Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Coat of Arms?

I post a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've found 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 or unusual weathervanes, too!

Today's weather vane is from a very historic place in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weathervane #228?  Scroll down to find the answer

Today's weathervane is located over the entrance to the visitor center at the House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts.  This weathervane appears to be a coat of arms, with a tiny unicorn or horse above the escutcheon (shield).   I searched the internet for images of the Turner, Ingersoll, Hawthorne and Emmerton coats of arms, but none matched this image on the weathervane.

The House of Seven Gables was originally built in Salem, Massachusetts1668 by John Turner.  Three generations of Turners lived here before it was sold to the Ingersoll family.  Nathaniel Hawthorne's cousin married into this family, which is why he was familiar with the house and used it in his famous novel The House of Seven Gables.  In the early 20th century, the house was preserved by Caroline Emmerton, and turned in to a museum to profit a settlement house in Salem. It opened to the public for tours in 1910.

My great great grandfather, Abijah Franklin Hitchings (1841 - 1910) and his family lived at 21 Hardy Street, which is now the parking lot for the House of Seven Gables. He was the deputy customs collector at the US custom house, just a few blocks away.  The visitor center with this weathervane sits at the edge of the parking area.  It is interesting to note that the museum opened the year that A. F. Hitchings died.

The House of Seven Gables website    

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


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ A Coat of Arms?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 30, 2015 ( :  accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ George W. Davis (1831 - 1880), Hooksett, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Riverside Cemetery, Hooksett, New Hampshire

Sept. 3, 1880
AE. 48 yrs, 10ms
16 ds. 

George W. Davis, born 20 October 1831 in Meredith, New Hampshire, died 5 September 1880 in Hooksett, New Hampshire; married Rosetta Maria Eastman on 29 September 1853 in Manchester, New Hampshire.  She was the daughter of Stephen Clough Eastman and Ruhama Betsey Rogers, born 16 October 1829 in Orange, Vermont, died 1 September 1924 in Antioch, Illinois and was buried in Hooksett, New Hampshire.  She remarried to Daniel Ordway on 13 May 1881.

The fraternal symbols of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (the three links of chain) and the Masons (the compass and square) are on George W. Davis’s tombstone.

1. Cora Belle born 1853 m. Edward Sloan d. 13 March 1932 in Waukegan, Illinois
2. George C. Davis, born 25 August 1858 in Hopkinton, NH?, d. 25 August 1859        
3. Clarence G. born 25 August 1858, died 1863
4. Georgie St. Clair , born 28 May 1866 in Manchester, New Hampshire, died 1873
5. Alice, born 1867


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ George W. Davis (1831 - 1880), Hooksett, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 29, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Monday, September 28, 2015

October 17th Find A Grave Community Day

Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire

On Saturday, October 17, there will be meetups at local cemeteries to take photos, videos, tours, and share stories.  Your contributions to Find A Grave will be celebrated and shared via social media.  At the meetup you can bring friends and family, meet other volunteers and upload photos to the Find A Grave website.

If you aren’t already a member of Find A Grave, consider becoming a photo volunteer and learn how to fulfill photo requests for the Find A Grave website.  It is free, and your participation is more than welcome.

Last year in 2014 there were meetups at over 100 cemeteries and over 250,000 photos were contributed. 

You can find a meetup at the “Meetup Page”  or just head to your favorite cemetery to participate on your own. 

You can also organize your own Meetup and have it listed on the Meetup Page. See the blog post below for more details on adding your local event to the page.

Use #FGDay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share the fun!

Find A Grave (get the free mobile app!)

Find A Grave on Facebook

From the Ancestry blog

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ WEST of Beverly, Massachusetts

My mother, my little sister, my grandmother Gertrude (Hitchings) Allen, and me
all taking a winter walk on West Beach in Beverly, Massachusetts in 1970.
The pier you see behind us was destroyed in the Blizzard of 1978.


John West was only 11 years old when he arrived in Massachusetts on board the ship Abigail in 1635.  He was probably a servant, listed under the name of William Fuller, age 25.  In the History of Ipswich, Essex and Hamilton, Massachusetts by J. B. Felt, John West is named as one of the first settlers at Ipswich.  He sold his house to John Woodman and remove to nearby Beverly.  He was admitted to the church in Salem in 1648 (there was no church yet in Beverly), and he was named a representative to the General Court for the town of Beverly in 1677. 

 In the early records of Beverly you can read “John WEST Departed this Life 6 Oct 1683, Aged about 68 yrs ."   His estate was granted to Thomas West.  The Salem court records mentioned his wife, former husband, Henry Ley [LEE].  The land was at the end of West Street near today’s West Beach in Beverly Farms, a section of Beverly near the Manchester border.  In the Essex Institute Historical Collections, 1920, pages 212 – 213 you can read “The eastern end of West street was a causeway three hundred and sixty-three feet in length. John West or his son Capt. Thomas West had contracted to keep it in repair; and, Jan. 21, 1750, Robert Haskell, Benjamin Woodbury, Mary Woodbury, widow of Capt. Robert Woodbury, deceased, Mary West alias Martin and Henry Herrick, jr., guardian of the heirs of Thomas West [Jr.], all of Beverly, agreed to divide the causeway into seven parts, which each respectively was to keep in repair.”  This is my lineage – John West, the immigrant to his son, Captain Thomas West, to his grand daughter, Mary (West) Woodbury.

Robert Charles Anderson, in his Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, Volume VII, page 301, says that there are no further records of John West after his passage on the Abigail.  Anderson believes that the John West in the Ipwich and Beverly records is a different John West.

I disagree, and I think there is evidence that Captain Thomas West of Beverly might be the son of John West.  Thomas West was made a freeman in Beverly on 11 May 1670.  In the Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume 2, George Francis Dow, page 299 – 300 there is are lengthy notes of a court case of William Cressey v. Mordecai Larcom and his wife Elizabeth, in 1661, for slander “In saying that he would have come to bed to said Elizabeth.”

In this book the testimony for the case names a visit to the home of John West, who lived at Beverly Farms near the Larcom family.  There is also the testimony of “Deliverance Frensh, of Glocester, deposed that, June 27, 1661, being at Goodman Larcum's house, Thomas West, son of John West, and Elizabeth Jackson, maid servant to Goodman West, came in and asked to see Goodman Cresse's boy”  Later that year, on 12 December 1661 Thomas West married Elizabeth Jackson.  Here he is named as the son of John West.

My WEST genealogy:

Generation 1: John West, born about 1616 probably in England, died 6 October 1683 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married to Mary Unknown.  Three children.  She died 2 April 1675 in Beverly.

Generation 2:  Captain Thomas West, born about 1641, died 28 March 1723 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married on 12 December 1661 in Beverly to Elizabeth Jackson, daughter of John Jackson and Katherine Unknown.  She was born about 1642 and died 12 October 1708 in Beverly. Nine children.

Generation 3: Mary West, born 4 May 1676 in Beverly, died 6 December 1758 in Beverly; married on 11 December 1693 in Chebacco Parish (now Essex) of Ipswich to Robert Woodbury, son of Isaac Woodbury and Mary Wilkes.  He was born 8 June 1672 in Beverly and died about 1751.  Nine children and I descend from two sons, Robert and Isaac Woodbury.

Lineage A:

Generation 4: Robert Woodbury m.  Priscilla Ellingwood
Generation 5: Robert Woodbury m. Hannah Preston
Generation 6: Molly Woodbury m. Westley Burnham
Generation 7: Henry Burnham m. Sally Poland
Generation 8: Sarah Ann Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 9: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 10: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Lineage B:

Generation 4: Isaac Woodbury m. Abigail Herrick
Generation 5: Lydia Woodbury m. Humphrey Bray
Generation 6:  Humphrey Bray m. Molly Herrick
Generation 7: Polly Bray m. Asa Burnham
Generation 8: Lydia W. Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 9:  Samuel Mears m. Sarah Ann Burnham (see above)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ WEST of Beverly, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 26, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Romanus Emerson's 1852 Last Will and Testament Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.  page 257, case  #38100

“Boston, February 14, 1852, I Romanus Emerson of Boston, in the County of Suffolk, and State of Massachusetts, housewright, do hereby give, will and devise, to Jemima Emerson, the wife of my youth, and my old age, all the property I may be possessed of both Real and Personal, at the time of my decease, to be at her disposal, precisely the same, as if I should outlive her the said Jemima Emerson, it would be at my disposal.

                Furthermore, I appoint the said Jemima Emerson my wife, the executrix of all my Real and personal Estate, which I may be possess of at the time of my decease.    Romanus Emerson
Signed in presence of us, John G. Lawton, Davies Dodge, James Dunlap S. S. At a Probate Court holden at Boston, within and for the County of Suffolk, on the Thirteenth day of December, in the year 1852, By the Honorable Edward G. Loring, Esquire, Judge of the Probate of Wills do. 

The answered will being presented Jemima Emerson, widow, the Executrix therein named for Probate, and the said Jemima, having given public notice pursuant to my order, which is on file in Said Court, to all persons interested therein to appear here this day and show cause if any they have either for or against the probate thereof, and no person appearing to object thereto John J. Lawton and Davis Dodge appear and make Oath, that they saw the said Romanus sign and heard him publish the same Instrument as his last Will and Testament, and that he was then to the best of their discernment, of a sound disposing mind and memory and that they, James Dunlop, who is absent from the Commonwealth, subscribed their names thereto as witnessed, in the presence of said Testator, and of each other and I do proved, approve and allow the same, and order it to Recorded.--

Given under my hand, and Seal of Office, the day and year above written
Edw. G. Loring Judge of Probate"


I've written about Romanus Emerson, my 4th great grandfather, many times on this blog.  He was the son of John Emerson and Katherine Eaton, born 1 September 1782 in Townsend, Massachusetts, and he died 10 October 1852.  This will was dated eight months before his death, so perhaps he was approaching his final illness? His wife was Jemima Burnham, who outlived him by another fifteen years. 

Romanus was a controversial figure in Boston.  He was the brother of several famous ministers, and from a family of very famous Puritan and Congregational ministers, including even his cousin Ralph Waldo Emerson who also started out life as a minister but later became a philosopher and writer.  According to two different family compiled genealogy books, Romanus wanted to be a minister, too, but had a speech impediment which prevented him from preaching. [The Bulkely Genealogy, by Donald Lines Jacobus, page 385 and also in The Ipswich Emersons, by Benjamin Kendall Emerson, 1900, pages 211 - 212]

The Ipswich Emersons also states "He possessed strong reasoning powers and was an original and independent thinker, was very tenacious of conclusions; for pride in his opinions did not permit him to yield easily.  Till late in life he adhered rigidly to opinions usually held orthodox in religious matters.  Ultimately, he renounced all previous religious opinions and died in speculative unbelief.  Such speculations, however, did not affect his general character.  His power of virtuous habit was too strong and abiding."  

In other words, Romanus was an atheist, but he called himself an "infidel".  This must have been very shocking in early 1800s Boston.  He founded a newspaper for infidels and wrote essays about atheism, and attended meetings of the "Infidel Society".  He shocked his family, and the whole city of Boston, by requesting his own self written eulogy be read at his funeral, and that he NOT be buried in a Christian cemetery.  His wife, Jemima, disobeyed his requests and gave him a traditional funeral and burial. You can read about his controversial funeral HERE and his equally controversial burial at this link HERE. 

Because of these controversies, I'm curious about this illegible little line added to the probate record.  I can't read it.  Can you?  Does it mention his strange last wishes about his burial and funeral? 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Romanus Emerson's 1852 Last Will and Testament", Nutfield Genealogy,  posted September 24, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen over a Bank

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started out by publishing only weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes from all over New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are very interesting.  Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes.

Today's weather vane is from somewhere on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #227?  Scroll down to see the answer...

Today's weathervane was photographed over the People's United Bank in on Dodge Street in Beverly, Massachusetts.  It is a highly detailed, three dimensional three masted ship.  I wonder if it is supposed to represent the Hannah.  However, the USS Hannah was a schooner (two masts), and was the first naval vessel commissioned by the United States Navy in 1777 and set sail from Beverly.

The USS Hannah was owned by the in-laws of Brigadier General John Glover of Marblehead, and named for his wife, Hannah (Gale) Glover.   John Glover is my 7th great grand uncle, brother to my 7th great grandfather, Daniel Glover.  General John Glover was a maritime hero during the Revolutionary War.

USS Hannah at Wikipedia

People's United Bank
63 Dodge Street
Beverly, Massachusetts

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


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Seen over a Bank", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 23 September 2015 ( : accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Edwin N. Pratt, an unusual Civil War tombstone

The tombstone was photographed at the Parsons Cemetery in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine by 
my friend and fellow genealogy blogger, June Stearns Butka of "Dame Gussie's Genealogy Rants".  At our recent blogger bash she gave me these interesting photographs to write about.

a veteran volunteer in Co. H.
1st Me. Heavy Artillery,
died at Fort Simmons
Washington D.C.
May 2, 1864
AE. 19 yrs, 4 mos.
Son of Roswell B. & Cynthia
The morning came but the angel of death
Had passed o'er the camp and they found him
Asleep, like a Christian, soldier at rest,
With the emblems of warfare around him.

I was interested in learning more about this tombstone because of the unique carving of the soldier and the American flag.  I've never seen anything like this on any other Civil War tombstone. 

Edwin N. Pratt was born about 1844 to Roswell Barrows Pratt and Cynthia Whitcomb.  His mother died before the 1850 census of Foxcroft.  His sister Jennie (Jane) Kenney and his parents are buried in the Parsons Cemetery, too.  Edwin enlisted as a volunteer in the Civil War for the 22nd Maine, and then re-enlisted in the 18th Maine (later organized as the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery).  He was the only son of the family.  

The 1st Maine had one of the highest casualty rates of the war. It served to defend Washington DC and was reassigned to the Army of the Potomac in the spring of 1864.  Edwin Pratt died just weeks before the Battle of Petersburg, where the greatest single loss of life in a Union regiment occured.  7 officers and 108 men were killed, and another 25 officers and 464 men were wounded (67% of the 900 man force).  

According to the regimental history book The First Maine Heavy Artillery 1862 - 1865, by Horace H. Shaw, 1903, page 430, Edwin N. Pratt died May 2, 1864 at Fort Sumner, Washington, DC, of fever. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Edwin N. Pratt, an unusual Civil War tombstone", Nufield Genealogy, post September 22, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Surname Saturday ~ WINDOW of Gloucester, Massachusetts


Richard Window, my 10th great grandfather, was married three times.  The first wife (unnamed) appears in the Gloucester records when he was called before the court for living without his wife.  He proved that he had sent for her to come from England, but she wouldn’t . He had to prove she was dead before he could remarry.  The next records show that  Window built a house in West Gloucester after marrying, Elinor, the widow of John Bennett.  This house is still standing at 11 Lincoln Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts. 

Richard Window was a house carpenter, and later he was chosen to be the constable.  He served as a town selectman in 1654.  My WINDOW lineage daughters out with his only child, Anna, who married Humphrey Woodbury in 1671.  He later married Bridget, the widow of James Travers.  We don’t know the maiden name of any of his three wives! 

 Richard Window signed his will on 2 May 1665 and died on 5 June 1665.   He had already sold his homestead to William Haskell in 1652. This house on Lincoln Street is now known as The Haskell House.  It is serendipity that William Haskell is also my 10th great grandfather in another lineage! 

When Richard Window made his will, Haskell was one of the overseers who signed the will and who oversaw  Anthony Bennett (Window’s stepson) in 1666 until he chose a guardian.  His third, surviving wife, Bridget, petitioned the court because she had been left destitute in the will, all the estate having been left to his children.  The court ordered the administrators to leave her a cow.

For more information on Richard Window:

file:///C:/Users/Heather/Downloads/The_Monograph_Series_Excerpt.pdf see page 3 of the article “The Interior Details and Furnishings of the William Haskell Dwelling built before 1650 at West Gloucester, Massachusetts” for a description of Richard Window’s property.

History of the Town and City of Gloucester, Massachusetts. By James R. Pringle, 1892, page 53

Also see The Essex County Quarterly Court Files for the probate records of Richard Window’s will (EQC Volume 10, leaf 148), Anthony Bennett’s guardianship (Ipswich Quarterly Court Records Volume 1, page 150) and his widow’s petition  ( EQC Volume 11, leaf 133 and EQC Vol. 4, page 162).

My WINDOW genealogy:

Generation 1:  Richard Window, died 5 June 1665 in Gloucester, Massachusetts; married first to Unkown before 1649 probably in England;  married second about 1652 to Elinor Unknown, widow of John Bennett;  married third on 30 March 1659 in Gloucester to Bridget Unknown, widow of Henry Tavers and Daniel Goodwin.

Generation 2: Anna Window, daughter of Richard Window and Elinor, baptized on 19 February 1654 in Gloucester, died 28 February 1728 in Gloucester; married on 10 October 1671 in Gloucester to Humphrey Woodbury, son of Humphrey Woodbury and Elizabeth Hunter.  Eleven children.

Generation 3:  Susanna Woodbury m. John Bray
Generation 4: Humphrey Bray m. Lydia Woodbury
Generation 5:  Humphrey Bray m. Molly Herrick
Generation 6: Polly Bray m. Asa Burnham
Generation 7: Lydia W. Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 8: Samuel Mears m. Sarah Ann Burnham
Generation 9: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 10: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 11:  Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ WINDOW of Gloucester, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 19, 2015, ( : accessed [access date]).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Another Royal Wedding - 16 September 1862

I originally blogged about this story on 29 December 2010 HERE

During my research trip in Hawaii, I found this wedding certificate of Princess Lili'uokalani and John Owen Dominis at the Bishop Museum Library, in Honolulu. I was going to blog about the wedding, but I changed my mind and decided to blog about the process behind getting the permission to show you this wedding certificate.

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. - Mat. xix: 6
This certifies that John O. Dominis, Esq.
of Honolulu was married to Miss
Lydia K. Paki of Honolulu
in accordance with the Laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
                                 Samuel C. Damon
                                                    Pastor of Bethel Union Church
Honolulu, Sept. 16, 1862.

This document is from the Bishop Museum Archives, Ms MC Liliuokalani Box 3.34, Marriage Certificate of John Dominis and Liliuokalani, 16 September 1862. Click on the image to enlarge.

When I was a child, being related to Queen Lili'uokalani was a family myth. My very first blog post in 2009 was the story of how I proved the myth of "Auntie Lydia" to be the last Queen of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In 2010 and in 2013 I took research trips to Hawaii, which was fun not only because of the wonderful archives and museums, but for the chance to meet many new cousins. I've posted some of the letters I found in the Hawaii State Archives to this blog. The Bishop Museum was different from the Archives, since it is a private institution with strict rules governing the distribution of images from its archive.

A young Liliuokalani,
before she became Princess or Queen

This document is very interesting in several ways. First, it lists the bride as Lydia K. Paki (Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī was the name she was known as, Lydia Kamakaʻeha Kaola Maliʻi Liliʻuokalani was the name she was born with, and Lili'uokalani was her royal name) . The groom, John Owen Dominis, is my first cousin, 4 generations removed. His mother, Mary Lambert (Jones) Dominis was the sister to my 4x great grandmother Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger.

The minister of the wedding ceremony was Samuel Chenery Damon, who was born in Holden, Massachusetts on 15 February 1815. He was a missionary from the First Congregational Church in Holden, where I grew up, was confirmed and married in the same Congregational church. Another coincidence, the Damon and the Dominis family plots are side by side in the O'ahu cemetery in Honolulu. This is why I made a copy of the certificate when I was in Hawaii. So much fun family information on one small piece of paper!

Governor John Owen Dominis

For the first time on my blog, or ever in my research, I had to write for formal permission to use an image. Usually attributing a source for an image is fine, or just obtaining permission via an email or a letter is enough, but in this case it proved to be a lengthy process. I started by sending an email to the Bishop Museum library, which was answered right away by Leah Caldeira of the archives. In her return email she stated "Usually we would charge a usage fee for anything going on the web. However, since this is family genealogical site - we will grant permissions without requiring payment provided that you put up a low resolution image (72 dpi) and cite Bishop Museum MS MC Liliuokalani Box 3.34 as your source. In addition, we would like you to complete the attached order form. We'll use this form as a record of your request and the first part of a contractual agreement for image use. We will provide you with a signed permissions statement granting you use of the image on your website as soon as we receive your form..."

I immediately began to fill out the proper form, and of course I had questions, so the email went back and forth a few times between New Hampshire and Hawaii. I mailed the form to the Bishop Museum in the first week of December. I received an email stating that the form was incomplete (my own fault) and so we went back and forth, and I had to mail a check for $10. Several weeks later, the day before Christmas Eve, I received the final email with permission to go ahead with the request, and the image was attached.

Of course, this lengthy process not only protected their rights to the image, but it allowed them to produce the image itself, scanned at the proper resolution and also protected the quality of the image associated with the Bishop Museum. Throughout the whole process, I understood that they were being very generous in allowing me to use the image without payment. The $10 transaction was only the fee for the scan. Usage fees are usually applied, which can cost much more, and involve hiring legal counsel. According to the form I filled out "Manipulation of the image is subject to restrictions. Advance written permission is required to crop or use a detail from an image" as well as strict instructions on how to cite the source of the image.

Hopefully, you might consider this whole process very carefully when asking permission to use images. Private institutions might also require you to sign releases and pay usage fees for your own genealogical purposes, too. When I saw the process and fee, I was tempted to forfeit the whole idea of posting the image on my blog, but then I saw the value in learning about the process. I never know when I might need to go through this again!

The Bishop Museum Research Library, Honolulu, Hawaii


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Another Royal Wedding - 16 September 1862", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 18, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Steeple Renovations for the First Parish Church, East Derry, New Hampshire

One of the very first posts I ever wrote for my blog back in 2009 was about the First Parish Church in East Derry, New Hampshire.  You can read all about it HERE.  I’ve written about the Forest Hill Cemetery behind this church too many times to list all the links here.  It has been featured on Weathervane Wednesday, too. 

The First Parish Church in East Derry was named to the “Seven to Save” list in 2009, by the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.  Being named to this list has brought awareness of the danger of losing the historical building, and the congregation has worked hard to raise the funds for renovations. This year, the steeple has been removed for reconstruction.

The church building was built in 1769, and the steeple was added in 1824.  It is of timber frame construction.   Although the structure is in good condition, it still needs an estimated $1.5 to $2 million dollars worth of repairs. The steeple was in the worst condition.  It was decided to remove the steeple before winter and to begin the repairs in time for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the church. 

The Presbyterian congregation was founded in 1719 by Reverend James McGregor, who had brought his flock with him from Aghadowey in Northern Ireland to Nutfield, later renamed Londonderry, New Hampshire.  The church is now a Congregational church.  

I went over to see the church a few days ago, and to photograph the steeple renovations.  Next door, at the East Derry library, a librarian kindly copied a press release about the rehabilitation project for me.  The information you see here came from that press release.

On September 9th a large timber framed section of the steeple was carefully removed and placed on the front lawn of the church.  This section contains the belfry and lantern.  A temporary roof was built above the clock, which remains above the church. 

More repairs are scheduled for the next few years including lifting the entire church for foundation work, slate roof rehabilitation, and some interior finishes.  Hopefully the entire project will be completed by the time of the 300th anniversary celebrations!

The back of the church seen from Forest Hill Cemetery

For high resolution graphics files on the renovation work, please contact Paul Lindemann of Derry, New Hampshire at or at Twitter @nuthist 

For video of the steeple removal see , a project by Paul Lindemann.

The First Parish Congregational Church, UCC
47 E. Derry Road
PO Box 114
East Derry, NH  03041

“First Parish Church”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 1, 2009

"Weathervane Wednesday ~ Two Derry Churches", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 9, 2011, 

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Steeple Renovations for the First Parish Church, East Derry, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 17, 2015, ( : accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Over the Girl Scout Office

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started out by publishing only weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes from all over New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are very interesting.  Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes.

Today's weather vane is from somewhere in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #226?  Scroll down to see the answer...

Today's weathervane was spotted above the offices of the Girl Scouts in North Andover, Massachusetts, on Route 114.  I often pass this way between New Hampshire and my relatives on the North Shore of Massachusetts.  The former name of this Girl Scout Council was "Spar and Spindle".  This weathervane is a two dimensional depiction of this, showing the maritime and early textile mill history of this area of Massachusetts.

It is difficult to see what this weathervane is unless you use binoculars or a zoom lens on a camera.  However, it is a clever weathervane if you know the history of New England and the historical name of this Girl Scout council!

If you are wondering - a spar is a mast or yardarm on a ship, and a spindle is used in spinning cotton or wool into thread for weaving.  Here is a photo of a spindle used in a textile mill in Lowell.  On this weathervane you can see the thread wound around the spindle.

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
1740 Turnpike Street
North Andover, Massachusetts

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


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Over the Girl Scout Office", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 16, 2015
( : accessed {access date]). 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Horace Bonney, died 1892 in Hooksett, New Hampshire

This family plot was photographed at the Riverside Cemetery, in Hooksett, New Hampshire.

FEB. 26, 1815
SEPT. 13, 1893
his wife
Nov. 24, 1834.
Sept. 17, 1883

The twins, Horace and Hannibal Bonney, were born on 26 February 1815 in Winthrop, Maine.  They both joined the First United States Dragoons in Boston on 6 September 1833, when they turned 18 years old.  This regiment was sent west to fight in the Indian Wars, where they remained until they turned 21 and tried to return to New England.  While on the way home they enlisted in the Texas army under the Texas Republic.  Then they enlisted in New Orleans for six months in the fight against the Seminoles in Florida, under the command of General Persifer Smith.  They finally returned to Maine for another five years, and then reenlisted again in the First Dragoons for another five years under the service of Captain Nathan Boone, the youngest son of Daniel Boone.  

Horace Bonney came home to New Hampshire and was the proprietor of the Ayer House, a hotel in Hooksett.  His brother, Hannibal, served on the police force of New York City and then bought the Penacook House, a hotel in Penacook (it was known as Bonney’s Hotel).  Both brothers were members of the Amoskeag Veterans in Manchester.

Horace and Hannibal were the sons of James Bonney and Cynthia Cole, and grandsons of Isaac Bonney and Hannah Soule.  They were descendants of Mayflower passengers George Soule,  Captain Myles Standish,  James Chilton, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens.

Hannibal Bonney married Ellen Dill, and he died on 13 December 1902 in Boscawen, New Hampshire.  He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Penacook. 

Horace Bonney married Julia Varney, the daughter of Richard Varney and Sofia Balkum.  He died on 13 September 1893 in Hooksett.  He is buried at the Riverside Cemetery on the banks of the Merrimack River, on Route 3A (River Road) in Hooksett.

Some BONNEY resources:

“A Veteran of Two Wars, and Some of his Comrades” by John C. Linehan, The Granite Monthly:  A new Hampshire Magazine Devoted to History, Volume 29, pages 96 – 102.

Calvin Fairbanks Bonney and Harriott Cheney Bonney:  A Tribute, by Sherman Grant Bonney, 1930.  Chapter 4 is all about the Bonney twins, Horace and Hannibal.   


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Horace Bonney, died 1892 in Hooksett, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted on September 15, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 New England Geneabloggers Bash

New England Geneabloggers in attendance (left to right back row):
Russ Worthington, Erica Voolich, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, Barbara Matthews
Click on the names for the blog links. 

Thanks to Elizabeth and Steve Handler for hosting a lovely afternoon at their seaside home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts for the New England Geneablogger Bash.  Everyone brought lots of delicious goodies to share a pot luck meal, including snappy red hot dogs from Maine, pastries from Rhode Island, baked beans from New Hampshire and fresh corn from New Jersey!  There were lots of interesting conversations on the front porch including scheduling blog posts, turning your blog into a book (not a blog book, but an actual family history book), and other interesting genealogy blogger topics. 

Our hosts- Elizabeth and Steven Handler

The best part of the day was spent just watching the boats go by as we all enjoyed new and old friendships!

You can't beat that!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "2015 New England Geneabloggers Bash", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 12, 2015, (  accessed [access date]).

Surname Saturday ~ WILLIAMS of Salem and Manchester, Massachusetts

The following post has been revised in April 2016 
See this post for explanations:


George Williams, my 9th great grandfather, is of unknown origins.  He was a cooper in Salem, Massachusetts who became a freeman there on 14 May 1634.  He owned land at Jeffrey’s Creek, which became the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and a houselot by the current William Street, which intersects Washington Square North by the Salem Common.

His will, dated 23 September 1654 mentioned his wife Marie (Mary) and his children, including Sara who was due a double portion “in respect of her infirmitie”. His wife’s will was dated 1 October 1654 and proved 29 November 1654 left a large portion of her estate to Sara.  The court ordered on 1 December 1654 that Joseph and George Williams, Jr. were to live with their older brother John until they were 21 years old, and Bethia was to be “put out to a good family”. 

Joseph Williams is my 8th great grandfather. He was also a cooper.  I descend from two of his three children, Abigail and Daniel, who married ALLEN siblings from Manchester. My mother’s maiden name was ALLEN, from another branch of this same family from Manchester.

Some sources for the WILLIAMS family:

Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, Volume III, pages 2002 – 2005 for a sketch of George Williams and his family.

A description of the Salem house and house lot owned by George Williams and left to his son John, and sold to Samuel Williams, can be found in The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 8, page 75.

My WILLIAMS genealogy:

Generation 1:  George Williams, born about 1605 probably in England, died between 23 September 1654 and 18 October 1654 in Salem, Massachusetts; married before 1630 to Mary Unknown.  She died between 1 October 1654 and 17 November 1654, probably surviving her husband a few days or weeks. Eight children.

Generation 2: Joseph Williams, baptized on 10 May 1640 in Salem, Massachusetts, died about 1696; married on 20 November 1661 in Salem to Sarah Browning, daughter of Thomas Browning and Mary Hindes.  Three children, and I descend from two of them.

Lineage A:

Generation 3: Abigail Williams, born 7 July 1663 probably in Manchester, Massachusetts; married on 17 March 1686 in Marblehead, Massachusetts to Samuel Allen, son of Samuel Allen and Sarah Tuck. Nine children and I descend from two of them.  Abigail died unmarried

These generations are descendants of Abigail Williams (daughter of Jenkin Williams and Abigail Cloyes) and Samuel Allen  - not descendants of George Williams above. 
Generation 4:  Abigail Allen m. Nehemiah Preston
Generation 5: Hannah Preston m. Robert Woodbury
Generation 6: Molly Woodbury m. Westley Burnham
Generation 7: Henry Burnham m. Sally Poland
Generation 8: Sarah Ann Burnham m. Samuel Mears
Generation 9: Sarah Burnham Mears m. Joseph Gilman Allen
Generation 10: Joseph Elmer Allen m. Carrie Maude Batchelder
Generation 11: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)


Generation 4: Jeremiah Allen m. Lydia Tuck
Generation 5: Jeremiah Allen m. Eunice Gardner
Generation 6: Abigail Allen m. Comfort Haley
Generation 7: Comfort Haley m. Rebecca Crosby
Generation 8: Joseph Edwin Healey m. Matilda Weston
Generation 9: Mary Etta Healey m. Peter Hoogerzeil
Generation 10: Florence Etta Hoogerzeil m. Arthur Treadwell Hitchings
Generation 11: Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (see above)

Lineage B:

Generation 4: Daniel Williams, born 3 February 1672 in Manchester, died 1758 in Beverly, Massachusetts; married Alice Allen, daughter of Samuel Allen and Sarah Tuck (see above, two WILLIAMS siblings married two ALLEN siblings.  She was born 20 September 1674 in Manchester. Six children.     

The following generations are descendants of Daniel Williams (son of Jenkin Williams and Abigail Cloyes) and Alice Allen.  They are NOT descendants of George Williams. 

Generation 5: Ruth Williams, born 13 June 1710 in Manchester; married Moses Platts on 2 December 1731 in Gloucester, Massachusetts, son of Moses Platts and Hannah Platts.  He was born 9 April 1707 in Rowley, Massachusetts and died before 1753 on an expedition to attack Louisburg, Nova Scotia.  Ruth had seven children with Moses.  She married second to Jabez Blackledge on 10 May 1753 in Rowley. She married third to Samuel Clark on 6 July 1658 in Rowley.

Generation 6: Sarah Platts m. George Southwick
Generation 7: Mary Southwick m. Robert Wilson
Generation 8: Mercy F. Wilson m. Aaron Wilkinson
Generation 9: Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 10: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 11: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Surname Saturday ~ WILLIAMS of Salem and Manchester, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy,  posted September 12, 2015 ( : accessed [access date]).

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Ten Fun Genealogy Books (that are not reference books)

Today is September 10th, and I thought I'd post another top 10 list...

Ten Fun Genealogy Books (that are not reference books).  What are your top FUN genealogy books? Please comment below. 

1.  Psychic Roots, by Henry Z. Jones, Jr. 1993.  We’ve all had those spooky moments in genealogy – Have you ever turned down a dirt road on the spur of the moment and by surprise found the family cemetery? Had a book fall off a shelf at a library, and found out it was THE book with great grandpa’s story? Found a misfiled document that solved a brick wall? Then this book is for you!  Jones also wrote More Psychic Roots for those of you who enjoyed this book.

2.  The Seven Daughters of Eve, by Bryan Sykes, 2001.  I read this book within months of its publication because I saw Bryan Sykes on a TV documentary and became hooked on his DNA theories. This book is an excellent read for lay people interested in genetic (DNA) genealogy, especially for those with European ancestry.  Sykes has written other books since then, but this is the book that got me excited about the concept of DNA genealogy.

3.  Slaves in the Family, by Edward Ball, 1998.  This book reads like a detective novel.  I was on the edge of my seat until the last chapter.  It was written before a lot of other books, articles, TV shows, etc. that describe the search for white ancestors of “black” descendants.  Fun, fun, fun for genealogists!

4.  The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell, 2009.  This book accurately describes the Puritans as they really were- highly literate and surprisingly feisty.  Sarah Vowell finds the fun in the Winthrop Fleet passengers’ lives, describing their courtroom lawsuits and feuds.  There are no uptight Yankees in this book, just a lot of fun. Not really genealogy unless you have some Puritan Great Migration ancestors, and then you'll find all your family between the pages of this book!

5.  Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649 – 1699, by Roger Thompson, reprint 2012.  Roger Thompson has written some wonderful books examining the court records of Cambridge, Watertown and Charlestown, Massachusetts.  This book takes into account the entire county of Middlesex, Massachusetts. Thompson has sifted out the most interesting court cases that shatter the traditional belief that the Puritans weren’t interesting people.  If you had ancestors from colonial Middlesex you just might find one or two inside this book.

6.  The Encyclopedia of New England, edited by Burt Feintuch and David H. Watters, 2005.  A huge book of nearly 1600 pages (7.6 pounds!) and nicely illustrated with photos, drawings and maps.  Sections include “Cities and Suburbs”, “Folklife”, “Music and Performing Arts”, “Maritime New England” and more with stories on blizzards, hurricanes, history, biographies, events, ideas, artifacts, industry and more.  I use it all the time for my family history and blogging. Visitors to our home love to peruse it for oddities and trivia.  If you have New England ancestry, it is invaluable.

7. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, by David Hackett Fischer, 1989.  Not everyone has British/English roots, but if you do, you’ll find this book answers many of your questions about the four largest migrations of British people to what is now the United States.  This book can be read from cover to cover or used as a reference.  I read the chapters on Scots Irish, Quaker, and Puritan migration over and over, and refer to them often in my research.  There is also a section on the tidewater states and their settlement by royalist cavaliers.

8. Last Laughs:  Funny Tombstone Quotes and Famous Last Words, by Kathleen E. Miller, 2006.  I had to include one gravestone book on this list, and this is the book I reach for when I need a good laugh.  It is full of humorous epitaphs, and it even tells you where they are located.  I’ve found a few of these gravestones on my travels, and you might, too, since it includes epitaphs from coast to coast and from other countries.

Some children’s books to share with everyone in the family:

9.  Becky, Grandmother of New Hampshire: An Historical Novel, by Alice I. Clark Haubrich, 1966 (out of print, but available used and in libraries)   This is a children’s book only 104 pages long, but it includes New Hampshire history and lots of genealogical charts.  Are similar books available for other states? I loved this book as a child, and even more now.

10.  An American Girls Family Album:  A Book for Writing the Memories of My Grandmothers, My Mother, and Me, by Jennifer Hirsh, 1998.  What a fun book to get three generations to work together on a project.  Is there a similar book out there for boys? My daughter completed this book on her own, asking me questions about my childhood, and including a visit to Massachusetts with my Mother to discuss her girlhood during the Great Depression and World War II, and a visit to Spain to visit her paternal grandmother to find out about her childhood during the Spanish Civil War and life under dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco.  I have this book on my shelf as a keepsake.  Maybe someday my daughter will want it for her own bookshelf. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Ten Fun Genealogy Books (that are not reference books)", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 10, 2015, ( : accessed [access date]).