Friday, July 19, 2019

Squeezed into a VW Bug! Photo Friday

In the late 1960s my Uncle Richard Wilkinson, my grandfather Donald Wilkinson, and my cousin Ricky all drove from Long Beach, California to our house in Beverly, Massachusetts in this little Volkswagen Beatle.  They were met by my grandmother, Bertha (Robert) Wilkinson, my aunt Luanne and cousin Debbie, who had flown to Boston.  Can you imagine driving all that way in a little car with luggage strapped to the roof?  What an adventure!

Here we all are in our house at 7 Dearborn Avenue in Beverly.  My uncle Richard is in the rocking chair, and that's me (with the braids) sitting on the floor.  My cousin Ricky is in the blue shirt, with his Mom, Luanne, my aunt Shirley Wilkinson, and my Mom in the nurses cap (she must have just arrived home from work at Beverly Hospital.  My Dad's head can be seen from behind in the foreground. 

Here are the three Wilkinson brothers.  They all grew up in this house at 7 Dearborn Avenue, Beverly, Massachusetts.  From left to right, Robert Munroe Wilkinson (1927 - 2005), Richard Albert Wilkinson (1932 - 2015), and my Dad, John Warren Wilkinson (1934 - 2002).  I don't have many photos of them all together since Uncle Richard lived in California. 

Thank you again, cousin Steve, for the digitized images from your photo collection!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Squeezed into a VW Bug!  Photo Friday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 19, 2019, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday - A Church in the Pyrenees

 Another Weathervane Wednesday photo from Spain!

This week's weathervane was photographed in Ochagavia, Navarra, Spain while we were driving to the village where my mother-in-law was born up in the Pyrenee Mountains.  Ochagavia (or Otsagavia in the Basque language Euskera) is near the border of France, and where the Irati National Forest is located.  Many tourists visit this area in the summer for hiking.  It is a very picturesque village of about 530 people.

This weathervane is an ancient two dimensional weathercock with a large lightning rod next to it.  In 1794 the French invaded this region and destroyed 182 houses, and tried to destroy the church of San Juan Evangelista.  This church dates from the 11th century, and was rebuilt in the 16th and 17the centuries.  I'm not sure when the weathercock was placed on the tower, but it appears to be ancient.

Click here for another weathervane we spotted in Ochagavia, which reflects the history of a witchcraft hysteria in the 1500s: 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - A Church in the Pyrenees", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 17, 2019, ( accessed [access date])/

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

July 20, 1969 - Remember the Alamo?

On July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 launched from earth to the moon and a few days later on July 20 Neil Armstrong became the first human to ever step foot on the lunar surface.  Do you remember what you were doing on that day?

That date was in the summer between kindergarten and first grade for me. I don't remember the moon landing at all. But my husband was a little bit older than me and he grew up to become an aerospace engineer, so of course he remembers this historic event!

Vincent was spending the summer with his grandparents in the little village of Miraflores de la Sierra outside of Madrid, Spain.  They didn't have a TV, so they went, with many other villagers, to the pub in the main square of this village called "El Alamo" (translation "poplar tree") because of the big, ancient tree that grew in the middle of the street.  When I visited the village of Miraflores with him in 1986 this is what the tree looked like.  It was during this visit that I first heard him tell me the story of watching the moon landing under this tree.  He told me that the TV was inside the pub and he watched the astronauts through the plate glass windows from the outside plaza.

1986, Miraflores main plaza under the Alamo tree

Several years later, when we returned to the village in 2010 we learned that the alamo tree had died and had been cut down.  However, new growth was emerging from the top of the stump, so we are hopeful that this landmark still exists! 



Another family story about July 20, 1969.  On that very day of the Apollo Moon Landing my first cousin was stationed in the Army in Mexico City.  He had to visit a local doctor due to "Montezuma's Revenge", and there was a very pretty receptionist. He ended up marrying her.  They have been married more than 45 years!

1970 Mexico


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "July 20, 1969 - Remember the Alamo?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 16, 2019,  ( accessed [access date]). 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Happy 150th Birthday to the Mount Washington Cog Railway!

Cog Railway 2009

In the 1850s Sylvester Marsh almost died while hiking on Mount Washington.  While musing about a better way to reach the summit of the North East’s highest mountain, he thought about building a railroad.  Marsh designed a unique kind of cog railroad called the “Marsh Rack System”, the first mountain-climbing cog train in the world.  His plan was ridiculed in the state house and in newspapers, but he persevered.

Sylvester Marsh finally received a charter in 1858 to build a railroad which opened on 3 July 1869. It has brought a new kind of tourist to the summit of Mount Washington for the last 150 years.  Thousands of people ride the cog railroad every year, and it is estimated that over 5 million have ridden “The Cog” in the past 150 years of its existence.  One of the first passengers was President Ulysses S. Grant. 

The ownership of the railway has changed hands from Marsh to the Boston and Maine Railroad, to Henry Teague, to Dartmouth College and then back again to the Teague family until 1983.  Now it is operated by the Presby family. 

You can hike Mount Washington, or you can drive up the auto road, take the snow coach or snow cat in the winter, or take the cog railway.  At the summit there are many great views of four states and Canada, and even the Atlantic Ocean and Boston on clear days. There are several races including a bike race to the summit, an auto race, and a motorcycle race to the top.   The top of the mountain has an observation deck, the weather observatory, and the granite Tip Top House museum built in 1915.

About 150 people have died attempting to climb Mount Washington since 1849.  You can read all about these tragedies in Nicholas Howe’s book Not Without Peril, published in 2000 and republished in 2009.  Our beloved “Cog” remains a favorite, safe, and fun way to reach the 6,288 foot summit, with only two accidents in it’s entire 150 year run.  I'll bet your relatives, family members, and ancestors have visited Mount Washington, too.

1955 Mount Washington, with the railway visible.
Photo by Jack Wilkinson, my Dad

This image was digitized from a slide purchased at the
Cog Railway giftshop in 1969 by Don Wilkinson, my grandfather

For the truly curious:

The Mount Washington Cog Railway  

Mount Washington Observatory 

Mount Washington Observatory Webcams:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Happy 150th Birthday to the Mount Washington Cog Railway!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 13, 2019, ( accessed [acess date]).

Friday, July 12, 2019

On top of Mount Wachusett - Photo Friday

This photo was from about 1970.  It shows my Dad, and my cousin Steve, with his sister Susan, myself (with the long braid), and my little sister.  We were on top of Mount Wachusett in the fall.  I can just see a few leaves with color just behind the stone wall.

We moved to Holden, Massachusetts in 1969 and taking visiting relatives to Mount Wachusett was big deal.  In those days we could see Mount Wachusett from our back porch, and that view was later blocked by growing trees and new housing built behind us.  I have lots of other photos from the summit with other cousins, like these photos HERE.

Thanks to my cousin Steve for digitizing this image from his family photo collection!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "On top of Mount Wachusett - Photo Friday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 12, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday - A Spanish Witch

This weathervane was spotted in Spain...

We visited Spain earlier this year, and took our mother-in-law up to the province of Navarra to see the village where she was born in the Pyrenee mountains. You can read all about that trip HERE.  On our way through the mountain valleys we passed through the village of Ochagavia (Otsagabia) and decided to stop for lunch.  The restaurant we first stopped at was closed. While turning the car around in the parking area we spotted this weathervane over a residence.

I didn't know why there was a witch weathervane here until I got home to New Hampshire and Googled the history of this little village.  It seems that in the 1500s the Inquisition was investigating cases of witchcraft in the Valley of Salazar, particularly in the village of Ochagavia, which culminated in 1539.  The mayor of Ochagavia was accused of holding meetings of witches.  I suppose that this history is as much a part of local lore as witches and witch weathervanes in Salem, Massachusetts!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - A Spanish Witch", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 10, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Friday, July 5, 2019

Photo Friday - First Communion Boys in Spain

When Vincent's cousin in Spain let us photograph a large stash of vintage family photos, we found a lot of first communion photos from 100 years ago to today.  I was fascinated by the photos of little boys, because in Spain they dress them up in military uniforms instead of suits.  These little uniforms range from very fancy to sailor outfits, complete with formal white gloves.  What a curious tradition!

José Manuel García, Madrid, Spain
late 1930s

Cousin Chemari, Madrid, Spain circa 1960
Cousin Gerald Zato, Barcelona
circa 1930
I love the lace and white gloves! 
Cousin Jesus Caravantes, dated 1958 on the back
It is the only communion photo without a
military uniform


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Photo Friday - First Communion Boys in Spain", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 5, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday - A Weathercock in Spain

Another special edition of "Weathervane Wednesday"!  This weathervane was seen in Spain.

Weathercocks are ancient weathervanes that have their origins in a papal edict.  In the 9th century Pope Nicholas I ordered the churches in Europe to place a rooster symbol on their roofs or steeples. This was to remember the bible story where Peter denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. Many of the roosters were placed on weathervanes since they were on top of the steeples.  You see many weathercocks on old churches, especially in Europe.

This weathercock was photographed on the top of the steeple of Santa Engracia church in Uztarroz, Navarra, Spain.  This village is high in the Pyrenee mountains that separate Spain from France.  We were visiting Uztarroz specifically to bring my mother-in-law to see the church where she made her first communion on 4 May 1941. You can read more about that trip HERE.

The church of Santa Engracia was built in the 1500s.  The wood in the choir has been dated to 1591.  There is a pipe organ in the church that was built by Matias Rueda in 1738 and it is considered one of the best Baroque period organs in the world. 

The village of Uztarroz has only 160 people according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica in Spain.

A blog post about our trip to Uztarroz:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - A Weathercock in Spain", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 3, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Our Anniversary Today!

We were married on this day at the First Church in Holden, Massachusetts and had our wedding lunch at the William Paul House, which is now a Chinese restaurant!  Don't we look like babies in this photo?  Can you believe I still have those champagne glasses, too? We'll toast ourselves tonight.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Our Anniversary Today!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted July 2, 2019,  ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, June 29, 2019

July 2019 Genealogy and Local History Calendar

For last minute updates, see the “Nutfield Genealogy” Facebook page at this link:    Please send new events to me by commenting here at the end of this post, or email

June 29 and 30, Saturday and Sunday, General John Stark’s Mustering of the Militia, at the Fort at No. 4, 267 Springfield Road, Charlestown, New Hampshire. During the American Revolution, Charlestown was an assembly point for 1,500 Colonial troops under General John Stark.  The New Hampshire Militia left town and marched to engage “Gentleman” John Burgoyne in the 1777 Battle of Bennington.

July 1 – 7, Boston Harborfest, at locations all around metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts. The 38th year celebrating Boston’s maritme and revolutionary history.   Family Friendly, historical re-enactments, walks, boat tours, live entertainment, and much more!

July 2, Tuesday, 6pm, Isaac Allerton: Mayflower, Magistrate, and Merchant, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  $10 fee per person, 5:30, 5:30 pre-talk reception. Presented by David Furlow and Lisa Pennington.  Register here:

July 3, Wednesday, 10am, New Visitor Tour of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to the public. Stay and use the library after the tour. No registration necessary.

July 3, Wednesday, 11am, The Great Albacore Haul Out Story! At the USS Albacore Submarine and Museum, Albacore Park, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (also held at 11am July 6, 10, 12, 17, 20, 24, 27 and 31)

July 3, Wednesday, noon, Community Readings: Frederick Douglass’s Fourth of July Speech.  To commemorate this immortal speech, readings will take place in each of the following locations:  Nashua, NH (Rivier College), Plymouth, NH (Town Green), Warner, NH (Town Hall), Hopkinton, NH (Town Hall), Lebanon, NH (Colburn Park), Exeter, NH (Historical Society), Dover, NH (Public Library), Portsmouth, NH (Strawbery Banke Museum Visitor Center), Keene, NH (St. James Episcopal Church), Manchester, NH (To be Determined).  Sponsored by the Black Heritage Trail, NH and the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  See this flyer for more information

July 3 and 4, Wednesday and Thursday, 9:30 – 5pm, Independence Day Celebrations, at Old Sturbridge Village, 29 Stallion Hill Road, Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Parade, 19th century baseball, militia marches, cannon and musket demonstrations, food, children’s games, and on July 4 only, watch a citizen naturalization ceremony on the village common.  Included with standard admission.

July 4, Thursday, 11am and 2pm, Beacon Hill Treasures Walking Tour, at the Otis House 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Free tours of the Otis House on the half hour from 11am to 4:30pm.  Advance tickets recommended please call 617-994-5420 $17 per person. Hosted by Historic New England.

July 4, Thursday, noon – 6pm, Celebrate Independence Day at Adams National Historical Park, 1250 Hancock Street, Quincy, Massachusetts. A stage play “Jefferson and Adams”, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and more!  Free to the public.

July 5, Friday, 10am – 4pm, FREE Fun Friday at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, 135 South Street, Hyannis, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 5, Friday, 9:30am – 4pm, FREE Fun Friday at the Pilgrim Hall Museum, 75 Court Street, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 5, Friday, 10:30am – 3pm, FREE Fun Friday at The Telephone Museum, 289 Moody Street, Suite 111, Waltham, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 6, Saturday, 11am – 12:30pm, Walk with Washington, at the Governor Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Tickets are $12 from Historic New England, and include a 50% off tour of the Langdon House for any day in 2019. Advanced tickets are recommended at 603-436-3205.

July 6, Saturday, noon – 4pm, Meet the Washingtons, at the Longfellow House, 105 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Family Friendly.  Meet the commander-in-chief and his wife, ask questions, take photos, try out colonial clothing, and play historic games.  Crafts and activities available.  Free to the public.

July 6, Saturday, 11am – 3pm, 17th Century Saturday, at the North Andover Historical Society, 153 Academy Road, North Andover, Massachusetts.  Free to the public.

July 6, Saturday, 10am, Arts and Mysteries Revealed, at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts. Historic trade demonstrations. Family Friendly. Included with museum admission.

July 6 and 7, Saturday and Sunday, The Battle of Hubbarton, at Hubbarton Battlefield State Historic Site, Castleton, Vermont. Sunday morning battle reenactment. 

July 8 – 12, Daily, Revolutionary Kids Camp at the American Independence Museum, 1 Governors Lane, Exeter, New Hampshire. Tickets at  This is a full-day living history experience for children ages 9 – 12.

July 8, Monday, 7pm, The History of Gym Class, at the Camp Morgan Lodge, 339 Millen Pond Road, Washington, New Hampshire. Presented by Rebecca Noel.  Note: A potluck dinner at 6pm, with the program at 7pm. Free to the public. Hosted by the Washington Historical Society with a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

July 10, Wednesday, 7:30pm, The Making of Strawbery Banke, at the Holderness Historical Society, US Route 3 (Curry Place behind the Post Office), Holderness, New Hampshire.  Present by historian J. Dennis Robinson. Free to the public.

July 11, Thursday, 5:30pm, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, at the Hill Library, 1151 Parker Mountain Road, Strafford, New Hampshire.  Presented by Thomas Hubka. Free to the public.

July 11, Thursday, 7pm, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, at the Springfield Town Meeting House, 23 Four Corners Road, Springfield, New Hampshire. Presented by George Morrison. Free to the public.

July 12, Friday, 10am – 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the New England Quilt Museum, 18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 12, Friday, 10am – 5pm, Free Fun Friday at the Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 13, Saturday, 10am – 4pm, American Independence Festival, Exeter, New Hampshire. Historic Battle re-enactments, colonial artisan demonstrations, children’s activities, cannon firings, crafts, music, food and more.

July 13, Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Patton Homestead Military Service Day, 650 Asbury Street, Hamilton, Massachusetts.  Free to the public. 1943 M4A Sherman Tank Demonstration, Massachusetts State Police Ec135 Helicopter Landing, possible Army UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter landing (pending approval), military re-enactors, equipment displays, demonstrations, military vehicles, Boston Park Ranger Mounted Patrol Unit, Massachusetts State Police K, food trucks, and more!  Tour the Patton Family archive inside the General’s home for $10. $5 Parking donation.

July 13, Saturday, 10am, NHS Second Saturday Tour – Civil War Tour of Yantic Cemetery, at the Yantic Cemetery, 68 Lafayette Street, Norwich, Connecticut. Hosted by the Norwich Historical Society. Led by local expert Vic Butsch. Tour is approximately one hour.

July 13, Saturday, noon – 3pm, Vintage Baseball Doubleheader:  Newburyport Calmdiggers vs. Lynn Live Oaks at the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Massachusetts. No reserved seating, bring blankets and lawn chairs.  Snacks for purchase. Games played with 1864 rules. Call 978-462-2634 for more information.

July 13-14, Saturday and Sunday, Glover’s Summer Encampment, at Fort Sewall, Marblehead, Massachusetts.  Revolutionary War skirmishes in the streets of Marblehead, with an encampment at the scenic fort overlooking Marblehead harbor.

July 14, Sunday, 10am – 6pm, American Ancestors at Open Newbury Street 2019, at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Free to the public.  Pedestrian only day on Newbury Street in which vendors offer special activities, deals and experiences.  Free entry ot the first floor of the library with family history themed games and activities, special offers and a raffle.

July 17, Wednesday,10am,  New Visitor Tour of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Free to the public.  Stay and use the library following the tour. No registration necessary.

July 17, Wednesday, 11am, Lunchtime Lecture by the Sea: America’s Kitchens, at Coolidge Point, 9 Coolidge Point Road, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.  Presented by Historic New England’s senior curator Nancy Carlisle.  Includes a boxed lunch and a chance to stroll the grounds. Advanced tickets required $35 at 978-522-5540.

July 17, Wednesday, noon, Class Conflict, Political Violence, and Coerced Oath-Taking in 1760s New England, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to the public as part of the brown bag lunch lecture series.  Presented by Kevin Murphy of SUNY Stony Brook. 

July 17, Wednesday, 6pm, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, at the Barrington Public Library, 105 Ramsdell Lane, Barrington, New Hampshire.  Presented by Thomas Hubka. Free to the public.

July 18, Thursday, 5 – 9pm, Balch Tavern Night, hosted by Historic Beverly.  Meet up at the historic Balch House for Tavern Night.  No revolutions will be launched, but you can explore the 17th century house and grounds, learn about the Balch family in Beverly, and enjoy light refreshments and locally brewed beverages from Gentile Brewery.  $10 cover.  Beer for purchase. Ages 21+ only.

July 18, Thursday, 5:30, Boston Historical Reception, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Boston has no Historical Society, but the metro area does have a wealth of history organizations.  This is the fifth annual reception for history buffs and representatives of local organizations to mingle, share accomplishments, and talk about the great projects on which they are working.  Free, but registration is required:

July 18, Thursday, 6pm, Archaeology of the Sublime: Recent Discoveries in the Scottish Highlands, at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston.  Presented by Derek Alexander $20. Register at 

July 13, Saturday, 10am – 4pm, 240th Anniversary of the Battle of New Haven, hosted by the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.  This event commemorates when 3,000 British invaded New Haven in 1779, and 19 patriots defended the site. 

July 18, Thursday, 6:30, Gold Standard Proof for your Genealogy, part of the “Finding Your Ancestors” series at the Mayflower Society House, 4 Winslow Street, Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Presented by genealogist Christopher Lee.  Free to the public. For more information see

July 13 and 14, 240th Anniversary of the Assault on Stony Point, at the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, 44 Battlefield Road, Stony Point, New York. Hosted by the 2d Virginia Regiment.

July 18, Thursday, 6:30pm, Having a Fine Time in Manchester: Vintage Post Cards and Local History, at the Meredith Public Library, 91 Main Street, Meredith, New Hampshire.  Free to the public. Presented by Robert Perreault.

July 18, Thursday, 7pm , Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, at the North Hampton Town Hall, 231 Atlantic Avenue, North Hampton, New Hampshire.  Presented by Thomas Hubka. Free to the public.

July 19, Friday, 9am – 5pm, Free Fun Friday at Battleship Cove, 5 Water Street, Fall River, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 19, Friday, 9am – 5pm, Free Fun Friday at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 21, Sunday, noon – 3pm, Vintage Baseball Double-Header: Lynn Live Oaks vs. Lowell BBC, at the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, Massachusetts. Games played with 1864 rules. No reserved seating. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Snacks for purchase. For more information call 978-462-2634. 

July 21, Sunday, 1pm, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, at Jefferson Town Hall, 698 Presidential Highway, Jefferson, New Hampshire.  Presented by Thomas Hubka. Free to the public.

July 22, Monday, 6pm, The Legacy of the China Trade in Massachusetts: The Emergence of a Global Boston, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Pre-talk reception at 5:30.  Presented by Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross; Dael Norwood, University of Delaware; with moderator Tunney Lee of MIT.  $10 per person. Register here:

July 23, Tuesday, 6:30pm, New Hampshire on High: Historic and Unusual Weathervanes of the Granite State, at the Nesmith Library 8 Fellows Road, Windham, New Hampshire.  Presented by Glenn Knobock. Free to the public.

July 24, Wednesday, 7pm, A History of Native Burial Looting, Destruction & Protection in New Hampshire, at the Tuftonboro Historical Society, 449 Governor Wentworth Highway, Melvin Village, New Hampshire. Presented by John and Donna Moody. Free to the public.

July 24, Wednesday, 7pm, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, at the Lake Winnipesaukee Museum, 503 Endicott Street North, Laconia, New Hampshire.  Presented by Thomas Hubka. Free to the public.

July 25, Thursday, 1 – 3pm, Behind the Scenes in Collections Storage: Conservation, at the Historic New England Haverhill Regional Office, 151 Essex Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts.  $30 per adult, registration required at 617-994-6678.

July 25, Thursday, 4pm, Teddy Roosevelt’s Nobel Prize:  New Hampshire and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, at the Fells, 456 Route 103A, Newbury, New Hampshire. Free to the public.

July 25, Thursday 6:30pm, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, at the Kimball Public Library, 5 Academy Avenue, Atkinson, New Hampshire.  Presented by Thomas Hubka. Free to the public.

July 26, Friday, 10am – 5pm, Free Fun Friday at Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate, 210 Morrisey Blvd, Boston, Massachusetts.  Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 26, Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm, Free Fun Friday at the Commonwealth Museum, at Boston Columbia Point, Boston, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 26, Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm, Free Fun Friday at Historic Deerfield, 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 26, Friday, 9am – 4pm, Free Fun Friday at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, 15 Newton Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.  Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

July 27, Saturday, 4th Annual Pioneer Valley History Camp, at the Kitteridge Center at Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Drive, Holyoke, Massachusetts.  Lots of fun for adults!  For more information and registration see 

July 27, Saturday, 2pm and 3:30pm, Summer with the Quincys, at the Quincy House, 20 Muirhead Street, Quincy, Massachusetts. A walking tour of the Wollaston neighborhood. Stay for a tour of the 1770 Josiah Quincy house. Free to the public.

July 27 and 28, Saturday and Sunday, 17th Annual Wells Beach Harbor Pow wow, at 362 Harbor Road, Wells, Maine.   Open to the public, bring chairs.  Vendors, music, dancing, drumming.

July 28, Sunday, 10am – 4pm, 2019 Nipmuc Nation Powwow, the Hassanamesit Reservation, 80 Brigham Hill Road, Grafton, Massachusetts.  Hosted by the Nipmuc Nation. Drumming, dancing, crafts, food, children’s activities. Suggested donations adults $4 and children $2.

July 29, Monday, 1pm, Sharing your Genealogy Research Results, at the Amesbury Public Library, Amesbury, Massachusetts.  Presented by genealogist Seema Kenney. Free to the public.

July 29 – August 12, 2019,  Introduction to the Polish Heritage:  A unique insight into Poland’s History, Culture, Folklore, and Traditions.  All inclusive Tour of Poland from Boston.  Sponsored by the Polish Center of Discover and Learning of Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Stas Radosz invites you to join the 10th Edition of the Polish Heritage Tour.  This year features Gdansk in time for the Dominican Fair; as well as the fortified castles of Malbork, Gniew, and Kwidzyn; the prehistoric Slav settlement of Biskupin, and the Beskidy Mountains and the Lemko culture. Space is limited. Check if space is available at 413-592-0001 or email 

July 30, Tuesday, 6pm, The Architecture of Thomas Jefferson: Why It Matters Today, at Coolidge Point, 9 Coolidge Point Road, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. Presented by professor Henry Adams. Advance tickets required

July 30, Tuesday, 6pm, The Legacy of the China Trade in Massachusetts: Families, Fortunes, & Foreign Luxuries, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Pre-talk reception at 5:30.  Presented by Caroline Frank, Brown University; Dane Morrison, Salem State University; with moderator Gwenn Miller, of the College of the Holy Cross. $10 per person fee. Register here:

August 1 -5, Thursday to Monday,  Parade of Sail, Tall Ships, in Portsmouth Harbor, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Parade of Sail 1:15 August 1st (up the Piscataqua River, under the Memorial Bridge, and turn around back to the State Pier).  Ships will be open for tours 10am – 5pm, August 2- 4, and ships depart on August 5th.

Future Events:

August 10 – 16, 2019, Founders, Fishermen and Family History Cruise, On Holland America’s ms Zaandam, departing Boston on August 10 for a 7 night trip to Canada, ports include Montreal, Quebec City, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor, and Boston, Massachusetts. Speakers include the genealogists Gena Philibert-Ortega, Tami Osmer Mize, and David Allen Lambert. See the website for more information: 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Photo Friday - Casa de Abuelo Manuel Martin

The note on the back of the photo
Another view
When we were in Spain Vincent's cousin was cleaning his parents' apartment and found a stash of old photos.  He kindly let us photograph many of these photos. Fortunately we were able to look them over with my mother-in-law, who was able to identify many family members in the photos.

These photos show Vincent's cousin Chemari (José María) as a young boy with his grandfather, Vincent's tio Joaquín García, in front of the home of Manuel Martin Ventura in the village of Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain. Manuel Martin was Vincent's great grandfather, too!  I don't think Vincent ever met this ancestor, even though he lived during Vincent's lifetime.   We visited Villar de Ciervo over 20 years ago, and I have a painting of this same house hanging on my office wall, but the view is from the rear of the house.  It was painted by the village pharmacist!

Manuel Martin was born about 1880 in Barcelona, the son of Mateo Martín, a native of Vitigudino, Salamanca, and Manuela Ventura.  Manuel married on 23 January 1904 in Villar de Ciervo to Josefa Rivero, born 23 October 1884 in Villar Ciervo and died 17 November 1937 in Villar Ciervo.  They had four children - María Joaquina, Nicolás, Luisa Antonia, and María Consuelo (Vincent's maternal grandmother, who grew up in this house).

Manuel Martin was a cattle and sheep trader, and a breeder of "toros bravos" or bulls bred for the sport of bullfighting.  He was a farmer and grew grapes for wine.  Manuel Martin often traveled to Barcelona to trade his bulls, just like his father.  We aren't sure if the Martin family is native to Salamanca or to Barcelona.

Josefa Rivero and Manuel Martin
Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Photo Friday - Abuelo Manuel", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 28, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday - An American Eagle

A special edition of "Weathervane Wednesday"...

This beautiful three dimensional bald eagle was photographed at 32 Beach Street, Rockport, Massachusetts atop the gazebo outside of the American Legion Edward Peterson Post 98.  This post was founded in 1920, and the building is the former Beach Street School, built in the mid 1860s.  It became the Legion hall on 7 July 1930.

I think the choice of an eagle is perfect for a Legion Hall.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - An American Eagle", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 26, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Bound Rock - One of New Hampshire's Historical Curiosities

This rock, originally in the middle of Hampton
River, indicated the start of the boundary line
surveyed by Capt. Nicholas Shapley and marked
by him "AD 1657 - HB and SH" to determine the
line between Hampton and Salisbury.  HB meaning
"Hampton Bound" and SH Shapley's mark.
Lost for many decades due to the shifting of 
the river's mouth, the original course of the 
river, and the Bound Rock were rediscovered
 in 1937.  This historically important boulder,
still serving as the boundary marker, was
enclosed by the State of New Hampshire that
same year. 

This unassuming, overgrown tiny park might just be the smallest park in Seabrook, New Hampshire, and probably the smallest park in the entire state.  We stopped here to find the Bound Rock, read the sign, but couldn't find the famous rock even when we got out of the car and searched the park.  Behind all the overgrown grass we saw a concrete structure covered with a metal grill.  Even when we looked in we couldn't see the rock.   

Can you see the rock?

Back left corner of this tiny lot of land

Looking down this concrete structure, all we saw was seawater.
It was high tide, and two blocks from the beach.

What is the story behind this rock? Why was it preserved, and then hidden in such an odd way in this funny little forgotten park? 

The Bound Rock described above on the historical marker marked the BOUNDary of what was known to be New Hampshire in 1657.  You can see my blog post HERE from last fall which describes the Shapley Line, which started at the Bound Rock and ran west.  Over time this boundary has changed, but the Rock remained a historical oddity.  It was nominated as a National Historic Site in 1978. 

In 1965 the town of Hampton purchased this little lot of land squeezed between two beach cottages near Plymouth and Woodstock Streets, and moved the Bound Rock here.  It was set down inside the protective cement well in 1937.  Some time later in 1962 it was covered with the metal grill which now completely obscures the rock (unless you bring a strong flashlight and also visit at an extreme low tide).  

For the truly curious:

The Shapley Line Marker blog post: 

The Lane Library in Hampton has a page with many links to many stories about Bound Rock and it's strange history:

Also see Peter Randall's book Hampton: A Century of Town and Beach, 1888 - 1988


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Bound Rock - One of New Hampshire's Historical Curiosities", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 22, 2019, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Photo Friday - Funny Story

There is a funny story attached to this glamorous photo of my mother-in-law...

back of the photo
dated April 1960

My mother-in-law was married in January 1960 and removed from Madrid, Spain to New York City, where my father-in-law was working for the United Nations.  She had this photo taken in New York, and sent it back to her parents in Madrid.

Do you notice anything funny about the photo?  Her conservative father (a military officer) liked the photo, but not Maria's "decolletage".  He colored in the neckline of her dress to make it a bit more modest.  And I'll bet you didn't notice until I pointed that out, did you?

Is there a photo in your family album that someone altered back before Photo Shop?  Maybe they cut out someone they didn't like? Or changed their hair color?


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Photo Friday - Funny Story", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 21, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday - The Clipper Ship

This is another edition of "Weathervane Wednesday".  If you know the name of the mascot for the Newburyport, Massachusetts high school, then this will be an easy weathervane to identify.

The teams at Newburyport high school are named "The Clippers", after the ships that used to be made in the shipyards.  This intricately detailed weathervane is atop the cupola over the main building of the school.

The current building of the Newburyport high school was built in 1935. The campus was designed by the architect Edwin Dodge (1874 - 1938), a native of Newburyport who graduated from MIT in 1897 and the Ecole Nationale Superierure de Beaux Arts in Paris in 1902.  The Newburyport High School was founded in 1889 when the Female High School (1843) merged with the Putnam Free School (1838).

The Newburyport High School website (look for the clipper ship logo!):

Click here to see the other 400 weathervanes featured on "Weathervane Wednesday"!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - The Clipper Ship", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 19, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Ralph Baer Statue in Manchester, New Hampshire - 20th Century Americana

Earlier in May a new statue was unveiled in Manchester's Arms Park, on the banks of the Merrimack River.  It honors the inventor, Ralph Baer, who is considered the Father of all computer gaming. This statue is a friendly nod to Mr. Baer, and seems to invite you to sit down next to him to see what he is holding in his lap.  Which is just the kind of thing that Mr. Baer would have loved in life, since he enjoyed sharing his invention with everyone, especially children.

Ralph Baer was a former Sanders Associate employee (now BAE Systems) from 1956 to 1987 with a rags to riches story.  He was an immigrant who escaped the horrors of fascism and terror in Europe as a child, and became an engineer and hero to millions of computer gamers and technology users across the globe.  He held over 150 patents and created the first version of "Pong" and the game "Simon", as well as the first home video game console. While working at Sanders (BAE) he developed "The Brown Box", which was sold by Magnavox in the 1970s.

Born in Germany as Rudolf Heinrich Baer (1922 - 2014) his Jewish family fled in 1938 just two months before Kristallnacht.  He became a naturalized United States citizen and worked in a factory.  He later graduated from the National Radio Institute, and fought in World War II where he was assigned to military intelligence in London.  Through the G.I. Bill he earned a Bachelor of Science in Television Engineering.  After several other jobs he joined Sanders Associates (BAE Systems) in 1956. His projects included military applications, but through this technology he developed the concept of home video game consoles.  The rest is history!  His Brown Box was patented in 1973, jointly held by Baer and Sanders Associates.

Ralph Baer married Dena Whinston and they had three children.  He died in Manchester at his home in the North End on 6 December 2014.  He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2006 by President George W. Bush. He was inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010. Posthumously he was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences at the 2015 Game Developers Conference. Ralph Baer's lab was recreated at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, where he donated his papers and other artifacts. Baer was an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Life Fellow.

A local grassroots effort held an online Kickstarter campaign with support from BAE Systems and the Orbit Group to collect about $65,000 for the statue of Ralph Baer holding his "Brown Box", and for the statue's upkeep.  Names of donors are on the bricks below the statue.  Also, the Baer family has established a scholarship "The Ralph H. and Dena W. Baer Scholarship Fund" at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for Manchester Central High School students planning to study a technology related field.  Gifts may be made to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

This is another post in my series of stories about 20th Century Americana, local history which I use as story starters and for helping with oral histories.  Most of these subjects bring back great memories to the people who lived through the 20th century, maybe even YOU!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Ralph Baer Statue in Manchester, New Hampshire - 20th Century Americana", Nutfield Genealogy, posted June 15, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).