Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Guitar in Townsend, Massachusetts - Weathervane Wednesday

Today's weathervane was photographed in Townsend, Massachusetts.

 This unusual weathervane is located above a barn attached to a house in Townsend, Massachusetts.  I love the details on the guitar vane - the strings, pegs, fretboard, and the hole through the body where the background sky is visible.  But I also love that the finial above the guitar shaped vane is a clef, and that there are musical notes on a staff holding up the cardinal point letters!  

There are trees behind this barn, which makes this dark metal weathervane nearly invisible until you catch a glimpse of it silhoutetted agains a bright blue sky.  We have been driving through Townsend, Massachusetts for over 35 years since it is on our route between our house in New Hampshire and my mother's home in central Massachusetts, but this spring was the first time we have stopped to photograph this weathervane.  Only when looking through the telephoto lens or when looking at the photograph on a computer screen did we see the little, fun details on this weathervane.  

I don't know the history of this building, or if there is a story to this guitar weathervane.  Did a musician live here?  Was there a luthier in residence, with a workshop in the barn? 

Townsend, Massachusetts has several fun weathervanes besides this guitar. If you ever drive through look for the bat weathervane above the Spaulding School, or the owl weathervane over the old library building, the Hart Free Library. See the links below. 

This view of the weathervane shows the great patina on the old metal.

For the truly curious:

To see almost 500 other Weathervane Wednesday blog posts, click here:

The Spaulding School bat weathervane in Townsend, Massachusetts:

The Hart Free Library building owl weathervane in Townsend, Massachusett:


To cite/link to this blog post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "A Guitar in Townsend, Massachusetts - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 26, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Weathervane Wednesday on WMUR TV

Early in April I was interviewed by WMUR TV of Manchester, New Hampshire for a story about weathervanes in New Hampshire. They asked about the centaur weathervane in Londonderry located at Mack's Apples, my "Weathervane Wednesday" blog posts, my favorite weathervanes, and also about my genealogy connection to Shem Drowne, the famous weathervane maker of the 1700s. I also gave them dozens of photos of weathervanes from my blog posts to use on air.

Last Wednesday, while we in Spain visiting family members, WMUR aired their story on NH Chronicle "A World of Weathervanes".   Due to European Union rules, I was blocked from viewing this program and blocked from clicking the WMUR webpage while I was in Spain. I received several emails and comments about the episode from friends and family, but still couldn't figure out how to view the story from Europe.  However, soon after landing at Logan Airport in Boston, and while we were still driving home to New Hampshire, I watched this episode on my phone!

Thank you to WMUR for including me in the story! And thanks for placing a link to the Nutfield Genealogy blog and the Weathervane Wednesday posts on your webpage!

For the truly curious:

WMUR TV,  "NH Chronicle: A World of Weathervanes":   

Previous blog posts about this NH Chronicle episode:

April 5, 2023   

April 6, 2023   


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday on WMUR TV", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 24, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, April 17, 2023

My Ancestors in Compiled Genealogy Books: A Bibliography

Back before I started my own blog in 2009 I was a big fan of 
Martin Hollick’s Slovak Yankee blog. His blog post “Compiled Genealogy Biography” posted on 20 January 2010 inspired me to write a similar post back then.  I thought it was time to update that post and write a new one. (See below for more links)   I know many of you think that compiled genealogies are not good sources, but you can click on this link for my views "Thoughts on Compiled Genealogy Books" from a blog post in 2018:

I often hear from people “Oh, all your New England ancestors have been written about in books!”   From this list you can see that this is not true. Some of these ancestors are complete brick walls, some I have pieced together from other records, and yes, some are in books - even the Mayflower Silver books.   Most of my research was done the hard way, by searching vital records, deeds, probate records, graveyards, newspapers and other paper and online resources. Finding your ancestor in a book is a clue, but since most of these books are old and unsourced, you still must verify all the generations. I use compiled genealogy books for clues.

Martin’s list contained the compiled genealogy books that contain his closest ancestors. I charted out my ancestors to the 7th generation (fourth great grandparents) and listed any book written on their lineages. Its surprising which ancestors have books, and which don’t.  Perhaps someday I will end up writing an article or book about these surnames.  In the meantime, my blog will have to do…  (To make this list easier to read, I dropped ancestors off the list when they “crossed the pond” )

Great Grandparents :

Albert Munroe Wilkinson-(1860-1908) No book has ever been written on the Wilkinsons of northern New England, descendants of Thomas Wilkinson “of London” who married Elizabeth Caverly in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1715. This is my maiden name.

Isabella Lyons Bill (1863 – 1935)  her father appears in The History of the Bill Family by Ledyard Bill, 1867 (see below).  This family came to Boston in the Great Migration (1630s), went to Connecticut, migrated to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and ended up back in Massachusetts in the mid 1800s. 

John Peter Bowden Roberts (1865 – 1925) and his wife, Emma Frances Warren ( 1865 – 1927), were immigrants from Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1915 via Ellis Island. There is no compiled genealogy of either family. I have traced their origins in England back to the late 1700s with help from records scanned and preserved at FamilySearch. 

Joseph Elmer Allen (1870 – 1932)  The Allen Family comes from William Allen of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, but this branch has not been documented. There are several books with the first five generations or so of the Allen family, but none that contain my branch of Allens that removed to Essex (a contiguous town) around the time of the American Revolution.

Carrie Maude Batchelder ((1872 – 1963) and her husband Joseph E. Allen are in The Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy by Frederick Clifton Pierce, published by the author in Chicago, 1898, (with various updates), on page 329. Lists only two children, three more were born after publication.

Arthur Treadwell Hitchings (1868 – 1937) There is no book on the Hitchings/Hitchens family, which goes back to Daniel Hitchins (1632 -1731) of Lynn, Massachusetts. They are well documented in the local history books, vital records, and in journal articles.

Florence Etta Hoogerzeil (1871 – 1941) Her grandfather was Peter Hoogerzeil, immigrant to America before 1828. The family was written up by the Netherlands in genealogy journal articles (in Dutch) by Erik A. N. Kon, going back to Arijen Bruynen born about 1631 in Krimpen ann de Lek. No compiled genealogy book. Kon’s work is extensive, including all the known Hoogerzeil/Hogerzeil families and the American branch down to Florence and her Hitchings children.

2x Great Grandparents:

Robert Wilson Wilkinson (1830 – 1874)  see above

Phebe Cross Munroe (1830 – 1895)  see below

Caleb Rand Bill (1833-1902) is named in The History of the Bill Family, edited by Ledyard Bill, 1867, p. 200 along with his wife Ann Margaret Bollman. Their daughter Isabella Lyons Bill married Albert Munroe Wilkinson. They are also in the updated Bill genealogy book by Harry Bill, which I have only seen in Nova Scotia libraries, not in the USA.

Ann Margaret Bollman (1835 – 1923) mentioned briefly in the The Diary of Adolphus Gaetz, edited by Charles Bruce Ferguson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1965. There is no compiled genealogy of the Bollman family, descendants of Johan Daniel Bollman, a Hessian soldier, who was a surgeon and later a member of parliment from Nova Scotia. 

Joseph Gilman Allen (1830 – 1908)  see above

Sarah Burnham Mears (1844 – 1913) There is no book on the Mears family of Essex, Massachusetts. I have traced this line back to Alexander Mears, born about 1750 in London, England, yet have gone no further.  Alexander Mears was a Revolutionary War veteran on the patriots side.

George E. Batchelder (1848 – 1914)  see above and below

Mary Katharine Emerson (1847 – 1932) and her husband, George E. Batchelder are in The Ipswich Emersons, A. D. 1636-1900: A Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Emerson of Ipswich, Mass., by Benjamin Kendall Emerson, Boston, David Clapp & Son, 1900, page 306. This page also gives an explanation of her adoption by the Harris family of Boston (her paternal aunt) which solved a great brick wall problem for me! 

Abijah Franklin Hitchings  (1841 – 1910)  see above

Hannah Eliza Lewis (1844 – 1921) no book on this Lewis family has been found.  This is one of my brick wall lineages, since I have only traced back to her grandfather, Thomas Lewis and wife Amelia (unknown maiden name). I don’t know from which Massachusetts Lewis family he descends.

Peter Hoogerzeil  (1841 – 1908), see above

Mary Etta Healey (1852 – 1932) is a descendant of William Healy (1613 – 1683) of Cambridge, but only certain branches of this family are published in books. Tracing this line required using vital records, military records, and probate records. 

3x Great Grandparents:

Aaron Wilkinson (1802 – 1879)  see above

Mercy F. Wilson (1803 – 1883)  The great WILSON researcher, Ken Stevens of Walpole, New Hampshire was working on a compiled genealogy of the Wilsons of Danvers, Massachusetts, but hadn’t published his notes or book before he passed away.  Previous to his death he had assured me that my lineage was correct back to the first immigrant Wilson, Robert Wilson b. 1630 in England and died 18 September 1675 at Deerfield, Massachusetts in the Bloody Brook Massacre. He sent me copies of all his notes.  I think he hit a brick wall with the rest of the Danvers Wilsons. I haven’t been able to untangle it, either, beyond my direct lineage to Robert Wilson.

Luther Simonds Munroe (1805 – 1851)  is in the History and Genealogy of the Lexington, Massachusetts, Munroes, compiled by Richard S. Munroe, published by the author, 1966, page 71. This goes back to the Scots prisoner of war, William Munroe (1625 – 1718) in Lexington. This family is also well documented in local histories of Lexington, vital records, and military records. 

Olive Flint (1805 – 1875)  is in the book Genealogical register of the descendants of Thomas Flint, of Salem : with a copy of the wills and inventories of the estates of the first two generations, compiled by John Flint and John H. Stone, Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1994, and both her parents were Flints (first cousins John Flint and Phebe Flint) so this was easy.

Ingraham Ebenezer Bill (1805 – 1891)- see above

Isabella Lyons (1806 – 1872) – No LYONS compiled genealogy book as far as I know. This is a lineage that goes back to a possible Patrick Lyons of Ireland, and he was a possible Loyalist who left New England for Nova Scotia.

Joseph Allen (1801 – 1894) – see above

Orpha Andrews (1804- 1869) is a descendant of immigrants John Andrews (about 1618 – 1708) and Jane Jordan of the Chebacco Parish of Ipswich, Massachusetts (now Essex).   Orpha and her husband, Joseph Allen, are on page 595 of the book The Descendants of Lieut. John Andrews of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts by Betty Andrews Storey, 2009.

Samuel Mears (1823 – 1904) is on page 1491 of The Descendants of Lieut. John Andrews of Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, with his wife, Sarah Ann Burnham.  He was also an ANDREWS descendant (Lydia W.7 Burnham, Asa6, Westley5, Deborah4 Story, Rachel3 Andrews, William2, John1).  No MEARS book as far as I know.

Sarah Ann Burnham (1821 – 1848) see above. There is no BURNHAM complied genealogy.

George E. Batchelder (1822 – 1848) see above for the BATCHELDER book, and below,  

Abigail M. Locke (1825 – 1888) and her husband George E. Batchelder (above) are on page 322 of A History and Genealogy of Captain John Locke (1726 – 1696) of Portsmouth and Rye, New Hampshire and His Descendants, by Arthur H. Locke, Volume 1.

George Emerson (1817 – 1890) see above for the EMERSON book.

Mary Esther Younger (1826 – 1913) – No book has been written about the YOUNGER family of Gloucester, Massachusetts, which I have traced back only to William Younger who married Lucy Foster in Gloucester in 1750. I have been unable to find William Younger's ancestors.  

Abijah Hitchings (1809 – 1864) – see above

Eliza Ann Treadwell (1812 – 1896) This is a well documented family in the Ipswich, Vital Records, dating back to Thomas Treadwell born about 1603 in London, England, died 1671 in Ipswich.  There is a book Thomas Treadwell of Ipswich, Massachusetts and some of his Descendants, by William Alfred Robbins in the catalog at available on microfilm #1486614, but it is (strangely) not available at NEHGS or any other local library.

Thomas Russell Lewis (1825 – 1853) – see above

Hannah Phillips (1821 – 1851) – father, James Phillips, is a brickwall

Peter Hoogerzeil (1803 – 1889)- see above

Eunice Stone (1807 – 1886)- there is no STONE family complied genealogy, but the immigrant John Stone (about 1595 – about 1667) was covered in The Great Migration, Volume VI, pages 552 – 553.

Joseph Edwin Healy (1823 – 1862) and his wife, Matilda Weston, are in Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume II, Part II Edward Doty, (a “Silver Book”) compiled by Peter B. Hill, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1996, page 185

Matilda Weston (1825 – 1909), see above, and also see page 121 of Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 14, Family of Myles Standish, 2007, for Matilda, her siblings and parents (another “Silver Book”).

4x great grandparents:

William Wilkinson (? – 1840)  see above

Mercy Nason (b. 1764 in Kittery) I haven’t used a Nason book for this line, it was well documented in vital records, town histories, articles. (But again, is there a Nason book?)

Robert Wilson (1776 – 1893), see above for the WILSON note

Mary Southwick (1777-1854) Genealogy of the descendants of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick of Salem, Mass.: the original emigrants, and the ancestors of the families who have since borne his name, by James M. Caller and Mrs. M. A. Ober, reprint by Higginsons (originally 1881) This book is old and contains errors, but was a good guide to start.

Andrew Munroe (1764 – 1836), see above for the MUNROE book

Ruth Simonds (1763 – 1840) in the book Genealogical Sketch of William Simonds, by Edward Francis Johnson, 1889, but the family was also written up in the Woburn town histories.

John Flint (1761 – 1836) – see above for the FLINT book

Phebe Flint (1763 – 1846) – see above for the FLINT book

Asahel Bill (1748 – 1814) – see above for the BILL book

Mary Rand (1758 – 1845) in the book Genealogy of Rand: from Robert Rand of Charlestown 1634 to 1867, by Thomas Bellows Wyman, 1867 and in the Martha’s Vineyard history, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Genealogies.

Thomas Ratchford Lyons (1780 – 1859) – see above

Ann Skinner (1786 – 1815) again, in the Yarmouth Genealogies, and The Skinner Kinsmen, the descendants of John Skinner of Hartford, Connecticut, by Natalie R. Fernald.

Joseph Allen (1776 – 1861) – see above

Judith Burnham ((1782 – 1848) – see above

James Andrews (1763 – 1857) see above for the ANDREWS book.

Lucy Presson (1763 – 1852) This family name changed from Presbury, to Preston to Presson since the 1600’s. There is no book on this family under any spelling.

Samuel Mears (1798 – 1879)  - see above

Lydia W. Burnham (1802 – 1864)  - see above

Henry Burnham (1783 – 1867) – see above

Sally Poland (1780 – 1861) in the book The Polands of Essex County, Massachusetts, by Lloyd O. Poland, 1981.

Jonathan Batchelder (1800 – 1847)- see above for the BATCHELDER book. It lists him on page 172 with the incorrect parents (Elisha Batchelder and Sarah Lane).  His parents should be Nathaniel Batchelder and Mary Perkins.  Caveat emptor!

Nancy Thompson (about 1804 – after 1847)- she is a brickwall.  I have no idea who her parents may be.  She came from Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Is there a Thompson book on this family? Right now, there are too many possible Thompson families from New Hampshire to know!  

Richard Locke (1794 – 1864)- see above for the LOCKE book

Margaret Welch (abt. 1796 – 1860) Another brick wall! I don’t know her parents, but she may have been born in Kittery, Maine.  There are many Welch families in Kittery who are probably all related. 

Romanus Emerson (1782 – 1852)- see above for the EMERSON book 

Jemima Burnham (1783 – 1868)   - no BURNHAM book as far as I know, and look at the four Burnhams I have in this generation alone!  All these Burnhams are from Essex, Massachusetts.  All this complicated intermarriage of Burnhams may be why no one has tackled a Burnham genealogy. 

Levi Younger (1786 – 1858) – see above

Catherine Plummer Jones (1799-1828) formerly a brick wall, now solved! Absolutely no book, but I’ve blogged many times about this one!  Her father was Owen Jones, a customs official from Wales serving in Boston at the time of the American Revolution. 

Abijah Hitchings (1775 – 1868)  - see above

Mary Cloutman (1775 – 1853) No CLOUTMAN book.  The first immigrant CLOUTMAN was Thomas Cloutman who married Elizabeth Story in 1672 Salem, Massachusetts. 

