Monday, November 30, 2020

December 2020 Genealogy and Local History Calendar


Virtual Genealogy Events 2020

Stay connected and stay at home!   Scheduled events are listed first, then "in person" classes, and thenongoing programs online are listed below (just scroll down).  Some events are free, and some online classes have fees.  Most are open to the public. 

For last minute additions, please email me at and I can edit this post, and also check the Nutfield Genealogy Facebook page at


November 30, Monday, 5:30pm, The Power of Objects in 18th Century British America, hosted online free to the public by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Presented by Jennifer van Horn, University of Delaware.  Register here:

December 1, Tuesday, 1pm, Burial Hill Tour, hosted by the Pilgrim Hall Museum of Plymouth, Massachusetts in partnership with the Plymouth Antiquarian Society.  1 hour guided tour by Dr. Anne Mason.  Visit the Pilgrim Hall Facebook page for the tour and weather cancellations.

December 1, Tuesday, 4pm, Jewish and African American Cemeteries at Borders Uncrossed, hosted free online by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Free to the public.  Presented by Dr. Kami Fletcher and Dr. Allan Amanik.  Register here:

December 1, Tuesday, 5:15pm, Caribbean Connections – Panel Discussion, hosted free online by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  This panel includes Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Roger Williams University; Casey Schmitt, Cornell University, with comment by Ryan Quintana, Wellesley College.  Register here:

December 1, Tuesday, 7pm, Wit and Wisdom: Humor in 19th Century New England, hosted online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  Presented by Jo Radner.  Register here: 

December 2, Wednesday, 6pm The Princes of Portland: The Brown Family of Bramhall and Thornhurst, presented online by the Maine Historical Society.  Register here: 

December 2, Wednesday, 6pm, The Truth About Baked Beans: An Edible History of New England, hosted free online by the Boston Public Library, part of the Local and Family History Lecture Series.  See this link to register and for more information:

December 2, Wednesday, 7pm, Welcome to the Graveyard ~ Virtual Tour of Arlington (Massachusetts) Cemeteries, hosted by the Gravestone Girls with the Friends of Robbins Library, Arlington, Massachusetts.  Zoom meeting, link to follow. See this webpage for further information:[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22multi_join_nearby%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22suggested_events%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A[]%7D]%22%7D&__xts__[0]=68.ARBGJpgyI8eIW4KgaYsKGToM8_xU-15uE7u3PmZUWjd_GpAeTuXkva3idveweV1h5m1mqbNITpXgp7eFHzbAm6_TobwlpiD-jM_HSjMNDpmdnA_BRTJfeZUBe9sPDd--hxniyQpOIY-xGwBLez2fjUIcnCq5xqS8ImYMiezowLtIztBp-OAkDEzDVuBjxpJ6zUzScnYc-Bq-M1GvWgkQI7rEWbi3yRMn_qVogsMujkrzJ_oEZamDuCTOmlKOrCfAQCwt4dzBycRCgmPrLpSnMKAVHG--NLzUTv9M4o2tUMWyMem9T5K0aC15IQiq

December 2, Thursday, 8pm, Virtual Public Program – Before COVID: Illness in Everyday life in early New England, hosted free online by the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, Massachusetts.  Register here:

December 3, Thursday, 5:15pm, Emancipation in America, Seen Through One Man’s Dreadlocks, hosted online by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Presented by Abigail Cooper of Brandeis University, with comment by Kellie Carter of Wellesley College.  Free to the public. Register here:

December 3, Thursday, 6pm, David S. Reynolds with Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times, hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Porter Square Books.  Free to the public.  A virtual presentation and discussion.  Register here:

December 3, Thursday, 7pm, Shipyards and Suffragists of East Boston, presented online by the Boston Public Library.  Presented by Lyle Nyberg.  Free to the public.  Register here: 

December 4, Friday, Researching American Revolutionary War Patriots, hosted by the Experts at American Ancestors/the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Access to class recordings start December 3, live Q and A with instructors December 12, 2pm. Participants will have access to all materials until March 31, 2021.  Cost $125.  View full agenda and registration here: 

December 4, Friday, 2pm, Coffee Hour with the Connecticut Historical Society: Propaganda and WWII.  Held online, free to the public.  Register here:

December 4, Friday, 5pm, Forced into Politics: Daniel Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the Fugitive Slave Crisis, hosted live online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  Presented by Geoffrey R. Kirsch.  Register here: 

December 5, Saturday, 9:30am, Opa!  It’s All Greek to Me!”, a virtual presentation on Greek genealogy hosted by the Worcester Regional Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, presented by Kathy Kaldis.  Free to the public. 

December 5, Saturday, 11am, Commemorating the Mayflower Voyage Quadricentennial, a Zoom event hosted by National Maritime Historical Society and moderated by Sea History Editor Dieirdre O’Regan, a panel discussion by Jerry Boerts, Captain Whit Perry, and Quentin Snediker.  Lecture at 11am with Q&A to follow. See this link for registration and more information:

December 5, Saturday, 1pm, Focusing Your Research, hosted online by the Chelmsford, Massachusetts Genealogy Club, and presented by genealogist Seema J. Kenney.  Free to the public. Please register here (a handout is available upon registration):  

December 7, Monday, 5:30pm, Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Free online to the public.  Presented by Joshua R. Greenberg.  Register here:

December 7, Monday, 6pm, Maine at 200 Series – Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook: A Talk with Margaret Hathaway, Karl Schatz, and Don Lindgren, hosted on line via Zoom by the Maine Historical Society.  Register here: 

December 7, Monday, 6pm, Nicholas Basbanes with “Cross of Snow: The Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow”, hosted online by the American Inspiration Author series by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, in partnership with the State Library of Massachusetts and the WGBH Forum Network.  Free to the public. Presented by Diana Korzenick, compiler of the Appleton Family Archives.  Register here:

December 8, Tuesday, 2:30pm, Pennsylvania Genealogy: Doing Research in the Keystone State, hosted free online by the Allen County Public Library.  Register here: 

December 8, Tuesday, 5:15pm, “To Maker Her Own Bargains with Boats”: Gender, Labor, and Freedom in the Western Steamboat World, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Free online to the public.  Presented online by Alisha Hines, Wake Forest University with comment by Tiya Miles of Harvard University.  Register here:    

December 9, Wednesday, 6pm, Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932 – 1975, hosted by the Boston Public Library and WGBH public TV, an online talk with the author Neal Gabler. Free to the public, register here:

December 9, Wednesday, 6pm, A Victorian Christmas: A Talk with Kimberly Smith, hosted via Zoom by the Maine Historical Society.  Register here:  

December 9, Wednesday, 6pm,  Family History at the Massachusetts Archives: Government Records as Genealogical Resources, hosted by the Boston Public Library Research Services online.  Presented by reference Archivist Catherine Perreault from the Massachusetts Archives, and former genealogical researcher from NEHGS.  Register here for this Zoom event: 

December 9, Wednesday, 7pm, Scribbling Women and Crafting Girls: Friendship in Historical Perspective, hosted online by the Connecticut Historical Society.  This event will be live-streamed via Crowdcast.  Tickets are $8 per household.

December 9, Wednesday, 7pm, Votes for Women: A History of the Suffrage Movement, hosted online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  Presented by Liz Tentarelli, president of the League of Women Voters New Hampshire.  Register here: 

December 10, Thursday, noon, Erie Excitement: The Confederacy’s Plans to Release Prisoners on the Great Lake, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society via Zoom.  Presented by Cassy Jane Werking, University of Kentucky.  Register here:

December 10, Thursday, 3pm, Finding the Living:  Doing Descendancy Research, hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and presented by Hallie Borstel.  Free to the public.  Register here:

December 10, Thursday, 7pm, Ted Reinstein presents New England General Stores, hosted by the Auburn, New Hampshire Public Library. This virtual program will be available to those who register at the library website:

December 10, Thursday, 7pm, Webinar- Timelines for Research, hosted by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, and presented by Dr. Shelley Murphy. 

December 11, Friday, 1pm, Winter and Christmas at Castle Howard, hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and presented by Dr. Christopher Ridgeway.  Free to the public.  Register here: 

December 11, Friday, 1:30pm, Genealogy Club presents:  A Whole New World of Catholic Records, hosted by the Rodgers Memorial Library of Hudson, New Hampshire.  Presented live via Zoom by Margaret Fortier, certified genealogist.  Register online here:  

December 12, Saturday, 10:30am, Genealogical Navigation: Explore Your Ethical Compass, online via Go To Webinar hosted by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists.  Presented by Jennifer Zinck after a brief business meeting. 

December 12, Saturday, 11am, Breaking Down Brick Walls with and Find My Past Parish Records, hosted virtually online by the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists and presented by Terry Dugan.  Register here: 

December 14, Monday, 5:30pm, They Knew They Were Pilgrims: Plymouth Colony and the Contest for American Liberty, hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Presented by John G. Turner of George Mason University. Free to the public. Register here:

December 16, Wednesday, 5:30pm, Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, hosted online via Zoom by the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Presented by Nicholas A. Basbanes. Register here: 

December 16, Wednesday, 6pm, Christina Schwarz with Bonnie, hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Presented by Sandra Tsing Loh, writer, performer, comedienne.  Free to the public.  The life of Bonnie Parker and her fascinating love affair with Clyde Barrow, and their infamous, on the run partnership in crime.  Register here: 

December 17, Thursday, noon, The Devil’s Cabinet: The Eddy Family of Spirit Mediums with Jason Smiley.  Hosted online via Zoom by the Vermont Historical Society.  Register here: 

December 19, Saturday, 10m, Merrimack Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans, hosted online by presenter David Vermette.  Register here: 

Upcoming in 2021: 

January 2, Saturday, 9:30am, Worcester Regional Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists:  Influenza: The 20th Century’s Deadliest Pandemic, presented online by Michael Strauss.  Register here: 

January 7, 2021, Thursday, 6pm, Maine at 200 Series: A Talk with Dr. Richard Kahn: Medicine in Early Maine, hosted by the Maine Historical Society.  Free and open to the public. Registration required here:

January 13, 2021, Thursday, 10am, Homeschool Day Workshop: Growing Up in Colonial Connecticut, online workshop sponsored by the Connecticut Historical Society.  Register here:   

January 14, 2021, Thursday, 7pm, Digging Into Native History in New Hampshire, hosted online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  Presented by Robert Goody.  Register here: 

January 14, 2021, Thursday, 7pm, Jamaica Plain by Map, hosted by the Leventhal Map and Education Center, the Jamaica Plain branch of the Boston Public Library, and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society. Free to the public. Register here:  Also broadcast online at the LeventhalMap Center’s YouTube and Facebook live channels. 

January 14, 2021, Thursday, 7pm, New England Lighthouses and the People Who Kept Them, hosted online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the Friends of the Madison (NH) Library.  Presented by historian Jeremy D’Entremont.  Register here: 

January 20, 2021, Wednesday, 6pm, Lost Wonderland:  The Brief and Brilliant Life of Boston’s Million Dollar Amusement Park, hosted free online by the Boston Public Library.  Part of the Local and Family History Lecture Series.  Register here:

January 21, 2021, Thursday, 4pm, New York and London in the Gilded Age:  Annual DiCamillo Companion Rendezvous, presented by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Cost $35.  Register here: 

January 21, 2021, Thursday, 6pm, Maine at 200 Series- A Talk with Lise Pelletier: Acadiens in Maine, hosted online via Zoom by the Maine Historical Society.  Register here:  

January 21, Thursday, 7pm, New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell, hosted online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council, and the Manchester (NH) City Library.  Presented by Pamela Weeks. Attendees are encouraged to submit photos of their quilts.  Register here: 

January 23, Saturday, 1pm, Online Workshop:  Surfing Anglican Records for your Caribbean Ancestors.  Hosted online by the Connecticut Historical Society, and presented by Sandra Taitt-Eady.  Register here:

February 3, 2021, Wednesday, 7pm, Rosie’s Mom: Forgotten Women of the First World War, hosted by the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the Lee (NH) Historical Society.  Presented by historian Carrie Brown.  Register here:

February 8, Monday, 7pm, Songs of Emigration: Storytelling Through Traditional Irish Music, presented online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the Washington (NH) Historical Society.  Register here: 

February 18, 2021, Thursday, noon, The Buffalo Soldiers in Vermont, 1909 – 1913, hosted by the Vermont Historical Society. Register here:

February 24, 2021, Wednesday, 6:30pm, Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History: Fateful Memory, Indelible Legacy, hosted online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the Griffin Free Public Library of Auburn, NH.  Presented by author Mary Kelley.  Register here: 

February 25 -27, 2021   RootsTech Connect:  FREE online conference!  Register here:  

February 25, Thursday, 2021, Maine at 200 Series: A Talk with Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. State Historian: The Maine Art Collection at MHS, hosted free online via Zoom by the Maine Historical Society.  Register here: 

March 3, 2021, Wednesday, 6pm, Annie McKay and the Untold Story of Boston Public School Nurses, hosted online via Zoom by the Boston Public Library.  Presented by author Dorothy M. Kenney.  See this link for registration: 

March 31, 2021,  Wednesday, 6pm, East Boston Through Time, hosted free online by the Boston Public Library.  Part of the Local and Family History Lecture Series.  Register here:

April 6, 2021, Tuesday, 7pm, Town by Town, Watershed by Watershed: Native Americans in New Hampshire, hosted via Zoom online by the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the Exeter (NH) Historical Society.  Presented by John and Donna Moody.  Register here:

April 15 – 17, 2021,  The New England Regional Genealogy Conference NERGC will be going virtual!  Stay tuned for more details:  

June 25 – June 27, 2021, The Official Maritime Salute to the 400th Anniversary, at the Plymouth Waterfront in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Hosted by Plymouth 400. A regatta of wooden ships, yachts, workboats and pleasure craft, a traditional New England lobster dinner, military fanfare, maritime programming, music and more!   


Ongoing programs online:

Ancestry Academy, from, provides dozens of FREE classes online.  See this link:  

APGen, The Association of Professional Genealogists has several online events coming soon, see the list at this link:

Brigham Young University Independent Study, a variety of courses on family history topics completely free and available online.  See this link:

Cape Ann Museum of Gloucester, Massachusetts has 71 videos on the history of Cape Ann.  Don’t miss this great collection of tours and lectures: 

Family History Library Classes and Webinars, from the LDS church, are listed at this link:   and also see this page for dozens of classes online:

Wednesdays 4pm (MST) on Facebook Live at Family Search   See this link   Free online genealogy presentations.

FamilyTree Webinars are free to the public and sponsored by FamilyTree Legacy:  see this link:   and a list of their top 10 most popular webinars of all time here: 

GeneaWebinars, a blog with the latest news on what’s available to view online:  and also, their schedule of FREE family history webinars PDF can be found here: 

History Camp Boston 2019 – There are links to the 47 different lectures given last year!     

Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburg will be virtual this summer. See the website for classes offered June 21 – 26, July 6 -10, and July 19 -24. Some classes are postposed to the summer of 2021.   

The History List has compiled a list of “Learning at Home” at this link:  

Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research 2020 will be held virtually this year 26 – 31 July 2020.   Registration ends 11:55 EDT on Monday 6 July 2020. 

 Lexington Historical Society – A page full of virtual tours  

Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell, Massachusetts has a page of online videos and resources for students and visitors.  See this link: 

 Manchester Millyard Museum:  A collection of local history videos about Manchester, New Hampshire, please see this link:

Old Sturbridge Village Museum has “Virtual Village” where the staff will bring the museum into your home with fun facts, activities, recipes, and videos.  You can see it on Facebook, Instagram and at this link:

Plimoth Plantation has several online workshops and discussions good for all ages

            People of the Dawn – Wampanoag culture and traditions $10

            Fact or Fiction? Investigating the First Thanksgiving, $10

            Colonial First Families: Their New Worlds and Everyday Lives, $10

            Dressing History – a sneak peek into 17th century wardrobes, $10 

 Virtual Genealogical Association -, has a complete list of 2020 live presentations.  Recordings are available to members for six months after the live presentation, dues are only $20 per year. 

 And, as always, check Cyndi’s List for a complete list of online classes and webinars:


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Chester, New Hampshire Meetinghouse circa 1773 - Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was photographed on the steeple of the Chester, New Hampshire meetinghouse, on the north corner of Routes 102 (Raymond Road) and 121 (Chester Street).  

This historic building is the home of the Chester Congregational Baptist Church, originally constructed in 1773.  This congregation was founded in 1730, and the very first meetinghouse was built in 1731 very near the current building.  There was a remodel in 1839 when the church was lifted and turned 90 degrees from facing Chester Street and is now facing Raymond Road.  This was the year the steeple was added.  A clock was installed in 1881.  The weathervane probably dates from either the 1839 remodel or the 1881 remodel.  

In the book "History of the town of Chester, NH" page 121 there is a description of the meetinghouse from the town meeting October 16, 1772 "the steeple at the northwest end some fifteen feet above the roof, and a spire, with a weather-vane in the form of a gilt rooster, being more than one hundred feet high."  On page 636 there is an additional note:  "March 9, 1802, it was voted to raise one hundred and twenty-five dollars to be annexed to was is subscribed towards purchasing a bell.  It seems that Major Samuel Moore had purchased a weather-cock of Mr. Jones, of Newburyport, and had failed to pay him, in 1802 the town voted to pay him.  The old house was burned January 25, 1828, and present one built the same year." 

Unfortunately, the current weathervane is not the original gilded weather cock, but a simple banner. 

Currently the congregation, the town of Chester, and the Chester Historical Society, along with Granite State Communications, are raising $450,000 for extensive repairs to this historic structure.  The last time there was a major renovation was in 2005-2006 for the "Save Our Steeple" project.  You can read more about the project at this link:   

For the truly curious:

Chester Congregational Church Wikipedia:   

Chester Congregational Baptist Church:  


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Chester, New Hampshire Meetinghouse circa 1773 - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 25, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Five Kernels of Corn Myth at Thanksgiving

I originally blogged about the Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn in 2011, but since that time I’ve learned a lot about this quaint tradition.  I decided to repost a new update on this myth.

For generations New Englanders, and some Mayflower families that moved south and west, practiced a quaint little tradition at their Thanksgiving table.  Each place setting was given five kernels of parched corn, often along with a card that had this little poem, or a similar one:

Five Kernels
(author unknown)

The first winter in Plymouth was very cold
And hunger abounded as the the year unrolled.
Some days each only had five kernels of corn.
Their lives were becoming sad and forlorn.

But then spring came and their harvest grew.
The pilgrims began to thrive and their spirits did, too.
But they never forgot the bleak times they did abate
So on Thanksgiving they’d put five kernels on each plate.

The first kernel  reminded them of the autumn beauty.
The second one of the freedom that they held dearly.
The third reminded of their love and care for each other
And the fourth was for dear friends like the Indian brother.

The fifth kernel reminded of God’s love and care for all.
So as you prepare and celebrate Thanksgiving this fall,
Remember to put five little kernels on each dinner plate
To honor the pilgrims and give thanks for our good fate.

Families that follow this tradition don’t use popcorn (you would break your teeth), but they purchase roasted sweet corn (one brand name is "Corn Nuts") .  You can make this yourself or search for it online or in your local market.  Or open up a can of corn and count out the kernels onto the plates. Some Mayflower Societies pass out candy corn.  This tradition was passed on for many, many years, and is mentioned in books, such as the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (which makes sense because I have Ingalls ancestors from Lynn, Massachusetts, just like the author).  

It’s very true that the Mayflower passengers suffered greatly during their first winter here in 1620 until the spring of 1621.  Half of their company, fifty out of 102 passengers died of sickness and exposure.  It is also true that the following spring they planted a crop with help from several native members of the Wampanoag nation, which was followed by a successful first harvest.  They celebrated a traditional English “Harvest Home” celebration that fall, just like they always did at home in Europe, and were joined by many members of the local Wampanoag tribe.

You can learn more about how the myth of the Five Kernels started in a pamphlet published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in the 1950s.  Jim Baker, a former research at the Plimoth Plantation Museum, wrote this in 1998.

From Jim Baker:

"However, this never happened. There is no mention of the supposed division in any of the contemporary sources, nor is there any reason to believe that the colonial leaders would actually issue a daily corn ration of five kernels, which was not enough to be of any nutritional benefit. Instead, they simply ran out at the end of the spring season in April when they planted what they had put aside as seed." As J. A. Goodwin (1888) observed concerning the tradition, "the story rests on no foundation, and is opposed to common-sense." 1

Similarly, the effect of the suffering may be exaggerated. Bradford simply notes they were very badly supplied and lacked corn entirely for two or three months, being reduced to living on water, fish, shellfish, ground nuts and a few water fowl, and "now and then a deer." 2 As this was a healthy if highly unsatisfactory diet to the colonists, no one died or "succombed." Winslow does mention that he had seen "... some seasons at noon I have seen men stagger by reason of faintness for want of food", yet he does not give a specific date for this. As he then continues "...yet ere night, by the good providence and blessing of God, we have enjoyed such plenty as though the windows of heaven had been opened unto us.” 3 the use of the phrase may be more a general comment that a specific description. 

Just as Plymouth Rock came to symbolize the heroic and providential nature of the Mayflower voyage, some icon was required to celebrate the Plymouth colonists’ courageous perseverance through their suffering and deprivation. The five kernals were adopted to point this moral at some point after the American Revolution. Their appearance is first recorded at the 1820 Forefathers’ Day dinner when the five symbolic parched corns was placed on each plate to remind the diners of "the time in 1623, when that was the proportion allowed to each individual on account of scarcity." 4

The story was related by subsequent writers such as Frances Baylies (1866) 5 and Joseph Banvard (1851)6 , but after the Bradford manuscript had been found and published and no evidence for the tradition was discovered, the Five Kernels myth gradually faded from public memory, and is seldom referred to today.

Another reference to five kernels of corn occurs in quite a different context. The Harlow Old Fort House (ca. 1677) Museum in Plymouth has been holding an annual juvenile pageant called "The Corn Planting" each May since before 1928. 7 A group of costumed school children enact a short re-enactment of the planting of corn by Squanto and the colonists which is witnessed by other students from local schools. 

As part of this tradition, the hills of corn are each supplied with five kernels of corn, and the following rhyme is recited: 
Five kernels of corn in a row
One for the blackbird, one for the crow,
One for the cutworm and two to grow. 8"      
JWB 12/14/98

1. Godwin, John A. The Pilgrim Republic. Boston: Ticknor & Co., 1888, p. 242.
2. Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation. S.E. Morison, ed. NY: Knopf, 1970, p. 123
3. Winslow, Edward. "Good Newes from New England" in Alexander Young. Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1844, pp. 354-554. Thacher, James. History of Plymouth. Boston: Marsh, Capon & Lyon, 1832, p. 248.
5. Frances Baylies. An Historical Memoir of the Colony of New Plymouth Boston: Wiggin & Lunt 1866, p. 121
6. Joseph Banvard. Plymouth and the Pilgrims, Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1851, p. 136
7. Barker, Amy H. A History of the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. Plymouth: Plymouth Antiquarian Society, 1959.
8. Plimoth Colony Cook Book . Sally Erath, ed. Plymouth: Plymouth: Antiquarian Society, 1981, p. 41

There are many myths surrounding the Pilgrims.  Plymouth Rock is definitely a myth.  Who would land a boat on a rock? But now it is a National Historic Site.  Myles Standish did not court Priscilla Mullins, but Longfellow's poem is one of the most famous he ever wrote.  Although the myth of the Five Kernels was debunked in the 1950s, many families continue this tradition.  Americans love to count their blessings at Thanksgiving, and this little story and poem is part of that custom.   I know that we still do it at our Thanksgiving table, but I usually follow up with “Here’s what really happened” 30 second explanation.  Perhaps it is time for someone to write up a new, more accurate poem? 

My original blog post “Five Kernels of Corn for Thanksgiving” from 20 November 2011 is at this link:   

Within a few hours of publishing this post I had volumes of email and comments that made me publish a second update at this link:


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The Five Kernels of Corn Myth at Thanksgiving", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 24, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, November 20, 2020

New Hampshire Thanksgiving Proclamation 2020


Usually here on my blog I post photos of the annual Thanksgiving Proclamation ceremony from the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire.  It is an tradition that goes back decades.  Even George Washington signed a Thanksgiving Proclamation, and other illustrious presidents such as Abraham Lincoln continued these ceremonies.

Considering the pandemic and social distancing, when I contacted New Hampshire Governor Sununu's office this fall about the Thanksgiving Proclamation they assured me that they would indeed still do a proclamation.  Of course, there would be no ceremony, and no pardoning of a turkey, but the tradition would live on.  

I just received the proclamation in the mail, and I will turn it over to our new New Hampshire Mayflower Governor, Penny Webster, and it will become part of our archives.  I arrived unceremoniously in the mailbox, with no ceremony in the historic statehouse executive council chamber, no government officials, no handshakes, no hugs, and no pardoned turkey waiting in the room.  But it is still a tradition that New Hampshire will carry on, no matter what!  

2019 Thanksgiving Proclamation
with Governor Sununu

2016 Thanksgiving Proclamation
with Governor Maggie Hassan

2013 Thanksgiving Proclamation
with Governor Maggie Hassan

2010 Thanksgiving Proclamation
with Governor John Lynch


Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "New Hampshire Thanksgiving Proclamation 2020", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 20, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Weathercock, Rye, New Hampshire - Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed in Rye, New Hampshire. 

Today's rooster weathervane was photographed along Ocean Boulevard in Rye, New Hampshire.  This house has a large number of white statues in the front, and bronze statues in the back garden, so we often call it "The Statue House" when we pass by.  

The weathercock here is a traditional rooster, usually seen on farmhouses, barns, or churches. It is a very unusual weathervane for a formal house, especially one on the seashore!


Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Weathercock, Rye, New Hampshire - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 18, 2020, ( accessed [access date]).  

Monday, November 16, 2020

John and Catherine (Eaton) Emerson - Tombstone Tuesday

 These tombstones were photographed at the Pine Ridge Cemetery in Hancock, New Hampshire.

in whose memory
this monument
is erected,
died Nov. 14, 1809
AEt. 70

wife of
John Emerson
Jan. 24, 1809
AEt. 64
The memory of the just is blessed.

John and Catharine Emerson are my 5th great grandparents.  John Emerson is the son of Brown Emerson (1704 - 1774)  and Sarah Townsend (b. 1705) of Reading, Massachusetts.  He was from a long line of ministers and deacons, and his great grandfather was the Reverend Joseph Emerson of Concord, Massachusetts, who married Elizabeth Bulkely, the daughter of the famous Reverend Edward Bulkely, the first minister of Concord.  John was baptized on 5 April 1739 in South Reading and he served in the Revolutionary War as an ensign in Captain Thomas Eaton's company at the Lexington Alarm in 1775.  John moved his family from Reading to Ashby and Townsend, Massachusetts, and then to New Ipswich, New Hampshire and Reading Vermont.  He settled in Hancock in 1793 on property number 22 between Mount Skatutahkee and Little Skatutahkee.  

John married his wife, Catharine Eaton, on 20 December 1764 in Reading, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Noah Eaton (1704 - 1770) and Phebe Lilley (1706 - 1786) of Reading. She had an extensive obituary which outlined her life published in The Panoplist and Missionary Magazine United, Volume 2, issue 2, (August 1809) pages 151 - 152.  I wrote a blog post about her, with a transcription of this obituary, at this link:   

John and Catharine were the parents of eleven children, with seven sons and two daughters surviving childhood.  Three of the sons became ministers.  Since this was a very religious family, I'm thinking that perhaps John wrote Catharine's obituary.  She died in December of 1808, and he died less than a year later on 14 November 1809.  I descend from their son, Romanus Emerson (1782 - 1852), who was not a minister, but instead became a self-proclaimed infidel (atheist).  He was quite famous for being a non-believer, and even belonged to a society of infidels in Boston and faced many legal issues due to his beliefs.  

To see my entire EMERSON lineage, click this link:

I have blogged many times about Romanus Emerson, but this last blog post contains links to some of the other stories about him:  


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "John and Catherine (Eaton) Emerson - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 17 November 2020, ( accessed [access date]).