Friday, August 12, 2016

A Treasure box of Documents, Ephemera and Photographs from a Dear Cousin

My dear first cousin, Lani Wilkinson, sent me this treasure box recently.  Her parents both died recently, within a year of each other, and Lani and her sister Debbie are cleaning out the house.  She was kind enough to think of me when they uncovered a lot of paperwork and unidentifiable photographs, and sent me this big box of goodies.

This branch of the Wilkinson family lives in California.  When my grandparents retired, they sold the family house in Beverly, Massachusetts, where four generations had lived, to my Dad.  They went out to California to live with my uncle and cousins.

Since my cousins lived on the West Coast and only visited Massachusetts a few times, they could not identify many of the photos.  I've been working through the photographs, with the help of some of my New England first cousins, to label all the subjects.

My grandmother's naturalization.  She was originally naturalized in Salem,
Massachusetts in 1936,  This certificate was issued in 1963.

The documents and ephemera held no surprise, and have not led to any new genealogical discoveries, but they are some wonderful items including my grandmother's naturalization papers, and her father's (my great grandfather!) naturalization.  There are deeds including the house in Beverly where all those generations lived.  The usual death records, marriage records and other vital records which will be so helpful for some upcoming supplemental Mayflower lineage applications I would like to file.  (I've been waiting for some death certificates from California, and now I have them!)

From left to right, back row -
Dorothy Pogson Davis , Hilda Roberts Pogson, Bertha Roberts Wilkinson (my grandmother), Bertha Pogson Tarbox, Marion Hurd Pogson (wife of Arthur Pogson)
front row - "Beaty" Beatrice Pogson

Some of the old photos are of the Roberts family, which arrived from Leeds, Yorkshire, England via Ellis Island in 1915.  My great grandparents, John Peter Bowden Roberts (1865 - 1925) and Emma Frances Warren (1865 - 1927), immigrated with my great uncle Horace and grandmother Bertha Louise Roberts (1897 - 1990).  They came to Beverly, Massachusetts to join their daughter, my great aunt Hilda (1891 - 1990), who had married a first cousin, Herbert Pogson (1889 - 1971).  Some members of the Roberts and Pogson family had immigrated to Massachusetts before them.  Grammy used to visit these relatives on her visits to New England. It will be fun trying to pick out "who is who" in these photos from the 1940s through the 1980s.

Bertha Louise Roberts and Donald Munroe Wilkinson
4 September 1971
My paternal grandparents
As a teenage genealogist I was lucky that I had the chance to discuss the family tree with my grandmother in the 1970s and 1980s.  I wish I knew then all the tips and research ideas I now know.   I think it was all my grandmother's stories about England and Ellis Island that originally contributed to my being bitten by the genealogy bug.

My grandmother's birth record from Leeds, Yorkshire 30 September 1897

And so, all my grandparents precious photos were passed on to my uncle, and then to my cousins, who thought of me when they found them.  I promise to take good care of them for the future generations.  I look forward to posting more photographs and stories as I sort through the treasure box.

Mom and Me, 1963 Easter
I'd never seen this photograph before! What fun!

Thank you for thinking of me, Lani!  We can't wait to see you here in New England later this year!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Treasure box of Documents, Ephemera and Photographs from a Dear Cousin", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 12, 2016, (  accessed [access date]).


  1. What fun! Even though you might not have learned many new facts, having all these documents and that very cute photo is terrific.

  2. What a fantastic box of goodies! Love the photo of you and your mother, your outfit is adorable.

  3. You are the dedicated Keeper in your family, now. What a great collection. Bet it was like Christmas....

  4. It's great to be known as the family historian. Enjoy exploring!