Jabez Treadwell  (1788 – 1840) – see above

Betsey Jillings Homan (1792 – 1874)- There is no HOMAN family compiled genealogy as far as I know.  Betsey is a descendant of the immigrant Edward Homan (1605 – 1675) of Plymouth and Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Thomas Lewis (about 1770 – 1821) – another brickwall ancestor

Amelia Unknown (about 1790 – 1860) – wife of Thomas Lewis, above, and also a brickwall

James Phillips (1792 – 1820) – another brickwall. 

Sarah Cree (1792 – 1835) – There is no CREE compiled genealogy book.  This family dates back to the immigrant Nicholas Cree (born about 1700) who settled in Topsfield, Massachusetts.

Josiah Stone (1763 – 1848) -  see above

Susanna Hix (1768 – 1859) – there is no HIX or HICKS book on this family.  Her parents and grandparents came from the Plymouth, Massachusetts area. 

Comfort Haley (1787 – 1874) – see above for the Haley/Healey lineage in the Mayflower Silver book series.

Rebecca Crosby (1789-?) Her parents are in the Yarmouth Genealogies, an earlier branch of the Cape Cod/ Cambridge Crosbys who are written up in earlier generations in Simon Crosby the emigrant : his English ancestry, and some of his American descendants, by Eleanor Davis Crosby, 1914

Zadoc Weston (1761 – 1849) – see above for the Weston lineage in the Mayflower Silver book series

Mary Clements – a brickwall.  Nothing is known of her origins or parents. She lived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia with her husband Zadoc Weston. Her stepson, Abram Weston (b. 1815) married a Mary Hannah Clements in 1846.  Cousins? Were they originally from New England? 


Martin Hollick’s original “Compiled Genealogy Bibliography” post from 20 January 2010

My original Compiled Genealogy Bibliography blog post from 8 February 2010:

"Thoughts on unsing Compiled Genealogy Books" from 2018:


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Ancestors in Books: A Compiled Genealogy Bibliography", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 14, 2018, ( accessed [access date]). 

Monday, April 10, 2023

My Cousin Found my Great Great Grandfather's Scrapbook (circa 1895 - 1905)

My distant cousin found my great great grandfather's scrapbook listed in the card catalog of the Phillip's Library of the Peabody Essex Museum.  It was listed as "ephemera" and "scrapbook of mounted newspaper clippings, announcements, invitations, tickets, etc.".  This scrapbook belonged to Abijah Franklin Hitchings (1841 - 1910) and on the cover it said "Miscellaneous No. 5" and there was a note that it had been donated by Mrs. Thomas L. Henley on 9 October 1974.  Who was Mrs. Henley.  How did she get the scrapbook?  What happened to scrapbooks 1 to 4?  

My cousin and I had been exchanging Facebook messages for a few years, but we had never met in person. We both descend from Frank Hitchings.  He had two children, a son Arthur Treadwell Hitchings (1868 - 1937) and a daughter Mabelle Cloutman Hitchings (1881 - 1916) who married Moses Stevens Herrick.  We determined that we were 3rd cousins, and planned to meet up at the Phillips Library as soon as possible to view the scrapbook.  What would it contain?  Letters? Family photos? 

Frank Hitchings had been a sail maker in Salem, Massachusetts early in life.  Then he joined the "Minute Men of '61" when the Civil War started, which was a Zoave unit of volunteers from Salem. He re-enlisted and served a second time during the Civil War until he was wounded in his leg at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Frank walked with a limp for the rest of his life.  He married Hannah Eliza "Lottie" Lewis on 22 September 1864, and soon after that he began to work at the Salem Custom House. Eventually he became the Deputy Custom Collector. 

Cousins at the entrance to the 
Phillips Library, Rowley, Massachusetts

The Phillips Library is free to the public, by appointment.  The website includes strict instructions on how to request materials, what is allowed in the reading room, and directions to the archive, which was moved from Salem to Rowley several years ago (see the link below for my blog post about the move).  The instructions for the reading room were familiar to me, but new for my cousin who had never been inside an archive or ever requested a manuscript or old book. It was a lot of fun seeing this scrapbook with her!

The book was quite large, but not quite full of ephemera.  It ended with about a third of the pages blank, but we could see from this that Frank had used some sort of maritime book with lists of ships and cargo for his scrapbook.  The first two thirds of the pages were completely full of clippings and paper items glued down so it was difficult to see that it was a repurposed book.  Frank was a very frugal Yankee!

Advertisements and a business card
for Arthur Hitchings Billiard Parlor

We had a great time perusing this scrapbook, although some of the newspaper was very fragile and started to shed pieces as we turned the pages.  One of the first pages had my great grandfather's business cards and some newspaper advertisements for his billiard parlor in Beverly, Massachusetts.  This made us hopeful that we would find more personal family items inside the scrapbook. We didn't find much, except for obituaries.

There were several newsclippings with the death notice for
Frank's mother, Eliza Ann Treadwell, who was born on 27 August 1812
in Salem, and died 31 January 1896 in Salem, Massachusetts

Included in the scrapbook were many, many newsclippings and invitations of the parades and reunions attended by the "Minute Men of '61" and the local Salem GAR unit where Frank was a member.  The Minute Men of '61 were the regiment that rescued the USS Constitution, Old Ironsides, from Annapolis, Maryland during the Civil War and returned her to the North.  They had an annual reunion for many years, and Frank had carefully pasted all the invitations and programs into his scrapbook. 

The 1896 program for the 
"Minute Men of '61" reunion

The handwritten invitation to the 
annual Salem Zouave Association reunion. 

Frank Hitchings had an interest in maritime
history, and included this newsclipping on the 
Arbella, which brought the Winthrop Fleet to Salem

The Custom House was renovated in 1898
and the golden Eagle was restored

A photo of the Custom House eagle 
from my 2015 visit to Salem

Frank Hitchings bought a lot at Salem Willows,
and many of the newsclippings mention
parties at this house on Juniper Point

Apparently, Mabelle Hitchings, my cousin's great grandmother, was a fine dancer and banjo player. Many of the newsclippings mentioned her at dance recitals and concerts. This fancy pamphlet from an 1897 dance recital had Mabelle on the cover.  She was mentioned inside doing several dances.  In 1897 Mabelle would have been about sixteen years old. This is the only photo we have seen of Mabelle, and we knew it was her from a display of photographs at a Hitchings family reunion about 20 years ago, where her daughter Muriel identified her as the dancer on the cover. Frank had carefully pasted this into his scrapbook, too. 

Mabelle Hitchings on the cover
of a Dance Recital program 

Salem News, 2 February 1898

Apparently there had been a huge blizzard on 2 February 1898, and Frank had collected many newsclippings of the storm and saved them in his scrapbook.  This was the "storm of the century" and was similar to when I lived through the "Blizzard of 1978".  Many ships were lost off the coast of Salem and Gloucester, and the town was cut off from the outside world for several days.  The illustrations above show the devastation and wrecked ships. 

I loved the headlines here about the Blizzard of 1898
"Salem As it Used to Be: How People Lived in Days of Grandfathers"

One of the most interesting things in the scrapbook were all the membership cards Frank had for the Essex Institute.  The Peabody Museum (the former Peabody Academy of Science), the East India Marine Society, and the Essex Institute merged together to create one institution.  Members of the societies collected curiosities from their maritime travels and donated collections, along with artwork, books, and manuscripts.  These collections today are valuable for historical and genealogical research.  I wonder if Frank Hitchings knew that someday this collection would include his personal scrapbook, and also the two books he wrote on shipping in Salem. 

Frank Hitchings' 1896 membership card to the Essex Institute
which he probably used for writing his books

We enjoyed viewing Frank Hitching's scrapbook, but it left us wanting to know more.  There were not many personal or family items inside the scrapbook, just items Frank found interesting. We could see that he had many interests in his Civil War service, his career at the custom house, the local weather, and anything related to maritime history.  It gave me a better idea of who Frank was as a person, but I was hoping to learn more about his family, and perhaps see more photographs.


Who was Mrs. Thomas L. Henley who donated this scrapbook? Was she a relative or cousin?  I found a Thomas Henley who married Mildred Florence Hitchings (1909 - 1981). Mildred was my grandmother's sister, my aunt Millie.  Did she donate this scrapbook?  What happened to the other scrapbooks? 

For the truly curious:

Essex Country Ship Registers, by A. Frank Hitchings, 1883, two volumes (Book 1 includes ships registered 1789 to 1828, and Book 2 has ships registered 1828 to 1851)   The call number for this book at the Phillips Library is Mss. 150+  

Also:  Ship Registers of the District Of Salem and Beverly, 1789 - 1900, by A. Frank Hitchings, published Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1906 available online at  

The Peabody Essex Museum's Phillips Library   

Previous blog posts:

2009 - about Frank's military career during the Civil War: 

2015 - about Frank's career at the Salem Custom House:    

2023 - A recent discovery of a Civil War photo of Frank:  

Association of the Massachusetts
Minute Men of '61


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "My Cousin Found my Great Great Grandfather's Scrapbook (circa 1895 - 1905)", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 10, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Yes! Weathervane Wednesday will be on TV April 19th!


Mack's Apples, Londonderry, New Hampshire

I hope you read yesterday's blog post!  I was interviewed by WMUR for an episode of "NH Chronicle" that will feature weathervanes!

I just heard from Jean Mackin, the reporter and news anchor for WMUR, that the air date for this episode will be Wednesday, April 19th, 2023 at 7pm.  You can watch it on your TV or livestreaming via   The next day (sometime before noon) it will be posted online on  and also at  

If you live outside of New Hampshire, you may not be familiar with "NH Chronicle".  This is a magazine style TV show about the people and places that make New Hamsphire special.  It airs on weekdays at 7pm after the evening news.  There is a version for WCVB-TV (channel 5) in Boston, Massachusetts, too. Each episode offers lifestyle, cultural, arts, historical, and information about the Granite State, and Fritz Wetherbee has a five minute segment on history and/or storytelling.  

I know it will be a very Happy Weathervane Wednesday on April 19th!

Stay tuned!

Alvirne High School Agriculture Barn
Hudson, New Hampshire

The Londonderry Historical Society Museum Complex
Parmenter Barn, Londonderry, New Hampshire

JP Pest Control, Milford, New Hampshire
A giant chrome ant!

JP Pest Control, Milford, New Hampshire
A huge cockroach!


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Yes!  Weathervane Wednesday will be on TV April 19th", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 6, 2023,  ( accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Weathervane Wednesday on TV?

Last week I received an email from Jean Mackin, a reporter and news anchor from WMUR TV in Manchester, New Hampshire.  It seems that the popular show "NH Chronicle" will be having an upcoming episode featuring New Hampshire weathervanes, and she wanted to arrange an interview!  Of course I said "Of course!"

And so we decided that I would meet with videographer Jason Modeski from WMUR at Mack's Apples in Londonderry in front of the barn with the gilded centaur weathervane I blogged about for my very first "Weathervane Wednesday" post 12 years ago.  500 weathervanes later, I had plenty of stories about weathervanes in New Hampshire for my interview.

It was a cold, windy day at Moose Hill Orchards for the outdoor interview, but it was bright and sunny, and perfect for photographing the centaur above the barn.  It was interesting to be interviewed on camera, and I'm not sure how much will make it onto the TV show.  The WMUR staff is also interviewing author Glenn Knoblock about his book Weathervanes of New England, a great 296 pages published in 2018, the principal of Alvirne High School about the spider web weather vane I featured in 2011, and a variety of other weathervane related people, places and things for an upcoming episode of "NH Chronicle".  

Also, the popular Facebook page "U Local New Hampshire", which is sponsored by WMUR, has invited guests to submit weathervane photos to be featured on this TV show.  Feel free to go to the link below and submit your own weathervane photos. I've already emailed a dozen of my favorites to Jean Mackin! 

As soon as the "NH Chronicle" weathervane episode date is announced, I will let everyone know here on my blog, and at my Facebook group "Nutfield Genealogy".  Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  The show will air on TV April 19th at 7pm, and be available online on April 20th.  Check out this new blog post with the links to watch online.  

For the truly curious:

Glenn Knoblock's book Weathervanes of New England at Amazon:    

Mack's Apples, Londonderry, New Hampshire:    

U Local New Hampshire by WMUR:  

WMUR Chronicle:  

"Weathervane Wednesday" #1 post of Mack's Apple's Centaur weathervane:  

"Weathervane Wednesday" #13 post of the spider web at Alvirne High School, Hudson, NH:   

Click here to see almost 500 more Weathervane Wednesday blog posts:


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday on TV?", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 5, 2023, ( accessed [access date]).