Saturday, April 29, 2017

Report 2 from NERGC 2017 in Springfield, Massachusetts

The Query Board at NERGC 2017

Here we are at the last day of the NERGC 2017 conference in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Every morning we walk a block and a half to the Mass. Mutual Center for the conference, and we pass this building.  It's the Northwestern Mutual building.  My Dad worked for Northwestern Mutual when I was little, and his office was in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts.  He reported to the office here in Springfield, and would often come here for meetings.  A little bit of family history!

Seen on the walk to NERGC from our hotel
Last night we thoroughly enjoyed Kenyatta Berry's presentation at the late night banquet, but we were up bright and early to attend sessions all day again.  We went to Thomas MacEntee's talk on "Taming the Genealogy Data Monster" and learned some great tricks for electronic organization.  Then we attended David Lambert's (NEHGS) talk on New England military records, where I learned a few more tricks on searching for early colonial ancestors in records.

The NH Society of Genealogist's booth with member Alex Auty,
and with vistors Susan Goyette and Dan Young of Nashua, New Hampshire

I volunteered to sit for an hour at the NH Society of Genealogist's booth, where it was fun to talk to attendees about our New Hampshire ancestors.  I should have volunteered for a few more hours!  Luncheon had Jane Wilcox speak about family stories, sponsored by the APG (Association of Professional Genealogists).  Then we heard David Lambert again, this time it was Probate records and Deeds in New England.  There was a break to see the vendor hall again before it closed.

Kenyatta Berry

The last two sessions I attended were "Women in 18th Century New England" by Nancy Smith, and then a review of the history of indentured servitude by Peggy Clemmons Lauritzen.  Vincent went to hear Kenyatta Berry's last session on "Your Enslaved Ancestors".  We ended the day with the Banquet where we heard Thomas MacEntee again, with a humorous presentation "How to Deal with Other Genealogists Without Going Crazy".  It was a last chance for meeting and greeting colleagues, bloggers and genealogists.

David Lambert from NEHGS, Yours Truly,
and Daniel Horowitz from MyHeritage

The next NERGC conference will be in 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire!  I hope to see you there!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Report 2 from NERGC 2017 in Springfield, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 29, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).

Surname Saturday ~ COLLINS of Salem, Massachusetts

Statement signed by Christian (Collins) Bray by her mark 1690


Francis Collins, my 9th great grandfather, is of unknown birth and origins.  He was a carpenter, and had a house lot near the neck in Salem, Massachusetts in 1658.   When he died in 1689 his will left his estate to his wife, Hannah, for life, and then it passed to his son, John.  This land was near Shallop Cove, which was hereafter known as Collins Cove, even today.

Baker’s Island is off the coast of Salem.  In 1670 Francis Collins was given the right to build a house on the island for himself and his son (John?).  In return they protected the island from trespassers illegally cutting wood without the approval of the Salem selectmen.

In 1686 Francis Collins petitioned the town of Salem for a license to sell beer and cider.  He had been a long time resident, but was now “deaf and palsied”.  The selectmen granted his request in June 1687 “provided he sold by the quart”. 
Francis Collins wrote his will on 14 January 1688/9, and it was proven on 26 November 1689.  Among his probate papers was the acknowledgement seen above.  It was written by my 8th great grandmother, Christian (Collins) Bray, daughter of Francis Collins.  In this statement she acknowledges receipt of her legacy (ten pounds) from her brother, John Collins, the executor of their father’s will.

Know all men by these persons that I Christian Bray
Of Salem in ye County of Essex Widdow and of
The daughter of ffrancis Collins of Salem Late Decd.
Have received of my Brother John Collins Adm.
De bonis non or the said estate ten pounds money in
Full for a Legacy being ?? by the said ffrancis
Collins who ye said Christian Bray and those for
I the sd. Christian Bray do ?? for myself, my
Heirs, ex. & dom. Acquitt exon excute ??
This Jono. Collins aforsd. From any farther or other
Payment account or Reckoning to ye said Estate
Or any waist Referring those unto as witnessed
My hand & seal affixed ye 28th day of November 1790
Signed Sealed & Delivered                 Christian     CB            Bray
In presence of us                                                mark & seal
Benja. Smith
Elizabeth Gerrish

A map of Salem showing Collins Cove

My COLLINS genealogy:

Generation 1:  Francis Collins, born in England, died 1689 in Salem, Massachusetts; married about 1653 to Hannah Cockerill, daughter of William Cockerill.  She died after 1707 in Salem.  Nine children.

Generation 2:  Christian Collins, born April 1665; married on 5 November 1685 in Salem to Robert Bray, son of Robert Bray and Thomasine UKNOWN.  Five children.

Generation 3:  Priscilla Bray m. Jonathan Webb
Generation 4: Mary Webb m. Joseph Cloutman
Generation 5:  Joseph Cloutman m. Hannah Becket
Generation 6:  Mary Cloutman m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 7: Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 8:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ COLLINS of Salem, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 29, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Reporting from NERGC

I've been here at NERGC 2917 Springfield, Massachusetts for 48 hours and I owe my readers a report.  I've been busy taking two workshops, attending some great sessions, schmoozing with my fellow genealogists and genealogy bloggers. I haven't even had time until this afternoon to visit all the booths in this year's record breaking vendor hall (open free to the public if you want to drop by tomorrow 8am to 3 pm).  However, this is my own fault because I want to squeeze everything in to my NERGC experience.  Right now I'm skipping a session to put my feet up and write these lines.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon for the social hour at MOSH (Museum of Springfield History).  I had fun seeing the collection of Indian motorcycles on display here.  My grandfather Stanley Allen rode an Indian bike from Hamilton, Massachusetts to Florida in his youth (circa early 1920s) before Route 1 existed, or many paved roads.  There were many other items manufactured in Springfield on display.  The archives for the city are located here, open late each night during the conference.

Thursday morning, during a break mid day, ten descendants of one of Springfield's founding fathers, Deacon Samuel Chapin met at his statue a few blocks from the NERGC conference center.  This was arranged by conference co-chair Dave Robison, who was one of the descendants.  You might recognize some of these descendants!

"The Puritan" by Augustus St. Gaudens

On Thursday there was an opening session with a speech by the Springfield mayor, and the greatly anticipated keynote address by Mary Tedesco.  We attended the Massachusetts Genealogical Council luncheon with a humorous talk by Thomas MacEntee on our ancestors and privacy.  This was followed by a workshop on colonial and antique handwriting by Ed Strickland.  This was a great hands-on workshop I would recommend to any family historian.  We ended the long day with a blogger special interest group Wednesday night.

Keynote speaker Mary Tedesco

Some of your favorite New England Genealogy bloggers!

Today we started bright and early.  Vincent attended sessions on Brick Walls with Marian Pierre-Lewis, New Hampshire archives with Diane Gravel. I went to Mary Tedesco's Italian Workshop.  It's great to have the option to register for these intensive workshops. Mary's could have been an all day workshop in my opinion- I really would have liked to learn more.

We took a break for lunch outside of the conference center, and returned in time to peruse the vendor hall and pick up some special deals on books, and a family tree chart from Janet Hvorka's Famiky Chartmasters company.  She just took her first trip to New Hampshire before NERGC.  Next was a session by Carol McCoy on Maine Records.  Don't miss Carol if you ever have the chance- she made this topic very entertaining.

Tonight we have the pleasure of hearing Kenyatta Berry, from PBSs Genealogy Roadshow, speak at the dinner.  I have sore feet but a happy heart to be here at this fascinating conference.  I have heard nothing but praise from attendees.  We are all having a great time.  More tomorrow....

The lovely, smart Kenyatta Berry posed with us


Via iPad from the blogger area in the media center at NERGC 2017
Credit and permission for photo 1 and 4 to Richard Roberts, official NERGC photographer, via the NERGC Facebook page

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Reporting from NERGC", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 28, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).

May 2017 Genealogy and Local History Calendar of Events

April 29, Saturday 4pm, Revolutionary History at the Central Cemetery,  at the Beverly Historical Society, 117 Cabot Street, Beverly, Massachusetts.  $5 nonmembers, free to members.  Join Terri and Ed McFadden on a walk through Central Cemetery. 

April 30, Sunday, 9:30am – 4:30pm, Breaking Down Genealogical Brick Walls: Strategies for Success, at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Cost $125 breakfast and lunch included.  Register here:

May 1, Monday, 2pm to 8pm, George Findlen Genealogy Workshop, at the University of Maine Franco-American Center, 110 Crossland Hall, Orono, Maine.  A FREE workshop. Schedule: 2-3pm Using Standard Histories to Find Elusive Relatives, 3:15 – 4:15 How to Tell if Your French Canadian Ancestors Include Acadians, 5 – 7pm Finding What Can’t be Found: A Case Study in Whole Family Research. 7:15 – 8:15 using the 1917 Code of Canon Law to Understand Odd Entries in Catholic Parish Registers. For more information see the website

May 2, Tuesday, 7pm, Your Family - Discovering the Who, Where and When of Your Family Tree, at the Great Hall at Methuen City Hall, 41 Pleasant Street, Methuen, Massachusetts.  Speaker Sharon M. Pollard, sponsored by the Methuen Historical Society.  Free to the public.

May 3, Wednesday, 7pm, Poor Houses and Town Farms:  The Hard Row for Paupers, at the Veteran’s Hall, 105 Old Homestead Highway, Richmond, New Hampshire.  Presented by Steve Taylor.  Free to the public.  Sponsored by the Richmond Public Library and the NH Humanities Council.

May 2, 9, 16 and 23, Tuesdays, 9:30 am – 11am,  Basic Hands on Genealogy Class, sponsored by the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts at the Polish Center of Discover and Learning, 119 School Street, Cheshire, Massachusetts.  Presented by Alan Doyle Horbal, professional genealogist.  All students must be computer literate.  Limited space, please sign up for sessions.  Please attend all four classes. Bring your own laptop.  To register, go to

May 4, Thursday, noon, Lunch and Learn:  The Tale of Two Colonies:  Plimoth and the Massachusetts Bay in the Seventeenth Century, at Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Presented by Stephen Kenney, director of the Commonwealth Museum.  Bring a bag lunch!  Free for members, $8 for not yet members. Click here for tickets

May 5, Friday, 1pm, A Visit with Abraham Lincoln, at the Earl M. Bourdon Centre, 67 Maple Avenue, Claremont, New Hampshire.  Presented by living historian Steve Wood.  Hosted by the Congress of Claremont Senior Citizens and sponsored by the NH Humanities Council.  Free to the public.

Repeated at 7pm at the Goodwin Public Library, 422 Main Street, Farmington, New Hampshire.  Hosted by the Farmington Historical Society.  Free to the public.

May 5, Friday, 7pm, New Hampshire on High: Historic and Unusual Weathervanes of the Granite State, at the Weare Town Hall, 16 North Stark Highway, Weare, New Hampshire.  Presented by Glenn Knoblock.  Hosted by the Weare Historical Society.  Sponsored by the NH Humanities Council. Free to the public.

May 6, Saturday, Opening Day Festivities and the Heifer Parade, at the Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, New Hampshire.  10am – 2pm for the Heifer Parade activities (Maypole dancing, food, barn dancing, make a head wreath, etc.).  The Parade is approximately 11am.  Open until 5pm for Opening Day, self guided exhibits only. Free admission today only. 

May 6, Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Opening Day of the American Independence Museum, at the Gilman Ladd House, 164 Water Street, Exeter, New Hampshire.   It’s also Kid’s Day in Exeter, so bring the whole family.   Free to New Hampshire residents.

May 6, Saturday, 1 – 2:30 pm, Discover Mount Auburn Cemetery, at 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  This 1.5 mile walking tour will focus on the history, monuments and lives of those buried here.  Click here to purchase tickets 

May 6, Saturday, 2 – 3pm,  Jane’s Walk West End Walking Tour, starts at the West End Museum, entrance on Lomasney Way, Boston, Massachusetts.   FREE, preregistration required.   This tour will focus on what happened to the West End under urban renewal, led by historian and West End resident Duane Lucia.

May 7, Sunday,  1 – 4pm,  A View of 19th Century Life in Windham, New Hampshire Through the Lives of the Harris Family, an exhibit at the Windham Museum, 3 North Lowell Road, Windham, New Hampshire.  A display of the artifacts recently donated to the Windham Historical Society by a descendant of Reverend Samuel Harris (1774 – 1848) of Windham.

May 9, Tuesday, 7pm, New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell, at the Grantham Town Hall, 300 Route 10 South, Grantham, New Hampshire.  Presented by Pam Weeks.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Dunbar Free Library.  Free to the public.

May 9, Tuesday, 7pm, How DNA Proves or Prunes our Family Treeat the Great Hall at Methuen City Hall, 41 Pleasant Street, Methuen, Massachusetts.  Speaker Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, sponsored by the Methuen Historical Society.  Free to the public.

May 10, Wednesday, 6pm, Oral Interviews:  Connect with the Living Past, at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts.  Presented by genealogist Lori Lynn Price.  Free to the public. Pointers on capturing genealogical information through successful oral interviews.

May 11, Thursday, 7pm, Jewish Genealogy, at the Canton Public Library, Community Room, 786 Washington Street, Canton, Massachusetts.  Presented by Carol Clingan.  How to use databases, library catalogs, and online networking websites to find your Jewish ancestors.  Free to the public.

May 11, Thursday, 1pm, A Visit with Abraham Lincoln, at the Rye Congregational Church, 580 Washington Road, Rye, New Hampshire.  Presented by living historian Steve Wood.  Hosted by the Town of Rye Recreation Department. Free to the public.

May 11, Thursday, 6:30pm, New England Lighthouses and the People Who Kept Them, at the Kimball Library, 5 Academy Avenue, Atkinson, New Hampshire.  Presented by historian Jeremy D’Entremont.  Hosted by the Atkinson Historical Society.  Free to the public.

May 11, Thursday, 7pm, Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War, at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, National Park Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem, Massachusetts.  Doors open at 6:30pm.  Free to the public.  Call for more information 978-740-1650.  Presented by award winning author/historian Chandra Manning.

May 10 – 13, National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference, “Family History Lives Here”, Raleigh, North Carolina.  Registration brochure at this link:

May 16, Tuesday, 7pm, Welcome to the Graveyard, at the Great Hall at Methuen City Hall, 41 Pleasant Street, Methuen, Massachusetts.  Speaker Brenda Sullivan, sponsored by the Methuen Historical Society.  Free to the public.

May 16,Tuesday, 4:30 - 6pm, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Meet and Greet, at the American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.  Tickets available at   The evening will start at 4:30pm with a reception at the Goddard-Daniels House 190 Salisbury Street, and the awards presentation and address by Professor Ulrich will start at 6pm.  

May 18, Thursday, 6pm, The Rich Resources of Western Massachusetts and It’s Not All on the Internet:  Using Alternative Resources, sponsored by the Berkshire Family History Association, at the Country Club of Pittsfield, 639 South Street (Rte 7 and 20), Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  Presented by Dave Robison, professional genealogist and owner of Old Bones Genealogy of New England.  Light refreshments.  A free raffle will be held.  $10 fee.  Pre-registration required call 413-445-5521 or email    Join BFHA for $12/year and receive free admission.

May 18, Thursday, 7pm, Tavern Talk: Crucible of Peace: The Treaty That Created the American Republic, at the American Independence Museum,  Folsom Tavern, 164 Water Street, Exeter, New Hampshire . Free to the public, presented by Eliga Gould

May 18, Thursday, 5 – 8pm, 25th Annual Historic Preservation Award Ceremony, at the historic Masonic Temple, 1505 Elm Street, Manchester, New Hampshire.  Cocktail reception, hors d’oeuvres and awards ceremony.  $90 MHA members, $100 general public. $800 for a group of ten tickets.

May 20, Saturday, Italian Family History Day, at the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts, 41 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, presented by Mary Tedesco as the keynote speaker, four lectures by NEHGS staff, lunch provided by Spinelli’s of East Boston, door prizes, and one-on-one genealogical consultations for an additional $25.  Please register online $125 per person at this link:   

May 20, Saturday, Living History Weekend with the 3rd Massachusetts Regiment at The Fort at No. 4, 267 Springfield Road, Charlestown, New Hampshire. 

May 20, Saturday, 10am – noon,  A Walking Tour of the “New York Streets” of Boston’s South End,  starts in front of JJ Foley’s on East Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  $7members of the West End Museum, $15 non-members, pre-registration required    Led by historian Duane Lucia and South End resident Gloria Ganno.

May 23, Tuesday, 7pm, Vanished Veterans:  New Hampshire’s Remarkable Civil War Monuments, at 270 Stark Highway, Dunbarton,  New Hampshire.  Free to the public, sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council. 

May 23, Tuesday, 7pm, Researching the History of Your Houseat the Great Hall at Methuen City Hall, 41 Pleasant Street, Methuen, Massachusetts.  Speaker Marian Pierre-Louis, sponsored by the Methuen Historical Society.  Free to the public.

May 23, Tuesday, 7pm,  American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, at the Canton Public Library Community Room, 786 Washington Street, Canton, Massachusetts.  Presented by author Vincent Cannuto, history teacher at UMass Boston.  Free  to the public.

May 23, Tuesday, 7pm, Immigration and Naturalization, at the monthly meeting of the Central Massachusetts Genealogical Society, at the American Legion Post #129, 22 Elm Street, Gardner, Massachusetts.  For more information email  

May 24, Wednesday, 6pm,  Using Historical Urban Atlases for Family History Research, at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts.  Presented by Evan Thornberry, the cartographic reference librarian at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center.  Free to the public.

May 30, Tuesday, noon, Lunch and Learn:  What’s Up with Reenacting?, at the American Independence Museum,  Folsom Tavern, 164 Water Street, Exeter, New Hampshire . Free to the public. Presented by Mike Welch. Bring your lunch to enjoy during the lecture.

Looking ahead:

 June 12, Monday, 8:30 – 5:15, The 2017 Mass History Conference, at the Hogan Campus Center, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts.  Discover opportunities for networking and collaborating with other small historical organizations. Keynote address by Liz Sevcenko, director of the Humanities Action Lab. 14 sessions and 4 workshops on a range of topice.  Hosted by the Mass History Alliance. Register online here:

June 16 – 18, 2017 Ontario Genealogical Society Conference.  Three days of inspiring lectures, workshops, displays and other exciting events.  Register for the conference at this link:

June 17 – June 22,  Sail Boston 2017, hosted by the US Coast Guard Northeast, Boston, Massachusetts.  This will be the largest fleet of tall ships in Boston since the year 2000.   

 June 22-24, Wednesday, 26th Annual World History Association Conference, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts.

September 30, Saturday, American Canadian Genealogy Society Fall Conference, Manchester, New Hampshire. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "May 2017 Genealogy and Local History Calendar of Events", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 28, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above the Town Clock

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 these weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are very unique.  Often, my readers tip me off to some very special and unusual weather vanes.

Today's weather vane is from somewhere in New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane #308?  Scroll down to see the answer...

Today's weathervane is located on the tower of the town clock in Hampton, New Hampshire! 

More than 100 years ago John T. Brown, a resident of Newburyport, Massachusetts, offered to give the towns of Hampton, Hampton Falls and Seabrook in New Hampshire each a town clock.   Each clock would sit on Route One, along the seacoast.  Brown donated these clocks in memory of his wife, so each one reads "MEMORIAL GIFT" on the clock face instead of the numerals one to twelve.   In 1897 the memorial clock in Hampton was installed in a clock tower above the Odd Fellows hall, but unfortunately this building was burned down in 1990.  The clock was salvaged, along with the bell, and stored for fifteen years.   Eventually clock was rebuilt and installed in a replica tower in front of the Centre School in downtown Hampton in 2014, as part of the 375th anniversary of the founding of Hampton.  The reconstruction was completed in 2016.

You can read about the history of this clock tower in a series of transcribed newspaper articles online at the Hampton Library website   

The weathervane atop this replica tower was donated by a local business, NorthEast Lantern in Exeter.   The business owner, Skip Heal, used photographs from the Hampton Historical Society’s Tuck Library collections to recreate a new weathervane based on the original.

This weathervane is full of secret symbols from the Odd Fellows fraternal organization.  The three link chain with the letters F, L, and T stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth (you might have seen this on a tombstone instead of the usual IOOF for “Independent Order of Odd Fellows”).    The moon and stars are common symbols for the Odd Fellows fraternity, too.   The shepherd’s hooks are a symbol of safety.  The highest order of the IOOF is called “The Encampment” and they use the shepherd’s hooks as their symbol. 

A close up of the clock face

If you enjoy clockworks,
this is a great view right at ground level! 

For the truly curious: 

My blog post about the Salisbury, Massachusetts Memorial Gift Clock (located on Route 1A):

The Hampton Town Clock Website:  

Article about this weathervane donation from the Seacoast Online website:   

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


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~  Above the Town Clock", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 26, 2017,  ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Capt. Benjamin Thom, Revolutionary War Patriot, died 1811, Windham, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Cemetery on the Hill, Windham, New Hampshire

In Memory of
Who died
June 2, 1811
AEt. 64
And of
his wife, who died
May 5, 1817
AEt. 70

Benjamin Thom, son of William Thom of Scotland and Northern Ireland, was born 1747 and died 2 June 1811 in Windham, aged 64 years.  He married Catharine Morison, died May 5, 1815, aged 70 years, the daughter of Lieutenant Samuel Morison of Londonderry, and great granddaughter of the immigrant John Morrison from Northern Ireland.

Captain Benjamin Thom lived in the “Range” and served as a selectman of Windham for five years. They had six children: Samuel, William Wear, Isaac, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Martha.   He had the title “Captain” and an SAR flag on his grave, and I found his name on a list of Windham men who signed the Association test.  At I found Benjamin Thom received a bounty of ninety pounds for one years service in the Continental Army, dated 19 July 1779. 

For the Thom Family genealogy, see page 787 of The History of Windham in New Hampshire, by Leonard Morrison, 1883.

You can see his son’s tombstone, Isaac Thom and children, at this link:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Capt. Benjamin Thom, Revolutionary War Patriot, died 1811, Windham, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 25, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, April 24, 2017

My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 20, August 31 - September 11, 1920

Gertrude's brother, Arthur Russell Hitchings ( 1897 - 1967),
married Ethel Elizabeth Coleman in 1920.  He served
in Germany during World War 1, just a few
years before these diary entries were written. 

This is the 20th installment of my grandmother's diary from 1920.  Her name was Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (1905 - 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street in Beverly, Massachusetts.  I'm transcribing small sections of this tiny 3" diary, with its minuscule handwriting, and posting it at my blog every Monday.  You can read the first installment of the diary HERE.

TUES. AUG 31, 1920
Got up at 7.30 stayed
Home all morning. Ma
Sick.  After dinner went
up Bradstreet home at 5
After supper Eunice, Gladys
and I went to Russell’s.
Went to bed at 9.30

Got up at 7.30 at 10
Went downtown with
Eunice.  After dinner went
down to Marion’s.  Went
to the lawn party. After
supper up Busby’s Point
came home at 9.30  Bed at 10.30

Got up at 7.30 stayed home
until 10.30 then went to the
store.  After dinner went down
Helen’s took baby out all afternoon
stayed to supper came home at 8
Rus & Ethel down.  Bed at 9.45

NOTE:   Gertrude visited her married brother Russell with her sister Eunice and friend Gladys.  She also visited her first cousin Marion Hoogerzeil and went to a law party.  I don't know where "Busby's Point" is in Beverly.  Does anyone have a clue about this?  The next day she visited her married sister Helen and watched her baby nephew, Clemont. 

FRI. SEPT 3, 1920
Got up at 7.30 worked
around the house all morn-
ing.  Helen, Baby & Nana
came up.  Stayed home all
afternoon and read. 
After supper went to ride with
Eunice & Alice.  Bed at 9.30

Got up at 7.15 worked around
the house all morning and
afternoon.  Mr. Lowell came
over at 2.15.  Took a walk up
the store after supper.
Went to bed at 10.15.

Got up at 9.15  Mrs. Butler’s
cat got killed.  Home all morn-
ing.  After dinner went to walk
with Eunice & Ella.  Mr. Lowell
over.  Home all evening reading
Went to bed at 9.30.

NOTE:   Another visit with relatives (sister Helen, baby nephew Clemont, and her "Nana", Florence Hoogerzeil.  Riding with her sister Eunice and friend Alice.  Mr. Lowell the occasional boarder is back for the next two days. 

MON. SEPT. 6, 1920
Up at 8.45 home all the
morning, after dinner
Eunice & I went up to Ethel’s
Pa went to Haverhill.  Ellsworth &
Helen up to supper.  They went to Salem.
Eunice & I took baby home.  Came
Home at 11.  Bed at 11.45

Up at 9 had breakfast
at 9.15 stayed around the
house all morning.
After dinner went down Nana’s
had my dress fitted came
home at five.  Home all evening
sewing.  Bed at 8.45

Got up at 6:30 went to
school came home at 12.45
After dinner Eunice & I went
down Nana’s came home
got supper.  Home all the
evening. Bed at 10.

NOTE:   Gertrude and her sister Eunice went to visit their newly married sister-in-law, Ethel (married to Russell).  Pa went to Haverhill, where he did drafting work for the US Shoe Corporation of Beverly.  Gertrude's married sister, Helen, and husband, Ellsworth visited with their baby.  Gertrude finished her new dress just in time on Tuesday night, because school started up the next morning!  

THURS. SEPT. 9, 1920
Up at 6.30 went to
school home at 1.15
stayed home all afternoon
studying.  After supper
went to ride with
Rozella, came home at 8.30
Went to bed at 9.30

Up at 6.45 went to school
at 7.45 went up to Helen’s
to dinner stayed all afternoon
came home at 5. Stayed
at home all evening and
studied.  Ma & Pa over
Butlers.  Bed at 9

Up at 7.00 had breakfast
Stayed home all morning & afternoon
Working.  After supper Eunice, Ida
& I went downtown shopping then
Went to Danvers with Frank
Came home at 9.45 bed at 10.30

NOTE:   Gertrude went riding (bikes? trolleys?) with her friend Rozella.  She visited her married sister Helen.  On Saturday she went shopping with her sister Eunice and friend Ida.  Who is Frank (and she underlined this name)?  A new boyfriend?


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Grandmother's Diary ~ Part 20, August 31 - September 11, 1920", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 24, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Surname Saturday ~ BRAY of Salem, Massachusetts


There were two BRAY families living in Essex County at the same time period in the early 1600s.  I don't think they are related at all.  The first BRAY family I wrote about lived in Gloucester, descendants of the immigrant Thomas Bray (1614 – 1691), probably from Wales.  You can read about this BRAY family at this link:  

Robert Bray is my other 9th great grandfather.  He lived on “The Neck” in Salem, Massachusetts near the land owned by my WEBB, BECKET, HILLIARD, and CLOUTMAN ancestors.  I don’t know his origins, or even the maiden name of his wife, Thomasin.  According to the History of Salem, by Perley, he was the captain of a ketch, which was lost at sea in 1692 with all onboard. 

His son, Robert Bray, Jr., is my 8th great grandfather.  He married Christian Collins in 1685.  Robert’s sister, Priscilla, married David Hilliard in 1689.  David Hilliard is the brother of my 9th great grandmother, Elizabeth (Hilliard) Peters (b. 1658).  Robert Bray, Jr. was also a master mariner, and he lived near the Salem Common.

My 7th great grandmother, Priscilla Bray, married Jonathan Webb in 1714. He was “cordwainer” (shoemaker), a deacon of the East Society parish church, and they lived on the corner of Derby and Hardy Streets.   In 1720, 1721 and 1722 Jonathan Webb was listed as the master of the sloop Eagle.  Priscilla and Jonathan Webb were ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne, too.

For more information:

The Driver Family: A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Robert and Phebe Driver of Lynn, Mass. by Harriet Ruth Waters Cooke, 1889, see page 251 for a sketch of Robert Bray, Senior, page 252 for Robert Bray, Jr, and page 475 for Priscilla Bray and Jonathan Webb. 

“Descendants of Robert Bray of Salem”, The Essex Antiquarian, Volume XI, 1907, page 105.  

My BRAY genealogy:

Generation 1:  Robert Bray, died 1692; married Thomasine Unknown.  Four children.

Generation 2: Robert Bray, died after 1692; married on 5 November 1685 in Salem to Christian Collins, daughter of Francis Collins and Hannah Cockerill.  Five children. 

Generation 3: Priscilla Bray, born 11 March 1690 in Salem, died after 4 February 1767; married on 23 March 1714 in Salem to Jonathan Webb, son of John Webb and Susannah Cunliffe.  He was born about 1690 and died before 1765. Nine children. 

Generation 4: Mary Webb m. Joseph Cloutman
Generation 5: Joseph Cloutman m. Hannah Becket
Generation 6:  Mary Cloutman m. Abijah Hitchings
Generation 7:  Abijah Hitchings m. Eliza Ann Treadwell
Generation 8:  Abijah Franklin Hitchings m. Hannah Eliza Lewis
Generation 9:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 10:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ Bray of Salem, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 22, 2017, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Josefa Rivero 1884 - 1937 Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain

This photo is of Vincent's great grandmother, Josefa Rivero Gonzalez.

Josefa Rivero was born 23 October 1884 in the little village of Villar de Ciervo in Salamanca, Spain.  This village is directly on the border of Portugal - there is only a tiny stream of water dividing the two countries in this village.  She was the daughter of Manuel Rivero and Orofilia Gonzalez.  Her father was a "molinero" or miller.  They had four children:  Nicolas (b. 1877), Jerman (b. 1879), Juan Mamon (b. 1880) and Josefa was the youngest.

She married Manuel Martin on 23 January 1904 in Villar de Ciervo.  He was the son of Mateo Martin and Manuela Ventura, born about 1880 in Barcelona, Spain.  He was a cattle and sheep trader, and bred "toros bravos" or sporting bulls for bullfighting.  He had a farm in Villar de Ciervo and grew grapes for wine. They had four children Maria Joaquina (b. 1904), Nicolas Martin, Luisa Antonia (b. 1906), and Maria Consuelo (b. 1908) who was the youngest and Vincent's grandmother.

Josefa died on 17 November 1937 in Villar de Ciervo.  Manuel survived his wife by many years and died on 10 September 1971 in Villar de Ciervo.

This is the only photo I have seen of Josefa.  Below is a painting we own of the Martin house in the village of Villar de Ciervo.  It was painted from the rear of the house, not the street view.  About 20 years ago we visited this home, and bought the painting from the village pharmacist. It hangs in my office, right behind my desk as I type up this blog post on my computer.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Josefa Rivero 1884 - 1937 Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 21, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above a New England Town Hall

I post another in a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes all across New England and across the globe.  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!  If you know a great weather vane near you, let me know if you'd like to have it featured on this blog.

Today's weather vane was photographed in New Hampshire by a reader.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #307?  Scroll down to find the answer.

This beautiful, gilded, three dimensional eagle weathervane was photographed by Scott Powell, who is the author of the Lake Wicwas Nature Journal blog.  Lake Wicwas is in the town of Meredith, New Hampshire.  This  weather vane is located on the cupola above the Tamworth, New Hampshire town hall.  Eagles are a popular weather vane design for town and city halls.  I've photographed quite a few of them in various poses.

Yes, Tamworth is celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2016.  It was granted in 1766 by Royal Governor Benning Wentworth in honor of the Viscount Tamworth of England.  This is the town where the Chinook sled dog breed was created, and they are now the New Hampshire state dogs. These dogs were used by Admiral Byrd on his Antarctic explorations. Tamworth is also the home of the summer theater Barnstormers, and the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm.

Lake Wicwas Nature Journal blog

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


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Above a New England Town Hall", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 19, 2017,  ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rev. Simon Williams, died 1793 Windham, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Cemetery on the Hill, Windham, New Hampshire

In Memory of the
Who for twenty seven years
??? zealous Pastor of
The Church & Congregation ??
??? of the Academy ??
Who departed for heaven
November 10th, 1793 AD
And his wife, Maria Floyd Williams
Who died in the Lord
July 28th, 1805 AD

Rev. Simon Williams, born 19 February 1729 in Trim, County Meath, Ireland, died 10 November 1793 in Windham, New Hampshire; married Maria Floyd, who was also born 19 February 1729 (same day) and died 28 July 1805 in Windham.  They are both buried in Windham at the Cemetery on the Hill under this ledger stone which is almost illegible due to facing upwards over time and under the New England weather. 

According to the book by Derek Saffie Historic Tales of Windham, page 37 “Simon Williams was born in Ireland in 1729 and at the age of sixteen became engaged to a young lady of his age who was of a much higher social standing than himself.  The young woman, Maria Floyd, was the daughter of Captain John Floyd, Esquire, who served under General Honeywood in the British army.  Her parents … forbade the marriage… Simon and Maria fled to England… the couple was married on April 30, 1749 in London”

From The History of Rockingham County, New Hampshire, by Charles Hazlett, 1915,  page 731 “Rev. Simon Williams was ordained in December 1766, with a salary of about two hundred and thirty-three dollars and thirty three cents, with a settlement of $200 and the use of the parsonage.  He was pastor her for twenty-seven years, dying November 10, 1793.  He did a noble work, and his influence lives after him.  He established a private academy, which was an important tributary of Dartmouth College.”

The old meetinghouse once stood on near the Cemetery on the Hill, but it was moved by oxen to Salem, New Hampshire.  You can read about that at this link:    

According to Leonard Morrison’s book The History of Windham, 1883, page 182,  Reverend William is buried in exact location of his pulpit before the meeting house was moved (plot #172).  However, there is also a man named Samuel Senter who was supposedly laid to rest under his former pew (plot 182).  These two gravestones are so far apart I doubt that either man was laid to rest under the meeting house.

For more information on Windham’s Cemeteries, see this PDF file:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rev. Simon Williams, died 1793 Windham, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 18, 2017, ( accessed [access date]).

Monday, April 17, 2017

My Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 19, August 12 – 30, 1920

My grandmother, Gertrude (left) and her friend Bea (right) at Mrs. Wilkins.
Was this photo taken in Haverhill, Massachusetts?

This is my 19th blog post with transcriptions of my grandmother’s 1920 diary from Beverly, Massachusetts.  Her name was Gertrude Hitchings (1905 – 2001) and she lived on Elliott Street.  Her diary was a tiny 3” inch book with minuscule handwriting.  It has taken a long time to transcribe, and the book is very fragile.   Every Monday I post another section of her diary.  You can read the first installment HERE

FRI. AUG. 13, 1920
Got up at 7.30 but went
back to bed again.  Mild-
red, Gordon, Eunice & I
sick.  After dinner I got up
went out to the piazza [illegible and crossed out]
Home all evening
went to bed at 9.

Got up at 7.45 worked
around the house all the
morning.  After dinner
went to the Sam Sam
had a pretty good time
we came home at
12 went to bed at 12.15.

Got up at 8.45 stayed
Home all day Mrs & Mr
Wilkins, Russell and Ethel
came down.  Went to
Bed at 10.30.

NOTE:   Gertrude and her siblings were all sick at the same time, but seemed to get better by the next day or two.  On the 14th she went "to the Sam Sam" which was a mystery to me, until my mother reminded me it was a carnival in Beverly.  According to the Beverly Historical Society, this was a festival held for the benefit of the Beverly Hospital starting in 1905. Then the festival was held at the United Shoe Machinery Corporation Athletic Asssociation. Gertrude's father was a draftsman for USMC.   "From 1913 - the 19302 the "Sam Sam" carnival was a community highlight - in 1935 approximately 40,000 attended." ( )

On the 15th Mrs and Mr. Wilkins came down (along with Gertrude's brother, Russell, and his wife, Ethel).  In the next few diary entries it appears that the Wilkins lived in Haverhill, at least they lived there in the summer. 

MON. AUG 16, 1920
Got up at 5.45 tent 6.45 car
To Danvers, then took 7.7 train [sic] to
Haverhill got here at 8.30
After dinner went down
town with Bea came
home at 4.30 stayed home
all evening.  Bed at 9.30.

Got up at 9. Bea is sick
This morning stayed at
Home all morning
And afternoon.  After supper
Took a walk downtown
Went to bed at 9.15

Got up at 9 after breakfast
went down to Mr. Wilkins’
shop.  After dinner went
to the show with Bea.  Stayed
home all evening playing
cards.  Bed at 9.45

NOTE:   On the 16th Gertrude took the train to Haverhill.  It appears that she went with her friend, Bea Wilkins, removed to Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Wilkins family appears in the Beverly 1910 census, and in the Haverhill 1920 census.  It also appears from the diary that Mr. Wilkins had a shop in downtown Haverhill (or maybe he just worked at a store).  I could not find a store in the Haverhill directory that was owned by a Mr. Wilkins.  In the 1920 census, Bea's father is listed as a machinist. 

In researching this bit about Bea moving to Haverhill, I was delighted to find her birth record (born 1 September 1906 in Hamilton, Massachusetts), but saddened to learn that she died in 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts.  She died very young, just a few years after this diary was written, and she wasn't even 20 years old. 

THURS. AUG 19, 1920
Got up at 9 went to the
store before breakfast.  Home
all morning after dinner
went to Canobie Lake
with Bea had a good
time came home at 9.00
Went to bed at 9.45

Got up at 10 went to the
store had breakfast. Stayed
home after dinner and
made fudge and read. After
supper went to the store
got an ice cream, read
and went to bed at 10.30

Got up at 9.00 after break-
fast Bea & I went up to the
castle played tennis.  Mr.
Wilkins came up brought the
Lunch came home at 8.45
went to bed at 10.00

NOTE:  I love this entry because Gertrude went to Canobie Lake Park, which is not far from Haverhill, and not far from where I lived in Londonderry, New Hampshire.  Canobie Lake Park is still an historic amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire and I blogged about it as a trolley park at this link:  

Gertrude also mentions playing tennis at "the castle".  This refers to Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill.  It was built in 1875 as a summer estate, and donated to the city of Haverhill as a park in 1895.  It is still a park, and the castle is used for weddings, theater, craft fairs and other community events. You can read more about Winnekenni castle at this link:  

SUN. AUG. 22, 1920
Got up at 10 stayed
at home all the morn-
ing.  In the afternoon
went to the movies with
Bea.  After supper took a walk
Up Tilton’s Tower with Mr. & Mrs.
Wilkins and Bea.  Bed at 9.15.

Got up at 9.00 stayed
Home all morning After
dinner made fudge
after supper went
downtown to do some
errands came home at
8.30 Went to bed at 9

Got up at 9 had break-
fast at 11.30 Bea and I
went to Salisbury and to Hampton
beach had a swell time
We came home at 9.30
Went to bed at 10.30

Tilton Tower, Haverhill, Massachusetts
(old postcard)

NOTE:   Tilton's Tower was a folly built by John C. Tilton of West Newbury as a 125 foot observatory for his telescope in 1887.  The tower, on Silver Hill, was removed after World War II to make room for a radio antenna.  Gertrude visited Tilton's Tower on the 22nd, and on the 24th she went with Bea to the seacoast.  Salisbury Beach had a famous amusement park and arcade, and so did Hampton Beach.  It appears that in 1920 Gertrude visited many amusement parks - I can list many from her diary:  Salem Willows, Pleasant Pond, Canobie Lake, Salisbury and Hampton.  What is amazing is that Salem Willows and Canobie Lake are still amusement parks, and Salisbury Beach still has its seaside arcade. 

I’m continuing the transcriptions for another two pages to complete the section of the diary for her vacation in Haverhill with Bea. 

WED. AUG. 25, 1920
Got up at 10. had breakfast
went to the store, after
dinner went up to the castle
played tennis, home at 6.00
stayed home all evening
and read.  Bed 9.30.

Got up at 9.00 stayed
home all morning. After
dinner Bea & I went down
town got the pictures.
Home all evening reading
went to bed at 10.

Got up at 9.  had breakfast
then went to the store.  Home
all afternoon reading.  After
supper went down Mr. W’s store
& had a soda. Bed at 10.

NOTE:  Gertrude mentions more tennis at "the castle".  Perhaps "got the pictures" refers to having some photographs developed?  She went to Mr. Wilkins' store for a soda, and below she mentions going to the store to have an ice cream, so perhaps his business was a soda fountain or drug store (many pharmacies included soda fountain or counters in the 1920s)  

SAT. AUG 28, 1920
Got up at 9.15 had break
fast worked home all morning
after dinner went to the
store got some ice cream
stayed home all afternoon
after supper stayed around
home.  Went to bed at 10

Up at 9.00 had breakfast
then at 11 Bea & I went to Canobie
and met Mr. L, Eunice and Hollis
up there had a great time. Mr. Lowell
& Eunice came back with us
and stayed all night after
supper went to walk.  Bed at 11.00

Got up at 7.30 after breakfast
Eunice, Mr. L, Bea & I went up to
the castle. home at 12.15.  After
dinner we came home got
home 5.15.  Stayed home all
evening.  Bed at 10.15

NOTE:  I think it’s interesting that Gertrude took a second trip to Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire, and met up with her siblings and Mr. Lowell.   She returned home with them by train to Beverly on the 30th . It must have been a very exciting trip for her to spend  two weeks away from home!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My  Grandmother’s Diary ~ Part 19, April 12 – 30, 1920", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 17, 2017,  ( accessed [access date]).