Sunday, August 31, 2014

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy - The 4th Commandment

On Genealogy Bank I found that my 9th great grandfather, the Reverend William Homes (1663 - 1746), had written a book on the Sabbath.  This is a small advertisement, dated 1727 for his book Religious Observation of the Lord's-Day.

New England Weekly Journal, Boston, Massachusetts, Thursday, 10 July 1727, Issue XVI, page 2

I have read excerpts from Rev. Homes's personal journal, but I didn't know he had written a book.  You never know what you're going to find in historic newspapers.  I almost didn't look for his name at Genealogy Bank because I considered it too early in American history to find anything about him.  Now I know better!

Do you think I can find a copy of this little book on eBay?

You can read all about the life of the Reverend William Homes at this blog post:


The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ Emanuel Downing of Salem, Massachusetts

from the Peabody Essex Museum, dated about 1819
The Emanuel Downing mansion on Essex Street in Salem,
This house was taken down in 1753. 

Emanuel Downing (1585 – 1658), my 10th great grandfather, is a fascinating ancestor who seemed to be related to lots of historic figures from New England history.  Because he touched so many historic events and knew so many important figures, it is easy to find information on his life and genealogy.  His lineage goes back to the time of the Magna Carta in 1215, and he descends from one of the sureties Saire de Quincy, Earl of Winchester.

Emanuel Downing graduated from the University of Cambridge in England.  He first married Ann Ware in 1614 and had three children.  He then married Lucy Winthrop, sister of Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and his famous son, George, was born in 1623.  George Downing, brother to my 9th great grandmother, Lucy Downing (1625 – 1697), graduated from Harvard and was the Ambassador to the Netherlands under Cromwell and Charles II.  He lived at Number 11 Downing Street, which is now the residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.   Samuel Pepys was his clerk.  George Downing was knighted in 1661 and became Secretary to the Treasury.  He became a baronet in 1663.

One of Emanuel’s daughters, Anne, married first to Joseph Gardner, and second to Governor Simon Bradstreet.  Simon was a Cambridge University graduate, and a founder of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He was Secretary of the United Colonies of New England, and an envoy to King Charles II in 1661.  He was deputy Governor of Massachusetts from 1673 – 1679, and Governor from 1679 – 1686, and again from 1689 to 1692. 

Emanuel Downing lived in Salem, in what is now Peabody, Massachusetts.  He had a tavern on the Ipswich Road, and a house in Salem he bought from Governor Simon Bradstreet.  He returned to England in 1656 and rented his tavern in what is now Peabody to John Proctor (1631 – 1692).  John Proctor is also my 8th great grandfather, and was hung as witch on 19 August 1692 during the Witch Hysteria.

On a sad note, Emanuel Downing is infamous for penning a letter in 1645 to his brother-in-law, Governor John Winthrop, "A war with the Narragannsett is verie considerable to this plantation... if upon a Juste Warr the Lord shall deliver them into our hands, we might easily have men, women, children enough to exchange for Moores... For I doe not see how we [white men] can thrive until wee get into a flock of slaves sufficient to doe all our business".  He advocated trading the native Indians of New England for black African slaves. [Emanuel Downing to John Winthrop, August 1645, Massachusetts Historical Society Collection,  Winthrop Papers, 5: 38 - 39]

After Emanuel Downing returned to England he was made Clerk of Council of State to Scotland. He removed to Edinburgh, where he died on 26 September 1660.  He was buried at St. Martin’s in the Field in London.  Lucy, his wife, removed to England to live with her son Sir George and died in London on 10 April 1679. Emanuel Downing had several famous descendants, including William Tecumseh Sherman,  US President John Quincy Adams, and Vice President Aaron Burr (who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804).  He is also the ancestor of Reverend Johnathan Edwards, Puritan theologian. 

For more information:

You won’t find Emanuel Downing in any of the volumes of The Great Migration series by Anderson, but you will find several of his children there.  He is mentioned in several local history books, including The History of Salem by Sidney Perley, and in books about the Winthrop and Bradstreet families.

Emanuel Downing, by Frederick Johnson Simmons, 1958 

The Ancestry of Dr. J. P. Guilford, Volume I: Seventeenth Century New England Colonials, by Joan S. Guilford, Orange, CA, 1990, pages 253-258 are about Emanuel Downing.

The American Genealogist, Volume 74, pages 161-174, and 299 – 308) for the English ancestry of Emanuel Downing.

My DOWNING genealogy:

Generation 1: Emanuel Downing, son of Reverend George Downing and Dorcas Bellamy, was born 12 August 1585 in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, died 26 July 1658 in Scotland; married first on 7 January 1614 in Edinburgh, Scotland to Anne Ware (three children); married second on 10 April 1622 in Groton, Suffolk, England to Lucy Winthrop (five children).  Lucy was the daughter of Adam Winthrop and Anne Browne.

Generation 2: Lucy Downing, daughter of Emanuel Downing and Lucy Winthrop, born in 1625 in Salem, Massachusetts, died on 2 May 1697 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married to William Norton, son of William Norton and Alice Browest.  (five children)

Generation 3: Bonus Norton m. Mary Goodhue
Generation 4: Elizabeth Norton m. Benjamin Swett
Generation 5: Elizabeth Swett m. David Batchelder
Generation 6: Elisha Batchelder m. Sarah Lane
Generation 7: Jonathan Batchelder m. Nancy Thompson
Generation 8: George E. Batchelder m. Abigail M. Locke
Generation 9: George E. Batchelder m. Mary Katharine Emerson
Generation 10: Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Demoulas Family Tree

Did you feel like you needed a scorecard to keep track of the Demoulas cousins during their latest Market Basket family feud that aired in front of the public?  I know that when I read historical novels, I love authors that put genealogies right in the front cover so I can keep track.  Sort of a cheat sheet for genealogists.  Authors like James A. Michener and Edward Rutherfurd were especially good at including a family tree, which was handy because their books would go on for generations.  Just like the Demoulas saga.

So, here it is!  This is the Demoulas clan chart, showing both Demoulas brothers who started the supermarket chain, and both cousins named Arthur who continue to feud. The names and dates here were gleaned from, vital records, and New England newspapers.

George Demoulas                                                          Evangelos Souleimanis
m. Ecaterine Athanasoula                                               m. Marina
                  |                                                                         |    
Anthansios"Theoni" Demoulas                                        Efrosine  Soulis
b. 3 Jan 1883 Kalambaka, Greece                                b. 27 Aug 1899 Kalambaka, Greece
d. 30 Apr 1958  Lowell, Mass.                                     d. 12 Aug 1964 Lowell, Mass
                          |                                                                                      |
                              |                              |                                    |
Telmachus "Mike" Demoulas                4 other children             George A. Demoulas
b. 10 Oct 1920                                                                         b. 1919
d. 24 May 2003 Boston                                                            d. 27 June 1971 Greece
m. Irene Psolinos                                                                       m. Evanthea Koukias
                   |                                                                                          |
  ------------------------------------------                                      ---------------------------------------
|                    |            |                  |                                  |               |                  |                      |
Francis    Glorianne   Arthur T.    Caren Lee                  Fotene       Evangelos       Diana     Arthur S.
b. 1950   b. 1952    b. 1955     b. 1959                        b. 1954      b. 1955          b. 1956    b. 1958
                                                                                                      d. 1993

Athanasios Demoulas opened his first store in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1916.  The store was sold to two sons, Telemachus and George, Demoulas in 1954.  The Demoulas brothers expanded the chain to 15 stores before George died in Greece on vacation in 1971.  Today the chain has spread out of the Merrimack Valley to 71 locations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

As a genealogist I find this family bickering to be a fascinating case study.  On one hand I like supporting a local, family business, but on the other hand I see how feuding families can absolutely drive a good business into ruin.  Some day the students at Harvard Business School will make this one of their most complicated case studies.

The feuding is not new.  There was a family rift that started back in 1971 when George A. Demoulas died young at age 51, and the evenly divided family shares in the supermarket business had to be redistributed.  There was another scandal in 1991 involving some "questionable accounting", accusations of bugging devices and some of the cousins lost some of their shares.  In 1994, Judge Maria Lopez (of the TV court show fame) found that Mike Demoulas had defrauded his brother's family of shares.

In 1979 some of the Demoulas and Psolinos family members bought the Farragut Hotel on the waterfront of Rye, New Hampshire.  After razing the old building and starting a new one, the hotel sat empty for 24 years as the family members fought over the property.  The derelict building was razed in 2003.  Because of the continuous feuding, the vacant lot on the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Central Road is still unimproved.  This lot must be worth millions now in 2014, but remains vacant because the family has not decided how to plan a profitable hotel or condo business here.

To read about the Farragut Hotel debacle, click here:

For another look at the Demoulas family, click on this link by Barbara Poole, a Lowell, Massachusetts genealogy blogger at “Life from the Roots” (some great photos, too!):

The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, August 28, 2014

September 2014 Genealogy and Local History Calendar

August 29 – 31st, 30th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival, at Gloucester, Massachusetts in the harbor and nearby. Fireworks on the 30th, parade of sail on the 31st.

August 29, Friday, 11am – 12:30pm Walk with Washington at the Gov. John Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  $6 Historic New England members, $12 non members.  Walk the streets of Portsmoth in the footsteps of George Washington when he visited in 1789.  Registration required call 603-436-3205

August 30, Saturday, 10am – noon Face and Families: Folk Art Portraits at Cogswell’s Grant, 60 Spring Street, Essex, Massachusetts, $5 Historic New England members, $15 non-members.  Registration required 978-768-3632

August 30 – October 19, Weekends 10am – 6pm, King Richard’s Faire, 235 Main Street, Carver, Massachusetts, New England’s largest renaissance fair.

September 1 Discover Quincy Days, experience Quincy, Massachusetts and its rich history for the price of one $5 wristband.

September 2, 4 – 5:30pm, Treating Our Sources as Evidence: Let’s Get all Sherlock About Our Genealogy Sources, by Barbara Matthews, part of the Genealogist Lecture Series at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts, in the Commonwealth Salon.  617-859-2261.

September 2- 7, Brimfield Antique and Flea Market Show,

September 4, Thursday, noon, Lunch & Learn: The Restoration and Re-Launch of the Whaling Ship Charles W. Morgan, at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Bring a lunch, or buy one in the visitor center, and listen to Dr. Elysa Engelman of the Mystic Seaport speak about the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, originally launched in 1841.  Free to members, non-members $8.

September 5, Friday, 11am – 12:30pm Walk with Washington (see above)

September 6, Saturday, 11am – 3pm Jackson Hill Cider Day, at the Jackson House, 76 Northwest Street, Portsmouth, NH.  Free to Historic New England members, $6 non-members, $3 children.  Held grind apples and press cider. Watch artisans demonstrations, children’s games, crafts and seasonal refreshments, too. Tour the 1664 Jackson House.  Call 603-436-3206 for more information.

September 6, Saturday, 11am – 1pm Beacon Hill Walking Tour Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts $6 Historic New England members, $12 non-members. Registration required 617-994-5920. 

September 6 and October 4, Discover Quincy Days (see above)
September 6 and 7,  Saturday and Sunday, noon and 1:30 pm The Way We Worked: Domestic Help Wanted, at the Roseland Cottage, 556 Route 169, Woodstock, Connecticut, $5 Historic New England members, $15 non-members.  See Roseland Cottage through the eyes of applicants of the house’s many domestic servant positions.  Registration required 860-928-4074

September 7, Sunday, noon, Vintage Baseball Double-Header, Lynn Live Oaks vs Newburyport Clamdiggers, at the Spencer-Peirce Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Massachusetts.  Watch two games play baseball with 1860s rules.  Grass field seating, bring blankets and lawn chairs, no reserved seating. Weather permitting, please call  978-462-2634 for more information.  Free to Historic New England members, $5 non-members.

September 8, Monday, 6:30, American Agricultural Fairs, with a focus on Derry, New Hampshire, presented by Mark Mastromarino, at the Derry Public Library.  For details call 603-432-6140 or see 

September 11, Thursday, 2:30 – 4:30pm Capturing Beauport, at the Sleeper-McCann House, 75 Eastern Point Boulevard, Gloucester, Massachusetts. $25 Historic New England members, $50 non-members.  Have you ever wanted to take photos of Beauport’s interior? Now is your chance for a regular tour with extra time for photography.  There is also a chance your favorite image will be chosen to be made into a postcard for sale in the museum shop.  Registration required 978-283-0880.

September 12, Friday, 11am – 12:30pm Walk with Washington (see above)

September 12, Friday, 8:30 – 10am Inside Haymarket, a tour departing from the corner of Congress and Hanover Streets, Boston, Massachusetts. $25 Historic New England members, $35 non-members.  Enjoy a behind the scenes tour of the market as it opens for the day, learn the history, and hear from the president of the Haymarket Pushcart Association.  Sample fruits, vegetables, cheese, and even pizza.  Registration required 617-994-5920

September 13, Saturday, Maine Lighthouse Day, at lighthouses all along the Maine coast, see the website

September 13, Saturday, 11am – 1pm Beacon Hill Walking Tour (see above)

September 14, Vintage Baseball Double Header, Lowell Baseball Club vs. Portsmouth Rockinghams,  at the Spencer-Peirce Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Massachusetts.  Watch two games play baseball with 1860s rules.  Grass field seating, bring blankets and lawn chairs, no reserved seating. Weather permitting, please call  978-462-2634 for more information.  Free to Historic New England members, $5 non-members.

September 16, 4-5:30pm, The Many Faces of Evernote, by Alice Kane, part of the Genealogist Lecture Series at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts, in the Commonwealth Salon.  617-859-2261

September 19 – 21, Friday – Sunday, New Hampshire Highland Games at Loon Mountain, Lincoln, New Hampshire, with a Gathering of the Clans (60 clans and societies), pipe bands, sheepdog trials, concerts, fiddling championship, atheletics, dance competitions, and more.

September 19, Friday, 11am – 12:30pm Walk with Washington (see above)

September 20, Saturday, 11am – 1pm Beacon Hill Walking Tour (see above)

September 20-21, Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 3pm, The 10th Annual Portsmouth Fairy House Tour, on the grounds of Strawberry Banke, the Governor John Langdon House, Prescott Park and Peirce Island in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The tour occurs rain or shine. Introduce these historic sites to your kids while touring over 150 handcrafted fairy houses hidden in the gardens and landscaping.  Proceeds to benefit the museum’s “History in Reach” fund, advance tickets are $25 per family, $12 per adult, $8 seniors, $4 per child 3 -12, and tickets purchased on the day of the event are $30 per family, $15 per adult, $10 per senior, $5 per child 3 -12. Purchase tickets online at

September 20, Saturday, 2 – 3:30pm “Am I not a Man and a Brother?”: A recreation of an Abolitionist Meeting” at the Roseland Cottage, 556 Route 169, Woodstock, Connecticut.  Free to Historic New England members,  $5 non-members. Registration required 860-928-4074

September 26, Friday Walk with Washington (see above)

September 27, Saturday, 8am – 4pm, American Canadian Genealogical Society Fall Conference and Annual Meeting at the Chateau restaurant and event center, 201 Hanover Street, Manchester, New Hampshire.  Two morning workshops, buffet lunch included, one afternoon workshop, annual meeting.  Early Bird Fee $50 by September 15, Full conference fee $60 after September 15.  No registration required to attend the annual meeting.

September 27, Saturday, 2pm, Colonial Garden Talk, by Roby Kanter, , at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts, a lecture by Matthew Thomas, Free to members, non-members $15, reservations recommended 978-744-0991 ext. 104

September 27, Saturday, 10am, Genealogy 101: From the Roots Up! Presented by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, meeting at the Nevins Library, Garden Room, 305 Broadway, Methuen, Massachusetts. Free to the public

September 27, Saturday, 11am – 1pm, Beacon Hill Walking Tour (see above)

October 1 – 31st, 33rd Annual Salem Haunted Happenings, all over Salem, Massachusetts, see the website Grand Parade, Street Fairs, Family Film nights, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music and theatrical presentations.

October 15, Wednesday, 6:30pm, Reverend James MacGregor of Aghadowey, Northern Ireland and Londonderry, New Hampshire, presented by the Derry, New Hampshire town historian, Rick Holmes at the Derry Public Library. Call 432-6140 for more information.

October 25, Saturday, 10am, The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton presented by author Greg Flemming, sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, meeting at the Nevins Library, Garden Room, 305 Broadway, Methuen, Massachusetts.

November 19, Wednesday, 6pm, The Schooner Fame, by Capt. Mike Rustein, , at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts, a lecture by Matthew Thomas, Free to members, non-members $15, reservations recommended 978-744-0991 ext. 104

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Firefighter in Virginia

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  Three years ago I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England and ever further afield.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too! Today's weather vane was spotted in Virginia by a reader.

Do you know the location of weather vane #171?   Scroll down to see the answer...

Today's weather vane was spotted and photographed by Thomas Tufts, who is also a genealogy blogger at "The Tufts Family Genealogy".   This weather vane can be found on the Friendship Firehouse Mueum in Alexandria, Virginia. It was established as the first volunteer fire department in Alexandria in 1774.  This museum sponsors a festival featuring antique fire fighting apparatus on the first Saturday in every August.  It is located on 107 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia.

This weather vane is a two dimensional fire fighter, holding an axe and a fire bucket.  That was state of the art equipment for fire fighting in 1774!  You can see the fire fighting helmet on his head.

The Friendship Firehouse Museum website 

The Tufts Family Genealogy Blog

Weather vanes in the news!

The steeple of the 185 year old Congregational Church in Westhampton, Massachusetts was repaired and the weathervane re-installed.  Story from the Westhampton Gazette:

The URL for this post is 

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Ebenezer Crosby and Sarah Richardson, Chebogue Cemetery, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

This tombstone was photographed at the Chebogue Cemetery, at Town Point, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Nov, 1863
aged 91 yrs

Oct. 1823
Aged 47 yrs


Ebenezer Crosby is my 4th Great Grand Uncle, son of Ebenezer Crosby and Elizabeth Robinson.  He was born in 1772 and died on 13 December 1863 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  He married Sarah Richardson, the daughter of Reuben Richardson.  He was the brother of my 4th great grandmother, Rebecca Crosby (b. 1789), who married Comfort Haley (1787 - 1874).  Ebenezer lived to be 91 years old, which was quite a feat in those times!

Ebenezer Crosby, senior was an early settler at Chebogue.  He arrived in Nova Scotia with his parents, Jonathan Crosby and Hannah Hamblin, with the six families that sailed up the coast from Connecticut.  The Crosby family originally lived on Cape Cod, and they are Mayflower descendants.  You can see a blog post with a photo of Jonathan and Hannah Crosby's tombstone in the Chebogue cemetery HERE.

The URL for this post is

Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 25, 2014

Big House, Little House, Backhouse, Barn

The Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire, home of poet Robert Frost
You can see the Big House, Little House and Barn,
but the backhouse is hiddlen in the corner of the "L" shaped structure

This is the back of the Frost Farm, and you can see all four structures that make up
the Big House, Little House, backhouse (lean-to) and barn

A connected farmhouse style very common in southern New Hampshire and southern Maine is one known locally as a “Big House, Little House, Backhouse, Barn”.  Connected farmhouses are seen all over New England, and evolved to with carrying out barn chores during the worst winter weather.  You can travel from the house to the barn and not go outdoors.  The Big House, Little House, Backhouse, Barn style of house is a particular style that features a farmhouse, a summer kitchen (the little house or middle house), the backhouse (the shed where the latrine was often located) all in line with the barn bringing up the back of the line.

As farming moved west, New England Yankee farmers couldn't compete with the longer seasons and better growing conditions found by the farmers of the Midwest and western states.  The “Big House, Little House, backhouse, barn” structures became useful for other cottage industries such as shoe making, canning and woodworking.   The type of farming that survived the longest in this area- dairy and chicken farming, worked out well with connected farmhouses since the farmer never had to brave the snow to get to his cows for the early morning milking, or for egg gathering. 

In our area the most famous house of this style is the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire.  This is a typical home of the style, with four distinct buildings, four different roof lines and built in the correct time period.  It was built in 1884 and purchased by Robert Frost in 1900 as a chicken farm.  Frost sold the farm in 1911 and went to England for three years.  The property was run as a farm by three more owners, and in 1950 it became an automobile junkyard known as “Frosty Acres Car Recycling”.

The State of New Hampshire bought the farm in 1965, and purchased additional adjoining land in 1969.  There are about 70 acres of meadow, forest, stonewalls, and farmhouse on both sides of Route 28 (Rockingham Road).  The house was renovated with the help of Lesley Frost Ballantine, the poet’s daughter, and opened to the public in 1974. 

The parlor of the Big House features the Morris chair,
Frost's favorite chair for writing

The kitchen of the Frost  Big House, and the door leading
to the Little House

Guess which structure we are in now at the Frost Farm?

Today visitors to the property can visit the home, which is furnished with many items donated by the Frost family.  The barn is now a museum, and there are weekend poetry readings every summer.  You can follow a short hiking trail marked with spots to contemplate Frost poems along the way.  Just guess which poem is marked for the fork in the path, or for the stonewall, or for the pasture?  If you know the answers to these, you must be a real Frost fan.

As you drive around New England you can look at farm houses dating from the 1800s and see if they fit the pattern for “Big House, Little House, Backhouse, Barn”. 

For the truly curious:

Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, Thomas C. Hubka, University Press of New England, Hanover, NH, 1984.

The Robert Frost Farm  
122 Rockingham Road, Derry, New Hampshire 03038
(603) 432-3091
The Robert Frost Farm is maintained by the State of New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation

Listen to the song “Big House, Middle House, Backhouse, Barn” by the local Maine musical group Schooner Fare

And I can see like yesterday the smile on Grandma’s face,
And I can hear the love we shared as it echoes in this space.
And though it’s just a memory, it cannot be erased;
For like the big house, middle house, back house, barn,
We’re connected to this place.

Previous blog posts about the Robert Frost Farm:

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Autumn Family Reunions

2012 Wyman Family Reunion
at the Francis Wyman House, 1666
(This list is for New England families only.  All require preregistration, so please look for further information through the associated websites or family association newsletters. If you know of more reunions being held, please leave a comment or email

August 23 – 24, Sgt. William Harlow Family Association Annual Reunion, to be held at the Beal House in Kingston, Mass. and at the Harlow Old Fort House in Plymouth, Mass.

September 5-6, Meader Family Association Annual Reunion, descendants of John Meader of Piscataqua who settled in Durham, New Hampshire in 1624, to be held at the Rochester, New Hampshire Holiday Inn Express.  For details

September 5 -7, The Nickerson Family Association Reunion, for descendants of William Nickerson and his wife Anne Busby.  Held at Cape Cod, with the annual meeting on September 6 (Saturday) at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.  See the website for more information

September 5 - 7 The Tenney Family Association Reunion, descendants of immigrant John Tenney, at Rowley Massachusetts in conjunction with the 375th Anniversary of the town of Rowley.  For more information see

September 6, The Harriman Family Association Reunion, the descendants of Leonard and John Harriman immigrants to Rowley, Mass. and New Haven, CT, circa 1638, held in conjunction with the 375th anniversary of the town of Rowley, Massachusetts.  See the website

September 7 – 9, General Society of Mayflower Descendants Congress, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Several Family meetings will convene during the triennial Mayflower Congress in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Please refer to the family society websites for more information, including changes and additions to meetings.

Friday, September 5,     10:30 am – Samson Society
                                      Afternoon – Warren and Bartlett Societies                                                          
                                      6 pm – Howland, Warren and Bartlett Societies banquet                                     
Saturday, September 6,    9:30am Brown Society  email
                                      10am  Howland Society
                                       2 pm Brewster Society memorial service at Brewster Gardens                              
                                      3pm Brewster Society meeting
                                      6pm Brewster Society dinner
                                      6pm Allerton Society reception and dinner
Sunday, September 7    10am Hopkins Society meeting and luncheon                                                      
Monday, September 8   5pm  White Society meeting  email

September 26 -28, Old Planters Reunion in Beverly, Massachusetts, for the Old Planters families of the Beverly including Balch, Cressey, Woodbury, etc.  See the Beverly Historical Society website for more information, and a registration form PDF is online at this link

September 27, 110th Reunion of the John Libby Association,

October 4 2014 Annual Meeting Wyman Family Association: at the Francis Wyman House in Burlington, MA  10:00 am - 2:00 pm.  Our annual meeting will be on Saturday, October 4th this year. House tours will start at 10:00 am, Meeting at 11:00am , Family picture at Noon, followed by lunch, and then our preservation architect; John Goff, will present his preservation skills school report.  

Coming in 2015

The Global Family Reunion -  See the website for more information or watch the TED talk video by AJ Jacobs at this link  

The Grinnell Family Association Reunion at New Bedford, Massachusetts (tentative)

Foote Family Association Reunion, descendants of Nathaniel Foote of Connecticut, to be held in Salt Lake City

Nye Family Reunion, Sandwich, Massachusetts, September 2015

Taylor Family Reunion, Descendants of Matthew and Janet Taylor of Nutfield, New Hampshire, 31 July - 2 August 2015 at the Dalhousie Agriculture Campus,  11 River Road, in Truro, Colchester, Nova Scotia.  See the Facebook group for more information

Surname Saturday ~ NORTON of Ipswich


I have several NORTON ancestors.  There is a Nicholas Norton (abt. 1610 – 1690) who settled at Edgartown, Massachusetts on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  (see this link )    There is also a George Norton ( abt 1610 – 1659) who settled in Gloucester, Wenham and Salem, too.

