen Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts. members $6, non-members $8.  Children under 12 should come to the Sunday tour.

Tricks, Treats and Treasures, Wednesday, October 31, 5:30 – 7:30 at the Phillips House, 34 Chestnut St., Salem, Massachusetts. FREE.  Join the sea shanty singing Salem pirates for tricks, treats and treasures at the Phillips House on Halloween night.  Call 978-744-0440 for more information.

Mary Todd Lincoln: An Unconventional Woman, Wednesday, November 7, 1:15 PM at the Windham Town Hall, 3 Lowell Road, Windham, New Hampshire, FREE, 603-883-2932.  As men went off to the Civil War, women sowed their own seeds of rebellion and independence.  The First Lady was no exception.  Presented by Sally Mummey.

John Wight – Early Stone Carver of Forest Hill Cemetery, Thursday, October 8, 6:30 – 8PM, at the Derry Public Library, 64 E Broadway, Derry, New Hampshire.  603-432-6140.  Presented by Genealogist and Reference Librarian Christine Sharbrough.  John Wight was an early 18th century settler of Nutfield and his stone carvings grace many of the early gravestones in Forest Hill Cemetery.  Learn about him and his artwork.  FREE

Genetic Genealogy: Adding DNA to Your Toolkit, Wednesday, November 28, 6:00 PM in the Orientation Room at the Boston Public Library.  FREE. Michael Maglio, professional genealogist and owner of the Origin Hunters genealogy service, will present how genetic genealogy can provide new evidence to your origins.  Learn about your deep ancestry, confirm your existing family history or break through brick walls in your genealogy research.

New Hampshire Cemeteries and Gravestones, Wednesday, November 28, 6:30 PM at the Weeks Public Library, 36 Post Road, Greenland, New Hampshire.  FREE.  603- 436-8548.  .  Long forgotton stories of historical events such as the Great Awakening, the Throat Distemper epidemic, and the American Revolution told through gravestone rubbings, photographs and stories. Presented by Glenn A. Knoblock.

Finding Clues in Obituaries, Thursday November 29, 6:30 – 8PM, at the Derry Public Library, 64 E Broadway, Derry, New Hampshire.  603-432-6140.  Presented by Genealogist and Reference Librarian Christine Sharbrough.  Come and learn how to pull the most information out of an obituary.  We will look at a few sample obituaries, talke about what records to search and how to find them.  FREE

Bring Your Ancestors to Life: Connect via Social History, Wednesday, December 12, 6:00 PM in the Orientation Room at the Boston Public Library, FREE.  Lori Lyn Price, a professional genealogy speaker, will present a lecture on connecting with ancestors via social history- an aspect of genealogy that brings ancestor’s traditions and culture to life.  Learn to incorporate local history, and other sources of social history such as occupation, military service and war, daily life and recreation into your genealogical research to gain a greater understanding of your roots.

Tracing Your Medical Heritage, Thursday, December 13th, 6:30 – 8PM, at the Derry Public Library, 64 E Broadway, Derry, New Hampshire.  603-432-6140.  Presented by Genealogist and Reference Librarian Christine Sharbrough.  A medical pedigree of your family gives you the ability to provide any healthcare provider with essential information that is often necessary when diagnosing and treating family members.  Learn how to create one using records you may have already collected during your genealogical research. FREE.


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Mixer of Watertown, Massachusetts


The Mixer family left Ipswich, England on 10 April 1634 on board the ship “Elizabeth”.  The party consisted of Isaac Mixer, age 31, wife Sarah age 33 and a son, Isaac, age 4.   He was made a freeman in Watertown, Massachusetts on 2 May 1638.  He left a will on 8 May 1655, and his estate was inventoried on 15 June 1655.  Isaac had been a town selectman and owned half of the ship Diligent, which was at sea when he died.  In his will he left the Diligent to his daughter, Sarah Stearns.

No one has written a Mixer genealogy, but the early generations of Mixers can be found in other compiled genealogies such as The Ancestry of Margaret Brooks Threlfall, by John Brooks Threlfall, 1985, or The Genealogy and Memoirs of Isaac Stearns and his Descendants, by Avis Stearns Van Wagenen, 1901 or Ancestors and Descendants of Clark Proctor Nichols and Sarah (Sally) Stoughton in England and America 1620 – 2001, by Clara Pierce Olson Overbo, 2002.

The genealogy below reads like a romance novel, with cousins marrying, step siblings marrying, and in-laws marrying after the deaths of the related spouses.  You may need a score card to keep track of this family... 

My Mixer Lineage:

Generation 1:  Isaac Mixer, born about 1601, died between 8 May and 19 June 1655 in Watertown, Massachusetts; married on 11 May 1626 in Capel, Suffolk, England to Sarah Thurston, who was born about 1605 and died 24 November 1681 in Watertown.  Two children.

Generation 2: Isaac Mixer, born about 1630 in England, died 22 November 1716 in Sudbury, Masssachusetts;  married first on 19 September 1655 to Mary Coolidge (two children);  married second on 10 January 1661 in Watertown to Rebecca Garfield, daughter of Edward Garfield and Rebecca Johnson (my ancestors) (14 children!); married third on 29 June 1687 to Mary Lathrop, widow of John Stearns and William French.   John Stearns was first married to his sister, Sarah Mixer, on 7 June 1653, and then to Mary Lathrop in 1656.  (Doesn't this sound like a soap opera? )  

Generation 3: Joseph Mixer, born on 9 August 1674 in Watertown, died 10 December 1723 in Watertown;  married before 1704 to Anna Jones, daughter of Josiah Jones and Lydia Treadway.  She was born on 28 July 1684 and died in 1736.  Nine children.

Generation 4: Joseph Mixer, born about 14 December 1705 in Watertown; married on 4 May 1726 in Watertown to Mary Ball, daughter of Daniel Ball and Mary Earle. She was born on 27 December 1709 in Watertown.  Eight children.

Generation 5: Mary Mixer, born 21 November 1727 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, died on 3 September 1793 in Woburn (now Burlington), Massachusetts; married first on 13 November 1749 in Lexington, Massachusetts to Daniel Simonds (one child); married second on 26 May 1763 to Andrew Munroe, son of George Munroe and Sarah Mooers (my ancestors),  two children; married third on 6 December 1774 to Caleb Simonds, (cousin of her first husband).

Generation 6:  Andrew Munroe, born 31 March 1764 in Lexington, died 7 August 1836 in Danvers, Massachusetts; married on 22 March 1785 in Woburn (now Burlington) to Ruth Simonds, daughter of Caleb Simonds (Andrew’s stepfather- thus they were step siblings growing up together) and his first wife, Susanna Converse.   Ruth was born 13 April 1763 in Woburn and died 29 January 1840 in Danvers.  Eleven children.

Generation 7:  Luther Simonds Munroe m. Olive Flint
Generation 8: Phebe Cross Munroe m. Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 9: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my paternal grandparents)

To see a story about Mary Mixer Simonds Munroe, click here:


To Clink/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ Mixer of Watertown, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 29, 2012, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Robert Dinsmoor ~ The Rustic Bard of Windham, New Hampshire

I’ve seen an old copy of Poems of Robert Dinsmoor “The Rustic Bard” compiled by Leonard Allison Morrison from 1898.  Morrison is also the author of several histories of Windham, New Hampshire.  It’s been a long time since there has been a new volume of Dinsmoor’s poems.  Now there is a new volume of Robert Dinsmoor’s Scotch-Irish Poems coming soon, not here, but in the United Kingdom! 

This new book, edited by Frank Ferguson and Alister McReynolds, has been published by the Ulster Historical Foundation.  His poetry has been long out of print, but it is interesting to note that this new volume of his works is published in the United Kingdom by the Ulster Historical Foundation.  The literature experts Ferguson and McReynolds have included a detailed scholarly introduction. 

Robert Dinsmoor was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire on 7 October 1757.  He was a soldier at the Battle of Burgoyne, and is listed on the Windham Honor Roll under the names of men who served in the American Revolution.  His book Incidental Poems was first published in 1828.   He inspired other local poets, like Haverhill’s John Greenleaf Whittier.  Dinsmoor wrote his poetry in a Scots lilt that is no longer heard in Londonderry, but was still common in his lifetime.  For this reason he is often described as “America’s Robert Burns”.  Robert Dinsmoor died in Windham, New Hampshire, in 1836.
To order:

A previous blog post on Robert Dinsmoor (with one of his poems) at this link:

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Aghadowey Session Book at NEHGS

Yours Truly reading and photographing the
Aghadowey Session Book at the NEHGS library in Boston

James McGregor was born about 1677 in Magilligan in the parish of Tamlaghtard in northwest County Londonderry, in Northern Ireland.  He graduated from the University of Glasgow, and was in Ulster by 1701.  It is claimed that Rev. James  McGregor was at the siege of Londonderry as a boy.  

After the siege, the Presbyterians were living in a land surrounded by Catholics, and the Crown was not protecting the rights of the Presbyterians.  Three ministers: Rev. William Boyd, Rev. James McGregor and Rev. William Cornwall decided to migrate.  In 1718 Rev. Boyd was sent to Boston to petition the Royal Governor Samuel Shute (1662 – 1742) of Massachusetts.  This document was signed by over 300 people and nine ministers.  All but 13 signed their own names.  This document is in the State House at Boston.

Rev. James McGregor replaced Rev. Thomas Boyd at Aghadowey, and was there from 1701 to 1718.   Upon deciding to migrate, he preached a farewell sermon at Coleraine  from Exodus 33: 15 “If they presence go not with me carry not up hence”and he spoke of avoiding oppression, persecution and idolatry.  Five ships left Northern Ireland in the summer of 1718.  Rev. MacGregor arrived on the brigantine “Robert” which left Glasgow for Belfast and then arrived in Boston on August 4th along with the ship “William”, which had left Coleraine in April or May.   According to the first book of town records of Londonderry, New Hampshire, they anchored “at the little wharf at the foot of State (then King) Street, Boston, New England, August 4, 1718”.  Eventually he ended up at Nutfield, New Hampshire with some of his flock the next year. 

The Aghadowey Session Book from 1702 – 1725 was transcribed in 1905 by J. W. Kernohan, the Secretary of the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast, Ireland.  These session records record meetings of the ministers and elders at Aghadowey.  The story of how NEHGS acquired this session book is available online at their website and also from the book Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America at

The New England Historic Genealogical Society has made a digital version of the Aghadowey Session book available on line at the link:   You must be a member to see this link.  The best way to read the book is to browse the pages, but it is also searchable for names.   The pages are very legible since J. W. Kernohan’s handwriting is very clear on the scanned images.   McGregor and many members of his flock are in these session books, which cover the time period up until he left for Boston in 1718. 
A page of the Session Book
The Aghadowey Session book online is a valuable resource for Ulster Scots research!  And what a terrific resource for Nutfield, New Hampshire history.  For other records of the parish of Aghadowey you can contact the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, which has on microfilm the Aghadowey Baptisms 1855-1944, Marriages 1845-1923, Committte Minutes, 1851-85, Stipend lists, 1832 – 54, and Communion Rolls, 1903-13. 

Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland
26 College Green
Northern Ireland
Tel. 028 9072 7330

An essay about the importance of the Aghadowey Session Book

  Photo courtesy of Barbara Poole


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Aghadowey Session Book at NEHGS", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 27, 2012, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Bulldog!

This is part of an on-going series of photographs of weather vanes in the Nutfield, New Hampshire area (formerly Derry, Londonderry and parts of Hudson, Windham and Manchester).  Some of the weather vanes are historical, some are whimsical, and all are interesting.  

Do you know the location of weather vane #63?   Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

Today's weather vane was spotted on Hardwood Road in Windham, New Hampshire.  It is a two dimensional bulldog, complete with a studded collar!  It is atop a very shiny new cupola, which should mellow to a nice patina.  This weather vane is hard to spot, but visible from the road if you look quick!

Click here to see the entire collection of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Benjamin Bangs, died 1814

This tombstone was photographed at the Ancient Burial Ground in Brewster, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.  I have posted about other members of the Bangs family previously, look for the links in the story below, or click on "Bangs" the keyword in the list in the right hand column of this blog.  This stone caught my eye because of the beautiful intricate carving, unlike most of the other stones in this cemetery. The epitaph is an excerpt of a poem by Thomas Campbell, "The Pleasures of Hope", 1799 .

In memory of 
who died
march 9, 1814
AET 56.
Cold in the dust this perish'd heart must lie
But that which warmed it shall never die
That shall resist the triumph of decay
When time is o'er and worlds are pass'd away
Shall beam on Joy's interminable years
Unveil'd by darkness - unassuag'd by tears. 

Benjamin Bangs was born 24 July 1758 in Harwich, Massachusetts, and died 9 March 1814 in Brewster.  he was the son of Captain Benjamin Bangs (1721 - 1769) and Desire Dillingham (1729- 1807).  He married Mary Hatch about 1780 and had eight children born in Harwich.

1.) Benjamin Bangs, born 10 December 1783
2.) Nancy Bangs, born  22 December 1785
3.) Isaac Bangs, born 10 October 1787
4.) Desire Bangs, born 10 February 1789
5.) George Bangs, born 22 May 1791
6.) William Bangs, born 10 March 1793
7.) Jonathan Bangs, born 21 May 1795, married Polly Lincoln in 1818
8. ) Philander Bangs, born 1797, died 1797

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 24, 2012

Allen Show Prints, Beverly, Massachusetts

Posters printed by Allen Show Prints
operated by Irving Willis Allen, Beverly, Massachusetts

I was surprised to see on census records that my Mom's cousin, Erving / Irving Willis Allen (1859 - 1920) was a publisher in Beverly, Massachusetts.  in the 1888 Town Directory he is listed as the publisher of the Beverly Citizen newspaper.  According to the Beverly Historical Society he owned and published the Beverly Citizen from about 1882 to January 1892.  He sold the paper to Charles A. King.  In 1897 he started the Allen Job Print at 58 Railroad Avenue, and by by the 1910 census he is listed as the house printer at "Allen Show Prints" at 91 Rantoul Street in Beverly.  There were no advertisements in the Beverly City Directories.    His second wife is listed as a widow in the 1930 census.

I haven't been able to find much on the Allen Show Print business. The American Antiquarian Society library in Worcester, Massachusetts has a collection of show prints and vaudeville posters, but not much in their collections after 1900.  They specialize in ephemera only from the founding of our country up through the 1800s.  The Allen Show Prints printed posters for vaudeville acts, traveling circuses, plays and other theatrical events.  Most of these apparently did not survive, and so the few I've seen online are extremely rare.  That is the nature of ephemera! 

These two posters above advertised the Murdock Brothers in the 1920s or 30s.  I've seen it for sale at e-Bay online, and it is very collectible as a piece of Black American History.  I've seen references to the "Murdock Brothers Medicine Show" in old newspapers.  A traveling Medicine Show was usually sponsored by a patent medicine company, and between acts they would peddle the bottles of medicine. This eventually developed into a respectable vaudeville act that traveled across the country. 

Most of the vaudeville art I've seen is garish and brightly colored, but it seems to have worked for it's audience.  Before movies this was the most popular form of entertainment in the United States.  These types of posters were probably spread all over buildings and signs, and then ripped down and replaced when the new acts came to town. This makes any surviving show prints very rare. 

If anyone has any information on how to research vaudeville show prints, or information on Erving Willis Allen and his Allen Show Prints business in Beverly, Massachusetts, please leave me a comment at this blog post or contact me at    I would love to find out more about this fascinating business!  No living member of the Allen family has any memory of this cousin or this business. 


Erving / Irving Willis Allen was born 11 March 1859 at Thompson's Island, Essex, Massachusetts and died 6 November 1920 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married first on 30 March 1881 in Beverly to Grace Anna Trefrey, daughter of William Edward Trefrey and Joanna Peirce.  She was born 12 March 1860 in Beverly, and died 9 September 1882 in Beverly.  One child, Archer Irving Allen, born 1882.  He married second on 14 January 1885 in Beverly to Mabel Griffin, daughter of Charles Carroll Griffin and Ora Eliza Dennis.  She was born in September 1861 in Massachusetts.  One child, Heman Kenneth Allen, born 1885. 

I'll start this family tree with my 3x great grandparents, who lived in Essex, Massachusetts:

                                 Joseph Allen (1801-1894) m. Orpha Andrews
                                         I                                                  I
Humphrey Choate Allen (1825 - 1881)   Joseph Gilman Allen (1830-1908) m Sarah Mears
                          I                                                                 I
       Erving Willis Allen                      Joseph Elmer Allen (1870 - 1932) m. Carrie Batchelder
                                                        Stanley Elmer Allen (1904 - 1982) m Gertrude Hitchings
                                                                                      My Mother

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, September 23, 2012

...And then what happens to their websites?

This is a post about three different genealogists, who all happened to have terrific websites, and who all unfortunately have passed away recently…

William Addams Reitwiesner developed the website and he died 12 November 2010.   His website is being managed by Christopher Challender Child of NEHGS because of a previous agreement.   It continues to be updated and managed, and is still online as a resource for genealogists.

Bridget Schneider co-developer of “Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness” died 12 November 2011and the website went off line just before her death on 16 October 2011.  It has not resumed, although her husband has stated several times that he will return RAOGK online soon. 

Jennifer Marcelais, of the website   “A Very Grave Matter” died just this past week on 19 September 2012.   Her untimely death at the young age of 39 prompted me to start thinking about not only the loss of a young colleague, but the possible loss of her wonderful website, and her marvelous collection of New England gravestone photographs.   Fortunately, her friend Bonnie Carberry may step in to carry on her Very Grave Matter project.  Fingers crossed.

These three valuable websites were one or two person operations. Other genealogical websites are run by boards, businesses or organizations with backup staff, paid employees and (hopefully) business plans for continuing operations if the originator or author of the original website suddenly passes away.    But some of our best resources on line are not or . They are much smaller websites that are just as valuable to genealogists as the big commercial websites.

When Bridget Schneider passed away, the genealogy community was in an uproar at losing an invaluable resource.  However, over the past year other projects have started up to replace this hole in our genealogy toolbox.   There are FB groups, wikis and a new website called   It has not been easy to cobble together a patchwork of resources to replace RAOGK. 

Top Ten “At risk” Genealogy Websites  (In my humble opinion) 

What would we do if one of these people suddenly passed away and we lost their websites?  Do they have backup plans?  Can we as a genealogy community help develop guidelines and resources to prevent their loss, and other losses?

1.  Cyndi Howell  at “Cyndi’s List”
2.  Thomas MacEntee at  Geneabloggers
3.  Dick Eastman  at “Online Genealogy Newsletter”
4.  Jim Tipton at “Find A Grave” at
5.  Caleb Johnson at
7.  Joe Bott at “Dead Fred”
8.  Doug Sinclair at Doug Sinclair’s Archives
9.  TJ Rand at the Epsom, NH Historical Society website
10.  J.L. Bell at Boston 1775

Note: these are websites I personally find invaluable.  You probably have your own list of invaluable websites, run by a single person, that are also in danger of loss to the public if their originators do not have plans in place for continuing the website in the case of death or disability.  Please feel free to list your personal favorite websites in the comments.

A recent article about Jenn Marcelais from the Portsmouth Patch:

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Two Brigham sisters came to Massachusetts!


Sometimes in genealogy you hear stories about “two brothers came to America”.  Well, in my family tree we have two BRIGHAM sisters who came to Massachusetts.   They were the daughters of Thomas Brigham and Isabel Watson of Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, Yorkshire, England.   The eldest sister, Constance, married Robert Crosby and came to America after their first child was baptized in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor in 1634.  They settled in Rowley, but Robert was dead by 1642 and left Constance with five children.    Constance lived a long life, and died in 1684 in Rowley, Massachusetts.

The younger daughter, Ann, married Simon Crosby,  a distant cousin to her sister’s husband.  She had three  children (the first baptized also in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor in 1635) and her husband also died young in 1639.  But Ann remarried to Reverend William Thompson as his second wife.  Unfortunately the Rev. Thompson was “afflicted with melancholia” and did not work for seven years before he also died in 1666.  This caused many financial problems for the widow because he died intestate.  Ann lived until 1675 with her son Joseph in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Both of my BRIGHAM lines daughtered out in the first generation.  There were BRIGHAM kin from Holme-on-Spaulding Moor who came to live in Massachusetts, including Thomas Brigham who died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1653 and had five children who all married and left descendants, including three sons, Thomas, Jr., John and Samuel Brigham.  These are the ancestors of most of the New England Brighams you can read about in the book The History of the Brigham Family: A record of several thousand descendants of Thomas Brigham, the Emigrant, 1603- 1653, by W. I. Tyler Brigham and Emma E. Brigham, 1907, and a second volume published in 1927 by Emma E. Brigham.  Thomas Brigham’s father, John Brigham (abt. 1574 – 1621) was the brother of Constance and Ann’s father, Thomas Brigham (1576 – 1633).

My Brigham lineages:

Generation 1:  Thomas Brigham, born 1576 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, Yorkshire, England, and died on 19 March 1633 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor; married on 4 February 1601 in Holme-on Spaulding Moor to Isabel Watson, daughter of James Watson.  She was baptized on 21 February 1561 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, and died on 25 June 1634 at Holme-on-Spaulding Moor. 


Generation 2: Constance Brigham, born about 1692 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, died 25 January 1684 in Rowley, Massachusetts; married on 22 July 1622 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor to Robert Crosby, son of John Crosby and Jane Webster.  He was baptized on 30 October 1596 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, and died in 1640 in Rowley, Massachusetts.  Five children.

Generation 4: Mary Crosby m. Richard Langthorne
Generation 5: Constance Lanthorne m. Jonathan Mooers
Generation 6: Sarah Mooers m. George Munroe
Generation 7:  Andrew Munroe m. Lucy Mixer
Generation 8: Andrew Munroe m. Ruth Simonds
Generation 9:  Luther Simonds Munroe m. Olive Flint
Generation 10: Phebe Cross Munroe m. Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 11: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 12: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my paternal grandparents)


Generation 2: Ann Brigham, born about 1606 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, died 11 October 1675 in Braintree, Massachusetts; married first to Simon Crosby, son of Thomas Crosby and Jane Sothern.  He was born about 1609 in Holme-on-Spaulding Moor, and died September 1639 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Three children.

Generation 3: Thomas Crosby m. Sarah Unknown
Generation 4: John Crosby m. Hannah Bangs
Generation 5: Jonathan Crosby m. Hannah Hamblin
Generation 6: Ebenezer Crosby m. Elizabeth Robinson
Generation 7:  Rebecca Crosby m. Comfort Haley
Generation 8:  Joseph Edwin Healey m. Matilda Weston
Generation 9: Mary Etta Healey m. Peter Hoogerzeil
Generation 10: Florence Etta Hoogerzeil m. Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Generation 11: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my maternal grandparents)

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, September 21, 2012

Strangers in the Box

This poem was read aloud at the Board of Assistants meeting of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Mount Laurel, New Jersey earlier this month.  It was very popular with the members attending, and I'll be printing it in the fall 2012 New Hampshire Mayflower Society newsletter, too.


by Pam Harazim  

Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories,
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time,
To tell who, what, where, and when,
These faces of my heritage,
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate,
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories,
Someday to be passed away?
Take time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours,
Could be strangers in the box

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Was Your Ancestor A Mason?

Juniper Hall, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Juniper Hall was built by Matthew John Whitall, who manufactured carpets in nearby Worcester. He was a 33rd degree Mason.   His home was built in 1912 on 100 acres of land on top of Meetinghouse Hill, the highest point in Shrewsbury.  Calvin Coolidge visited in 1922 the year Mr. Whitall died.  In 1927 the home was deeded to the Masons of Massachusetts.  Mrs. Whitall wished it to be used for a hospital.  It was used as a Masonic home from 1928 until 1975.  The estate was bought by the town in 1976 and the building was razed. The property is now Prospect Park.

My great grandfather, Joseph Elmer Allen, died at the Shrewsbury Masonic Hospital in 1932.  I wrote to the current Massachusetts Masonic Hospital, which is located in Charlton, for his records.  They sent me a copy of his admittance card, which was about the size of a 5”x7” card.  It stated that he was a 7th degree Mason and was admitted on 4 March 1932.  He died on 12 March 1932 at 10:40 PM.  It was a very short record because he was there such a short time.  He was a member of the Joseph Webb Lodge in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Masonic Hospital

Recently my mother showed me some on line photos of the old Shrewsbury Masonic home, and I was very impressed with the former residence.  It must have been a wonderful home for the retired and sick Masons.  The postcards I saw on line of Juniper Hall were beautiful, and I’m sure it was still beautiful in 1932.  Perhaps by 1975 it was quite run down, because the town of Shrewsbury tore it down so quickly after acquiring the property.

The Allen Family Plot at the Spring Street Cemetery in Essex, Massachusetts
The top of the large letter A is marked with Masonic symbols, as are
the individual stones of the Allen men who were also members.

Frank Gilman Allen was the brother of my great grandfather, Joseph Elmer Allen

If your ancestors or family members were members of a Masonic lodge, the first clue might be a masonic symbol on a gravestone. The records of the Massachusetts Masons are online at the New England Historic Genealogical Society at   There you will find what lodge your ancestor belonged to, and when they were admitted as members.  You can write to the lodge for more information.   In Massachusetts there is also a Scottish Rite masonic library at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, and you can see if there are any records on your family members.  The museum often has genealogy classes, too.

For more information:

Massachusetts Mason Membership Cards are available for searching at the New England Historic Genealogical Society website and at this link at

The History of Prospect Park, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts:

This webpage has photos of the Shrewsbury Masonic Home in its heyday in an article in the Shrewsbury Lantern for a talk by the Shrewsbury Historical Society about Juniper Hall, the Masonic Home and Prospect Park

An article from Community Advocate, “Shrewsbury Property Rich in History” by Sue Wambolt, contributing writer, dated 8 August 2012,

The Genealogy of Matthew John Whittall


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Was Your Ancestor a Mason?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 20, 2012, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Black Lab

This is part of an on-going series of photographs of weather vanes in the Nutfield, New Hampshire area (formerly Derry, Londonderry and parts of Hudson, Windham and Manchester).  Some of the weather vanes are historical, some are whimsical, and all are interesting.  For today's photo we wandered over the border into Massachusetts to take a photograph of this fun weather vane. 

Do you know the location of weather vane #62?   Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

This weather vane is located on private property.  In the backyard there is a pool house with a cupola, and on top of all that is this cute weathervane.  The owners had a yellow lab, but now there is a black lab in the family, so it is a perfect match.

Click here to see the entire collection of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Deacon Thomas Senter, d. 1834, Hudson, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Senter Cemetery, on the corner of Robinson Road and Old Derry Road in Hudson, New Hampshire.  If you have a GPS you can find it at  USGS Nashua North Quadrangle, E30311, N474278, Zone 19 (42° 48' 51"N, 71° 24' 30"W) not far from the Londonderry town line.

DIED DEC. 25, 1834
AEt. 83
ESTHER, his first wife
DIED 1800 AEt. 62
MERCY, Second wife
DIED 1802 AEt 41
Also three children of
AEt. 7 Y's
AEt 16 Y's
AEt 27 Y's
A tender father and mothers dear,
And three beloved daughters lie here,
When Christ returns to call them forth,
The rising day will show there worth.

Thomas Senter was the son of Samuel Senter and Susan Taylor, born 4 May 1753 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and he died on 25 December 1834 in Hudson, New Hampshire. He married Esther Greeley about 1774.  She was the daughter of Ezekiel Greeley and Esther Lovewell, born 17 February 1749 at Nottingham West (now Hudson) and died in 1800 in Hudson.  They had nine children.  He also married second to Mercy Jackson, and third to Eunice White.  Thomas Senter was the deacon at the First Baptist Church in Hudson, which first met at his home on Old Derry Road before there was a baptist meeting house.  Thomas Senter also served in the American Revolutionary War in Capt. Archelaus Towne's Company for Derry, New Hampshire, mustered in 1 August 1775 for 3 months and 8 days.

1.)  Bridget, born about 1775, died 1793
2.) Catherine, born about 1776 and died 1803 AKA "Catey"
3.) Esther, born 1779, died 17 February 1828,  married James Proctor (see below)
4.) Susan, born 27 April 1781, died November 1850, married James E. Eayers
5.) Charlotte, born 1783, died 1791
6. ) Thomas, Jr., born 2 November 1784, died 10 February 1863, married Tryphena Sawyer
7. ) Nancy, born about 1786, married Isaac Lawrence
8. ) Rebecca, born 29 October 1787, died 9 March 1817, married Noah Robinson
9. ) Charles, born 18 February 1792, died 28 November 1857, married Harriet Greeley

In memory of
wife of Mr. James Proctor
who died Feb. 17, 1828, AEt 48
Here lies the sleeping dust unconscious close confined
But far, far above, dwells the immortal mind
Eunice, died July 3, 1812, AEt, 4 Yrs.
An Infant, died, March 28, 1815.
Lydia, died March 31, 1821, AEt, 11 Yrs.
Esther W. C. died Aug. 5, 1825, AEt. 4 Yrs.
Susan H., died at Boston, June 21,
1830, AEt. 7 Yrs. 6 Mo.
Suffer little children to come unto me and 
forbid them not for such is the kingdom of Heaven

The First Baptist Church of Hudson, NH website 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Moment I Knew...

Today's blog post was inspired by Lynn Palermo, author of the "Armchair Genealogist" blog.  She has invited bloggers and genealogists to write the story of "the moment you knew" that genealogist was going to be an important part of our lives.  You can read all about it at this link:

Mom, Sister, Me at age 16, and Grammy
1976 ~ The summer I discovered genealogy
The United States Bicentennial celebration was a fun time for kids, but for a young teen in Massachusetts it was a wonderful year!  I remember the year 1975 to 1976 very well. We lived near lots of exciting events, like the recreated Battles of Lexington and Concord.  Our teachers were wonderful, and we studied the beginnings of the American Revolution in extra detail for the next few years.  One night my Dad saw my homework and said, “We had an ancestor in the Revolution”.  Of course, I wanted details, but he had none to give.  My Dad loved history, but he was very fuzzy on our ancestors.  He suggested I ask his Aunt Janet.

Unfortunately, poor Aunt Janet was getting along in years and her memory was even fuzzier than Dad’s.  She told me about her grandparents and I started to draw a family tree.  But I didn’t know how to draw a chart, and her memories of names seemed strange to me.  Who was that Revolutionary War soldier?  Our family name was Wilkinson, so why did everyone have Scots sounding names? (Donald, Janet, Andrew?)
About this time I heard about a new book called “Roots”.  It was a very adult book, and was more than 900 pages!  I was fascinated by how Alex Haley took a family story and used it as the basis to trace his genealogy.  I wanted to do the same with our family story about our mystery soldier.  After asking my history teacher I learned that there was a community college genealogy class nearby.  Somehow I talked my Dad into driving me to the night class every week, and somehow he agreed.  I think he was as curious as I about our family tree.

This was the year my grandmother came to live with us for a while.  I asked her about the Wilkinsons, and the mysterious Revolutionary War soldier, but she was unsure about her husband’s family.  She couldn’t answer my questions, but instead she opened up an entire new branch of the family to me.  Grammy had come through Ellis Island when she was just a teenager like me.  Not only that, she was a natural story teller.  Her stories about Yorkshire, and growing up in the slums of Leeds fascinated me.  My little family tree chart began to grow as I added what I learned about the Wilkinsons from Aunt Janet to what I learned about the Roberts family from Grammy.  By then I knew how to produce a real pedigree chart and family group sheets with this information.

One of the field trips we took for the night class was to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.  It was a huge repository with over 20 miles of shelves filled with manuscripts, books and artifacts from early American history.  And it was within a few miles of our house, so I could ride there by bicycle in the summer!  For my first real research trip, and I had to get permission from the board of directors to even step inside since I was under 18.   I spent the summer pedaling back and forth, with my pedigree charts and pencils. 

There is something mysterious about genealogy that makes it addictive.  I’m sure it is the adrenaline rush that comes with each new discovery.  Along the way enough little nuggets of information fell into my lap that made me feel like whooping aloud in the hallowed halls of the American Antiquarian Society.  Each little victory made me excited to return to the AAS.  This was the moment I knew I wanted to be a genealogist.   The information from Grammy, and Aunt Janet and other family members went back far enough to start looking in the “tan books” of published Massachusetts vital records.   Ancestors they had told me about were born before the “tan books” ending dates of 1850.  From there I could go back one more generation, and then another, and then another… I was definitely "hooked!" 

As I drew out my family tree after every bicycle ride, I shared my discoveries with my father.  I found our first Revolutionary War soldier right away.  His name was inscribed “Major Andrew Munroe” on his gravestone.  Not only that, but the AAS had a book on the genealogy of the Munroe family that went right back to Scotland, and the clan records back to before the Pilgrims even arrived at Plymouth!  Every generation was interesting, and the names and stories fascinated me.  I couldn’t wait to tell my family a new story every night.  They were surprised that I found the missing Revolutionary War soldier, and that he was from Lexington of all places! 

The idea that our family grew exponentially, beyond the Wilkinsons and Roberts, and beyond the Scottish Munroe branch was exciting to me as a teenager.   I discovered early Puritans, Pilgrims and immigrants to Ellis Island from Yorkshire and other places in England.   My family tree had grown, and I could see that although I had made many discoveries, there were large blank branches left to be filled in on the big fan chart.   Summer vacation had ended, but my genealogy research had just begun…

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Plymouth's Tiffany Windows

I'm posting this story today in honor of Mayflower Day!  The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England on 16 September 1620 with many of my ancestors on board (eleven total ancestors from my family tree, plus many cousins and in-laws).  

The First Parish Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts

The church at Plymouth was founded by members of the Separatist faith in Scrooby, England in 1606, led by the same people known as the Pilgrims.  This congregation fled to Leiden, Holland in 1608 to escape persecution, under the leadership of Reverend John Robinson.  When the Separatists arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 on board the Mayflower, they established the church which eventually became a church member of the Massachusetts Congregational churches.  In the 1800s some of the churches in Massachusetts became Unitarian, which was a schism in the state run church system.  By 1834 the state of Massachusetts dissolved their system of churches.

In Plymouth the Congregational and Unitarian churches stand side by side at the foot of Burial Hill at the end of Leyden Street.  The stone building of the First Parish Church, Unitarian, was built in 1899.  It considers itself to be the oldest continuous church in New England. 

The stained glass windows in the church were made by Tiffany Studios in New York.  They were donated to the First Church by the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the state of New York.  The three windows below are located above the altar of the church.  The center panel shows the signing of the Mayflower Compact.  The figure on the left is labeled "Civil Liberty: The Vital Air of Social Progress" and it must depict Captain Myles Standish with his red hair and sword.  The figure on the right must depict Elder William Brewster and is labeled "Religious Liberty: True Fruit of Pilgrim Sowing".  

There are forty stained glass windows in the church, all showing scenes of Pilgrim History, and even several panels with all the signatures on the Mayflower Compact.  Not all the windows are from the Tiffany studios, but the ones I have included on this post are among the windows attributed to Tiffany.  The town of Plymouth granted $307,000 towards the restoration and preservation of these windows at their April 2012 town meeting.  There is still an ongoing campaign towards raising donations to preserve and protect these beautiful windows.  See the website posted below for more information about supporting the Campaign for First Parish Meetinghouse.  One million dollars are needed to restore the stone building and the windows. 

This set of windows is at the north end of the sanctuary in Plymouth. and it shows Reverend John Robinson on board the Mayflower, bidding goodbye to his flock as he gives his farewell sermon.  The Reverend John Robinson is my 12x great grandfather on both my maternal and paternal lineages.  He never joined his flock in Massachusetts, but died in Leiden, Holland.  He is buried under the floor of the St. Peterskirk, where he worshiped with the Pilgrims while they lived in exile in Holland.  There are about thirty members of the Pilgrim congregation buried at Leiden.  

First Parish is at the top of Leyden Street in Plymouth, a short 5 minute walk from the Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock.  It is right next to burial hill, where many of the Pilgrims and their descendants are buried an memorialized.  You can take a tour of the church by calling the office at (508) 747-1606.  There are many attractions for tourists to visit in Plymouth, including the Pilgrim Museum and the living history museum at Plimoth Plantation, but the First Church in Plymouth is a hidden treasure! 

First Parish in Plymouth

The link to the windows page 

First Parish in Plymouth
19 Town Square, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo