Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Sometimes you just can't find your ancestors, unless you ask for help

The HEALEY family plot, Central Cemetery, Beverly, Massachusetts

Last year Vincent and I drove Mom around and around the Central Cemetery in Beverly, Massachusetts looking for the graves of ancestors.  I had many family members buried there in the 1800s and 1900s with names like HOOGERZEIL, HITCHINGS, HEALEY, ROBERTS and BLADES.  These are names that should have been easy to find, not like Smith or Jones.

My first mistake was in not realizing how huge this cemetery was, and how many tombstones we would have to examine.  After the fact I checked the Find A Grave website and saw that there were almost 17,000 interments at Central Cemetery.   Even though I was born in Beverly, and I knew it was a large city, I had been living in Cow Hampshire much too long! My usual method of showing up at a rural cemetery and poking around doesn't work in large urban cemeteries, so I decided to do some pre-planning for our next trip.  This is good advice for anyone searching in a city cemetery, and you can read below how it helped.

Since Central Cemetery is a municipal cemetery, I called the city hall and asked for the cemetery department.  I was lucky enough to reach a sympathetic young woman named Kerin Cotter.  Her advice to was to email her the list of names, and she would find out where they were buried.  I didn't hear from her for a while because I sent her quite a long list of about 20 names.  But it was worth the wait.
paperwork from Beverly, Massachusetts with maps of Central Cemetery

Ms. Cotter sent me a large manila envelope which included a map of the entire cemetery, plot cards for each family (seven family groups) or individual plot and section maps with the graves highlighted.  With all this paperwork and maps we set out again to Beverly and searched the cemetery.  We found all but one plot.  It wasn't simple, but it was easier with all the maps.

The Healey Family Plot

Here is the first plot we found.  As you can see, one stone is sunk, one is missing, and the large one is facing away from the paved lane.  No wonder we couldn't find this one on our own.

Plot #4 is the Healey Family Plot on this large scale map

Above is a closer view of where to look for the Healey family.
Below is the plot card

Month Day Year                   Name                 Age
                                                                        Yrs    Months
8 -22-1909      1       Matilda W. Healey   83    10
                                              2       J. Edwin Healey                        Lost at sea
Mar. 28 1947    3      L. Gertrude Healey   72  6      
Aug.  15 1951     4     John E. Healey           94   5      
Oct. 26 2001      5    Ruth Moroni               89           

My 3x great grandparents were Joseph Edwin Healey and Matilda Weston.  Joseph Edwin Healey was born 12 August 1823 in either Belfast, Maine or Yarmouth, Nova Scotia (some records list one place, other records list the other place) and he died on 17 June 1862, during the Civil War, at the Battle of Saint Charles in Arkansas.  He was in the navy, and his ship, the USS Mound City, an iron clad, was hit with bullets and the steam engine exploded, either scalding to death or drowning the men on board.  The plot card only says "lost at sea", not that he died in action during the Civil War even though he has a military or government issued headstone.


You can see that the military headstone lists "Edward Healey" and it is in nice shape.  Matilda's headstone has sunk so much that her inscription is underground. She died in 1909, having lived as a widow for 47 years.

The other people on the card are John Edwin Healey, my 2nd great uncle, and his wife Lizzie Gertrude Woodbury.  Their daughter, Ruth, who was born about 1913 is also listed as a cremation and her remains must be interred here in the spot indicated, but there was no stone.  The large stone is in nice shape, and the inscription faces away from the road, not in the same direction as the military stone.

1857  JOHN HEALEY 1954
1874   L. GERTRUDE 1947

Click here to read more about John Healey:

Click here to read about my Civil War ancestor, Joseph Edwin Healey (3 part series, including a boo boo of epic proportions by the City of Beverly, Massachusetts)



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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, September 29, 2014

Spanish American War Veteran

William Henry Hoogerzeil is my first cousin three generations removed.  He was born 5 March 1878 in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Edmund Hoogerzeil and Hitty Ann Taylor.  William married Bessie Mabel Hodgdon on 21 December 1904 in Boston.  She was the daughter of Albert W. Hodgdon and Mary A. Lord, born on 27 January 1878 in Lynn.  They had only one son, Robert Grant Hoogerzeil, born in 1910 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

William served in the Spanish American War and was stationed in Cuba.  After he was married he removed to Philadelphia and worked as a factory belt maker (for running gears and machinery, not for holding up trousers).  By the 1930 census he was back in Lawrence, Massachusetts working as a belt maker and leather worker.  He was the grandfather of Lynda Lee Hoogerzeil True, my distant cousin, who is the owner of the original copies of these top two photographs of William Henry Hoogerzeil as a young man.

William H. Hoogerzeil, sitting on the post in the center of this image.
This is a photograph of his unit in Cuba during the Spanish American War.

William Henry Hoogerzeil died 14 March 1935 in Lawrence, Massachusetts and is buried at the Central Cemetery in Beverly, in the Hoogerzeil family plot.  His wife, Bessie, died 5 January 1964 in Methuen and is buried with William, his parents and sister Annie.

I couldn't find much about William Henry's service online.  At Fold3.com there was an index card to his file, but that's it. No pensions, no muster rolls, nothing. But this photo and this tombstone tell us he was a veteran of the Spanish American War.

CO. E.

1847 - 1922
1851  HIS WIFE HITTY  1935
1878 WILLIAM H. 1935
1878  HIS WIFE BESSIE  1964
1872 ANNIE 1898

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Balch Family Reunion at the “Old Planters Weekend” in Beverly, Massachusetts

The Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts

I didn’t attend any of the events at the Old Planters Weekend, but I made it a point to get to the Balch family reunion yesterday.  There were many reasons why I wanted to go:

  1.  I’d never been to this reunion before.  In fact, I wasn’t even a member.  I took care of that as soon as I got there.  If you are interested in joining the Balch Family Association, contact the Beverly Historical Society.

  2.  The reunion was held at the Balch house, which dates back to the early 1600s.  It’s always very interesting to attend a family reunion at the home of an ancestor.  You can read about my first visit to the Balch house at this link HERE.  This house recently underwent some renovations, check out the newly restored windows and front door.

  3.  I grew up in a house a few blocks from the Balch house.  My great grandfather, grandfather and father all worked at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation (now the Cummings Center), which is on the other side of the railroad tracks behind the Balch House.  They all walked to work, and home for lunch, and back to work, and home for dinner for over sixty years.  Even my grandmother worked there as a “Rosie the Riveter” during WWII.  And they all walked right past the Balch House, but no one in my family had ever seen the interior until last year.

  4.  Two new books were debuted at this family meeting.  Both had never been seen before.  I’ll talk about them below.  The authors both spoke, both had ties to the Balch family and Balch house.

  5.  The Woodbury family reunion was held at the same house at the same time, and I’m also a Woodbury descendant.  I wasn’t the only one there with descent from both families.  There were quite a few of us, which makes sense if you’ve ever studied colonial New England history from Essex County, Massachusetts in the 1600s.  Who else did these families have to choose from when considering marriage?

The family meetings of the Balch and Woodburys took place in the back yard of the Balch House.  I did a lot of schmoozing and running back and forth to take a peek at as many charts and family trees as possible.  I think the folks who brought their big 10 generation fan charts were the most useful.  It was easy to glance at their charts to see if we had other kinships. Many folks had lots of other Beverly Old Planter families in their lineages, so I found a lot of cousins besides just Balch and Woodbury cousins.

Walter Beebe of Essex Restorations spoke for a long time, and answered questions, about the ongoing restoration work at the Balch House.  Recent window and door work was visible when the descendants toured the house after lunch.  The president of the Beverly Historical Society, Dan Lohnes, gave an explanation of the funds needed for ongoing projects, including starting a possible trust fund for the house.  By the end of the reunion a large sum had been pledged by Balch descendants.

Robin Balch Hodgkins’ newly revised Balch Genealogy was debuted at this meeting.  The original compiled genealogy was written by Dr. Galusha B. Balch in 1897.  Several years ago Robin put out a notice for descendants to contact her with their lineages and proofs.  All descendants were to be included, not just those with the Balch surname.  Yes, I’m in the book, with my lineage from my 2nd great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, and mother back to the original planter John Balch.  My daughter is even in there, too!  (You don’t often find women in these compiled genealogies because they are often dropped because they don’t carry on the Balch name)  It was very fun to buy one of the first copies of this book, and to see my name in it, and to have it autographed by Robin.  The new book has over 12,000 Balch descendants.

The kitchen of the Balch House
After lunch and a brief tour of the Balch House by the curator of the Beverly Historical Society, Tad Emerson, the author of the brand new book A Storm of Witchcraft, spoke about his connections to the Balch house, and the Balch and Woodbury connections in his book.  Professor Emerson W. Baker (Tad) was the archeologist for Plimoth Plantation, and also for the Beverly Historical Society when they uncovered the remains of the original John Balch house under the lawn of the historical Balch House several years ago.  He wanted to write a book that traced the entire history of the 1692 Salem witch hysteria, since many books focus on just one or two angles of the story.  This new book traces the origins of the problems in the community, through the trials and to the years after 1692.  He even traces the story to today and considers the Salem witch trials one of the first American “governmental cover up stories”.  I can’t wait to read it, and yes, I got it autographed, too!

After a bit more schoozing with cousins, and exchanging contact information with some, we had a bit of time to revisit Beverly’s Central Cemetery where we were finally successful in finding another ancestor.  I’m still unsuccessful at finding one last ancestor, and I think the cemetery department has given me the wrong information on their maps.  That will mean that I will have to contact them again and take a FOURTH trip to Central Cemetery this year.  Sounds like fun!

For the truly curious:

A Storm of Witchcraft, by Emerson W. Baker, Oxford University Press, 2014

Balch Genealogy, compiled by Robin Balch Hodgkins, Beverly Historical Society, 2014  (Contact the Beverly Historical Society to buy a copy of this book info@beverlyhistory.org or call 978-922-1186.)

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Copyright © 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Surname Saturday ~ GIDDINGS of Ipswich, Massachusetts

The Giddings Family Register Chest of Drawers
Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont


George Giddings and his wife, Jane Lawrence, with three indentured servants, were aboard the ship Planter which came to Boston on 2 April 1635.  He brought with him a letter of recommendation from the rector at St. Albans, his home town.  You can read all about the Lawrence family, which was also aboard the Planter with three generations and more servants, in my Surname Saturday post last week at this link:

George Giddings was from a wealthy family in St. Albans, Herfordshire, England, and he is mentioned in his father’s will.  He also had a marriage bond which mentions his future step-father-in-law, John Tuttle. Upon settling at Ipswich, Massachusetts with his extended Lawrence and Tuttle in-laws, he served as deputy to the General Court, selectman, and was a deacon of his church. 

George Giddings left extensive probate records in Essex County when he died intestate in 1676.  He was one of the highest tax payers in Ipswich, and his estate was valued at over 1020 pounds sterling.  I descend from two of his eight children.  They are two long lineages that stay in Ipswich or Ipswich’s Chebacco Parish (now the town of Essex) since every generation lived there, right down to my mother who was born in Ipswich!

For more information on the GIDDINGS family:

The Great Migration, Volume III G-H, pages 52 -56 “George Giddings”

Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts, by Abraham Hammatt, 1880 (Known as the Hammatt Papers)  (available online at https://archive.org/details/earlyinhabitants13hamm )

Original Lists of Persons of Quality: 1600 – 1700, by John Camden Hotten, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1980.

The Giddings Family: or, the Descendants of George Giddings who came from St. Albans, England to Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1635 by Minot S. Giddings, 1882.

For more information on the Giddings Family Register Chest at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, click at this link: http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-giddings-family-register-chest.html

For the English origins of George Giddings see the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, volume 135, pages 274 – 286.

Also, see my LAWRENCE Surname Saturday post:  

My GIDDINGS genealogy:

Generation 1:  George Giddings, son of John Giddings and Joan Purrier.  He was born 24 September 1609 in Clapham, Bedfordshire, England and died 1 June 1676 in Ipswich, Massachusetts; married on 20 February 1634 in St. Albans, Herfordshire, England to Jane Lawrence, daughter of Thomas Lawrence and Joan Antrobus.  She was born 18 December 1614 in St. Albans, died 2 March 1680 in Ipswich.  Eight children and I descend from two of them.

Lineage A:

Generation 2: Thomas Giddings m. Mary Goodhue
Generation 3: William Giddings m. Sarah Hitchings
Generation 4: Thomas Giddings m. Martha Smith
Generation 5: Sarah Giddings m. Amos Burnham
Generation 6: Judith Burnham m. Joseph Allen
Generation 7: Joseph Allen m. Orpha Andrews
Generation 8: Joseph Gilman Allen m. Sarah Burnham Mears
Generation 9:  Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 10: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage B:

Generation 2:  John Giddings m. Sarah Alcock
Generation 3: Elizabeth Giddings m. Mark Haskell
Generation 4: Mark Haskell m. Martha Tuthill
Generation 5: Lucy Haskell m. Jabez Treadwell
Generation 6: Nathaniel Treadwell m. Mary Hovey
Generation 7: Jabez Treadwell m. Betsey Jillings Homan
Generation 8: Eliza Ann Treadwell m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 9: Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 10: Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents, see above)


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ GIDDINGS of Ipswich, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 27, 2014, ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/09/surname-saturday-giddings-of-ipswich.html: accessed [access date]).  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Funny ~ Found in Spain

Here are two old photos my husband found at a cousin's house in Spain.  It seems be of a group of hunters from the village of Villar de Ciervo in the province of Salamanca.  We've identified a few of the men in the photos, but the real treasure seems to be the fun these gentlemen were having.  I don't know the year, or the occasion.  The tall man on the right with the brimmed hat may be Manuel Martin Ventura (1880 - 1971), my husband's great grandfather.  He was born in Barcelona, and was a breeder of "toros bravos", bulls for the sport of bullfighting.  He was a farmer and grew grapes for wine in Villar de Ciervo.  It is too difficult to see the faces of any of the men in this photo.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, September 25, 2014

October 2014 Genealogy and Local History Calendar

September 26, Friday Walk with Washington  at the Governor Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, $6 Historic New England members, $12 nonmembers.  Walk the streets of Portsmouth in the footsteps of George Washington when he visited here in 1789. Registration required, call 603-436-3205.

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. http://www.acgs.org/about/Fall%20Conference_2014.pdf

September 27, Saturday, 2pm, Colonial Garden Talk, by Roby Kanter, at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts.  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 at the Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts, $6 Historic New England members, $12 general public, Registration recommended 617-994-5920.

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

October 1, Wednesday, 9am to 9pm Family History Month at NEHGS, Open FREE the first three Wednesdays in October (October 1st, 8th and 15th) Meet the genealogy experts and learn more about the millions of resources from around the world in their collection that will help you with your family history. 

October 1, Wednesday, 12 noon, Reading Locke on the Plantation, by Sean Moore, part of the brown bag lunch series at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. FREE to the public, http://masshist.org/calendar

October 1, Wednesday, 6pm, The Trials of Old New England Towns in a New Nation, presented by Mary Babson Fuhrer at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Registration required, $10 fee, call 617-646-5060. http://masshist.org/calendar

October 2, Thursday, noon, Lunch & Learn: Mashpee Indian Whalers, at the Plimoth Plantation Visitor Center, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Free to members, $8 non-members.  Contact 508-746-1622 or www.plimoth.org for more information.  Discussion at noon, exhibits in the hall, bring a lunch or buy one at the visitor center.

October 2, Thursday, 6:30pm, Thursday at Twilight, visit the Phillips House, 34 Chestnut Street, Salem, Massachusetts and see how electric light in the early 20th century transforms a Federal era House.  A casual wine reception will start the evening.  $15 Historic New England members, $30 non members. Registration required, call 978-744-0440

October 3, Friday, 11am, Walk with Washington, at the Governor Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. $6 Historic New England members, $12 nonmembers.  Walk the streets of Portsmouth in the footsteps of George Washington when he visited here in 1789.  Registration required, call 603-436-3205

October 4, Saturday, 12:30pm, Abraham Lincoln Dedicates a new Historic Marker at the Town Hall in Exeter, New Hampshire during their Fall Festival.  For more information contact Exeter Historical Society at 603-778-2335 or info@exeterhistory.org

October 4, Saturday, 6pm, 26th Annual Dozynki or “Harvest Festival”, at St. Joseph Church Hall, 58 Elm Street, Claremont, New Hampshire, accordionist Gary Sredzienski will provide Polish music during the buffet style Polish dinner of kielbasa, kapusta, golumbki, pierogi, and hot dogs, $10 a plate for adults, $5 for children. Polish gift items for sale. Tickets at the door.  603-542-6454

October 4, Saturday, 9am – noon, A Walk Back in Shaker History, at the Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, New Hampshire, Fee $10 members, $12.50 no-yet-members.  A guided hike through the woods to an old Shaker maple camp.  Register at the website www.shakers.org

October 4, Saturday, 7pm, Battle Road Heroes, at the Hartwell Tavern, Minuteman National Park, Concord, Massachusetts.  $5 per person. Walk down a candle lit path to the past.  Presented by the Guild of Historic Interpreters and the Center for 18th Century Life at Minute Man National Park http://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?eventID=349900-232573

October 4, Saturday, 11am, Beacon Hill Walking Tour, at the Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts. $6 Historic New England members, $12 general public, Registration recommended, call 617-994-5920.

October 4, Saturday, 10am, Vintage Baseball Championship, at the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Massachusetts.  Watch the teams of the Essex Base Ball Association play using 1860s rules. Grass field seating, bring a blanket or lawn chair. Feel free to come in costume. No reserved seating. Weather permitting. Call 978-462-2634 for more information. FREE.

October 8, Wednesday, 6pm, A People’s History of the New Boston, an author talk by Jim Vrabel, at the Abbey Room of the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  FREE to the public.

October 8, Wednesday, 9am to 9pm Family History Month at NEHGS, Open FREE the first three Wednesdays in October (October 1st, 8th and 15th) Meet the genealogy experts and learn more about the millions of resources from around the world in their collection that will help you with your family history. 

October 9, Thursday, 12 noon, Lunch and Learn "A Man Most Driven: Captain John Smith", bring a lunch and listen to author Peter Firstbrook discuss his new biography of John Smith and the colonization of Jamestown.  At the Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts. Free to members, $8 for not yet members.  Reserve a ticket at this link:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/lunch-learn-extra-a-fit-place-for-plantation-captain-john-smiths-new-england-adventure-tickets-13080362717?aff=eorg 

October 9, Thursday, 6pm, Thursdays at Twilight (see above)

October 10, Friday, 11am, Walk with Washington (see above)

October 11, Saturday 2 – 5pm, Downtown Hampton Victorian Tavern Walk, presented by the Hampton, New Hampshire Historical Society, a tour with a late 19th century theme of “Hustlers, Bustlers, Titans, Tramps and Teetotalers”, will feature costumed figures of bygone Hampton, with Victorian era fare at the Galley Hatch, 401 Tavern, Savory Square and Old Salt restaurants, 100 year old Marelli’s Market will have an old-time vendor’s cart with nuts and candy. $15 tickets available at all restaurant locations until 3:30 on the day of the event. For ages 21 and older.  Contact 603-929-0781 or email info@hamptonhistoricalsociety.org

October 11, Saturday, 10am – 5pm, New Hampshire Fall Festival, at Strawbery Bank and Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Must pay admission to the Strawbery Banke Museum $17.50 for adults, $6 for children 5-12, children under 5 and members are free. https://www.strawberybanke.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=228

October 11, Saturday, 10am to 4pm, Peters’ Corps, at the Hartwell Tavern, Minuteman National Park, Concord, Massachusetts, FREE, visit the re-enactors who portray Peters’ Corps, a Revolutionary War unit made up of American Loyalists. http://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?eventID=279637-232573

October 11, Saturday, 11am, Beacon Hill Walking Tour (see above)

October 13, Monday (Columbus Day), 10am kickoff, events all day for Boston- Opening Our Doors, FREE arts and cultural events, including exhibits at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Emmanuel College, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Northeastern University, Simmons College, the Museum of Fine Arts, and more.  See the website http://fenwayculture.org/theres-something-for-everyone-at-opening-our-doors-2014/ also email ad12@fenwayculture.org The Kickoff ceremony is at 10am at the Christian Science Plaza, at the intersection of Huntington Ave and Mass. Ave.

October 14, Tuesday, 7pm, A recipe for Well-being: Health and Illness in Colonial New England, a talk by Lori Lynn Price for the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Worcester Chapter, at the Zion Lutheran Church, 41 Whitmarsh Avenue, Worcester, Massachusetts. FREE to the public

October 14, Tuesday, 7pm, Abraham and Mary Lincoln:  The Long and Short of It, living history presentation by Steve & Sharon Wood, hosted by the New London Historical Society with funding by the NH Humanities Council,  free to the public. 603-526-6453

October 15, Wednesday, 7pm, English Fishing Stations of Monhegan and Dariscove: “Right Against Us in the Main was a Ship of Sir Frances Popphames” a lecture by Neill De Paoli at the Portsmouth Atheneum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, free to members, $10 general admission.  Reservations requested since space is limited, call 603-431-2538 for reservations. 

October 15, 9am to 9pm Family History Month at NEHGS, Open FREE the first three Wednesdays in October (October 1st, 8th and 15th) Meet the genealogy experts and learn more about the millions of resources from around the world in their collection that will help you with your family history. 

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. FREE to the public

October 16, Thursday, 7pm Winged Hussars of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, at St. Joseph Church Hall, 58 Elm Street, Claremont, New Hampshire, presented by independent researcher and armor smith Eric Jadaszewski of Peterborough, New Hampshire.  In full 17th century nobleman’s attire, with handcrafted replicas of colorful winged hussar armor on display, he will speak about the colorful knights.  Topics include life in a democratically elected kingdom in Europe, freedom of religion in an era of religious wars, and an exploration of Polish history and culture in New Hampshire.  It is presented with funding from the NH Humanities Council and is free to the public.  603-542-6454.

October 16, Thursday, 7pm, Voices from the Backstairs: Domestic Servants in New England, at the Sarah Orne Jewett House and Museum and Visitor Center, 5 Portland Street, South Berwick, Maine, Free to Historic New England members, $5 general public, Registration recommended, call 207-384-2454.

October 16, Thursday, 2:30pm, Family History Database Demonstration, at the Winchell Room, Manchester City Library, 405 Pine Street, Manchester, New Hampshire.  Learn how to search online for your ancestors with two library editions of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.  Registration is required to attend the demonstration.  FREE to the public.  Contact Eileen Reddy at 603-624-6550 ext. 320 or at ereddy@manchesternh.gov

October 16, Thursday, 6pm, Thursdays at Twilight (see above)

October 17, Friday, 6:30pm, Tales and Ales, at the Swett-Isley House, 4 High Road, Newbury, Massachusetts, This house served as Swett’s Tavern in the 17th century, and is the perfect backdrop for an evening of historic fun.  Brews from Ipswich Ale and dinner while listening to true tales of Newbury’s past.  Must be over 21. $35, registration required 978-462-2634.

October 19 - 25, New Hampshire History Week  http://www.nhpreservation.org/news-a-events.html?utm_source=October+2014+E-Newsletter&utm_campaign=October+2014+newsletter&utm_medium=email 

October 19, Sunday, 3pm, If These Walls Could Speak!, at the Jacob Whittemore House, Minuteman National Park, Lexington, Massachusetts,  FREE, Trace how Jacob Whittemore’s family grew and changed using original documents and the house they lived in.  http://www.nps.gov/mima/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?eventID=395506-232573

October 21, Tuesday, 12 noon, Civil War Boston, part of the brown bag lunch series at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. FREE to the public, http://masshist.org/calendar

October 22, Wednesday, 6pm The Irish Volunteer, a historical presentation about Irish immigration to America and their service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Performed in period uniform with period instrumentation, and a slide show. At the Teen Lounge of the Amesbury Public Library. , 149 Main Street, Amesbury, Massachusetts.  Contact Margie Walker 978-388-8148 or mwalker@mvlc.org to save a space.

October 23, Thursday, 7pm, 40,000 Names in the Family Tree, at Memorial Hall in the Andover, Massachusetts Public Library, a talk by Robert Hanscom, a resident of Andover, Massachusetts about his data base of early Andover Families (Osgood, Farnum, Abbott, Ingalls, Dane, Holt, Russell, Hutchinson, Johnson and Farrington) and so much more.  Registration required 978-623-8401 ext 31 or email klynn@mhl.org   FREE to the public.

October 23, Thursday, 5:30 and 6:15, Gedney Glows, at the Gedney House, 21 High Street, Salem, Massachusetts. $5 for Historic New England members, $10 general public.  See this late 1600s shipbuilder’s house lit by lantern light. Registration recommended. 978-744-0440.

October 23, Thursday, 7 pm Partnerships in Plymouth Archaeology, at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts, a lecture by David Landon of UMass Boston, and he will discuss the partnership between the Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at UMass Boston and Plimoth Plantation for the 400th anniversary celebration as they search for the original fortifications on Burial Hill.  FREE to the public. 

October 24 and 25, Friday and Saturday, 6pm -8pm, Ghosts on the Banke, trick or treat at Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, $8 per person, ghost stories, costume parade, bonfires, magic! https://www.strawberybanke.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=113

October 24, Saturday, 8:30 am to 1:30pm 7th Annual Concord, New Hampshire Family History Day,  at the LDS church on 90 Clinton Street, Concord, New Hampshire. FREE all day, attend four workshops, some video workshop from RootsTech and live presenters. Register online http://www.eventbrite.com/e/7th-annual-concord-family-history-day-registration-9126877737

October 24 and 25, Saturday and Sunday, all weekend, Pickpockets, Rogues and Highwaymen:  Halloween at the Fort,  celebrated at the Fort at Number 4, at 267 Springfield Road, Charlestown, New Hampshire.  See the website for more information http://fortat4.org/rogues.html

October 25, Saturday, 2pm Susan Lenoe as Harriet Beecher Stowe, at the Amesbury Room of the Amesbury Public Library, , 149 Main Street, Amesbury, Massachusetts, contact Margie Walker at 978-388-8148 to reserve a space or email mwalker@mvlc.org

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. FREE to the public.

October 25, Saturday, 2pm Children of Long Ago and Their Dolls, by Judith A. Ranta at the New England Historic Genealogical Society on 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. FREE and open to the public, call 617-226-1226 or email education@nehg.org to reserve a space.

October 25, Saturday, 10am, In Search of Livelihoods: Researching Occupations in Early New England, a talk by David Lambert at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts in partnership with Historic Bostons. http://historicbostons.org/october252014.html or call 617-536-5760

October 25, Saturday, 11am, Beacon Hill Walking Tour, (see above)

October 26, Sunday, 2pm, Understanding New England: Gravestones and the Stories they Tell, at the Grout Heard House Museum, Wayland, Massachusetts, a talk by Laurel K. Gabel, sponsored by the Wayland Historical Society. 

October 28, Tuesday, 10:30am A Soldier’s Mother Tells her Story, living history presentation by Sharon Wood as the mother of a Union soldier killed at Gettysburg, at the Pittsfield Community Center, 74 Main Street, Pittsfield, New Hampshire, presented with funding by the NH Humanities council, free to the public, 603-435-8482.

October 28, 29 and 30, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair, A live broadcast via the internet.  Ask genealogy experts questions at the end of each talk. http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/know-your-records/genealogy-fair/

October 29, Wednesday, 6pm, The Sacco-Vanzetti Case Revisited, an author talk by Christopher Daley at the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library, 25 Parmenter Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  FREE to the public.

November 1, Saturday, all day, The Battle of the Red Horse Tavern, at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts.  The Sudbury Militia and a British regiment host a day of battle re-enactments in this historic location. http://www.wayside.org/event/battle-red-horse-tavern

November 1, Saturday, 1pm Images from the Past: History of Photography in New England, at the Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  $30 Historic New England members, $45 general public, Examine and learn about 19th and 20th century photographic processes. Tour of the Library and Archives follows the program. Registration required, call 617-994-6678.

November 1 and 2, Saturday and Sunday, all weekend, Native Heritage Weekend at the Fort at Number 4, 267 Springfield Road, Charlestown, New Hampshire. Check the website for more information www.fortat4.org

November 2, Sunday, lecture 1pm, house tour 2pm, The Codmans and the Great War, at the Codman Estate, 34 Codman Road, Lincoln, Massachusetts, $10 Historic New England members, $15 general public. Registration required, call 781-259-8098.  After war was declared in Europe in 1914, New England families like the Codmans, who had strong ties to France, felt reverberations. When war broke out, oldest brother and architect Ogden Codman, Jr., was at his chateau outside of Paris. While he and his staff made a daring, last-minute escape to the United States, his friend and co-author Edith Wharton remained in Europe to assist the war effort. In Lincoln, the Codman siblings threw themselves into homefront activities like knitting and canning. Dramatic letters from family and friends in Europe serving as ambulance drivers, nurses, aid workers, and soldiers kept the family abreast of news from the front lines. Drawn from material in Historic New England’s Library and Archives, this illustrated talk focuses on the First World War experience of the Codmans and their community.

November 5, Wednesday, 1pm, A Visit with Abraham Lincoln, living history presentation by Steve Wood at the Wentworth Home, 795 Central Avenue, Dover, New Hampshire, presented with funding by the NH Humanities Council.  Free to the public.  603-516-8826

November 6, Thursday, noon, Lunch & Learn: “A Nice Indian Pudding”: Maize in the Diets of Colonial New Englanders, at the Plimoth Plantation Visitor Center, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Discussion at noon in the Accomack Building, bring a lunch.

November 6, Thursday, 6pm, Mementos: An Introduction to Jewelry of Life and Love, at the Governor Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Free to Historic New England or Preserve Rhode Island members, $5 general public, a lecture about jewelry, including watches, rings, bracelets and cuff links that mark major life transitions.  Through these heirlooms this talk explores how New Englanders from the 18th century to today mark their important moments and memories. Registration required, call 603-436-3205.

November 6, Thursday, 7pm, Victorian Furniture: Design Run Amok or Inspired Creativity? At the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island, $5 Historic New England members, $10 general public.  Registration required, 617-994-6678.

November 9, Sunday, 3pm, Mementos of Pet Ownership in New England, at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center, 5 Portland Street, South Berwick, Maine.  Free to Historic New England members, $5 general public.  Registration required 207-384-2454. Birdcages, fish bowls, dog collars, headstones and chewed furniture are the material remains of pet ownership in New England. Senior Curator of Collections Nancy Carlisle conducted a survey of roughly forthy New England societies and history museums and located more than 80 objects associated with pets from the 18th through the early 20th century.  Together these artifacts reveal surprising attitudes about different animals and uncover unexpected cultural assumptions.  Registration recommended, 207-384-2454

November 12, Wednesday, 6pm, A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience, an author talk by Emerson W. Baker, at the Abbey Room of the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. FREE to the public.

November 13, Thursday, 7pm A showing of the film Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden by Peter Randall, at the research library of the Portsmouth Atheneum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This film brings the story to those who can’t make the trip to the Isles of Shoals, or wish to see it in a new way.

November 14, Friday, 12 noon, Forgotten Drinks of Colonial America, presented by author Colin Hirsch, part of the brown bag lunch series by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. FREE to the public, http://masshist.org/calendar

November 18, Tuesday, Our National Thanksgiving: With Thanks to President Lincoln and Mrs. Hale, a living history presentation by Steve and Sharon Wood at the Merrimack Adult Community Center, 4 Church Street, Merrimack, NH.  Presented with funding from the NH Humanities Council.  Free to the public.  603-424-5084.

November 18, Tuesday, 7:30 pm Reliving the Civil War, presented by Bob Duffy, costumed Civil War living historian, at the Nashua Historical Society, 5 Abbott Street, Nashua, New Hampshire.  Free to the Public.

November 18, Tuesday, 6pm, Uncovering African American Stories, at the Otis House, 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to Historic New England and NEHGS members, $5 general public.  Expert genealogist David Allen Lambert discussed the primary and secondary sources at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for researching African Americans in New England. Registration required 617-994-5920.

November 19, Wednesday, 12:30pm Our National Thanksgiving: With Thanks to President Lincoln and Mrs. Hale, a living history presentation by Steve and Sharon Wood at the Litchfield Community Church, 259 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield, NH, Presented with funding from the NH Humanities Council.  Free to the public.  603-429-1315

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

November 19, Wednesday, 7pm, The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail, a lecture by Jeffrey Bolster, part of the 2014 series celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Captain John Smith’s Voyage to New Hampshire, at the Portsmouth Atheneum, 9 Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Free to members. $10 general admission.  Reservations requested, call 603-431-2538 for reservations. 

November 22, Saturday, 2pm Blogging for Genealogy, presented by Heather Wilkinson Rojo at the Amesbury Room of the Amesbury Public Library, 149 Main Street, Amesbury, Massachusetts.  Contact Margie Walker 978-388-8148 or mwalker@mvlc.org to reserve a space.

November 27, Thursday  HAPPY THANKSGIVING:
It’s not too early to plan for a Thanksgiving dinner in New England.
This is the link for Thanksgiving feasts at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Reservations REQUIRED.  Choose between the two feasts listed below:  
http://www.plimoth.org/dining-functions/thanksgiving-dining-special-events/thanksgiving-dining  or call 1-800-262-9356  ext. 8353, 8364, 8365

Thanksgiving Day Buffet, Thursday, 27 November 2014 at the following times: 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm and 6pm

Classic “America’s Thanksgiving Dinner”, Thursday, 27 November 2014 at the following times, 11am, 2:30pm SOLD OUT, 6pm AND Friday, 28 November 2014 at 1pm


This is the link for the two different Thanksgiving feasts at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  Again, reservations are required:

Traditional Thanksgiving Feast at the Bullard Tavern, Thursday, 27 November 2014, call 508-347-0285

Thanksgiving Buffet at the Oliver Wight Tavern, Thursday, 27 November 2014, 11am to 6pm call 508-347-0285


Salem Cross Inn, Route 9, 260 West Main Street, West Brookfield, Massachusetts holds a traditional thanksgiving dinner, with hearth cooking.  Call 508-867-2345 for reservations. $10 non-refundable deposit per person to hold your spot. http://salemcrossinn.com/events/events-holiday-calendar/

Other famous landmark restaurants that serve Thanksgiving Dinner (all prix-fixe, reservations required):

Legal Seafood, most locations open for Thanksgiving, choice of roast turkey or stuffed lobster and other delicious offerings.

Top of the Hub, 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower in Boston, 4 course Thanksgiving menu, call 617-536-1775

Omni Parker House Hotel, 60 School Street, Boston, Thanksgiving buffet, with seatings at 12 noon and 2:30pm call 617-725-1660

Concord’s Colonial Inn, Concord, Massachusetts, call 978-369-9200

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, 72 Wayside Inn Road, Sudbury, Massachusetts 978-443-1776

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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Farm Tractor

Every Wednesday for more than three 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 somewhere in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #175? Scroll down to see the answer....

Today's weather vane was photographed on Route 13 in Milford, New Hampshire at the Chappell Tractor business. It is right next to the entrance and exit ramps for Route 101.  This is a great example of advertising art.  The three dimensional farm tractor has wonderful details, and the photograph really shows some of the ones that are invisible to the eye from the road.  Can you see the steering wheel and little saddle seat?

Chappell Tractor-  http://www.chappelltractor.com/

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

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Copyright 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday~ Another case of genealogical serendipity!

I photographed these two tombstones while I was wandering around the Central Cemetery in Beverly, Massachusetts looking for my 3rd great grandparent’s gravestones (Peter Hoogerzeil and Eunice Stone).  I never found my ancestors, but I thought that perhaps I was related to these Emersons.

I was right! These are two wives of Rev. Joseph Emerson (he was married three times).  He was called to be the first minister of the Third Congregational Church of Beverly on 21 September 1803.  He was my 2nd cousin six generations removed, born in Hollis, New Hampshire on 13 October 1777.  His grandfather, Daniel Emerson (1716 – 1801) was the brother of Brown Emerson (1704 – 1774), my 6th great grandfather.  This family was full of ministers.  The first Emerson in this lineage was Reverend Joseph Emerson (1620 – 1680) of Concord, Massachusetts, who married the daughter of Rev. Edward Bulkeley (1614 – 1696), Concord’s first minister.   My 4th great grandfather, Romanus Emerson (1782 – 1852) had four brothers- all ministers (Romanus had a speech impediment and never made it to being a pastor).  Even cousin Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), studied to be a minister, too, at Harvard Divinity School and was an assistant at Boston’s Second Congregational Church.



Nancy, the wife of Joseph Emerson
born May 28, 1779. married Oct. 19
1803. died June 15, 1804.

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband"
What armies of endearments throng the soul!
My Nancy, I'm become thy pupil now,
"Now will I take my leave, so soon to follow."
May her dying counsels live in the hearts of
her surviving friends, may her living virtues
and graces flourish in their lives; and the
sublime serenity of her death prove more
than a pillow for theirs.



The wife of Joseph Emerson was
born Dec. 19, 1777, married July 15,
1805, and died Nov. 7, 1808.

She was remarkable for mental vigor
and bodily infirmities, for animat-
ing cheerfulness under much pain,
for rich resources of mind with
little reading; for performing the 
useful labors of a long life in a few
years; for the most lively and tender
attachment to her connexions and
friends; with the most sublime and
diffusive benevolence to all mankind.
Fond pupil pause, with deep concern receive
The solemn lesson that the dead can give.
What tho for thee, she toils and weeps no more
Nor charms thee now with intellectual store:
[the rest is buried under the sod]

Researching ministers is wonderful.  If you have a minister in your family, you are very lucky because they leave lots of documents and records behind for you to find.  I usually start with Google.  There might be links to sermons, ceremonies, books, biographies and even church bulletins at the Google Book search.  I found the Simmons College thesis that mentioned Rev. Joseph Emerson (see below) via Google.  Most ministers go to a college, university or divinity school, and these places have archives you can search online, visit in person, or call and speak to an archivist.  Many churches have historians or secretaries, and it is worth getting friendly with them by email or in person (bring coffee and cookies). Schmoozing with church staff is perfectly acceptable, especially if you make a donation of any size.   You might find your minister ancestor’s grave right in the church yard, or nearby.  Don’t forget to search WorldCat.org for sermons and papers by or about your minister.

The Third Parish in Beverly, Massachusetts was formed from a dissenting group of Calvinists in 1802.  Most of their members came from the First Parish, which had become Unitarian.  Eventually this parish became the Dane Street Congregational Church in 1837.  This is the same church where my Dad went to Sunday school, and where I was baptized.  This church is located within walking distance of the Central Cemetery, and these tombstones face Dane Street, near the fence on the sidewalk.  Isn’t that serendipity?

Reverend Joseph Emerson graduated Harvard College in 1801.  He was ordained at Beverly as pastor of the Third Church on 21 September 1803 and resigned in 1816 for health reasons. He established the Young Ladies’ Seminary in 1821 (Mary Lyon, who founded Mt. Holyoke College, was his student).  He died at Wethersfield, Connecticut on 13, May 1833.  He married first Nancy Eaton on 19 October 1803.  She died in 1804 (see the tombstone above).  He married second to Eleanor Read in July 1805, and she died in 1808.  He married third to Rebecca Haseltine in 1810.

Rev. Joseph Emerson and Rebecca Haseltine had a son, Luther (1810 – 1867) who was the minister in Amherst and Highland County, Virginia.  You can see his grave, at the Shemariah Church Cemetery in Augusta County,  at this link http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=23261746 .  Reverend Luther Emerson was born in Beverly in 1810.

Another son, Alfred Emerson (1812 – 1896) graduated from Yale and from the Andover Theological Seminary.  He was a professor at Western Reserve College, and then served as a Congregational pastor at South Berwick, Maine and in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.   See this link for a biography: http://wheatoncollege.edu/college-history/1890s/reverend-alfred-emerson/   I told you that the Emerson family was full of ministers, and here is more proof! 

For the truly curious:

If you have New England Puritan or Congregational ministers in your family tree, an invaluable resource is the Congregational Church Library, 14 Beacon Street, Boston, Massachusetts  http://www.congregationallibrary.org/ and telephone 617-523-0470.  Their library is open Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm and by appointment, free to the public.

Book on Rev. Joseph Emerson, Life of Rev. Joseph Emerson, Pastor of the Third Congregational Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, by Rev. Ralph Emerson, 1834 (Ralph was the brother of Joseph Emerson, also a Congregational minister in Norfolk, Connecticut and a professor of Ecclesiastical History at Andover Theological Seminary).

A Master’s Degree thesis from Simmons College mentions Rev. Joseph Emerson and the history of the Third Parish:   “Congregationalism Divided: A Case Study of Beverly, Massachusetts’ First Parish Congregational Church Split, 1802 – 1834” by Caitlin Lampman, 30 April 2013, online at this link:

The Dane Street Congregational Church website  http://www.danestchurch.org/about/history

For more information on the Emerson family and their many ministers, see the book The Bulkeley Genealogy by Donald Lines Jacobus, 1933.

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Copyright ©2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo