Wednesday, December 30, 2020

No More Nutfield Genealogy Calendar Posts


I have decided to discontinue the calendar posts on my blog in 2021.  This may not be a permanent change, but with all the new webinars, online classes, virtual history tours, and other genealogy and local history events moving to the internet I cannot keep up with all the offerings.  Moving classes and events online makes the entire world of virtual events available to any one in New England, and all the virtual events in New England are available to anyone in the world outside our six little states.  It doesn’t make sense to try to capture all of them on one blog post.

Many, many people have been emailing me messages about how much they will miss my calendar posts, and “What do I do now?”.  I’ve been telling them to do what I do – search online for what types of classes you’d like to attend, and you’ll find plenty of options. 

I spend hours and hours putting together my calendar posts.  One thing you can try is to look back at my calendar posts from 2020 and see the host organizations, then check their websites. Here are some of the places I go to for compiling those posts (There are many others! This list is just a suggestion.).  You can do this, too!  (Remember that my blog is centered around New England genealogy and local history.  You might have different needs while searching for online education opportunities)

P.S.  You can always check on the Nutfield Genealogy Facebook page for links to events I post:

American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, MA):

American Canadian Genealogical Society (Manchester, NH)

Conference Keeper    

Connecticut Historical Society:   

Connecticut Society of Genealogists:


The General Society of Mayflower Descendants:  

History Camp:

The History List:  

Legacy Family Tree Webinars just announced their 2021 events, see this link:  

Maine Historical Society:

Maine Ulster Scots Project:

Massachusetts Genealogical Council:

Massachusetts Historical Society:

Massachusetts Society of Genealogists:

New England Regional Genealogical Consortium:

New England Historic Genealogical Society (American Ancestors): 

New Hampshire Humanities Council:

Pilgrim Hall Museum:

Plimoth Plantation Museum: 

Plymouth Antiquarian Society:   

Rhode Island Historical Society:


Vermont Historical Society:

The Virtual Genealogical Association:


Some New England Libraries that hold online genealogy events (You may know more!)

Amesbury Public Library (MA)

Boston Public Library (MA)

Chelmsford, MA public library:

Godfrey Memorial Library (Middletown, CT)

Portsmouth, New Hampshire:

Rodgers Memorial Library (Hudson, NH)

Worcester Public Library (MA)


To Link/Cite this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "No More Nutfield Genealogy Calendar Posts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 30, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, December 25, 2020

A World War II Christmas Card

"Best Wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
"Peace on Earth
Good Will
Toward Men"

Designed by
Tech. Sergeant, Victor P. Donahue, U.S.M.C.
Reproduced By - 1st Mar. Div.
Photo- Litho Section

This Christmas card was sent to my grandparents from their son, Stanley Elmer Allen, Jr. on Christmas 1944 from the South Pacific.  He was my mother's oldest brother, who served at the end of the war and during the Bombing of Tokyo at the end of the war.  Although the card mentions Guadalcanal (this campaign was fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 in the Solomon Islands) and the Marine Corps, he did not enlist until after Guadalcanal when he turned 18 years old.

My "Uncle Al" served in the 501st Bomber Command under General Curtis Emerson LeMay at the Northwest Field, Guam, in the Mariana Islands.  He was the scanner on board a B-29 Superfortress.  The name of his plane was "Orpen's Orphans" named after Colonel Bud Orpen (Julius H. Orpen).

Nine days after the Atom Bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one hundred forty three B-29 bombers left from Northwest Field on their secret mission now called "The Bombing of Tokyo".  This was the campaign that led to the Japanese surrender and the end of the war.  And it was the last combat mission flown by the US during World War II.  The Bombing of Tokyo was considered the most destructive action in human history.  Uncle Al never spoke of his service, and I'm sure that this battle was quite traumatic.  After the war ended, the B-29s carried supplies to the Allied POW camps in the Pacific region.

After researching Uncle Al's service, and learning more about the Bombing of Tokyo, the message of "Peace on Earth. Goodwill Towards Men" printed inside this little Christmas card seems so poignant to me.

For the truly curious:

A blog post about my Uncle Stanley Allen, Jr.'s military service: 

A blog post about the B-29 photos, and a photo of my uncle, I found at a museum in Arizona:


Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A World War II Christmas Card", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 25, 2020, ( accessed [access date]).

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve, 1963


This photo was taken at in Hamilton, Massachusetts at Auntie Mamie and Uncle "Al" Stanley Allen's house.  They had a fireplace, and we didn't.  Perhaps that is why this photo was posed, even though we usually didn't hang our stockings at other people's homes!  It was taken by my father with his camera, and matches the rest of the roll of photographs of that Chrismas. 

I was surprised when years after my Grandmother died in California, my first cousin sent me a slightly different version of this photo she found amongst my Grammy's belongings!  Same pajamas.  Same fireplace.  Same Christmas stocking hanging behind me.  It must have been taken by someone else at the same time my father took the first photograph. 

You never know what photos you will find in a relative's photo albums!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Christmas Eve, 1963" Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 24, 2020, ( accessed [access date]).  

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Puritans and Christmas

On the first Christmas in the New World, 25 December 1620, the Mayflower passengers stranded in Plymouth, Massachusetts spent the day working on building their new settlement, building homes and finding food. There was no celebration.  The following year, in 1621, a group of laborers were seen playing "stoole-ball" (an early version of baseball), and Governor William Bradford punished them. He believed that his conscience could not let them play whilst others were working.  In his journal he wrote "One the day called Christmas Day, the Governor called [the settlers] out to work as usual. However, the most of the new company excused themselves and said it went against their consciences to work on that day.  So the Governor told them that if they made it [a] matter conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed". When he later found them playing stoole-ball he confiscated their ball, forbade reveling, and sent them home. 

We can't confuse the Separatists with the Massachusetts Bay Puritans, but remember that like the Presbyterians and other religions, all were Calvinists. All believed in a strict interpretation of their religion, which included turning away from "Papist" holidays.  None celebrated any religious holidays - no Easter, no Christmas, no Lent.  And believe it or not, no other holidays, religious or civic.  Why? 

1659 Massachusetts statute:   "For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries to the great dishonor of God and offence of others; It is therefore ordained by this Court and the authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas and the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting, or any other way upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for each such offence, five shillings as a fine to the Country."  

In 1712 Reverend Cotton Mather gave a famous anti-Christmas sermon.  He argued against play, excessive drinking, and inappropriate behaviors, but allowed for the possibility of marking the day. 

A quote from Judge Samuel Sewell's (1652 - 1730) diary:  "Decr. 25, 1685.  Friday.  Carts come to town and shops open as is usual.  Some somehow observe the day; but are vexed I believe that the body of the people profane it, and blessed be God no authority yet to compel them to keep it."  The following year, on Christmas of 1686 the Royal Governor, an Anglican no doubt, Sir Edmund Andros, held a Christmas service in Boston with prayers and Christmas hymns. He was escorted by redcoats to assert his authority in the matter. 

In 1722, also from Judge Sewell's diary:  "Decr. 19. His Excellency took me aside to the South-east window of the Council Chamber to speak to me about adjourning the Gen. Court to Monday next because of Christmas.  I told his Excellency I would consider it."  

However, Judge Sewell had already made up his mind to not keep Christmas, but he remained very diplomatic, see his diary entry the next day:  "Decr. 20.  I invited Dr. Mather to Dine with me.  After Dinner I consulted with him about the adjournment of the Court. We agreed that 't would be expedient to take a vote of the Council and Representatives for it." 

Of course, in 1722, the Royal Governor of Massachusetts was Samuel Shute (1662 - 1742), and was of course a member of the Anglican church. Shute argued for keeping Christmas. He was a controversial figure in Puritan Boston due to his attendance at Anglican services, and his habit of hosting many parties at his mansion.  [Michael Batinski, Jonathan Belcher, Colonial Governor, 1996 University Press of Kentucky, p. 29] 

The matter was argued in the Council the following day, with both sides giving their opinions.  In the end, the governor proclaimed a Christmas holiday.   This only set up decades of controversy in New England.  Shute soon left the colony and returned to England in January 1723, where he was free to celebrate Christmas. He never married, and died in England on 15 April 1742.  [Henry Wilder Foote, John Carroll Perkins, Warren Winslow, 1882, Annals of Kings Chapel, Little, Brown Co., p. 267]  

Why did the Puritans dismiss Christmas?  Was it because it was based on a pagan holiday? Because it was no biblically based?  No, it was because it promoted play and waste at a time when people should be working.  Thus, they had no holidays except Sundays, and on days of fasting, and days of Thanksgiving.  The matter became controversial again at the time of the American Revolution, when the colonials in Boston saw Christmas as a royalist celebration.  The King, as the head of the Anglican church, represented everything the Patriots were fighting against

The Massachusetts senate gathered for work on Christmas Day in 1797.  In New England school was held on Christmas day until the 1850s.  But soon after, the Puritan sentiment against making merry began to wane.  In 1856 Christmas became a holiday in Massachusetts.  

For the truly curious:

The Not-Quite Puritans, by Henry W. Lawrence, 1928, Boston, Little, Brown Co. 

"Christmas in Early New England, 1620- 1820: Puritanism, Popular Culture, and the Printed Word", by Stephen W. Nissenbaum, Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 106: 1: 79 (January 1996) 

Are you curious about how the early Presbyterian Scots Irish settlers celebrated Christmas in Nutfield?  Click on this 2014 blog post to read all about it!  


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The Puritans and Christmas", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 22, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Disneyland 1973 - Photo Friday

Vincent and his Dad in front of the "Small World" ride, Disneyland 1973

Same image color corrected 

Many American and foreign families have photographs of Disneyland and Walt Disney World in their family photo albums.  I found these photos of a 1973 trip that Vincent's family did from Puerto Rico to California, including time at Disneyland.  The photos are very faded, but still show what fun they had while they were there.  You can also see how much Disneyland has changed!  I used the color correcting application at My Heritage to change a few photos.  This colorization brings out the details in the old, faded, yellowed photos. 

Another color corrected photo

Seen on the Jungle Cruise

Vincent's Dad on Main Street, USA

Somewhere on Main Street, Disneyland

On the way to Los Angeles, California
Everyone used to dress up to fly in those days!

"Vlo. Delta a Los Angeles, Mayo 25, 1973  SJU/LAX"

"Park Vine Motel, Los Angeles, Mayo 1973"

Vincent in Los Angeles, 1973

This one looks great color corrected!

Another postcard tucked into the family photo album


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Disneyland 1973 - Photo Friday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 18, 1973, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Old Meeting House in Francestown, New Hampshire - Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was photographed in Francestown, New Hampshire. 

The Old Meeting House of Francestown is across the street from the Francestown town hall.  It's construction was begun during the Revolutionary War, but halted during the conflict and a building was not finished until 1801.  The bell was hung in 1808.  The steeple was added in 1837, when the building was lifted and turned to face the crossroads.  A new steeple with a tall spire was added in 1855, with a new bell and a clock.  I'm guessing that the weathervane dates from this time of this new addition. 

In the 2007 town report for Francestown, New Hampshire the town historian, Kris Holmes, stated that the Old Meeting House had some renovations, including repairs to the steeple and weathervane, several doors and a new bathroom.   In the Francestown Heritage Museum you can see an old ball (the gilded globe from the top of this weathervane) that was removed from the weathervane for repairs in the 1980s.  This gilded ball must be a replacement.

The meetinghouse was completely repainted, from the base to the top of the steeple in 2018.

This weathervane is more simple than the one across the street on the town hall. It is gilded from the ball to the arrow, including the letters for the cardinal points.  It is about 10 to 15 years older than the town hall weathervane, which could have been mass produced at a weathervane factory in Massachusetts. 

The Old Meeting House, Francestown, New Hampshire -  

The Old Meeting House Facebook page -   

Click here to see almost 450 Weathervane Wednesday posts featuring weathervanes from around the world (mostly New England):    


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Old Meeting House in Francestown, New Hampshire - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 16, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Friday, December 11, 2020

MIT March 1979 - Photo Friday

 These faded, old photographs were found in one of those plastic, sticky photo albums at Vincent's parents' house in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The photos were taken in 1979, and the heat, humidity and acid from the glue in the "magnetic pages" had taken their toll on the images.  We immediately removed them from the sticky plastic, photographed them on the dining room table, and took them home to scan them properly later.  

Well, we haven't gotten around to scanning all the images we found at the house in Puerto Rico. There were over 25 albums, and boxes full of photographs. Most were in very rough shape due to the climate in Puerto Rico. Some have been scanned, and others are still waiting.  I thought it would be fun to share these images now, before they fade away completely!  They are from March 1979, when my mother-in-law and father-in-law visited Vincent on the MIT campus.  I can't imagine how they must have frozen, coming from sunny, warm San Juan to raw, cold Boston and Cambridge in March.  If you have been to Cambridge recently, you'll know that the skyline has changed tremendously in the past thirty five years. 

The Great Dome at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The MIT campus seen from the top of the Prudential Tower

The "Infinite Corridor" on the MIT campus

Vincent and his Mom pose in front of
77 Massachusetts Avenue

The MIT playing fields, with the Kresge Center and the 
Great Dome in the background

"The Great Sail" sculpture on the East campus

Vincent and his Dad posing on Mass. Ave.

Vincent's parents in front of the
MIT Green Building

The Cambridge skyline seen from Boston's Back Bay
Vincent's dorm "New House" is near the middle

The snowy courtyard of New House, with
Boston's Back Bay across the Charles River

Vincent's parents posing at Harvard Yard

Vincent with his parents at Boston Harbor's Long Wharf

The visitor gallery at the top of the Prudential Tower

Vincent's parents in front of the Old State House
in downtown Boston

The label from the photo album where these photos were found

Vincent's mother had tucked this 1970s era postcard in with the photographs


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "MIT March 1979 - Photo Friday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 11, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Greenfield, New Hampshire Community Meeting House - Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was photographed in Greenfield, New Hampshire.

The Greenfield Community Meeting House is located in the center of Greenfield on the corner of Routes 31 and 136.  When I was growing up we lived near Route 31 in Holden, Massachusetts, and we would drive all the way up to Greenfield State Park to go camping.  Greenfield is a lovely little town, with a covered bridge.  I noticed that the general store was now a small cafe.  

Greenfield was founded in 1791, and the same year the church was gathered with 28 members. The meetinghouse was built in 1795 by the town.  The church was reorganized as the Congregational Church in 1891, and the second floor was added to the meetinghouse.  In 1959 an agreement with the town assigned the first floor for town business, and the second floor for as a sanctuary for church meetings.  In 2009 the church decided to erect a new building and separate from the town.  They have been holding meetings at the Crotched Mountain campus.  The new building is nearby at 12 Depot Drive.

The bell tower was constructed in 1825, and the clock was added in 1895.  I couldn't find any information on when the weathervane was erected above the steeple.  It is a simple two dimensional scrollwork weathervane, typical of the 19th century.  New Hampshire Historical Marker number 130 is located on the corner, and it gives the story of the meeting house. 

For the truly curious:

Friends of the Greenfield Community Meetinghouse on Facebook:

Click here to see almost 430 Weathervane Wednesday blog posts!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Greenfield, New Hampshire Community Meeting House - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 9, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Hunting with a Spear - Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was spotted on a barn on New Boston Road (Route 136) in Francestown, New Hampshire.   It appears to be a hunter with a spear on a running horse.  Is it a circus performer? An early depiction of a Native American?  

This two dimensional black metal weathervane stands out very clear against the sky as you pass by this farmstead in Francestown.  It appears to be original to the building, but I could not find any history of this weathervane online.  19th century depictions of Native Americans on weathervanes are similar, but often folk art is homemade copies of weathervanes seen elsewhere. 

See the links below for depictions of Native people on weathervanes.  Recently the famous weathervane of Rev. Eleazar Wheelock and the Native American was removed by Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire for it's racist interpretation of the college history, and has not been replaced yet. 

Tewksbury, Massachusetts State Hospital -  

"Wheelock and the Indian Under the Pine", Dartmouth University -   

Town Hall, Rowley, Massachusetts-   

"The Lion Killer" at the Shelburne Museum, Vermont -   

Another Native American weathervane from the Shelburn Museum -  

Click here here to see over 425 weathervanes from around the world (mostly New England): 


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Hunting with a Spear - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 2, 2020, ( accessed [access date]).