Friday, April 24, 2015

Tour of Tokyo, Japan 1976 ~ Photo Friday

This photograph was found among my mother-in-law's collection in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The heat and humidity of the tropical climate has faded this photo.  You can even see splotches of mold in the top left corner and in the bottom right corner (right on a woman's leg).  I spent a lot of time scanning some of the photos from Puerto Rico, and there are more in storage waiting to be scanned.

In this photo you can see my husband and his parents right in the middle of the front row.
His mother is sitting in front of the woman with the kerchief on her head.
Vincent was about fifteen years old, to her right. and his Dad is to her left. 
Vincent has a big camera bag on his lap.  
They took dozens of photos of this trip and bought a new camera on a side excursion to Hong Kong.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Just When You Thought You Had Heard It All! More NERGC Blog Posts

Please see my previous post of links to blogger stories about NERGC 2015 at this link:


Jane E. Wilcox- interview of Marian Pierre-Louis

Blog posts

Liz Loveland “My Adventures in Genealogy”

Cheryll Holley “For All My Relations”

Pam Carter “My Maine Ancestry”

Dame Gussie AKA June Butka

Video Blogs

Links to Dear Myrtle’s 7  “AmbushCam” video Interviews

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Brought to you by the letter "B"

Weathervane Wednesday is an on-going series of photographs I post weekly.  I started by publishing weather vanes from the Londonderry area, but now I've been finding interesting weather vanes all across New England.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting. Often, my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weather vanes, too! If you know an interesting or historical weathervane, please let me know.

Today's collection of weather vanes is from New Hampshire.

Do you know the location of weather vane collection #205?  Scroll down to see the answer!

This weather vane is located above the Blake's Creamery ice cream restaurant at 353 South Main Street in Manchester, New Hampshire.  There used to be many Blake's located in Southern New Hampshire, but now this is there are only two and they are both in Manchester.

This weather vane is a simple letter "B".  I've seen these over businesses and even over homes, with the letter representing the surname of the homeowner.  The only other letter weather vane I'd seen in Manchester was a letter "F" over a Friendly's ice cream restaurant.  What a coincidence!  However, recently that Friendly's weather vane was changed to an ice cream cone.

Blake's Creamery website:

Click here to see the entire series of Weathervane Wednesday posts!

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Patriot's Day ~ 19 April 2000, the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Concord Bridge

After observing the Battle of Lexington at dawn (click HERE to see that post), we jumped in the car and raced to Concord to see the re-enactment of the Battle of Concord Bridge.  It didn't take long for the British troops we had just seen in Lexington to make it all the way to Concord.  The unit above was a fife and drum corps from Williamsburg, Virginia.  

There were many people at the Lexington dawn event, but even more at the Concord re-enactment.  The event takes place on the bridge across the river, so it was more difficult to get a good view.  

After the mock battle, all the tourists trooped across the bridge to celebrate.  The re-enactors portraying the British troops began a long retreat back to Boston, stopping to remake all the skirmishes along the way.  We did not follow them, but we saw a bunch of people on bicycles who were planning to follow the British actors all the way back to Arlington. 

The Concord Minuteman

This re-enactor was relaxing on the front porch of the Concord Inn, where we stopped for lunch. 

I was surprised by the large numbers of re-enactors who came to portray the British troops.  When I asked them, they appeared to have come from quite a long ways to have the chance to be in this anniversary event.  It was much easier to find local people to portray the minutemen than the British! 

The same day we photographed these scenes, we were at the Lexington Green at dawn.  Click here to see the post of that re-enactment:

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Monday, April 20, 2015

Patriot's Day ~ The 225th Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, 19 April 2000

“On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year”
                                From The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The original Battle at Lexington Green took place at dawn on 19 April 1775.  On the 225th anniversary of this battle, we lined up extra early that morning.  It's very cold in New England in April, so we had warm clothes and blankets.  It was still dark when the actors began to assemble. The men of the town militia lined up on the common, and the women and children withdrew to the sidelines, and we could hear the British advancing down the road from Boston toward us... very scary, even though we knew it was a re-enactment!

Here are some old images from our family slides that I digitized.  The quality is poor, but it brings back memories of that event…

The two sides exchanged some words. 
Suddenly, we heard "the shot heard 'round the world" and the battle had begun!

I knew that the first two men to fall in battle were the brother and brother-in-law of my 5th great grandfather, Andrew Munroe (1718 - 1766).  His brother, Robert Munroe (1712 - 1775) and Jonas Parker (married to his sister Lucy Munroe), were in the front lines.  This was a position of honor because they both were veterans from the French and Indian war.  Both were bayoneted.  I was surprised that my reaction to seeing their re-enactors "killed" was to burst into tears.

The Lexington militia withdrew to the woods, and the "dead" remained on the common. 

The women and children ran over to their "dead" family members.

The British fired a round before marching on to the town of Concord...

My daughter, only 13 years old at the time, covered her ears during the gun fire.

Then, a "miracle" happened!  The dead re-enactors rose up from Lexington Green, with applause from the audience.  We could hear the British marching away to the west towards Concord. 

The actors above and below were portraying Robert Munroe and Jonas Parker.   
Both are my 5x great grand uncles.  They were both the first two men killed in battle. 

I have a previous blog post about this experience (without photos)  at this link…

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Catch up on all the NERGC 2015 Blog Posts!

Providence, Rhode Island at night

Pre-conference posts:

Kathleen McCracken

Jake Fletcher

June Butka

Jennifer Shoer – Scrappy Genealogist -  Ambush Cam  31 March 2015

Laurie Desmarais

Kathleen McCracken

At the conference reporting
From Maine to Kentucky by Elizabeth Pyle Handler

Jake Fletcher

Nutfield Genealogy by Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Pam Carter

Dear Myrtle’s “Ambush Cam” at the conference:

Origins Connector (Michael Maglio) 

Blogger Interviews of conference speakers:

Lori Lynn Price – Bridging the Past – Judy Russell

Linda Hall Little – Passage to the Past -   Michael J. Hall

Pam Carter – My Maine Ancestry -  Josh Taylor

Beverly Fieg – Knit Genealogist  - 

Cynthia Shenette – Heritage Zen -  Lisa Louise Cooke

Sara Campbell – Remembering Those who Came before us – Marian Pierre-Louis

Jennifer Shoer – Scrappy Genealogist – Dr. Blaine Bettinger

Elizabeth Handler – From Maine to Kentucky -  Harold Henderson

Pam Carter – My Maine Ancestry – Casey Zahn

Bill West – West in New England – Michael Tougias

Melissa Berry – Ancestory Archives – Lisa Alzo

Bill West – West in New England – Michael Brophy

Melissa Berry – Ancestory Archives – David Allen Lambert

If you know of more NERGC 2015 posts, please let me know and I’ll add them here!

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Patriot's Day - 18 April 2000, the day before the 225th Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

Lexington Common, 2000

This re-enactor was portraying Ebenezer Munroe, a cousin to my 5th great grandfather, Andrew Munroe.  There were many Munroe family members at the Battle of Lexington, you can see the list of those I have identified HERE.  

Of course, we had a long conversation about the Munroe family.  He had researched his role very well, and knew the family history.  (I was in a wheelchair because of a badly twisted ankle - but I didn't want to miss this event, no matter what!)

This monument (seen at the top of this blog post) lists the names of the men killed on Lexington Green, and is the final burial spot of the fallen.  My daughter (13 years old at the time) laid flowers on this gravesite.  We do this whenever we visit Lexington. 

There were a huge number of re-enactors at this anniversary event of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  They were encamped in the fields next to a school a block away from Lexington Common.  We saw sutlers, militia units, and all sorts of great period equipment and costumes. 

At the Munroe Tavern, there were re-enactors demonstrating the medical equipment used in the field during the Revolutionary War period.  After the Battle of Lexington, and before the retreat to Boston, the British used the Munroe Tavern as a field hospital. 

I enjoyed seeing what interesting items the sutlers had for sale! 

Stay tuned!  Tomorrow I will post photos of the Battle of Lexington re-enactment from 19 April 2000, the 225th anniversary. 

Munroe Cousins at the Battle of Lexington -  A blog post from 2010

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Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What did you miss at the 2015 NERGC conference?

Providence, Rhode Island, as seen from our hotel room

For those of you who missed the 2015 NERGC conference in Providence, Rhode Island, all I can say is “Wow!”   At least you are all well rested and don’t have sore feet.  We were busy running around from dawn until well after dusk learning, socializing, and networking.  Here is my list of highlights:

1.  If you leave New Hampshire at 5am you will beat the traffic to Providence, Rhode Island only if you DON’T take Route 128.  

