Saturday, October 30, 2021

Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the First Thanksgiving

Sometime in the fall, 400 years ago the Wampanoag and English Separatists came together for what we now call the "First Thanksgiving".  The native Wampanoag people had suffered tremendous loss from disease, pandemic, and kidnappings.  The Separatists had fled their native England, and their temporary home in Leiden, Holland, and were seeking respite in the New World. Both came together for not just a feast, but to support each other through mutual aid and understanding.  Little did they know that this trust and treaty would last only a few decades. As we commemorate this event, we need to recognize the events leading up to that harvest meal, and what happened in the decades and centuries that followed.

Many people came together to plan the 400th Anniversary - the Wampanoag people, the state of Massachusetts, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the National Park Service, the town of Plymouth, the Plymouth 400 organization, Massachusetts Governor Baker, the town of Provincetown, the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, the governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and more.  Little did they know how another pandemic would disrupt life, plans, and events.  And in the aftermath of this disruption, we need to recognize that the events should not end.  We should continue to learn and turn our hearts into new understandings of what happened in Plymouth.  As new archeological evidence is uncovered about how the native people and the Pilgrims lived together, we need to pass on this information to new generations.

I hope that the scholarship, archaeology, publishing of new books, lectures, online and in-person events continue. Events like the Indigenous History Conference should be an annual occurrence.  Across the nation, this 17th century history is being erased from school curriculums and from textbooks, just at a time when understanding cultural differences and the story of the indigenous people of North America is desperately needed! 

For the truly curious:

On YouTube, a video compilation of some the events from Plymouth 400:  

NBC 10 Boston TV's special "Righting 400 Years of History: Plymouth Then and Now" which originally aired on September 8, 2021 is available online at this link:   

Some scheduled events for 2021:  

Authors and Lecturers: 

Sue Allan  

Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs  

Caleb Johnson  

Paula Peters  

Nathaniel Philbrick 

Museums (watch for events):

Plimoth Patuxet Museum:  

The Pilgrim Hall Museum:  

The Mashpee Wampanoag Museum:  


The General Society of Mayflower Descendants:  

The Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project:


The Silver Book Project:  


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the First Thanksgiving", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 30, 2021, ( accessed [access date]).  

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Top Ten Scary Halloween Stories for Genealogists!

#10  You can’t join DAR because that Revolutionary War ancestor Major Daniel Bollman was really a Hessian soldier.

#9    The family cemetery you've been looking for this past decade was just investigated by “Ghost Hunters” on TV.

#8   That Mayflower lineage document from 2nd Cousin Horace is really just a 1972 receipt from the moving company.

#7   Great Aunt Hilda, who you have avoided interviewing, just passed away and you never got the story of her passage through Ellis Island.

#6   That illustrious ancestor who, according to a 1912 compiled genealogy book, “occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution” was really a convict sent to the electric chair. 

#5  You finally arrange a visit with a professional genealogist at NEHGS and they kindly refute your great grandparent’s lineage, leaving you back at square one on that branch of the family.

#4  You finally find that your 3rd great grandfather, David Burham who married Dorothy Burnham, had a mother named Judith Burnham and her mother was Martha Burnham. 

#3  A sudden natural disaster destroys your computer, floods your paper files, and burns your family photo albums.

#2  Your mother confesses about the “milkman”,  making 50% of your family tree moot.

#1  Your Irish grandfather’s y-DNA test comes back as Haplogroup H


Some of the situations above are avoidable.  Have a disaster plan for your files, interview those elderly relatives NOW, and double check your research. 

Don't worry!  Sometimes you have to lop off a branch of your family tree and rebuild all over again. Often the new branch will be much more interesting than the original

Happy Halloween!


Cite/Link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Top Ten Scary Halloween Stories for Genealogists!", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 29, 2020, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

League of New Hampshire Craftsmen - Weathervane Wednesday

 These weathervanes were photographed at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair at Mount Sunapee in August, 2021.  

This weathervane is titled "Deer Centaur" by artisan Tom Sleeper of Belmont, New Hampshire.  It measures 48" x 30" x 30" and was selling at the fair for $16,986.00.  On Tom Sleeper's Facebook page you can see photos of the production of these two weathervanes:

"The Raven" was also produced by metal worker Tom Sleeper.  It measures "59 x "44 x "32 and was selling for $9,114.00 at the fair in August.  I don't know if either one of these three dimensional weathervanes sold or not. But they drew quite a crowd of admirers the day we were there! 

Watch Tom Sleeper at work at this YouTube video:   

To see 450 more weathervane blog posts inside and outside of New England, click on this link:  


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "League of New Hampshire Craftsmen - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 27, 2021, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Volunteer for the Honor Roll Project for Veterans Day 2021

Hancock, New Hampshire (World War II, Korea and Vietnam)

Please join me in the Honor Roll Project.  Volunteers are taking photos of war memorials and honor rolls, posting them on their blogs and websites, and transcribing the names of all the people listed.  These transcriptions make the names available for search engines, and the names will be available for people searching for family, ancestors and friends.

I started this project in 2010 with the photos of the Londonderry Civil War monument, and then followed with the other war monuments on the town common, Derry’s MacGregor Park and other local honor rolls.  Other bloggers and photographers were invited to participate.  We now have contributions from nearly all the United States, and from five other countries.  The email and comments I have read are truly inspiring, and it makes it well worth the effort to transcribe names when you read how family members found their fathers and grandfathers online, or how families searching their family trees find ancestors who served in the Civil War or World War I. 

"I never knew my ancestor was in the Civil War until I Googled his name and found it on your blog! Thanks so much for your project - Charles Chase" 13 Dec 2011

" Thank you! Aina Bernier- daughter of Ernest Albert Bernier, Jr." 27 Jan 2011

If you would like to participate this year, I will be posting a compilation post of all the participating bloggers on Veteran's Day, Thursday, November 11th, 2021.  All contributions will be permanently available on the Honor Roll Project website at    Every November for Veteran’s / Armistice Day I publicize this project for more volunteers and contributors, and again in May I publicize the project for Memorial Day .

To participate, leave me a comment below or an email at   All you need to do is photograph a local honor roll or war monument, and transcribe the names.  If you have a blog, post the story, photos and transcriptions and send me the permanent link for the Honor Roll Project.  If you don’t have a blog, I can post the photo and names for you and add it to the Honor Roll Project, giving you full credit for the photography and transcription.  Or contact your favorite genealogy blogger, and they would be happy to post your photo and transcription, too. 

This is a simple way of saying “Thank You” to all the veterans in our communities- past and present. 

The Honor Roll Project Page:  

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A Deer in Deerfield - Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was photographed in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

This three dimensional weathervane of a leaping stag was spotted over the Yankee Candle shop at 25 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield, Massachusetts.  There were actually several cupolas with deer weathervanes above this sprawling store.  Inside the shop we found a Lego model of the building (yes, with a tiny Lego weathervane) so, of course, I included a photo below!

Deerfield, Massachusetts is a very historic town settled in the 1700s several times, but due to conflict with the French and nearby native tribes permanent settlement was delayed.  The museum known as Historic Deerfield documents the early days of settlement, loss, and resettlement. The land grant was first known as Pocumpatuck after the local Indians, which became the towns of Deerfield, Greenfield and Gill.  A History of Deerfield, Massachusetts, Volume 1, page 41 suggests "An abundance of deer in this locality may have suggested [the name of] Deerfield".  

Click here to see over 425 other weathervane posts at this blog:   

Yankee Candle website:   

Historic Deerfield museum website:  


To Cite/Link to this blog: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Deer in Deerfield - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 13, 2021, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Seen at Chauncey Creek, Kittery, Maine - Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was spotted while dining at the Chauncey Creek restaurant in Kittery, Maine. 

Whilst enjoying our lobster dinner on the river front deck of the Chauncey Creek restaurant, Vincent looked up and saw this interesting weather vane above a building next door.  It is located above piles of lobster pots, and was turning in the summer breeze.

This two dimensional figure of a Native hunter has a nice patina, although it is probably not particularly old.  Some of these weathervanes of aboriginal people have become controversial in recent years, and some institutions and residences have removed them.  

See the blog post about the controversial weather vane at Dartmouth College, which has been removed due to it's depiction of a native person with a barrel of rum:   


To Cite/Link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Seen at Chauncey Creek, Kittery, Maine - Weathervane Wednesday",  Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 6, 2021, ( accessed [access date]).