Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas, Hamilton, Massachusetts, 1950

Merry Christmas! Here is my mother and her family at Christmas around 1950 at my grandparents home on Roosevelt Avenue in Hamilton, Massachusetts.  Seventy-three Christmases have come and gone since this photograph was taken.  

Back row, my Auntie Mamie (Mary Cecelia Horgan Allen) holding her son, Marty (Martin Michael Allen, born 1950), next to my Uncle Donald Franklin Allen holding Mamie's son, Mickey (Stanley Elmer Allen III), next to my grandfather, Stanley Elmer Allen, my Auntie Barbara, and her husband Edward Baxter Thacher.  

In the middle, my mother is in the plaid shirt.

The next row down is my Uncle Dickie (Richard Lewis Allen), my grandmother, Gertrude Matilda Hitchings Allen), my Uncle Bobbie (Robert Arthur Allen) and my great aunt (sister to my grandmother) Eunice Mary Hitchings Bunce). 

In the front row the two children seated on the floor are my cousins Sandra Lee Thacher and Allen Baxter Thacher. 

Nearly everyone in this photo has passed away since this photograph was taken in Hamilton, Massachusetts. Only four relatives are still living today.  My mother was one of seven siblings, and she is still with us, as well as her youngest brother Dickie.  Even most of my first cousins in this photo have passed away except for Sandra and Allen.

To cite/link to this photo: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Merry Christmas, Hamilton, Massachusetts, 1950", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 24, 2023, ( accessed [access date]).    

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Major Joshua Coffin, died 1774 - Tombstone Tuesday

 This tombstone was photographed at the First Parish Burial Ground in Newbury, Massachusetts.

In Memory of


who was born January 9th 1732

& died march 30th 1774

He was a Gentleman of

Ingenuity Humanity & Piety

Lived Greatly usefull &

Died Generally Lamented

The sweet Remembrance of the Just

Shall Flourish when they sleep in the Dust

Joshua Coffin, son of Joseph Coffin and Margaret More, was born on 9 January 1732 in Newbury, Massachusetts, and died on 30 March 1774.  He married Sarah Bartlett, the daughter of Thomas Bartlett and Hannah Moody,  on 21 January 1755 in Newbury and they had twelve children, and eight survived to adulthood. Two sons, Edmund and Joseph Coffin, inherited their father's house, originally built by Tristram Coffin in 1678. In 1929 the Coffin family donated the Coffin house to Historic New England.   

Joshua's papers and manuscripts are stored at Historic New England under the title "Coffin Family Papers" MS010. Please see this web page for more information:  

For the truly curious:

See the book Coffin Gatherings: Five Generations of Descendants of Tristram Coffin of Newbury and Nantucket, By W. S. Appleton. Boston: Press of David Clapp & Son, 1896, p 19.


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Major Joshua Coffin, died 1774 - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 12 December 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Cornelius and Elizabeth Tarbell, Merrimack, New Hampshire - Tombstone Tuesday

 This double tombstone was photographed at the Turky Hill Cemetery in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

In memory of Mr. Cornelious
& Mrs. Elizabeth Tarbell

Mr. Tarbell             Mrs. Tarbell
died Dec. 11             died June 7
1803 in the              1797 in the
82 Year of             77 Year of
his age.               her age.
Erected by Mr. Daniel Ingalls

Cornelius Tarbell was born 29 March 1722 in the part of Salem, Massachusetts that is now the town of Peabody. He was the son of Cornelius Tarbell and Mary Sharp. Cornelius, Jr. married Elizabeth Giles, and their intent to marry was file on 19 October 1745 in the Salem vital records.  Cornelius died 11 December 1803 in Merrimack, New Hampshire.  He is buried with his wife, and his mother Mary is buried nearby. 

Elizabeth Giles was born in Danvers, Massachusetts around 1720, and she died on 7 June 1797 in Merrimack.  She had at least four children, Elizabeth, Mary, Ruth and Cornelius.  The daughter Mary married Daniel Ingalls who paid for this double tombstone.  Daniel and Mary Ingalls are also buried at the Turkey Hill Graveyard. 

Cornelius Tarbell was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He removed from Danvers to Andover to Merrimack where he served as the town moderator and tythingman.  Cornelius owned three lots of land in Merrimack, one was across from the meetinghouse.  He sold his land to his sons-in-law Daniel Ingalls and Deacon Benjamin Franklin Nourse.  

For more information on this Tarbell family see the book Thomas Tarbell and some of his descendants, by Charles Henry Wight, published in 1907 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Cornelius and Elizabeth Tarbell, Merrimack, New Hampshire - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted December 5, 2023, ( accessed [access date]).   

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Infants Joseph and Benjamin Cummings, died 1774, Merrimack, New Hampshire - Tombstone Tuesday

 This tombstone was photographed at Turkey Hill Cemetery in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Here lies
the Bodys
of 2 Children Joseph
and Benjamin Cummings
Sons of Mr. Jonathan
Cummings, Junr & Mrs Deborah
his wife.  Joseph died
 May 16th 1774 Aged 
18 days ????????

This little tombstone commemorates two small brothers, Joseph and Benjamin, the sons of Jonathan Cummings and his wife Deborah Russell.   Jonathan Cummings was the son of Jonathan Cummings and Elizabeth Blanchard, born 5 June 1729 and died 10 July 1787.  They lived in what was then called Dunstable, Massachusetts, but it is now Merrimack, New Hampshire. 

The bottom of this little stone was buried below the sod, so I couldn't read the death date of Benjamin. I later found that Joseph and Benjamin were twins, both born on 29 April 1774 in Merrimack.  Joseph died 16 May 1774 at age 18 days, and Benjamin died 24 May 1774 at age 25 days.  They were two of the fifteen children born to Jonathan and Deborah Cummings.  There was a second set of twins born in this family. Rachel and Cyrus Cummings were born 12 May 1775, just a year later than the first set of twins.  Cyrus lived to adulthood and married Abigail Davis, but there is no further information on Rachel. 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Infants Joseph and Benjamin Cummings, died 1774, Merrimack, New Hampshire - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 28, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving! Scenes from Plimoth Patuxet

 We were recently in Plymouth for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants' Congress.  Vincent took these lovely photographs of the Wampanoag and English villages at Plimoth Patuxet while I was in meetings.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all! 

Plimoth Patuxet Museum   


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Happy Thanksgiving!  Scenes from Plimoth Patuxet", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 23 November 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Mary McAfee Aiken, died 1828, Merrimack, New Hampshire - Tombstone Tuesday

 This tombstone was photographed at the Turkey Hill Graveyard, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Memory of
relict of Lt. John Aiken,
who died April 12
1828. AEt 65

Surviving friends come take a thought,
How soon the grave must be your lot;
Make sure of Christ while life remains,
And death will be eternal gain. 

Mary McAfee was born 16 May 1763 in Bedford, New Hampshire, the daughter of Matthew McDuffee and Susanna Morrison.  The name McAfee and McDuffee were considered different spellings of the same family name. Mary married John Aiken in 1781, and she died on 12 April 1828 in Merrimack. See this link for more about the McAfee/McDuffee family  

John Aiken was born 18 November 1728 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, a descendant of  Edward Aiken of Ulster, Northern Ireland.  John Aiken was a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and is listed in Parker's History of Londonderry, NH, page 22. 


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Mary McAfee Aiken, died 1828, Merrimack, New Hampshire - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 21 November 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

John Stickney, died 1727, Newbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday

 This tombstone was photographed at the First Parish Burying Ground in Newbury, Massachusetts.

the BODY OF Mr.
13, 1727
IN the 62nd

John Stickney was born 23 June 1666 in Newbury, Massachusetts, the son of Amos Stickney and Sarah Morse Acreman.  He was married to Mary Poor on 10 December 1689 and they had eight children who all lived to be married.  John was a weaver, and he died 13 August 1727 in Newbury.  

This tombstone is more folksy than the surrounding tombstones, and the epitaph is inscribed in a way that awkwardly fills the space. The death's head motif at the crown of the stone is very simple compared to some of the more realistic and elaborate carvings on nearby tombstones. You can tell that this was the memorial to a yeoman, and not a wealthy resident of Newbury.


To cite/link to this post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "John Stickney, died 1727, Newbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted on 14 November 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Sarah Martyn Barnard, died 1770, Newbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday

 This tombstone was photographed at the First Parish Burying Ground in Newbury, Massachusetts.

This Stone is erected to ye memory
Relict of the Revd.
JOHN BARNARD of Andover,
who through along course of years, by
eminency of devotion irreproachable
purity & Sanctity of manners and
an enlarged benevolence, exhibited the
christian character to great advantage
with an unshaken faith in ye Redeemer,
and longing after a better world, She
??? Novr. 23, 1770 AEtat. 72. 

Sarah Martin,  was born 16 August 1672, the daughter of Edward Martyn and Sarah White of Boston.  She married Reverend John Barnard on 20 October 1715.  The Reverend Barnard was buried 14 June 1757 at the Old North Parish Burying Ground in North Andover, Massachusetts.  Apparently the widow Sarah was living in Newbury with her daughter Sarah, wife of the Reverend Dr. Tucker, after the Reverend Barnard passed away.  The Parson Barnard House was built in Andover in 1715, and in 1950 it was donated to the North Andover Historical Society.

John Barnard was born 26 February 1689/90 in Andover, the son of the Reverend Thomas Barnard and Elizabeth Price. John Barnard Senior was the junior minister under the Reverend Francis Dane in Andover. He graduated from Harvard in 1709, and taught school in Andover. When his father died he was invited to be his successor in 1718. John Barnard and Sarah Martin had six children, including Thomas (minister of the Second Church of Newbury and the First Church of Salem); Edward; Sarah (mentioned above);  John who died at age 16 while a student at Harvard, and two daughters named Elisabeth who died young.  [see the Andover Vital Records]. 

The elder Reverend Barnard was present during the witch trials of 1692 that spilled out of Salem into Andover, Massachusetts.  Both ministers Barnard and Dane signed a petition in support of the accused. In 1697 Reverend Dane died and Reverend Barnard became the sole minister to Andover.  

For the truly curious:

Rev. John Barnard's memorial at Find A Grave:    

"Early Records of the Barnard Family of Andover" compiled by Charlotte Helen Abbott at the Andover Public Library (see page 18)     

An interesting manuscript about some silver donated to Rev. John Barnard's church by his mother-in-law, Sarah White  Martin. This silver tankard has disappeared from the church.   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Sarah Martyn Barnard, died 1770, Newbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 7, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Elizabeth Gerrish Greenleaf, died 1712, Newbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday

 This tombstone was photographed at the First Parish Burial Ground in Newbury, Massachusetts. 






OF AUGUst 1712 IN Ye 58th


Elizabeth Gerrish, daughter of William Gerrish and Joanna Lowell, was born 10 September 1654 in Newbury.  She married Stephen Greenleaf, son of Stephen Greenleaf and Elizabeth Coffin, on 23 October 1676 in Newbury. They had ten children born in Newbury. Stephen remarried to Hannah Tristram on 19 September 1713. 

Elizabeth and Stephen Greenleaf are my 9th great grandparents.  I descend from their daughter Elizabeth, born 12 January 1677 in Newbury, who married Henry Clarke on 7 November 1695 in Newbury.  Elizabeth died in 1724. 


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Elizabeth Gerrish Greenleaf, died 1712, Newbury, Massachusetts - Tombstone Tuesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 31 October 2023, ( accessed [access date]).

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Several Generations of Linens and Lace from Spain


Cleaning out a home after a death is a sad and nostalgic task.  When my mother-in-law recently passed away in Spain, we had to sort out everything in her apartment. We had to give away or throw away many item.  My husband brought home only a few items from her apartment.  He was not able to bring much because he could only bring what fit in his suitcases (and he paid for two extra suitcases). Some of those items were fragile (crystal glasses) and some were heavy (books) that needed padding so they wouldn't shift or break, so he wrapped them in the heirloom linens we found in the closet. Several generations of my mother-in-law's family owned this apartment. 

It turns out that these linens were quite beautiful, but a bit dingy from being stored a long time. Some looked brand new as if they were never used. I think the dry climate in Spain helped preserve them from mold or mildew spots.  I researched a bit on how to restore these handmade, delicate items.  We decided that we were probably going to use some of them, but my daughter and I didn't want all of them. Here is what I did to clean and store them:

The advice was to not use anything harsh like bleach or detergent.  I soaked them for several days in a bathtub filled with warm water and Oxy-clean.  This brightened up the linens and was not caustic.  Most of them were not stained, fortunately, just dingy from storage. The water turned yellow from the years of dust, so I changed the water daily that the linens were soaking in.   

To rinse them I used the hand held shower wand in the bathroom with warm water, and then put them through the short rinse only cycle in the washing machine.  This step would be skipped if the items were especially fragile, but most of what we had was in excellent shape and quite sturdy, even though we figured some of them were over 100 years old. 

Some of the items like tablecloths and bedding I ironed on medium heat while they were still damp.  They came out beautiful. This step could be skipped for very delicate items, or lacy doilies. 

An embroidered hanky!

Lace and crocheted items were air dried, some flat, and some on a drying rack

A very delicate hanky!  It was so fine you could see through it! 

An embroidered bedsheet

I spent several days washing, sorting, rinsing, drying and ironing dozens of pillow cases, napkins, bedding, and tablecloths.  I decided to keep only a few.  I really don't want these items to just end up stored in a closet for another 100 years.  I'm keeping just what I will use - a few hankies, some beautiful napkins, and some smaller items.  The rest I will share with my daughter, and then we will give away or sell the rest. I know that linens are not valuable or costly, but it seems a shame to just toss them or continue storing them.  

Here is the mystery. Some of the items are embroidered with "C M", which was my husband's grandmother's monogram - Maria Consuelo Martin (1908 - 2001) she was married in 1933 in Villar de Ciervo, Salamanca, Spain, so she probably made a lot of these before her marriage. Her mother was Josefa Rivero (1884 - 1937), married in 1904 also in Villar de Ciervo, and some of these items came from her marriage.  There are also sheets and pillowcases with a mystery monogram (see below).  Maybe this is not a monogram?  Is it just an abstract design? Perhaps it is a design for the letter "G", which was Consuelo's husband (Jose Garcia (1908-1954))?  It could be an "S" for Jose's father Sebastian Garcia (1878-1962)? 

Temporary storage for the clean linens.
For long term storage I would recommend acid free materials. 


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Several Generations of Linens and Lace from Spain", Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 24, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

"The Black Pearl", Newport, Rhode Island for Weathervane Wednesday

 This weathervane was photographed on the waterfront in Newport, Rhode Island.

This fantastic weathervane was photographed at The Black Pearl restaurant, 30 Bannister's Wharf, Newport, Rhode Island.  The weathervane is located on a signpost above the restaurant, not on the roof or on a cupola.  The name Black Pearl is well known from the popular movie series "Pirates of the Caribbean", as Capt. Jack Sparrow's ship. 

The weathervane is a very detailed two dimensional, double masted sailing ship. Unfortunately it doesn't look like a pirate ship, but perhaps there was another Black Pearl yacht.  I love that the details even include waves fore and aft. You can see the windows, rigging and sails.  Even the patina on the weathervane is interesting.  

For the truly curious: 

The Black Pearl website:  

The Black Pearl restaurant on Facebook:  

Click here to see over 500 weathervanes featured at Weathervane Wednesday:   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, ""The Black Pearl", Newport, Rhode Island for Weathervane Wednesday, Nutfield Genealogy, posted October 18, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Maria Josefa Garcia Martin 1934 - 2023

This morning my mother-in-law, Pepita or María Josefa García Martin, passed away peacefully in Madrid, Spain.  Vincent and our daughter, Catalina, were with her.  Pepita was born in 1934 in Orbaiceta, Navarra, Spain and grew up in several places around Spain because her father, José García Rivero, served in the military as a carbinero and as a Guardia Civil during and after the Civil War.  

In 1960 she married Vicente Rojo, immigrated to New York City, and had Vincent all in one year!  Vicente worked at the United Nations, and Pepita worked for several publishers and then for Iberia Airlines in Manhattan.  Later they all removed to Puerto Rico, and Pepita continued to work for Iberia until 1994 when she retired and enjoyed living both in San Juan and Madrid.  

After Vicente passed away in  2014 Pepita lived with us in New Hampshire and in Madrid, until the Covid pandemic struck and she stayed in Spain.  We visited her often in Madrid, especially this last year during her final illness. She will be missed by Vincent and I, Catalina and Gerald, her great granddaughter Isabella, and many other family members, friends, and neighbors.  

María Josefa García Martin as a toddler

Wedding Day in Madrid
9 January 1960

Pepita working at publisher Morgan and Morgan in New York

María Josefa García Martin in her Iberia Airlines uniform

Pepita, Vicente and Vincent at his birthday

1960s Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan
Pepita is in the mantilla, holding Vincent's hand

A selfie with Pepita, April 2023

The family at the Plaza Mayor in Madrid
April 2023


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Maria Josefa Garcia Martin 1934 - 2023", Nutfield Genealogy, posted 11 October 2023, ( accessed [access date]).