2.  The best part of NERGC is meeting old friends as soon as you step into the hotel lobby.  The first friend I met was Jen Baldwin of Find My Past  and the Ancestral Breezes blog – all the way from Colorado.

3.   The first thing I checked out at the conference center was the query board.  Did you know there was a “Northeastern Smith DNA Project”?   There are over 600 participants and 67 groups in this project, and special interest in descendants of Ulster Presbyterian (Scots Irish) Smiths to New Hampshire.  Contact N. Smith at  

Jennifer Zinck, Yours Truly, Rev. Blackstone
and Marian Pierre-Louis
4. Rev. William Blackstone (1595 – 1675) gave the opening keynote address.   Did you know he was the first settler at Boston, and also an early settler at Providence, Rhode Island?   Read all about him at Wikipedia

5.  The local repositories and archives in Providence and nearby were open extra hours while the NERGC conference was in town.  Smart move with over 900 genealogists in town!
6.  Frugal Yankee genealogists find ways to attend conferences without spending big bucks.  Half of my genealogist friends were doing the following:

                a.  Staying with friends, relatives, and relatives of relatives near Providence

                b.  Commuting by car, train and commuter rail from the Boston area.  One drove four hours to and from upstate, New York arriving in time for the first session at 8:30am and leaving after the last session at 5:45pm. 

                c.  Many folks were packing  food bars, sandwiches and  water bottles for the duration instead of buying the overpriced (and definitely not tasty) cafĂ© sandwiches from the convention center.

                d.  Volunteering and going to the free events, but still sharing the social fun and excitement

7.  Newly minted conference speaker (and blogger) Dave Robison not only gave his first major conference talk (and it was terrific), but on the first day, with just a moment’s notice,  he also filled in for another speaker who couldn’t make it.  So he got to practice his talk twice!  Yay, Dave!

New England "Pirate Expert" David Allen Lambert with Yours Truly

8.  The Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts, which is kept at the Massachusetts State Archives, contains the early records of the laws against piracy in the 1700s.  Was your ancestor a pirate?  I have Thomas Tew of Rhode Island in my family tree, or is it just a myth?  Click here to read more about him,    David Allen Lambert of NEHGS gave a talk about pirates, and he wants to consult with anyone who has researched the Tew family.  You can contact David at the New England Historic Genealogical Society    

9.  There is a definite lack of diversity at NERGC.  There were very few faces of color in the audiences, or among the speakers.  I was happy to see fellow blogger, Cheryl Holley, speaking about Native Americans in New England, and one African American genealogy society in the expo hall.  Where were the other people of color, Hispanics, and religious genealogy societies, attendees and speakers?

10.  A class on Canon law was incredibly interesting, especially since I’m not Roman Catholic, but I've been working on my husband’s Spanish ancestors, and my new son-in-law’s family tree is all Irish, Italian and French Canadian.  If you ever have a chance to take this class by George Findlen, take it!

11.  There is a definite need for a genea-singles mixer or cocktail hour at genealogy conferences. 

The Genealogy Blogger Special Interest Group
12.  Our Genealogy Blogger Special Interest Group was a big success!  Here are six “new to me” New England bloggers:

Jake Fletcher-  Jake Fletcher's Genealogy Project  

Connie Billy of New Jersey – “Genealogy Journeys”

Janice Hamilton and others, from Montreal, Canada

Kate Lowrie   “Kate’s  Kin-nections”, from Massachusetts

Genevive De Haan,  “Massachusetts Backwards”    

Kathleen McCracken, of Virginia “Pine Trees and Pedigrees”   

Best of all!  At the luncheon today, sponsored by the Massachusetts Genealogical Council, Judy Russell challenged everyone to throw a $1 bill on the table to be collected for the "Preserve the Pensions Project".  This project benefits efforts to digitize the pension records from the War of 1812 to be put online, at a cost of 40 cents per page. had pledged to match all donation, and there were about 200 people present.   The Federation of Genealogical Societies would also match all donations, making this a win-win proposition.

What was the final donation?

Well, over $1,300 was collected, making the final donation, after matches, over 20,000 pages!
This is just some of the genealogy bloggers who were at NERGC this week.
Do you recognize these faces?

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Copyright © 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo