Friday, February 28, 2014

Photo Friday ~ Mom, her Mom and two of her aunts, 1972 Bar Harbor Maine

In 1972 my Mom and Dad took a weekend trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.  While they were admiring the waterfront they bumped in to a "Golden Ages" bus tour.  Some of the members of this senior citizen group were  my grandmother and her two sisters.  What serendipity!

My Dad took this nice photo, which I found in a box of slides.  From left to right, Gertrude Hitchings Allen (my grandmother, 1905 - 2001), my Mom, Eunice "NuNu" Hitchings Bunce (1904 - 1985), and Mildred "Millie" Hitchings Wentworth Henley (1909 - 1981).  My grandmother was from a family of eight Hitchings siblings, and there were four sisters.  The eldest sister Helen Hitchings Robston Metzler (1900 - 1981) lived in Florida at this time.

Don't you just love the 1970's fashion colors?  And the eyeglasses?

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, February 27, 2014

March Genealogy and Local History Calendar

Local Genealogy Club Meetings

Amesbury, MA – A new genealogy club has started, every last Monday of the month.  No registration, come to as many meetings as you would like.  For info contact Margie Walker, Local History Librarian, Amesbury Public Library, Amesbury, MA  978-388-8148 or

Barrington, NH Genealogy Club, meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm at the Barrington Public Library, 105 Ramsdell Lane, Barrington, NH  or email Wendy at

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

Genealogy Roundtable, at the Derry Public Library, 64 East Broadway, Derry, NH  every first Tuesday of the Month, at 7pm to 8:15pm in the downstairs meeting room.  Contact: Alan Howard at 603-432-6140 for more information.

Hudson Genealogy Club, at the Rogers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road, Hudson, NH  every 2nd Friday of the Month, at 1:30 PM contact 603-886-6030 for more information.  (on summer hiatus until September)

Littleton Genealogy Club, at the Couper Room in the Littleton, Massachusetts Reuben Hoar Public Library, third Monday of the month. For more information see the website at

Greater Lowell Genealogy Club, meets at the Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell, MA 10AM to 1PM once a month. 

Meredith NH, Genealogy Club

Newton, NH Genealogy Club- Gale Library, Newton, NH, 603-382-4691, 3PM on the third Wednesday of the month. 

North Hampton, NH Genealogy Club, at the North Hampton Public Library, 237A Atlantic Avenue, North Hampton NH 603-964-6326

Rowley, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, meets the 2nd Monday of each month at the Rowley library, 6 -8pm in the Local History Room.  141 Main Street, Rowley, Massachusetts 978-948-2850

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

RISE Genealogy Group at the Nashua Public Library, Hunt Room, on the first Friday of the month at 1pm  (Rivier College Institute for Senior Education, see )

Southborough, MA Genealogy Club, at the Southborough Library, 25 Main Street, Southborough, MA  508-485-5031 or   Third Thursday of the Month.  See the website for a schedule

South Shore Genealogical Society, at the John Curtis Free Library, Rt. 139, Hanover, Mass at 1:30pm ever second Saturday of the month from September to June.

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, meets third Monday of the month at the Shrewsbury Public Library, contact George C. Brown at 508-841-8531 or

Wednesday Night Jewish Genealogy, Every 3rd Wednesday at NEHGS, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

Monthly Irish Study Genealogy Group, usually every 4th Saturday of the month at NEHGS, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts between 9:30 and noon in the Education Center (2nd floor).  Contact Mary Ellen Grogan for more information and to confirm the meeting time and date.


March 1, Saturday, 5pm, Treasure from the Isles of Shoals:  How New Archaeology is Changing Old History, at the Kittery Point Yacht Club, Rt. 113, Goat Island, New Castle, New Hampshire.  Contact the Little Harbor Yacht Club at 603-436-8223 for more information.  Free to the public.

March 1, Saturday, 9 am to 3pm, Museum Clean Up Day at Plimoth Plantation, join the staff raking, painting, set up exhibits and much more.  Complimentary lunch and a free pass to Plimoth Plantation as a thank you for this popular tradition.  Registration now open online

March 3, Monday, 12:30pm Petticoat Patriot: A Woman in the Continental Army, at the First Baptist Church, 121 Manchester St., Nashua, New Hampshire.  Joan Gatturna presents a living history program about Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a young man and enlisted in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.  Contact Anita Chouinard at 603-886-7201 for more information.  Free to the public.

March 10, Monday, 6:30pm,  Local History Series: Houses of Derry, at the Derry Public Library, Derry, New Hampshire, presented by Karen Blandford Anderson of the Derry Heritage Commission and Director of the Derry Museum of History. . Contact Sherry Bailey at 603-432-6140 for more information.  Free to the public.

March 12, Wednesday, 6 -7 pm Six Women of Salem, join historian and author Marilynne K. Roach for a lecture about her newest book at the New England Historic Genealogical Society 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  For more information:

March 12, Wednesday, 6pm Jewish Settlement in and out of Mattapan and Race and Ethnicity in Mattapan, 1860 – 2010 at the Boston Public Library, Commonwealth Salon presented by Amy Schectman and Dr. Kerri Greenidge.  Free to the public.

March 12, Wednesday, 7:30pm Family Stories:  How and Why to Remember and Tell Them, at the Bedford Public Library, 3 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, New Hampshire.  Contact William Earnshaw at 603-472-3866 for more information.  Free to the public.

March 19, Wednesday, 7pm From the Roots Up (Genealogy 101) presented by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino at the Methuen, Massachusetts Historical Society, Tenney Gate House, 37 Pleasant St, (next to the town hall).

March 24, Monday, 7:30pm Meet Eleanor Roosevelt, at the Riverwoods at Exeter, 7 Riverwoods Drive, Exeter, New Hampshire.  Elena Dodd presents a living history presentation as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  Contact Jeanne Wild at 603-658-3049 for more information.  Free to the public.

March 26, Wednesday, 7pm, Acadian & French Canadian History and Genealogy presented by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, at the Methuen, Massachusetts Historical Society, Tenney Gate House, 37 Pleasant St, (next to the town hall).

March 26, 6pm Family Research through Oral History for Less Documented Groups at the Boston Public Library, Commonwealth Salon, presented by genealogist Marian Pierre-Louis.  Free to the public.

March 29, 1pm, Genealogy Blogging Workshop presented by Heather and Vincent Rojo, at Memorial Hall in the Andover Library, 2 North Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts.  Sponsored by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Merrimack Valley Chapter.  Learn how to start your own genealogy blog.  Free to the public. See and for more information email

March 29, Saturday, New England Family History Conference, at the Franklin, Massachusetts LDS church, 91 Jordan Road, sponsored by the Hingham Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  FREE to the public.  See the website for schedule of classes, directions and more information Pre-registration closes March 14, but walk-ins are welcome although some classes may be full by then.  Email or call 339-206-1628 for more information.

April 1, Thursday, Researcher Forum, at the National Archives facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, 380 Trapelo Road, Free to the public. Researching original records has changed in recent years, no longer are you winding the microfilm, and the resources and strategies have expanded.  Learn about the new and exciting initiatives for researchers, and use this open forum opportunity to tell the National Archives how researching can be made better for you.

April 1, Tuesday, 7:30pm New Hampshire’s Grange Movement: Its Rise, Triumphs and Decline, at the Exeter Historical Society, 47 Front Street, Exeter, New Hampshire. Contact Laura Martin Gowing at 603-778-2335 for more information.  Free to the public.

April 2, Wednesday, 7pm, If I am Not For Myself, Who Will Be for Me?  George Washington’s Runaway Slave, at the Lee Safety Complex, 20 George Bennett Road, Lee, New Hampshire.  Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti portrays Oney Judge Staines, the slave who ran away to New Hampshire.  Contact Phyllis White at 603-659-2883 for more information.  Free to the public.

The URL for this post is 

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Three on one Barn!

Every Wednesday for more than two years Vincent and I have been posting photographs of weather vanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weather vanes. If you know an interesting weather vane, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Today's weather vane was found just over the border in Vermont. Have fun guessing where you may have seen this weather vane.

Do you know the location of weather vane #139? Scroll down to see the answer....

Today's featured weather vanes are found at the Shelburne Museum on top of the gallery known as the "Horseshoe Barn".  This unique U-shaped barn was built in 1949, and modeled after a horseshoe shaped barn in Georgia, Vermont.  To construct this barn, timber and beams from a dozen other Vermont barns were used, and the foundations were built from the stone of two gristmills. The total length of this barn is 238 1/2 feet, and it is 32 feet wide.  Today it houses a collection of over 200 19th and early 20th century carriages, coaches, and sleighs on two levels.  An annex was built in 1957 to display a Contestoga wagon, stagecoaches and farm vehicles.

There are three weather vanes here on this barn.  The central weather vane is the figure of an Indian with the name WEBB on the bottom.  The Shelburne Museum was founded by Electra Havemeyer Webb.  The end gables have simpler, matching weather vanes with arrows.  The Indian weather vane is a copy of an older weather vane on display in the Stage Coach Inn Gallery, across the lane at the Shelburne Museum.  This valuable weather vane was made about 1860 - 1875 and has the acronym TOTE for "Totem of the Eagle". This was the symbol for the fratneral organization The Improved Order of the Red Men.  I previously blogged about this fraternal order HERE, which had its roots with the men who participated in the Boston Tea Party.  Obviously, Mrs. Webb was inspired by this weather vane in her collection and had a replica made to display on top of her unique barn gallery.

I probably should number this second antique weather vane as #140 in my series!  Wow, a post with four weather vanes....

click to enlarge, it's easier to read!

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

The Shelburne Museum - 

Silhouettes in the Sky: The Art of the Weathervane, by Jean M. Burks, The Shelburne Museum, 2006 [available at the main gift shop at the Shelburne Museum - this is the only book on their collection of weather vanes]

The URL for this post is
Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Mark and Hannah (Dutch) Haskell, Ipswich, Massachusetts

These tombstones were photographed at the Old North Burying Ground, Ipswich, Massachusetts

The headstone and foot stone for Mark Haskell

Memento Mori
Erected in Memory
of Mr. Mark Haskell
son of Deacon Mark
Haskell who departed
this Life Decr. 3d, 1783
In the 71st year of his
This world's a shadow.  Life a span
Toil, pain & death the lot of man;
But grace substantial good supplies
Hope here & endless bliss above the skies.

In Memory of Mrs
who departed this Life
May: 13th 1783: Aged
62 years.
Blessed are the dead which die
in the Lord, that they may rest
from their Labours, & their works
do follow them. 

Mark Haskell is my 6th great grand uncle.  I descend from his sister, Lucy Haskell (1715 - 1789) who married Jabez Treadwell (they are also buried in this same cemetery).   Mark Haskell, was born 19 August 1713 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the son of Mark Haskell (1687 - 1775) and Martha Tuthill.  He married in 1739 in Ipswich to Hannah Dutch.   

The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, February 24, 2014

The surname COGSWELL. Does that sound familiar?

For years I have admired this painting of Queen Lilioukalani, and I have been lucky to have seen it hanging in Iolani Palace in Honoulu, Hawaii.  I recently noticed that the artist’s name was William F. Cogswell.  Did you ever do a double take when you saw a familiar surname?  This one piqued my interest because it is an ancestor’s name, and Cogswell is not a common name.  John Cogswell (1592 – 1669) was born in Wiltshire, England and settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  The name Cogswell is still common in Ipswich and New England.

My mother was born in Ipswich, and generations of her family lived there and in Essex (the former Chebacco Parish of Ipswich).  My grandparents and generations of family are buried at the Spring Street Cemetery, right on the same road as the Cogswell Grant.  This property is now a museum home run by Historic New England.  I was very familiar with the surname. The artist John Cogswell is a very distant cousin- check out the genealogy listed at the bottom of this post.

William F. Cogswell  (1819 – 1903) the artist, was born in Fabius, New York, not too far from where his ancestors lived in Massachusetts. He was a self taught artist who painted portraits in New York City.  He removed to California in 1873 where he lived for the rest of his life, except for a few voyages to Hawaii where he painted the ali’I (nobility).   He also painted Ulysses S. Grant (this painting now hangs in the U.S. Senate) and  Abraham Lincoln (now in the White House).

I love this painting because I had seen it reproduced many times in books and online, but seeing it in person on the walls of Iolani Palace was eye opening.  She is wearing a butterfly ornament in her hair.  I had seen this same piece of jewelry in the palace museum, and bought several replicas for the women in our family.  This is a piece of jewelry she bought in London when she was invited to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration, and the same trip when she stopped in Boston to visit with my relatives, her husband’s family in 1887.  The original pin has springs so the wings quiver. 

In the painting the Queen is also wearing her “Hawaiian heirloom” bracelet.  Liliuokalani started this tradition when Queen Victoria gave her a bracelet of mourning jewelry in honor of Prince Albert’s death.  She loved the style and commissioned several to bring back for her ladies in waiting. They were so popular in Hawaii that the tradition spread and changed to include the wearer’s name.  You can see many women wearing them in Hawaii, and you can order one as a souvenir when you visit Hawaii.  Queen Liliuokalani’s bracelet was engraved with the words “Hoomanao mau” ( "a lasting remembrance") and is in the museum at Iolani Palace.  Another one of her bracelets is on display at Washington Place, and another at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

Not only is this painting seen reproduced in print, the image you see here of the Queen Liliuokalani has been reproduced in costumes and dolls wearing the exact same dress and jewelry.  It is truly a favorite painting of the beloved Queen.  And it is serendipity that the artist and I share a common ancestor. 

Costume from the “Take Back Halloween” website

William F. Cogswell’s genealogy:

Generation 1: John Cogswell, born about 1592 in Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England, died 29 December 1669 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 10 September 1615 in Westbury Leigh to Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of William and Phillis Thompson.  These are my 9th great grandparents.

Generation 2: John Cogswell, born about 1622 in Ipswich and died 27 September 1653 at sea, on a ship returning to America from England, married ?  These are my 8th great grandparents.

Generation 3: Samuel Cogswell, born 1651 in Ipswich and died 1700 in Lynn, Massachusetts; married on 27 October 1668 in Saybrook, Connecticut to  Susanna Haven, daughter of Richard Haven and Susanna Newhall.  He is my 7th great uncle.

Generation 4: Joseph Cogswell, born 10 April 1682 in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, died 28 December 1729 in Southington, Connecticut; married Anna Orvis.

Generation 5: Nathan Cogswell, born 20 May 1716 in Southington, died 1743; married on 24 November 1737 in Southington to Susanna Warner.

Generation 6: Solomon Cogswell, born 26 March 1743 in Farmington, Connecticut, died 26 May 1806 in Williamstown, Massachusetts;  married Sarah Cowles.

Generation 7: William Cogswell, born 24 July 1789 in Hancock, Massachusetts, died 25 September 1834; married on 3 October 1816 in Fabius, New York to Samantha Petit, daughter of James Petit and Lucy Felt.

Generation 8: William F. Cogswell, born 15 July 1819 in Fabius, New York, died 24 December 1903 at Pasadena, California.  He married Isabelle Williams, born in Ireland,  and they had 10 children.  He is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. William F. Cogswell is my 5th cousin, 4 generations removed.

The URL for this post is: 

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thinking Day Blogging Meme for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

The Baden-Powell memorial at Westminster Abbey, London
Thinking Day is February 22nd, the mutual birthdays of Scouting founders Lord and Lady Baden-Powell.  Baron Robert Baden-Powell was born 22 February 1857 in London, and his wife, Olave St. Clair Soames was born 22 February 1889.  Both of them are buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Nyeri, Kenya, and are commemorated with a large plaque on the floor of Westminster Abbey by the Great West Door.

It’s not too late to add your story to this roll up of blog posts.  Just email me or add a link in the comments.

The following genealogy bloggers have posted about their scouting memories:

Carol A. Bowen Reflections from the Fence”  “My Girl Scout Career

Janet Iles "Janet the Researcher"  "Thinking Day" 

Denise Levenick “The Family Curator”  “We were Girl Scouts when Scouting wasn’t Cool”

Barbara Poole “Life from the Roots”  “The Life of a Girl Scout

John Tew “Filiopietism Prism”  “The Scouting Movement and World Thinking Day"
 (click the Boy Scouts keyword on this blog to find lots of Boy Scout stories and photos)

Wendy Grant Walter  “From A to Zophar”  “Girl Scout Memories

from Judy Russell "The Legal Genealogist"  who never had a chance to be a Brownie
"Scouting out disappointment"

The URL for this post is 

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Surname Saturday ~ CRAIGHEAD, A family of Scots Irish Presbyterians


Reverend Robert Craighead received a Master’s degree from St. Andrews University on 15 February 1653.  He went to Northern Ireland for 30 years as the pastor of the Presbyterian church at Donoughmore.   He witnessed the siege of Londonderry, escaped and went to Glasgow, Scotland, but returned to die in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 22 August 1711.

Robert Craighead married Agnes, the daughter of Reverend John Hart of Taughboyne, Northern Ireland.   Their daughter Katherine, my 9th great grandmother, married the Reverend William Homes and came to Massachusetts.  They also had three sons.  Robert Craighead, Jr. also became a Presbyterian minister and studied at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leiden where he received a Master’s degree.  He was a longtime minister in Dublin.  Another son, Thomas, also studied in Edinburgh and became a Presbyterian minister.  He came with his sister to New England and became a minster at Freetown, Massachusetts.  In 1724 he became a pastor at White Clay Creek, Delaware, and later went to Pennsylvania.

The Craigheads were a very important family in the history of Presbyterianism in America.  Many descendants became ministers in the New World.

For more information on Robert Craighead:

 Craighead Family, A Genealogical Memoir by Rev. James Geddes Craighead, Philadelphia, 1876.  This book is available at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library in Boston on the shelves and also on microfiche.  It is available online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library, too. 

A good book about the siege of Londonderry is Seige City: The Story of Derry and Londondery, by Brian Lacey, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 1990. 

My Craighead Genealogy:

Generation 1:  John Craighead

Genreration 2: Thomas Craighead born in Scotland; married in 1620 in Aberdeen, Scotland to Janet Ferguson

Generation 3: Reverend Robert Craighead, born about 1630 in Scotland, died 22 August 1711 in Derry, Northern Ireland; married Agnes Hart, daughter of Reverend John Hart and Agnes Baxter.  She was born 17 December 1648 in Dunino, Fife, Scotland.

Generation 4: Katherine Craighead, born about 1678 and died 10 April 1754 in Chilmark, Massachusetts; married on 25 September 1693 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland to Reverend William Homes, born 1663 in Donaghmore, Tyrone, Northern Ireland and died 20 June 1746 in Chilmark. Nine children born in Straban, Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Generation 5: Margaret Homes m. John Allen
Generation 6: Rebecca Allen m. Wilmot Wass
Generation 7: Sarah Wass m. Samuel Osborn
Generation 8: Sarah Osborn m. Charles Skinner
Generation 9: Ann Skinner m. Thomas Ratchford Lyons
Generation 10: Isabella Lyons m. Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Generation 11: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 12: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 13: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

For the truly curious:

My HOMES Surname Saturday post: 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ CRAIGHEAD, A family of Scots Irish Presbyterians", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 22, 2014, ( accessed [access date]).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Friday ~ Ordinary objects with Famous Names

This photo was taken at the Concord Museum....

Here are two fire buckets I saw, and Vincent photographed them because of the name "William Munroe", my distant cousin in Concord, Massachusetts.  In the old days, before organized fire fighting departments, each family had a fire bucket by the front door.  It was full of sand or water, depending on the season, and would be borrowed or brought to a fire in the neighborhood for a "bucket brigade".  The names painted on the buckets insured that each family would receive his proper bucket again after the fire incident.

It wasn't until after Vincent took the photo that we noticed the other bucket was labeled "J. Thoreau".  This was John Thoreau, father to the famous writer, Henry David Thoreau, and neighbor to William Munroe.

Small world!

There is a research strategy in genealogy called "FANs" where one studies the friends, acquaintances, and neighbors in order to understand the family history of an ancestor, or to perhaps break down a brick wall in your research.  Finding the names of these FANs in censuses, city directories, tax lists, manuscripts and maps is the usual route.  Finding their fire buckets in a museum is unique!  In the old days we used to call FANs "cluster research".

For more photographs of scenes around Concord concerning Thoreau, please see Barbara Poole's blog post "Some of Henry David Thoreau's Houses" at this link:

The URL for this post is 

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Scouting Thinking Day, February 22nd

This weekend is Thinking Day, when scouts and guides all over the world think about each other, and the worldwide scouting movement.  It is also the mutual birthday, February 22nd, of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, the founders of Boy Scouting and Girl Guiding.  Yes, they had the same birthday!

As a young girl, I was a Girl Scout and have many happy memories of Thinking Day activities.  One year, as an adult Girl Scout leader, our family stayed at Pax Lodge in London and attended the Thinking Day ceremonies at Westminster Abbey.  You can read all about that trip at my Thinking Day blog post from 2011 at this link: 

As both a Girl Scout and as an adult leader I collected badges.  Some were official badges earned toward ranks in scouting. Some were just for fun from activities, camporees, and swaps  As a girl I earned the "First Class", which is the equivalent to today's Girl Scout Gold Award or Boy Scout's Eagle Scout rank.  Below I'll post the photos of my old badges and my daughter's badges, which I have saved in my hope chest.

My sash from Cadette Girl Scout Troop 920 in Holden, Massachusetts

As an adult leader I collected unofficial badges through swaps
or gifts from the girls in the troop.  I sewed them onto this
shirt to wear to meetings and camporees.

My daughter earned many, many badges and pins as a Girl Scout.
She swapped many international badges while at Pax Lodge and at Girl Scout camp.  
These fun badges, not earned, were sewn onto the back of her vest. 
You can see some from Australia, England, Italy, and Japan.

She earned so many badges that these from her last year of scouting
didn't fit on her vest.  We've saved them in my hope chest along with her vest.

These are leftover badges I never sewed onto my shirt, but had saved for swaps.
Does anyone want to swap some badges! 

As a Cadette Girl Scout in Massachusetts I had a pen pal who was a
Girl Guide in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  She sent me lots of swaps and badges,
and I've still saved them after all these years.

The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen at the Shelburne Museum

Every Wednesday for more than two years Vincent and I have been posting photographs of weather vanes located in or near the Nutfield area (the former name for the land where Londonderry, Derry and Windham, New Hampshire are now located). Most are historically interesting or just whimsical and fun weather vanes. If you know an interesting weather vane, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Today's weather vane was found just over the border in Vermont. Have fun guessing where you may have seen this weather vane.

Do you know the location of weather vane #138? Scroll down to see the answer....

Today's weather vane was photographed at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.  This little weathercock is on top of the steeple of the meetinghouse.  It is a nice copper weather vane with a great patina. It was originally built by Methodists in 1840 in Charlotte, Vermont. It was used as a library in 1902 until it was damaged in a storm.  The meeting house was moved to the museum in 1952 for preservation.

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

The Shelburne Museum - 

Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Reverend Mr. John Mayhew, d. 1688 Martha's Vineyard

This tombstone was photographed in West Tisbury, Massachusetts on the island of Martha's Vineyard.

1688 AETATIS 37

Reverend John Mayhew is my 8th great grandfather.  He was born in 1652 and died very young.  He was married to Elizabeth Hilliard, of Hampton, New Hampshire who outlived him and died in 1746.  John Mayhew is best known for his ministry to the Wampanoag people on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  He learned their language, and made friends with the Indians on the island.  His wonderful relations with the Wampanoag nation kept the violence of King Phillip's War away from Martha's Vineyard, one of the few places in New England where there was no blood shed during this time period.  

After his early death, his father,  Thomas Mayhew, was moved to give up his life as a merchant and turned to continuing his son's ministry to the Indians.  John's son, Experience Mayhew, was also a missionary to the Praying Indians and published several religious books in the Wampanoag language, including a Psalter in 1709, sermons in 1724, and others. His book "Indian Converts", 1720, was a best selling book of its time.  In 1723 Harvard College granted him a masters of arts degree, which was unheard of for a man who had never stepped foot inside a school and was totally self educated. 

You can read a short sketch about John Mayhew in The Annals of Chilmark, Volume II, pages 32 - 34.  

The  URL for this post is 

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, February 17, 2014

Are Presidents Washington and Lincoln your cousins?

Happy Birthday, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln!  When these birthdays rolled around on my calendar, I was curious enough to look up Presidents Washington and Lincoln’s roots in my copy of Ancestors of American Presidents by Gary Boyd Roberts. 

This book, Ancestors of American Presidents, lives on a shelf right next to my computer desk.  I use it often, since many presidents have early New England colonial ancestors.   I share common ancestors with nearly half of the presidents.  Gary Boyd Roberts’s sources are impeccable, and his research is much more advanced than my research.  I’m often surprised to see how many non-New England presidents connect to my family tree. 

George Washington is my 5th cousin, 8 generations removed.  His grandmother was Mildred Warner (1671 – 1791).  Our common ancestors are her great great grandparents, William Warner and Alice Hunt, who are also my 12th great grandparents.  To me this was a very cool discovery, since I never expected to be related to a Virginian president! We also share a Spencer ancestor, much further removed on the time line.

And what about Abraham Lincoln?  Everyone knows he was born in Kentucky, and ran for office while living in Illinois, so why am I looking for him in my family tree?  Well, I know his immigrant ancestor was Samuel Lincoln (abt. 1622 - 1690), an early resident of Hingham, Massachusetts.  I found this out when I noticed about a dozen Massachusetts Lincolns marrying into my family tree.  Here is a list of some of these marriages:

Enoch Howes Snelling (1816 – 1877), my 1st cousin, 5 generations removed, married Caroline Matilda Lincoln, daughter of Frederick Lincoln and Hepzibah Bouve, on 24 March 1845 in Boston.

Daniel Treadwell (1791 – 1872) my 1st cousin, 6 generations removed, married Adeline Lincoln, daughter of Levi Lincoln and Desire Thaxter, on 6 October 1831.

Samuel Lincoln (abt 1622 – 1690) the immigrant ancestor of President Lincoln, mentioned above, married my 9th great grand aunt, Martha Lyford, step sister of my 10th great grandmother, Rebecca Hobart (1611 – 1679). 

According to my Family Tree software, President Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) is the great grand nephew of the husband of my 2nd cousin 7 generations removed.  This cousin is Samuel Lincoln (1650 – 1720), who married Deborah Hersey, my 2nd cousin 7 generations removed.  Her grandfather, Edmund Hobart (1673 – 1647) Is the father of the Rebecca Hobart mentioned above.  A very distant relationship, but the software was able to figure it out!  I’m sad I don’t have a common ancestor with President Lincoln, but maybe someday I’ll find one if I go far enough back in our English origins.

For the truly curious:

Ancestors of American Presidents, by Gary Boyd Roberts, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009

William Addams Reitwiesner's Genealogical Services website  a great place to check for celebrity, political, and royal cousin connections.


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Are Presidents Washington and Lincoln Your Cousins?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 17, 2014, ( accessed [access date]). 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ HOMES of Northern Ireland and Martha's Vineyard


William Homes is one of the few ancestors I have who was born in Northern Ireland.  He also has a Londonderry, New Hampshire connection, which is fun!  As a young man, William Homes came to Martha’s Vineyard island off Massachusetts to teach school from 1686 – 1689.  He then returned to Ireland where he was ordained in 1692 in the village of Strabane, and he also married there.  His wife was Katherine Craghead, daughter of Reverend Robert Craighead of Donaghmore.   He was the pastor at Strabane until about 1714 when he took his family back to Martha’s Vineyard.

He was made the pastor at Chilmark on 15 September 1715, where he served until he died in 1746.  His children married well into prominent New England families.  His son Robert married Mary Franklin, sister of Benjamin Franklin, who is my first cousin many generations removed in another lineage.  One daughter, Katherine, married Samuel Smith, son of my great uncle many generations removed in another lineage.  This is a very tangled family tree!

According to the Irish professor, Linde Lunney, the Craighead and Homes families traveled together to Boston in 1714.  They were well received by the Puritan leadership because the Presbyterian doctorine was Calvinist.   Cotton Mather had met with his son, Robert Homes, a sea captain, prior to their arrival, and brought back information to Northern Ireland, leading the Presbyterians to believe they would be welcome to re-settle in New England.   Reverend Edward L. Parker, author of The History of Londonderry [New Hampshire], speculated that these families “influenced the decision of hundreds or even thousands of Ulster-Scots to leave Ireland for new opportunities in America.”   Robert Homes is the son who married Mary Franklin of Boston.  (see page 34 of Parker's book)

After witnessing the seige of Londonderry in Northern Ireland, and losing many of their rights to worship as Presbyterians, the Ulster Scots were anxious to resettle in North America.  When the first fleet of Presbyterians arrived in Boston, they weren't exactly welcomed, and were sent to places like New Hampshire, Maine and Worcester to act as a buffer between the Puritans and the wilderness.  Many of the Presbyterian pastors were sent to far flung villages on Cape Cod and the islands. 

For more information on Reverend William Homes you can read his journal, “Diary of Rev. William Homes of Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard, 1689 – 1746”, New England Historic Genealogical Register, NEHGS, Volume 48 0 50, 1894 – 1896.  The manuscript is at the Maine Historical Society in Portland, Maine.

There is also a genealogy of the HOMES family in the NEHGS Register, Volume 91 (1937), pages 159 - 176.  There is a biography of William Homes in the book Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America by Charles Knowles Bolton (viewable at 

MY HOMES/HOLMES genealogy:

Generation 1:  Reverend William Homes, born 1663 in Donaghmore, Tyrone, Northern Ireland, died 20 June 1746 in Chilmark, Massachusetts; married 26 September 1693 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland to Katherine Craighead, daughter of Reverend Robert Craighead and Agnes Hart.   She was born about 1678 and died 10 April 1754 in Chilmark.  Nine children born in Straban, West Tyrone County, Northern Ireland.

Generation 2:  Margaret Homes, born 28 February 1696 in Straban,  West Tyrone, Northern Ireland; died 26 April 1778 in Chilmark; married 1 March 1716 in Chilmark to John Allen, son of James Allen and Elizabeth Partridge.  He was born 1682 in West Tisbury, Massachusetts and died 17 October 1767 in Chilmark.  Thirteen children born in Chilmark.

Generation 3:  Rebecca Allen m. Wilmot Wass
Generation 4: Sarah Wass m. Samuel Osborn
Generation 5: Sarah Osborn m. Charles Skinner
Generation 6: Ann Skinner m. Thomas Ratchford Lyons
Generation 7: Isabella Lyons m. Rev. Ingraham Ebenezer Bill
Generation 8: Caleb Rand Bill m. Ann Margaret Bollman
Generation 9: Isabella Lyons Bill m. Albert Munroe Wilkinson
Generation 10: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

A 2013 post about Rev. William Homes: 

The URL for this post is 

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine Poem from Nutfield

           By Robert Dinsmoor

Yestre’en I heard young Jonney say
“O! but I lang to see the day,
That cousin Mally I may he,
     To be my wife—
That I might freely wi’ her liv’,
     E’en a’ my life.

She is a bonnie lass indeed,
An’s come o’ right honest breed,
An’ weel she can baith write an’ read,
     An’ speaks right swash—
To get her aff, there’ll be nae need
     To gie much cash.

When’er she enters in my sight,
Her very presence gi’es delight,
For ilka thing ‘bout her is right,
    Her hair sae snod is—
Her shapes by day, her words by night,
    Prooves her a goddess.

She is right canny at her wark,
An’ thinks but little o’ the daurk.
At making hat o’ smoth birch-bark,
     I’m sure she dings—
She, brisk and bonnie as a lark,
     Melodious sings.

Robert Dinsmoor (1757 – 1836) was born in Windham, New Hampshire to Scots Irish immigrants.  He was a simple farmer, but also was a renowned poet known as “The Rustic Bard.”  According to the book Poems of Robert Dinsmoor, page 72, “Mary Park was born July 4, 1761; was daughter of Dea. Robert and Jane (Wear) Park.  Her father came to America when 12 years of age with Alexander Park.  His father, the emigrant, an honest man, who paid his last month’s rent in Ireland Dec. 12, 1728, and brought his receipt with him, which is now a sacred relic.  He was of Scotch blood.  He came in the winter of 1728 -29.  Mary Park became the loved wife of the “Rustic Bard” Dec. 31, 1782, - or Jan. 1, 1738, -- and died, as the Bard says in “16 years and 5 months to a day,”  June 1, 1799, aged 37 yrs; greatly lamented by him.”

Poems of Robert Dinsmoor:  “The Rustic Bard”, by Robert Dinsmoor, James Dinsmoor, edited by Leonard Allison Morrison, Boston, Massachusetts:  Damrell & Upham “Old Corner Book Store”, 1898, pages 71 – 71. 

The URL for this post is 

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Hessian Soldier Episode Continues

Last year at RootsTech 2013 I had a wonderful time learning new things in the exhibit hall, and in the classrooms and lectures.  But some of the best learning moments were outside of the planned activities of the conference.  The usual schmoozing, hugging and hanging out with genealogist friends and blogging buddies is fun, but at RootsTech there was more than just social exchanges.  Some of the invitations I had to hang out on the air with Dear Myrt, meet up with friends at the famous Family History Library, and discuss technology with the innovators were RootsTech moments that don’t happen at other conference.

One of those moments that just seems to go on and on, and even continued on at RootsTech 2014 while I wasn’t even there!  This is what I call “The Hessian Soldier Episode”.   This episode started last year as a side comment about an ancestor, and that little comment took on a life of its own.  While being interviewed by Dear Myrt last February, I casually mentioned that it was my first trip to Salt Lake City and I was going to take advantage of the chance to use the famous Family History library.  My original plan was to mine the resources for Spanish records to look up my husband’s family tree, but I also figured that there might be some German records for my Hessian soldier ancestor.

After my interview, I was halfway OUT the door when Myrt called me back to continue the discussion.  It seems that Barry Kline, her photographer, was interested in Hessian research, and so was a viewer named Judy Holcombe Smith.   We had a great second discussion of the Hessians and the Johannes Schwalm Society.  Two days later I found the journals of the JSHA on the shelves of the FHL and we also found records about Judy’s ancestor, Anthony Schoppe.  I emailed these images to Judy.  The discussion of Hessians continued at “Mondays with Myrt” for a few weeks.

Over the past year I’ve been asked many times about this Hessian Soldier research.  This is not an area I have a lot of expertise in researching, but because of Dear Myrt’s show, the story spread.  Someone stopped me in the halls of the NERGC conference in April last year to talk about Hessians.  Another person got me talking about Hessians in the stacks of the NEHGS library in Boston last summer.  And then RootsTech 2014 rolled around…

I wasn’t at RootsTech 2014, nor was I in Salt Lake City last week during the conference, but I was so surprised to hear that Hessian story mentioned by Lisa Alzo during her talk on Friday February 7th.  She had emailed me about this story and asked for photos many months earlier, but I had completely forgotten it was going to be used in this lecture. And then email poured in from friends telling me to watch Dear Myrt’s RootsTech 2014 classes because the Hessian story was discussed twice!  Yes, the story was repeated during both her classes on Thursday  February 6th and Friday February 7th.  I’ll post the links below.

This little story started out as a passing comment and then grew and grew.  I hope that along the way it was valuable to Barry Kline, Myrt’s viewer Judy Holcombe Smith, and anyone else who had never heard of the Johannes Schwalm Society.  Perhaps a few people found more information on their Hessian ancestors, or confirmed that their ancestor did belong to one of these regiments.

It also got me thinking about family stories.  They all start out years and years ago, and are passed on through the generations.  Finally someone takes that story and does the research to confirm the who, what, where and when at the root of the tale.  That’s probably not the end of the story because most researchers take the myth and the truth and continue passing on it on, through articles, reports, blogs, books, and social media.

Good luck with your family traditions and myths.  They are probably true!  And they’ll continue being passed around, just like “The Hessian Soldier Episode”.

Thank you to Lisa Alzo, Dear Myrtle and Russ Worthington for mentioning this story at RootsTech 2014.


To go along with all the serendipity in this story,  today on "On Point" on National Public Radio, there will be a story on "Crowdsourcing and the New Genealogy Boom".  Guests will be journalist J. J. Jacobs, Judy Russell "The Legal Genealogist", and Spencer Wells, geneticist of the Genographic Project.  Listen live online at 11am or on the air, or catch the archived version:


For the truly curious:
Lisa Alzo “Tweets, Links, Pins and Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media”
RootsTech 2014

The following two classes are from RootsTech 2014, on YouTube (not the RootsTech website):

Hangouts on Air – The Panelists View (Thursday)  (check minutes 40:30 – 43:30)

Hangouts on Air – The Panelists View (Friday)   (check minutes 7:10 – 9:20)

The original “Mondays with Myrt” 18 March 2013
To see the Hessian soldier story tune in to about 18:00 minutes, and after I tell the story I almost walk out of the interview booth at 20:20 minutes, but Myrt calls me back to collaborate on the air with Barry Kline and viewers!  (18:00 – 27:00)

The Johannes Schwalm Historical Association (Hessian Soldier Research)

UPDATE:  added 17 February 2014
A database sent in by a reader (see the comments below)

UPDATE: added 21 February 2014
sent in by reader Skip Murray (see the comments below)

The URL for this post is 

Copyright ©2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo