Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tuesday's Tip-Gettin' By with Help from Our Friends-Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Today's Tips come from Heather Wilkinson Rojo of the Nutfield Genealogy Blog who shares her tips for researching Scots Irish ancestors.

Next year marks the 300th anniversary of the first Scots Irish migration to the New World in 1718, and 2019 marks the 300th anniversary of the settling of Nutfield, New Hampshire by some of these Ulster refugees.  These Scots Irish families were led by the Reverend James MacGregor of Aghadowey, Northern Ireland. They settled on land that became Londonderry, and was later divided into the towns of Derry and Windham, New Hampshire, as well as parts of Manchester, Salem, Chester and Hudson.
Do you have early Scots Irish ancestors who passed through Boston in 1718? They weren’t welcome to stay in Puritan Boston, so they scattered to Nutfield, Maine and Worcester, Massachusetts. The most successful settlement was Nutfield.  They may have settled in Nutfield (Londonderry) temporarily, or permanently.  Many of these families left records behind, and many of these families are also planning reunions for the big 300th anniversary celebrations. 
Tip #1
Who were the first Nutfield Grantees (Proprietors) who arrived with Reverend MacGregor? Check the following list for these surnames:
From The History of Londonderry : comprising the towns of Derry and Londonderry, NH, by Rev. Edward L. Parker, 1851, ( page 423) "Those who first composed the settlement [of Londonderry NH], were the following sixteen men and their families namely--James McKeen, John Barnett, Archibald Clendenin, John Mitchell, James Sterrett, James Anderson, Randal Alexander, James Gregg, James Clark, James Nesmith, Allen Anderson, Robert Weir, John Morrison, Samuel Allison, Thomas Steele and John Stuart.”
Don’t forget that once this land was settled by the Scots Irish, families soon followed: Moor, Adams, Karr, Aiken, Dickey, Watts, Mack, Holmes, Nevins, Boyd, Dana, Boice, Conant, McAllister, Patterson, Pinkerton, Humphrey, Campbell, Duncan, Woodburn, McClearey, White, Willson, McDuffee, McMurphy, Martin, Fling, Wallace, Dinsmore and others.   It became the largest and most successful Scots Irish settlement in New England.  Some families stayed, others spread out throughout New Hampshire and New England, and others moved down along the Appalachian mountain chain to Pennsylvania and beyond to Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee.
What are the best books for researching these early Nutfield settlers?
History of Londonderry, by Rev. Edward Lutwyche Parker, 1851 (referenced above and includes genealogies in the back) and is available online at the Internet Archive, Google Book Search, and the Hathi Trust for free.  Also at Ancestry with a subscription.

Vital Records of Londonderry, by Daniel Annis Gage, 1914 (covers 1719 – 1910) available at the Internet Archive and the Hathi Trust websites for free.  Also available at the Ancestry website with a subscription. There is also a PDF at the Pelham Library website http://www.pelhamnhhistory.org/library/pdffiles/neighbors/vitalrecords/LondonderryVitalRecords.pdf
History of Windham, NH: 1719 – 1883, by Leonard Allison Morrison, 1883 available at Internet Archive and at Ancestry (subscription only).  This book also has genealogies of Windham families in the back.
Willey’s Book of Nutfield, by George Franklyn Willey, 1895  available at Internet Archive and the Hathi Trust websites.

Tip #2
What resources are available online for these early Scots Irish families in Nutfield?
1) Familysearch.org has NH vital records (free online) births to 1900, deaths to 1959, marriages to 1959, and other records https://familysearch.org/search/collection/list?page=1&countryId=41   You can also browse the town records for the Nutfield towns  and their daughter towns across New Hampshire.  These records are browseable (not searchable or indexed).   Some of these records will not be online, but must be ordered as microfilm through a Family History Library.  Check this page from the Family Search Wiki https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/New_Hampshire_Online_Genealogy_Records
2) The Rockingham County deeds are online http://www.nhdeeds.com/rockingham/RoHome.html
3) Check the New Hampshire State and Provincial Papers http://sos.nh.gov/Papers.aspx  The index has surnames.  These are 40 volumes of town papers, the Revolutionary War rolls (volumes 14 – 17), other military recors, land grants, town charters, probate and court records, and the Association Test (required every male over 21 to sign in 1776).  Provincial papers from the earliest settlement in the early 1600s through NH state papers in 1800. 
Tip #3
Besides books and online resources, what else is available for researching Nutfield families and the early Scots Irish settlers?
If you contact the Londonderry Historical Society you will get me!  http://www.londonderryhistory.org/   I do the genealogy look ups for LHS.  Here is the “canned letter” you will receive with your request:
“Genealogy Requests from the Londonderry Historical Society:  We will do a lookup in two published volumes for the names you submit:  1)   The Londonderry Vital Records, 1722 – 1910 and 2)    The History of Londonderry by Rev. E. L. Parker, 1851 (both books are listed above with their online links)
If you need more information you can come to the Londonderry Leach Library’s historical room and search through our town records, cemetery files, and other books.  This is where the historical society stores their archives. 
Here are additional places where you can find more genealogy information on your Nutfield ancestors
1)   The New Hampshire Vital Records, 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, NH
2)  The New Hampshire State Library, 20 Park Street, Concord, NH
3) The New Hampshire Historical Society Library, 30 Park Street, Concord, NH has their catalog online at http://nhhistory.library.net/    This library holds the original Londonderry (Nutfield) Presbyterian church records, which might be invaluable for researching your ancestors.  You can also order research services by email, telephone or mail.
4)  Derry, New Hampshire resources:  there is no Historical Society in Derry at this time.  However, the volunteers at the Derry History Museum http://www.derryhistorymuseum.org/  and the Derry Town Historian, Rick Holmes,  http://www.derrynh.org/discover-derry/pages/history-derry   can answer your queries.  Remember that they both will be very busy with the anniversary celebrations coming soon.
5) Windham, Chester, Hudson and Manchester (Derryfield) all have excellent historical societies and local libraries with historical collections.  The only historical society with online resources is the Manchester Historic Association at http://www.manchesterhistoric.org/  and they have a research center at 129 Amherst Street, Manchester which is open on Saturdays and Wednesdays, and by appointment.  For the other towns, please query the historical societies for more information, or hire a local researcher.
6)  A handwritten copy of The Aghadowey Session Book is held at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  It transcribed letters and records 1702 - 1725 concerning Rev. James McGregor of Aghadowey who emigrated to Boston and Nutfield with some of his Presbyterian congregation in 1718.  A scan of this book is available online (members only).  It is searchable by name, or browseable.   http://library.nehgs.org/record=b1054126~S0 
Tip #4
Many Scots Irish families passed through Londonderry on their way to Pennsylvania or Appalachia.  The Ulster Presbyterians often did not leave good records.  If they are not in the vital records or town clerk records, you might find them named in the Presbyterian church records in the library of the New Hampshire Historical Society.  If not, here are some things to remember about Scots Irish research:
 The Scots Irish tended to settle with other Scots Irish – they kept to themselves and intermarried.  Some of the settlers spread out to Derryfield, Litchfield, Bedford, Antrim, Dublin, and Dunbarton in New Hampshire (note the Irish names of the towns?).   Searching these records might be useful.
Some families left New Hampshire altogether to form Londonderry, Nova Scotia and Londonderry, Vermont.  Search the town history book, vital records,  Presbyterian church records, and the town clerk records of these towns.
If your families left New England, remember that they tended to travel or meet up with other Scots Irish families and settlements.  Pennsylvania had the largest number of Scots Irish in the 1800s.  You can also try to trace migration routes of other families to see what towns they passed through or finally settled.  You just might find your family, too.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo is the author of the Nutfield Genealogy blog and an occasional genealogy speaker in New England.  She is the editor for the New Hampshire Mayflower Society, and on the 2020 and Rare Books committees for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Heather was the former president of the Londonderry, New Hampshire Historical Society, and a former elementary school technology teacher.
Nutfield Genealogy

Thanks, Heather, for sharing your Scots Irish tips!

Do you have ancestors that were Scots Irish? What methods have you used to locate them?

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Helping you climb your family tree,


  1. Thank you for your information and your blog. My ancestor is James Nesmith and family, through my maternal grandmother. It's been lovely learning about their history from Scotland, Ireland, to N.H. Cathy Clark