This is a post about William Norton (1610 – 1694) who arrived in New England aboard the ship Hopewell on 29 August 1635.  William Norton settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  There was a John Norton, who was a minister in Ipswich and Boston, and many genealogists including Savage and Pope thought they were brothers.  Robert Charles Anderson of the Great Migration series does not agree and states in The Great Migration, Volume V, page 282 “Further research in the English records of this family should be undertaken with a view to resolving this problem.”

 There is an article in The American Genealogist, Volume 16, pages 101 - 115 “George Norton of Salem, Massachusetts”, that attempts of connect George Norton with John and William as one big family. This article was written so long ago (1939) that it is a bit outdated, but it does lay out the English origins of the Norton family.  There are earlier articles about the Nortons in some NEHGS Register journals from 1859 and 1874.  It appears that no new research has been published recently on the Nortons.

William Norton married Lucy Downing, the daughter of Emmanuel Downing, and niece of the Governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop (1588 – 1649).  He was referred to as “Mr.” in documents, and was a wealthy merchant in Ipswich.   They had five children, and the youngest was born six years later than his closest brother, and so was named “Bonus Norton”.   This is a name that always makes me smile.

Bonus lived in Ipswich and married Mary Goodhue.  He later removed to Hingham, Massachusetts and then to Hampton, New Hampshire where he ran a tavern from 1695 to about 1700.  He is buried in the Quaker burial ground in Seabrook, New Hampshire. I have no evidence he was a Quaker, and his wife had been admitted to the First Church at Hampton. 

William Norton and Lucy Downing were ancestors of both President John Adams and John Quincy Adams, through Bonus’s brother,  Reverend John Norton of Hingham, Massachusetts.

My Norton genealogy:

Generation 1: William Norton, born about 1610 and died 30 April 1694 in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  He married Lucy Downing, the daughter of Emmanuel Downing and Lucy Winthrop.  She was born about 1625 in Salem and died 2 May 1697 in Ipswich.  They had five children.

Generation 2: Bonus Norton, born about 1657 in Ipswich, died on 30 April 1719 in Hampton, New Hampshire; married Mary Goodhue, daughter of Joseph Goodhue and Sarah Whipple.  She was born about 1664 in Ipswich, and died after her husband (she was administratrix of his will).  They had eight children.

Generation 3:  Elizabeth Norton, born 31 March 1703 in Hampton, died 25 March 1759 in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire; married on 20 July 1732 in Hampton to Benjamin Swett, son of Joseph Swett and Sarah Andrews.  He was born 2 May 1710 in Hampton and died 6 June 1762 in Hampton Falls.  Elizabeth and Benjamin had four children.  Elizabeth was previously married to Thomas Jenness and had two children.

Generation 4:   Elizabeth Swett m. David Batchelder

Generation 5:   Elisha Batchelder m.  Sarah Lane
Generation 6:  Jonathan Batchelder m. Nancy Thompson
Generation 7:  George E. Batchelder m.  Abigail M. Locke
Generation 8:  George E. Batchelder m. Mary Katharine Emerson
Generation 9:  Carrie Maud Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Fun~ Breaking News! Two Fun Genealogy Events and an Announcement!

Denise Levenick of the genealogy blog "The Family Curator" has issued a call for Genealogy World Photo Day for 2014 at this link: 

To participate, just combine the past and the present into a single photo, or create a "Then and Now" combination of photos.  You can participate by sending her the photo, share on Facebook or on the Family Curator Facebook page

Now, go get creative!


Sponsor a Celebrity Genealogist in the Preserve the Pension Fun Walk at FGS 2014!

The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference will be in San Antonio, Texas next week.  On Saturday morning, August 30th at 6:30am ("Oh Dark Thirty" according to Judy Russell) will be the start of the Preserve the Pensions Fun Walk.  Four celebrity genealogists will be starting the walk at the front of the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, and your sponsorship of one (or more) of them will raise funds for the Preserve the Pensions - War of 1812 campaign.

According to the website "Every dollar raised in support of our walkers goes directly to the Preserve the Pensions fund.  Every dollar is matched first by FGS, then again by Ancestry.  Every $25.00 sponsorship becomes a $100.00 constribution to the preservation of this incredibly important collection of War of 1812 pensions."

See this link for information on sponsoring your favorite celebrity genealogist:

        Judy Russell "The Legal Genealogist"
        D. Joshua Taylor "Genealogy Roadshow"
        Kenyatta Berry   "Genealogy Roadshow"
        Ed Donakey  

Preserve the Pensions Fun Walk website  
or their blog post   

The donation/sponsorship page  


MyCanvas finds a new Home!

Last June announced that they were retiring the MyCanvas website.  Many fans contacted Ancestry about this, and instead of retiring the service they will transfer the website to Alexander's.  The Alexander's company is a Utah based printing production company that was the printer for the MyCanvas products including the genealogy books, calendars, and other printed products.  The transition of MyCanvas to Alexander's should be smooth.

Alexander's plans some exciting new improvements, so fans should love this.  Also, MyCanvas will continue to be available from the website until it moves over to the Alexander's website sometime next year.  This transition should take about six months.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Dragon

Happy 3rd Anniversary to Weathervane Wednesday!

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  Tomorrow is the third anniversary of Weathervane Wednesday and we are up to over 170 different weather vanes!  I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too! Today's weather vane was spotted in Vermont.

Do you know the location of weather vane #170? Scroll down to the bottom to see the answer!

Today's weather vane was photographed on the cupola above the Farm Barn at the Shelburne Farms Center in Shelburne, Vermont.  This private foundation was built on the estate of Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Web.  It is a non profit educational foundation whose mission is to cultivate a conservation ethic for a sustainable future. The campus is a 14,000 working farm and National Historic Landmark on the shores of Lake Champlain. 

The Farm Barn is five stories tall and the inner courtyard is nearly two acres.  It was built in 1886 to house machinery, offices, storage, stables and workshops. Today it houses an elementary school, a children's farmyard, administrative offices, an organic bakery, a furniture workshop, and a center for children's field trips to Shelburne Farms.  

There is also a large coach barn, a dairy barn and a breeding barn on the property.  Each barn is picturesque and unusual. 

The Shelburne Farms website

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

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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Abigail (Allen) Haley, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

This tombstone was photographed at the Chebogue Cemetery, at Town Point, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

In memory
Abigaile Heley
Wife Of
Mr. Comfort Heley
Died June 16, 1799
Aged 39 years

My daughter trying to decipher this very worn tombstone

Abigail Allen was the daughter of Jeremiah Allen (b. 1728) and Eunice Gardner (b. 1724), born 23 July 1753 in Manchester, Massachusetts, died 16 June 1799 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  She married Comfort Haley on 21 July 1777 in Chebogue, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  He was the son of Ebenezer Healey and Grace Bullen, born 1754 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, died 15 May 1821 in Chebogue.  Their parents were planters, resettled in Nova Scotia from New England after the expulsion of the Acadians.

Abigail Allen is my 5th great grandmother. She is a direct descendant of William Allen (1602 - 1678) an early settler at Manchester, Massachusetts and my 9th great grandfather.  My mother's maiden name is Allen, a direct descendant of this same William.  Although Abigail Allen is also in my mother's lineage, it is from a different line, through the Healey's who left Nova Scotia and came back to Massachusetts, and settled in Beverly, Massachusetts. A double Allen line. 

Abigail died at age 41 (although the gravestone says she was 39 years old), and had seven children.  After Abigail's death, her husband Comfort Haley remarried to Hannah Ellis (1765 - 1862) in December 1795 and had seven more children.  Hannah was 30 years old, the widow of Stephen Tinkham, and Comfort was 41 years old. 

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, August 18, 2014

Another Unfinished Sampler, and another Mystery!

(two lines of stitching picked out)

Then let us think on death
Though we are yours and gay
For God who gave our life and breath
Can take them soon away

Wrought by Mary Williams.  Under
the care of L. Brigham.  Born April 13th
1803.  Aged 14 Marlborough Aug. 1st 1817

Last year I posted a story about my 2nd great grandmother, Phebe Cross Munroe’s (1830 – 1895) unfinished schoolgirl sampler.  You can read it at this link HERE.    A reader, Carolyn Stone, contacted me via email and sent me photos of this unfinished schoolgirl sampler she owns.   Carolyn also has the marriage record, a will, some handwritten family records and drawings that all go along with this little unfinished sampler by Mary Williams of Marlborough, Massachusetts.

According to the Marlborough, Massachusetts published vital records, Volume 1, page 199 Mary Williams was born on April 13, 1803, the daughter of Joseph Williams, Jr. and Mary.    The marriage records of Marlborough identify her mother Mary as Mary Freeman [Volume 1, page 328], and the date of the marriage as January 6, 1803 in Marlborough.   Mary Williams had siblings- Anna, born June 30, 1804; Daniel, born March 1, 1811; and Joseph, born February 5, 1814.

According to The History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, by Charles Hudson, Boston, 1862, page 471, Joseph Williams was the son of Joseph Williams and Anna Stow, and grandson of Joseph William and Lydia Unknown.  This wife was Lydia Munroe, born March 7, 1717/18 in Weston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Benjamin Munroe and Lydia Stone, my first cousin 7 generations removed.  So the two little girls who stitched these samplers, Mary Williams and Phebe Cross Munroe, were distant cousins!  See the book, The Monroe Book: Being the history of the Munro Clan from its origins in Scotland to settlement in New England and migration to the West, 1652 – 1850 and beyond, by John Guilford, Genealogy Publishing Service, Franklin, NC, 1993.   The Weston vital records are available online at

If anyone has any further information on Mary Williams or her sampler, please comment here or email me at and I will pass on the information to Carolyn Stone.   Thank you!

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ MARSHALL of Salem and Ipswich, Massachusetts

Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Showing Salem, Beverly, Chebacco, Gloucester


According to the book Planters of the Commonwealth, by Charles E. Banks, 1930, Edmund Marshall, his wife Millicent, and Edmund their son, were passengers on the ship Hopewell from Weymouth England to New England on 8 May 1635.

Edmund Marshall became a member of the First Church of Salem, Massachusetts on 8 January 1636/7 and his daughter, Naomi, was baptized the same year.  His wife, “Millisent” was a member of the church on 31 December 1637.  By 1651 the Marshall family was in Manchester (between Beverly and Gloucester), but probably went to church in Gloucester where Reverend Richard Blinman was minister.

Many New England settlers arrived in groups with their ministers from home.  These “non-conforming” preachers brought their flocks to New England, and you can trace their parishioners moving around with them.  The “Blynman Party” came from Wales, arrived in Plymouth, and then Gloucester, and moved to New London, Connecticut.  On 13 February 1651/2 Edmund sold his land in Salem, and was listed in New London in March.  It is unknown whether or not Edmund Marshall was from Blinman’s original home of Wales or not.

Edmund Marshall was back in Beverly soon after because he is in the records as accusing several women of witchcraft in 1652.  These charges were found to be false and he was fined.  

By 1663 he was living in Chebacco, a parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts.  Again, Edmund Marshall was in court, and this time John Marshall sued Robert Cross for trespass, and Cross countersued Thomas Varney (also my 9th great grandfather), John Marshall (the son), Edmund Marshall, and William Warrener.  (Robert Cross was married to my 8th great aunt Hannah Jordan)  In 1668 there was another lawsuit involving their son-in-law Thomas Wells.  Lots of family members deposed in these suits, including my 8th great grandfather, Benjamin (1646 – 1716) – the son of Edmund Marshall.  These lawsuits gave some great genealogical clues.

Lawsuits were also helpful telling me more about the next generation, especially Benjamin Marshall.  His depositions gave his age, and where he lived over the years.  Along with his brother, Edmund Jr., he was a shipwright.   He signed the petition supporting John and Elizabeth Proctor during their arrest for witchcraft in 1692.  Since many who supported the accused witches found themselves also accused, it was a very gallant move.  John Proctor is also my ancestor – my 9th great grandfather.

Some sources for MARSHALL research:

New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, Volume 53 (1899) pages  185 -197 and 282- 294

History of Ipswich, Essex and Hamilton by Joseph B. Felt, 1834

Some Descendants of Nathaniel Woodward by Harold Edward Woodward, Boston: NEHGS, 1984


My MARSHALL genealogy:

Generation 1: Edmund Marshall, born about 1598 and died 1673 in Salem, Massachusetts; married to Millicent Unknown. Seven children.

Generation 2: Benjamin Marshall, born between 12 and 18 April 1646 in Salem, Massachusetts, and died 25 November 1716 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 2 November 1677 in Ipswich to Prudence Woodward, the daughter of Ezekiel Woodward and Anne Beamsley.  She was born on 4 April 1660 in Boston, Massachusetts and died 9 June 1732 in Ipswich.  Nine children.

Generation 3: Benjamin Marshall, born 15 November 1684 in Ipswich, and died 2 October 1747 in the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich; married after 24 November 1711 in Ipswich to Bethiah Goodhue, daughter of William Goodhue and Hannah Dane.  She was born about 1685 and died 28 March 1752 in Ipswich.  Five children.

Generation 4: Elizabeth Marshall, born 1715 and died 15 November 1801 in Ipswich; married on 25 September 1734 to David Burnham, son of David Burnham and Elizabeth Perkins.  He was born 17 June 1714 in Ipswich and died 27 December 1802 in Ipswich.  Twelve children.

Generation 5:  Amos Burnham, born 13 July 1735 in Ipswich, and died 28 November 1788 when he drowned in Chebacco Pond; married on 27 January 1757 in Ipswich to Sarah Giddings, the daughter of Thomas Giddings and Martha Smith.  Sarah was born in 1737 and died 26 January 1782. Eleven children.

Generation 6: Judith Burnham, born 14 January 1782 in Essex (Chebacco Parish) and died 26 October 1848 in Essex; married on 5 April 1799 in Ipswich to Joseph Allen, son of Isaac Allen and Abigail Burnham.  Joseph Allen was born 22 September 1776 in the Chebacco Parish and died 24 March 1861 in Essex.  Eleven children.

Generation 7: Joseph Allen, born 31 July 1801 in Chebacco Parish and died 2 August 1894 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 28 October 1824 in Essex to Orpha Andrews, daughter of James Andrews and Lucy Presson.   She was born 3 February 1804 in the Chebacco Parish and died 20 April 1869 in Peabody, Massachusetts. Six children.

Generation 8: Joseph Gilman Allen, born 22 May 1830 in Essex and died 9 April 1908 in Essex; married on 23 May 1863 in Essex to Sarah Burnham Mears, daughter of Samuel Mears and Sarah Ann Burnham.  She was born 30 November 1844 in Essex and died 4 March 1913 in Essex.  Ten children.

Generation 9: Joseph Elmer Allen, born 24 September 1870 in Essex and died 12 March 1932 in the Masonic Home in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; married on 1 November 1892 in Essex to Carrie Maude Batchelder, daughter of George E. Batchelder and Mary Katharine Emerson.  She was born 22 September in Chichester, New Hampshire, and died 21 January 1963 at the Sea View Convalescent and Nursing Home, Rowley, Massachusetts.  Five children.

Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen, born 14 January 1904 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and died 6 March 1982 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 14 February 1925 in Hamilton, Massachusetts to Gertrude Matilda Hitchings, daughter of Arthur Treadwell Hitchings and Florence Etta Hoogerzeil.  She was born 1 August 1905 in Beverly and died 3 November 2001 in Peabody. Seven children.

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Copyright ©2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo