Friday, March 29, 2019

April 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

For a full schedule of Patriot’s Day activities commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775, see this link:  and this link for Minute Man National Park:  


March 30, Saturday, 8:30 – 1pm, The 2019 New England Family History Conference, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 91 Jordan Road, Franklin, Massachusetts. See the website for information. A keynote speaker and three sessions.  Family history consultants will be available for 15 minute consultations.

March 30, Saturday, 10am – noon, Tea in Helen’s Library, at the Stevens-Coolidge Place, 137 Andover Street, North Andover, Massachusetts.  Tea served by the wife of US Diplomat John Coolidge in 1924.  Trustee staff members will present snippets from the 1924 diary as you enjoy tea and treats.  $9 members, $15 non members. Space is limited, registration is required:

March 30, Saturday, 1 – 3pm, Kids Do Family History, at the New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park Street, Concord, New Hampshire. Explore your family’s roots!  Space is limited, registration is required, and children must be accompanied by an adult.  $25 for the first child in a family, $15 for each additional child.  Register at 603-856-0621. 

March 30, Saturday, 6pm, Spirits of the Past Haunted Trolley Tour, at 19 Sheafe Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Hosted by New England Curiosities and Deadwick’s Etherial Emporium.  Tickets at Guided by the author of “Haunted Portsmouth” Roxie J. Zwicker.  $25 for adults. Space is limited.

April 1, Monday, 1pm, New England Lighthouses and the People Who Kept Them, at the Nashua First Baptist Church, 121 Manchester Street, Nashua, New Hampshire. Free to the public. Presented by lighthouse historian Jeremy D’Entremont.

April 2, Tuesday, 5:15pm, Naming Plantations in the 17th Century English Atlantic, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to the public, please RSVP or call 617-646-0579.  Presented by Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College, with comment by Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire.

April 2, Tuesday, 7pm, I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone, at the American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury, Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.  Free to the public.  A one-woman play presented by History at Play and performed by Judith Kalaora.  Seating is first come, first served.  Doors open at 6:30pm.

April 3 and April 10, Wednesdays, 1pm (two dates), Introduction to Genealogy, at the Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library, 433 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  A 2 part series, where you will be introduced to genealogy resources available at the Boston Public Library, including, newspapers on microfilm, and city directories.  Registration is not required. Free to the public. 

April 3, Wednesday, noon, Songs of Emigration: Storytelling Through Traditional Irish Music, at the Windham Town Hall, 4 North Lowell Road, Windham, New Hampshire. Free to the public, sponsored by the Women’s Service Club of Windham.  Presented by musician Jordan Tirell-Wysocki on guitar and fiddle.

April 3, Wednesday, New Hampshire Cemeteries and Gravestones, at the Lee Safety Complex, 20 George Bennett Road, Lee, New Hampshire. Free to the public, sponsored by the Lee Public Library.  Presented by Glenn Knoblock.

April 3-6, 2019,  New England Regional Genealogical Conference NERGC in Manchester, New Hampshire at the Radisson Hotel on Elm Street. for more information.

April 4, Thursday, 2pm, Rum Running on Cape Cod at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Hosted by Don Wilding’s Cape Cod and the Boston Public Library. Free to the public.

April 5, Friday, noon, Slavery in Old Kittery and Berwick [Maine]: The Truth Revealed, at NEHGS 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Presented by historian Patricia Q. Wall with her new book Lives of Consequence: Blacks in Early Kittery & Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine.  Free to the public as part of the First Friday lecture series.

April 5, Friday, 7pm, Poor Houses and Town Farms:  The Hard Row for Paupers, at Stevens Hall, 1 Chester Street, Chester, New Hampshire. Sponsored by the Chester Historical Society.  Presented by Steve Taylor.  Free to the public.

April 6, Saturday,10am – 1pm, Tricorn Trifecta, at Bedford, Lincoln and Concord, Massachusetts.  Three historic events- The Bedford Liberty Pole Capping, Meriams Corner Ceremony, and the retelling of Paul Revere’s Ride by the Lincoln Minutemen.  Meriam’s Corner at 1pm; Paul Revere Capture Site, 3pm.

April 6, Saturday, 10am, Magical History Tour, at the Old Point and Sabastian Rale Monument, Norridgewock, Maine.  The tour will be led by Mike Dekker, author of “The French and Indian Wars in Maine”.  See this page to be registered for the tour:

April 6 and 7, Saturday and Sunday, Regency Intensive Dance Weekend, at Salem, Massachusetts and hosted by the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers.  Tickets at   This is an immersive bootcamp for the entire weekend! Dance classes, tea, period games, and concludes with a Grand Ball on Sunday evening in the Hamilton Hall. 

April 6, Saturday, noon, The World of Credit in Colonial Massachusetts, at the NEHGS library, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to the public.  Presented by James E. Wadsworth as part of the First Friday Lecture Series. Free to the public.

April 7, Sunday, 2pm, Welcome to the Graveyard!  A virtual Tour of Cemetery Art, at the Dighton Town Hall, 979 Somerset Avenue, Dighton, Massachusetts. Free to the public, presented by the Gravestone Girls.

April 7, Sunday, 2pm, Salt Cod for Silver: Yankees, Basques, and the North Shore’s Forgotten Trade, at the Salem Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem, Massachusetts.  Free to the public, seating is limited to the first 200 attendees on a first come, first-serve basis.  Participating in the symposium will be Xabier Lamikiz, University of the Basque Country; David Hancock, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor; and Karen Alexander, University of New Hampshire Gulf of Maine Cod Project.  Independent scholar Donald C. Carleton, Jr. will be moderator. 

April 7, Sunday, 2pm – 4pm, William Dawes’ Secret, at the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, 10 Putnam Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts. This talk reveals Dawes the militia organizer, the fashion icon, and the arms smuggler.  Presented by J. L. Bell, the author of The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War. Free to the public.

April 9, Tuesday, 1pm, Researching Ancestors Who Served in the Revolutionary War, at the Boston Public Library, at the Central Library, Copley Square, Boston, Massachusetts.  This class will provide a basic overview in how to use military records for genealogy and lineage society applications (DAR and SAR). Free to the public. 

April 9, Tuesday, 2pm, African American Soldiers and Sailors of New Hampshire during the American Revolution, at the Lawrence Barn, 28 Depot Road, Hollis, New Hampshire.  Hosted by the Anna Keyes Powers DAR chapter.  Free to the public. Presented by Glenn Knoblock.

April 10, Wednesday, 6:30pm, The Capital Crime of Witchcraft:  What the Primary Sources Tell Us, at the Wadleigh Memorial Library, 49 Nashua Street, Milford, New Hampshire.  Presented by expert Margo Burns. Free to the public.

April 11 – May 9, five consecutive Thursday Nights, Spring Lecture Series:  Riots, Murder, and Mayhem!  At the New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park Avenue, Concord, New Hampshire.  New Hampshire has had one of the lowest crime rates in the country historically, but it has still experienced some high profile crimes including the infamous Smuttynose ax murders, a Civil War riot, and a bank collapse that foreshadowed the Ponzi schemes of the twentieth century. Space is limited and registration is required for all attendees.  To register, visit  Members are free, non-members are invited to join the Society to enjoy this and other member benefits.

April 11, Thursday, 7pm, Maine Ulster Scots Project: Reflections Book Launch, at the Freeport Community Library, 10 Library Drive, Freeport, Maine. Celebrate the launch of the new book "1718 - 2018, Reflections on 300 Years of Scots Irish in Maine" by William Roulston, John T. Mann, and Rebecca J. Graham. Book sales and signing.  If you sign up for membership to the St. Andrews Society of Maine or the Freeport Historical Society during the event you will receive $5 off the price of the book.  Snacks and refreshments will be available. 

April 12, Friday, 1:30pm, "Of Graves and Epitaphs: A Conversation about New England's Stories in Stone", at the Hudson Genealogy Club at the Rogers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road, Hudson, New Hampshire. Presented by David Alukonis. Free to the public. 

April 12, Friday, 6pm, Kimball Jenkins History Club - Info Meeting!, at the Kimball Jenkins School of Art, 266 North Main Street, Concord, New Hampshire. Seeking intrepidly curious individuals with an interest in local history and/or historic architecture to attend an introductory meeting.  Sift through dusty family documents and gorgeous old antique photos as we delve into the secrets of the Kimball Jenkins Estate. For more information please see 

April 12 – 14, Founder’s Weekend at Derry, New Hampshire, Celebrating the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the towns of Londonderry, Derry, Windham and Derryfield (Manchester), New Hampshire. See the website for registration and schedules.  There are two tracks of events including a Heritage Weekend at the First Parish Meetinghouse of FREE activities to the public including talks, tours, kids activities, food service, displays, and more; and a Nutfield Families Reunion and Conference (registration fee required) across the street at the restored Upper Village Hall with keynote speakers, a dinner, genealogy information,and family reunions.

April 13, Saturday, 10am, New Visitor Tour of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  FREE tour of the research facility.  No need to register nor be a member.  Tour attendees are welcome to stay and use the library following the tour. 

April 13, Saturday, 1:30pm, Swedish Genealogy Research, at the Acton Memorial Library, 486 Main Street, Acton, Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Middlesex Chapter. Presented by genealogist Michael McClellan. Free to the public.

April 13, Saturday, 2pm, Wild Ireland, at the Amesbury Public Library, Amesbury, Massachusetts. Tom Toohey presents a program that is part travelogue and part mythology. The program handout includes a list of sources that genealogy researchers can use to enhance their knowledge of family stories. Free to the public. 

April 13, Saturday, 2pm, New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell, at the New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park Avenue, Concord, New Hampshire. Presented by Pam Weeks. Included with the price of admission.

For a full schedule of Patriot’s Day activities commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775, see this link:  and this link for Minute Man National Park:

April 13, Saturday, 9:30am, Parker’s Revenge Reenactment, on the Battle Green at Lexington, Massachusetts. The Lexington Minute Men gathered on the green for a second call to arms for Captain John Parker, which took place on the afternoon of April 19, 1775.  Following this event, the Minute Men will march up Massachusetts Avenue to Fiske Hill, and continue to the Parker’s Revenge Site in the Minute Man National Park for a skirmish reenactment. Free to the public. Family friendly.

April 13, Saturday, 5pm – 11pm, Halfway to the Highland Games, at the Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A Street, Derry, New Hampshire.  A full evening of Scottish music, culture, and history featuring Syr, The Rebel Collective, Elias Alexander and the Bywater Band, and the Pipes and Drums of NHSCOT.  Tickets at 

April 14, Sunday, 11:30pm, Paul Revere’s Ride, at the Hancock-Clarke House, Lexington, Massachusetts. A dramatic reenactment of the arrival of Paul Revere at the Hancock-Clarke House after his famous ride.  Admission is FREE. 

April 14, Sunday, 2pm, Digging Into Native History in New Hampshire, at the Hopkinton Historical Society, 300 Main Street, Hopkinton, New Hampshire.  Presented by Robert Goodby. Free to the public.

April 15, Monday, 5:30 am, Reenactment of the Battle of Lexington, at the Battle Green in Lexington, Massachusetts.  Dress rehearsal will be Sunday, March 31 at 2pm, rain date Saturday April 6 at 2pm.

April 15, Monday, 8am, 9am, 10am, and 11am, First Shot! At the Depot: Film Screening, at the Lexington Historical Society, at the Depot, Lexington, Massachusetts.  A film screening and question and answer period with British and Colonial reenactors.  Entertainment between screenings.  Tickets at the door.  Adults $3, Children $1. 

April 15, Monday, 8:30am, Patriot’s Day at the North Bridge Commemoration and the Concord Parade, at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.  A dramatic reenactment of the skirmish involving Minute Men and the British regulars.  The parade will follow the reenactment.

April 16, Tuesday, 5:30pm, The Long 19th Amendment, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to the public, please RSVP at or call 617-646-0579.  Presented by Corinne Field, University of Virginia and Katherine Turk, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Moderated by Susan War, Schlesinger Library.

April 16, Tuesday, 7pm, Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765 – 1776, at the American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. Free to the public.  Seating is first-come, first-served. Patrick Spero will talk about his new book.  Doors open at 6:30pm.

April 16, Tuesday, 7pm, The Founding Fathers: What Were They Thinking? At the John O’Leary Adult Community Center, 4 Church Street, Merrimack, New Hampshire. Free to the public, hosted by the Merrimack Historical Society.  Presented by Richard Hesse. 

April 17, Wednesday, 10am – 8pm, Connecting Histories:  Boston’s Inaugural Event Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower.  At the NEHGS library, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Free to the public.  A special day of family fun with a 10 foot scale model of the Mayflower, and the official opening of a new exhibit “Origins and Legacy of the Mayflower”, meet one-on-one with a genealogist to start tracing your family story, and more.  Please register here

April 17, Wednesday, 3pm, New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell, at the Bedford Public Library, 3 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, New Hampshire.  Presented by Pam Weeks.  Participants are invited to bring one quilt for identification and/or story telling.  Free to the public.

April 17, Wednesday, 6pm, The City-State of Boston: The Rise and Fall of an Atlantic Power, 1630 – 1865, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Pre-talk reception at 5:30.  Presented by Mark Peterson of Yale University. $10 per person.  Please register at 

April 17, Wednesday, 7pm, A Storm of Witchcraft Book Group with Dr. Emerson Baker, at Historic Beverly, 117 Cabot Street, Beverly, Massachusetts. $10 for non members, free for members.  Dr. Baker will lead the discussion and take questions.

April 18, Thursday, 5:15pm, Historians and Ethics: The Case of Anne Moody, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Free to the public, please RSVP at or call 617-646-0579.  Presented by Francoise Hamlin, Brown University with comment by Chad Williams of Brandeis University. 

April 18, Thursday, 6pm, The Critical Backstory to Colonization from the Native Perspective, at the NEHGS library, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  Presented by Paula Peters, a Mashpee Wampanoag.  Free to the public, compliments the exhibit “Our Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History on display at NEHGS Paril 3 – 25.  Please register here: .

April 19, Friday, 6am, The Dawn Salute, at the Minute Man National Park, Old North Bridge, Concord, Massachusetts. Speeches and a 21 gun salute by the Concord Minute Men and the Concord Independent Battery to commemorate the Battle of Concord Bridge on 19 April 1775. 

April 20, Saturday 11am - 4:30pm, British Royal Artillery of the Revolutionary War, at the Colonel Paul Wentworth House, 47 Water Street, Rollinsford, New Hampshire. Hosted by the Royal Artillery 7th Company, 3rd Battalion. $5 for adults, free to kids and ARCH members. A day of living history with re-enactors who will display weapons, equipment and uniforms from General Burgoyne's Army of 1777.  There will be military drills and demonstrations with two bronze 3 pounder artillery pieces and muskets.  

April 20, Saturday, 11am, A Terrible Malady: Disease and Epidemics in New England, hosted by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Bristol Chapter, and presented by Lori Lynn Price.  Free to the public.

April 23, Tuesday, 5:15, Boston’s North End: Post World War II Italian Immigration, Segmented Assimilation, and the “Problem of Cornerville”, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. A paper presented by James Pasto, Boston University with comment by Marilynn Johnson of Boston College.  Free to the public, please RSVP to or call 617-646-0579.

April 24, Wednesday, 10am, New Visitor Tour of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts.  FREE tour of the research facility.  No need to register nor be a member.  Tour attendees are welcome to stay and use the library following the tour. 

April 24, Wednesday, 6pm, Privateer Trail Walking Tour, by the Historic Beverly, 117 Cabot Street, Beverly, Massachusetts.  $10 for non-members, free for members. Visit the homes and businesses of some of Beverly’s most famous privateers.  Rain or shine. 

April 24, Wednesday, 6:30pm, Bewitched:  A Show, A Statue, and an Icon, at the House of Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts. Free to members, non-members $10.  Presented by television and pop culture historian Robert Thompson, who will discuss the TV show and it’s lasting impact on culture and Salem.  To reserve your spot for this lecture email or call 978-306-7003.

April 25, Friday, 6pm, Beer and Revolution, at Historic Beverly, 117 Cabot Street, Beverly, Massachusetts. Tickets at  A four course dinner from Relish Catering and Events, paired with local brews from the Gentile Brewing Company, and a presentation about Beverly’s role in the American Revolution. Reservations close on April 22.

April 25, Friday, 6pm, A Virtual Tour of Cape Elizabeth’s Cemeteries, at the Thomas Memorial Library, 6 Scott Dyer Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Presented by the Gravestone Girls.  Free to the public.

April 25, Friday, 6:30pm, A Soldier’s Mother Tells Her Story, at the Hooksett Public Library, 31 Mount Saint Mary’s Way, Hooksett, New Hampshire. Presented by re-enactor Sharon Wood who portrays Betsey Phelps, the mother of a Union soldier from Amherst, New Hampshire. Free to the public.

April 25, Friday, 7pm, The Music History of French-Canadians, Franco-Americans, Acadians, and Cajuns, at the Pierce Manse, 14 Horseshoe Pond Lane, Concord, New Hampshire. Free to the public, hosted by the Pierce Brigade, and presented by Lucie Therrien. 

April 27, Saturday, 2pm, Impact of the 1918 Flu Epidemic: A Personal Stories Based Approach, at the Amesbury Public Library, Amesbury, Massachusetts.  Presented by Lori Lynn Price. Free to the public. 

April 27, Saturday, 2pm, The Albacore Crew Tell Their Stories! At the Portsmouth Public Library, 175 Parrott Ave, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Hosted by the USS Albacore Submarine and Museum. FREE to the public.  Presented by Jack Hunter and Austin “Butch” Jordan based on their oral histories collected from actual Albacore crew members.  Light refreshments following the lecture.

April 28, Sunday, 2 – 4pm, Pilgrim Chronicles: Exploring the Origins and Legacy of the Mayflower, at the NEHGS library, 99 – 101 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Free to the public. Presented by Robert Charles Anderson and Dr. Francis Bremer.  Please register here

April 29, Monday, 2:15pm, New England Lighthouses and the People Who Kept Them, at the Havenwood Heritage Heights, 33 Christian Avenue, Concord, New Hampshire. Free to the public.  Presented by historian Jeremy D’Entremont.

April 29, Monday, 6pm, Visual Culture of Suffrage, at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts. Pre-talk reception at 5:30.  Presented by Allison Lange of the Wentworth Institute of Technology. Free to the public, please register at  This program is part of ArtWeek. 

April 30, Tuesday, 7:30 pm, Putting Human Faces on the Textile Industry:  The Workers of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, at the Nashua Historical Society, 5 Abbott Road, Nashua, New Hampshire. Presented by historian Robert Perreault. Free to the public.

Coming Soon!

May 18, Saturday, 10am – 3pm, Annual Spring Meeting of the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists, at the New Hampshire Historical Society, 30 Park Street, Concord, New Hampshire.  Featured speakers will be Sarah E. Galligan, Library Director of the NHHS and Brian Nelson Burford, the New Hampshire State Archivist.   

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 Piscataquar 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.

 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:  

August 17-18, Saturday and Sunday, Hillsborough History Alive at Hillsborough, New Hampshire.  For more information  Many activities, and presentations.  French & Indian War and Civil War battles reenacted in the forest and fields. Encampments, sutlers, craft demonstrations, music and food. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "April 2019 Genealogy and Local History Calendar", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 29, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Old Friends 1982

More college photo slides digitized!  Here we are with some old friends from college and high school. You know who you are...  In 1982 I was still in college, but Vincent had just graduated from MIT and was in his first apartment in Arlington, Massachusetts.  We were sitting on the floor around a coffee table because there were no chairs!

These photos were take before we were all married, and now, nearly 40 years later, we are all still married.  Who would have thunk?

Here are some photos of a lobster feast in the Arlington apartment.  I can't believe we fit at least five lobsters into that tiny pot. Perhaps we ate in shifts?

Does this lobster fit?

Time to dig in!

Watch out!  It's alive!

The ubiquitous college photo. Getting the lobster drunk before the boiling pot. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Throwback Thursday - Old Friends 1982", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 28, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Science Cafe NH - A Conversation about DNA and Forensic Genealogy

Panelists at the Science Cafe event, March 27th, in Concord, NH
Left to right, Buzz Scherr, Kim Rumrill, and Beth Wilkes

Every month there are several Science Cafe events around the state of New Hampshire.  Although I have been reading Dave Brooks as "The Granite Geek" in his science column in the Concord Monitor, I hadn't paid attention to these gatherings. Then I saw this event on Facebook for the March 27th event in Concord for "How Forensic Genealogy is Cracking Decades Old Cold Cases" and I jumped at the chance to attend.  Vincent, the science buff (and MIT graduate) was interested in the topic, too.

Vincent and I arrived just in time to grab the last seats at a table at Makris restaurant, where the Science Cafe is now meeting every fourth Wednesday of the month. After we were seated, a few more chairs were brought out and squeezed into corners, and a half dozen people stood along the walls, and about 15 people were turned away.  According to Dave Brooks, who was the moderator for this night's panel discussion, said that he had never anticipated such a large crowd. There were over 90 in this dining room.

Forensic DNA, as well as DNA in general, has made genealogy and genealogy websites very popular in the last few years.  The constant commercials on TV for DNA testing, as well as several very infamous crime cases on the news media have made DNA intriguing to the general public. This is probably why so many people turned up for this particular Science Cafe event.  However, most of the general public still doesn't understand how DNA works, and how the ethics of these cases has changed crime fighting and privacy issues.

Since this was a "Science Cafe", the panel members were not genealogists, even though the word "genealogy" was prominent in the title of the event.  Milli Knudsen, who was the forensic genealogist for the New Hampshire state police on the Bear Brook case, or other forensic genealogists, were not on this panel. The panelists chosen for this night were Buzz Scherr, from the UNH School of Law, an expert on genetic laws and privacy (he penned last year's legislation for privacy which passed by 80% on the NH ballot); Kimberly Rumrill, a criminalist with the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory; and Beth Wilkes, a professor of genetics at NHTI.

The questions posed from the audience to the panel were very interesting, and they also showed that members of the audience had varying degrees of knowledge on the subject of DNA.  The very first question posed was from an audience member who wanted to know the ethics of Ancestry selling his DNA to insurance companies (answer: they are not selling his information to insurance companies).  The second question was about CRISPR and gene editing, a more advanced topic.  Another audience member had a question about the Bear Brook mystery (for people outside of New Hampshire - this was a cold case about several bodies found buried in steel barrels on the grounds of Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.  The case was solved using DNA and genealogy - see the link below for a podcast about the case, or Google "Bear Brook Case" for news stories).

One audience member wanted to know if our DNA is 99.9% identical (between any two humans), how could the differences point out a suspect in a crime case?  This is where the panel could have used an actual forensic genealogist.  Although the panelists explained how certain markers are examined for mutations and differences in the code, they didn't know which commercial DNA companies (Ancestry, 23andMe, GEDmatch were mentioned) used Y or mtDNA (none of them, only FamilyTreeDNA does the paternal or maternal testing).  They didn't know how to explain triangulation, or centimorgans, DNA Painter, Ancestry Thrulines, or any of the other methods genealogists use to find family members (cousin connections).  Genealogists were mentioned, especially Parabon Nano-Labs in the context of being part of the team to help solve the crimes.

The panel was excellent at explaining the ethical problems in criminal cases, and in explaining the science of genes, chromosomes, phenotyping, etc.  Vincent, although he was an MIT graduate, was glad he had already learned about genetic DNA at RootsTech, the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree, NERGC, and from genealogy speakers like Judy Russell and Blaine Bettinger.  Although this is a science topic, it crosses over into law, ethics, government and other disciplines.

Vincent and I were intrigued enough by this event to put some of the other Science Cafe, NH programs on our calendar.  There are Science Cafe events in Manchester (SEE Science Center's Science on Tap), Portsmouth, Nashua, Holderness (hosted by the Squam Lake Association), and Lebanon (hosted by Dartmouth College).  The Nashua Science Cafe is held at the Riverwalk Cafe at 6pm on the second Wednesday of each month.  The Concord Science Cafe is held at Makris Lobster and Steak Restaurant at 6pm on the fourth Wednesday of the month.  Dave Brooks joked that per capita, New Hampshire has more Science Cafe's than any other state.  Considering that we are such a tiny state with a tiny population, maybe he is right!

Look for this show on Concord TV in a week or two (also will air in several other communities in New Hampshire and nation wide) 

If you are interested in DNA and genetic genealogy, don't forget that in two weeks the New England Regional Genealogy Conference (NERGC 2019) will be in Manchester, New Hampshire April 3 - 6, 2019 at the Double Tree Hotel on Elm Street  .  Genetic DNA is so popular right now, that Blaine Bettinger's pre conference DNA day on Wednesday April 3rd has sold out.  You can still follow the DNA track of workshops, lectures and presentations on April 4, 5, and 6 (attend all three days, or just one or two days).  See the conference brochure with a schedule of all the events, including DNA and genetic genealogy at this link: 

Science Cafe, NH on Facebook

The Science Cafe, NH website 

New Hampshire Public Radio's podcast on the Bear Brook Cold Case, solved using forensic genealogy: 

NERGC 2019 (New England Regional Genealogy Conference April 3-6)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Science Cafe NH - A Conversation about DNA and Forensic Genealogy", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 28 March 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday - the First Parish Meetinghouse, Derry, New Hampshire

Here is a special edition of "Weathervane Wednesday".  I had previously published a post on this weathervane back in 2011.  Now this meetinghouse is undergoing restoration, especially of the steeple this spring.  The top of the steeple was completely removed and rebuilt, and the weathervane has been in storage.  Now the weathervane is at the studio of the "Chester Gilder", Alexandra Hadik.

The First Parish weathervane, without the lightning rod

A 2011 photo of the First Parish Meetinghouse weathervane and steeple
before the present restoration project
This restoration project began several years ago with major structural improvements including raising the entire meetinghouse up and placing it on a new foundation.  This church was founded in 1719 by the Rev. James MacGregor of Aghadowey, Northern Ireland, who brought his flock of sixteen Scots Irish families with him from his Presbyterian church.  Over the years there have been several different buildings, and the parish has converted to the Congregational church.  You can follow the restoration project of this building at this link:

We had a nice visit with Alexandra Hadik, who is repairing and re-gilding the weathervane.  You can see that it is in decent shape, and has had many repairs over the years.  These repairs are not evident from street level, but very apparent up close.  She was very gracious in giving us a tour of her studio and an explanation of the work ahead of her on this weathervane project.

former fixes include welded and riveted plates, and a wire to hold up the arrow

This ball sits under the pivoting vane, and it has rotted considerably
There are no cardinal points (North, South, East, West) on this weathervane
There are no visible marks on this weathervane indicating the maker, dates, or origins of this weathervane.  Church records do not name the maker or the year it was installed, which is very typical.  Rarely are these weathervanes recorded, nor are the makers known except in very rare instances.  They are folk art usually produced by a local blacksmith, tinsmith or similar type of artisan.  It is difficult to tell if the weathervane dates from 1887, when the steeple was originally built and added to the building which dates from 1769.  In 1824 the meetinghouse was expanded by literally cutting the building in half and dragging it apart by teams of oxen to add 24 feet of space in the middle!

You can see where the gilding has worn off, revealing the metal below

The entire weathervane will be repaired, cleaned of the old gilding and re-gilded by Alexandra Hadik.  She studied frame making and conservation in Europe and worked with gilding in Baltimore for many years. Alexandra is a well known expert in this field, and has restored other weathervanes and artwork, both for interior and exterior decoration.  Her last weathervane project was the well known rooster weathervane over the First Church in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

The weathervane and steeple are scheduled to be replace over the tower of the First Parish Meetinghouse in May 2019.  It was exciting to see this weathervane up close, but it will be twice as exciting to see it up above the meetinghouse in East Derry soon!

A previous "Weathervane Wednesday" post on this weathervane: 

The website for Alexandra Hadik: 

The First Parish Meetinghouse Rehabilitation Project:

First Parish Congregational Church: 

Click this link to see the entire Weathervane Wednesday series of over 400 weathervanes:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday - the First Parish Meetinghouse, Derry, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 27, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Throwback Thursday - 1979 High School Graduation

Here I have more photo slides we have recently scanned and digitized. These slides, although they are older than the first few "Throwback Thursday" photos I posted, are in nicer shape, not deteriorated and the color is still true.  These were Kodak film and processing, and not Seattle Filmworks. My Dad shot them with a pocket sized Kodak instamatic using a cartridge of 110 film. That probably accounts for the graininess of the images.

I graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, Massachusetts in 1979.  We were a big class of baby boomers, with about 500 in the graduating class from the towns of Holden, Paxton, Princeton, Rutland and Sterling.  There aren't many photos of my graduation.

The girls wore white robes, the boys wore dark green,
the colors of the "Mountaineers"

It looks like my Dad got up behind the stage for this shot.
The ceremony was held on the football field.

I became a high school graduate here!

The ubiquitous photo in front of the flowering mountain laurel.
Our neighborhood was full of mountain laurel
and every May and June lots of family photos were posed here
for Mother's Day, First Communions, Proms,
and Graduations!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Throwback Thursday - 1979 High School Graduation", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 21, 2019, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Weathervane Wednesday ~ At the Animal Kingdom in DisneyWorld

It's been nearly two months since I've posted a weathervane!  During that time we went on vacation to everyone's favorite theme park - Disney World in Florida.  Here are a few weathervanes we spotted at the Animal Kingdom:

This complicated weathervane was seen atop the Island Mercantile gift shop on Discovery Island.  It features six birds and a fish pointer!  There were no cardinal points on this weathervane. 

This weathervane had two insects, but I don't know which insects they represent, and an interesting vane shaped like a leafy branch.  It was located above the Flame Tree Barbecue Restaurant, right near the gift shop seen above. 

Click this link to see the entire Weathervane Wednesday series of over 400 weathervanes: 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ At the Animal Kingdom in DisneyWorld", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 20, 2019,( accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Throwback Thursday ~ 1981 and 1982 Plymouth, Massachusetts

This was a real find!  Two visits to Plymouth, Massachusetts during our college years.

In the first trip, one spring weekend during college six friends piled into one car and drove from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I was the only native New Englander in the bunch, so I had fun touring them around to see the sights.  This was a long time before I knew I had any Mayflower ancestors.

These are more of the deteriorating, old photo slides that we used to take in college because it was less expensive than prints back then in 1981.  These slides were on Kodak film, which seems to have retained the color and sharpness better than the previous "Throwback Thursday" photo slide blog posts, which were taken with Seattle Filmworks film and processing.

The Forefathers Monument in Plymouth, MA

Vincent's old Pinto station wagon, which held six of us!

The Mayflower II

Plymouth Rock, hasn't changed much since 1981!

This marble pavilion houses Plymouth Rock at Plymouth harbor.
This view hasn't changed in almost 40 years. 

The fort at Plimoth Plantation

The view from the top of the fort down Leyden Street at
Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum

A timeless scene, the native Wampanoag home site at Plimoth Plantation

Yours Truly and Vincent at the Mayflower II.
Many years before I knew I was a
descendant of a Mayflower passenger!

At one of the beaches at Plymouth, Massachusetts

Dodging the waves at the beach

Walking along the beach in Plymouth

Yes, the three guys in our group went swimming in their jeans.
It was a wet ride all the way back to Cambridge.

Swimming in jeans.  Fun at the moment, but wet jeans aren't very comfortable later!

In 1982 Vincent's Mom came from Spain to visit Massachusetts. We took her to visit Plymouth and Plimoth Plantation.

The view from on top of the Fort/Meetinghouse at Plimoth Planation.
 You can no longer go to the roof of this building,
but today you can lookout of gunports on the second floor. 

There no longer are stocks at Plimoth Plantation.
Vincent took a moment for a photo opportunity here!

Another timeless photo!  Me and my future mother-in-law
in front of the Mayflower II on the Plymouth waterfront.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Throwback Thursday ~ 1981 and 1982 Plymouth, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 14, 2019, ( accessed [access date]).