Nutfield Families Reunion and Conference
The Conference is an opportunity for descendants of the early Nutfield settlers and researchers who study this fascinating genealogy to gather, meet one another, and learn more together.
Family Stations are a special feature of the Conference, providing a table space and chairs for each family or group to stake out as their own “base” for the entire weekend. This breakout space provides room for family tree posters, photo albums, etc. that attendees might bring to share with distant relatives.
The Conference also features the Genealogy Headquarters. In this adjacent conference room, respected researchers and authors Heather Rojo (Nutfield Genealogy) and Dr. William Raulston (Ulster Historical Foundation) will be available to answer questions share proven research materials and methods, and generally chat with family attendees.
Registration is required. Registrants get:
- Use of the Upper Village Hall with its Family Stations and Genealogy HQ all weekend.
- A gift bag with souvenir items, literature, and more.
- Beverages and snacks all weekend.
- A bag lunch Saturday and an informal pizza and salad luncheon Sunday.
- Attendance at the four keynote talks.
- The tours and all of the talks, displays, demos etc. at the public Heritage Wekeend across the street.
- Priority ticketing and discounts to optional add-on events: The Friday Welcome Dinner and Saturday Nutfield Gala.
The Conference takes place in the historic Upper Village Hall, just across the street from First Parish Church, Taylor Library, and Forest Hill Cemetery. (Read more about the Hall’s history and remarkable grass-roots preservation effort on the Upper Village Hall page >.)
While refreshments through the weekend and Saturday and Sunday lunches are provided free with your conference registration, the East Derry General Store next door provides drinks, snacks, and delicious takeout chicken pizza, and other food. The East Derry Tavern also next door is a wonderful local restaurant that will be open for lunch and dinner each evening and lunch Saturday.
Parking is available behind the Upper Village Hall, across the street at First Parish Church, and at additional nearby locations yet to be finalized.
Friday Check In and Welcome Dinner
Check In for Conference registrants will open at 1:00pm Friday, at First Parish Church. You’ll receive a Conference Bag with literature and special gift, and we’ll show you the First Parish and Upper Hll venues. Descendants can find or mark their Family Station place in the Hall.
Self-guided and possibly guided tours of the Meetinghouse, Forest Hill Cemetery, and other historic sites in the the area will be available.
The Welcome Dinner for registrants and special guests will take place nearby in the newly-renovated historic building of Fody’s Tavern at Ryan’s Hill (187 Rockingham Rd
Derry, NH 03038).
The Dinner will open at 4:30 with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres Reception. Dinner will feature a fresh salad and choice of three entrees:
Grilled Sirloin, with Charred Broccolini, whipped potatoes, and peppercorn dimi glace;
Roasted Chicken, with Carrots, whipped potatoes, and cider jus; or
Vegetable Risotto, with Shaved Parmesan, lemon & chives.
Our sponsors and local hosts will give brief welcome speeches, and the highlight of the evening will be a talk by Dr. Linde Lunney from the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.
A published expert in Northern Ireland’s people and their lives before, during, and after the 1718 Migration, Dr. Lunney’s talk Voices of Londonderry Ireland is sure to enlighten and entertain. She will include quotes from important personalities of the time, and poetry by Olivia Elder, who was born in 1735 to a later pastor of Rev. MacGregor’s home parish in Aghadowey,
The Upper VIllage Hall will be open from 8:00am – 5:00pm. Coffee, beverages, and light snacks will be available to Conference attendees all day. The Family Stations and experts ready to help you in Genealogy Headquarters are available all day.
The formal program will begin with a Welcome at 8:30am followed by the Keynote Talks (described below) at 9:00 and 10:00am, and 3:00 and 4:00pm.
Bag lunches are included with your registration, with fruit and a snack and your choice of sandwich (Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Ham and Cheese, Turkey and Cheese).
You are also encouraged to attend the public Heritage Weekend events happening all day across the street at First Parish Church; see the program page.
Saturday evening is the Nutfield Gala in the historic Adams Memorial Building downtown. You can buy tickets to this fun event with your Conference registration.
Saturday Keynote Talks
We are fortunate to have these internationally respected experts speaking at the Conference.
Dr. William Roulston
Dr William Roulston, Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation, has written several relevant books, including Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors. He is a Member of Council of both the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland and the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He holds a PhD in Archaeology from Queen's University
Dr. Roulston’s talk is entitled:
Ulster at the Time of the Nutfield Migration
In it, he will give some background on what our early settlers’ lives were like back home, and why they came to North America. He will also be available all weekend — along with fellow expert Heather Rojo — to help with history and family background questions in our Genealogy Headquarters.
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 is the former president of the Londonderry New Hampshire Historical Society, and a former elementary school technology teacher. Heather was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, where her family had lived since the 1630s.
Discovering Your Nutfield Ancestors
Scots Irish genealogy traces ancestors from one of the nine counties of the Irish province of Ulster, but not all of them had ancestors in Scotland. Some protestants had ancestors from England or France who were planted there. If you have an understanding of the history of the Ulster Scots, you can guide your research. For example, did you know that for much of the 18th century, marriages performed by Presbyterian clergy were not legal? You ancestor may not have a marriage record, or it might be held by a church of a different denomination.
It is also very important to know what records they might have left after coming to New Hampshire. What kind of documents would they have left? Where are those documents? How do we access those documents today?
The Scots Irish who settled in Nutfield, even those who came later than 1719, first came into the New World through Boston. They left records there as they spread to Worcester, Maine and New Hampshire. What kinds of records can be found in in each of these places?
As they settled in Nutfield, what records were kept? What records survived? Where are these records today? Are any online? I’ll explore these documents with you and tell you how to find them, use them, and glean genealogy information.
Robert (“Bob”) Starratt started researching his family history when he was 16. For the past 20 years, Bob has taught courses in family, local, and military history for the City of Edinburgh, as well as for East Lothian and West Lothian Councils. He holds post-graduate university qualifications in history and public administration, as well as a Certificate in Teaching Adult Learners. He has lectured on Scottish, Irish, and English family history topics throughout Britain, Ireland, Canada, and the USA. A regular participant at family history conferences, including Who Do You Think You Are? Live, he also does professional historical research and leads historical-cultural tours.
From Londonderry to Londonderry: the Sterret(t) Saga
This presentation identifies sources and methods that researchers can use to establish and document links between Scots-Irish families and communities in Ulster and, subsequent to the 1718 Migration, several parts of New England during the early to mid-18th Century.
His talk uses as an example the Sterret family of the 1st Presbyterian Parish of Kilrea (Bovedy), County Londonderry, who for religious and economic reasons emigrated with other Ulster Scots led by Rev. James Woodside of Drumboe and Garvagh, and arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, on the MacCallum in September 1718. Bob will illustrate the Sterrets’ migratory experience in both the north of Ireland and throughout various parts of New England, including Londonderry, New Hampshire.
Bob will also demonstrate how competition between the French and British governments for control of Maine and the Maritime Provinces precipitated conflict between the inhabitants of the Scots-Irish settlement at Maquoit, Merrymeeting Bay (later Brunswick) and their indigenous Abenaki neighbours at Norridgewock. This occurred during Lovewell’s/Father Rale’s War (1722-1725), a series of battles that led to the dispersion of many of those Ulster-Scots families to other ‘British’ towns throughout New England including, in the case of the Sterretts, Kittery, Maine (then part of Massachusetts).
This ‘mini-diaspora’ resulted in some of the 1718 Maine colonists moving on to Londonderry, New Hampshire, where a few years later it is recorded that “James Sterret of Kittery” purchased land from one “James McGregor”, thereby establishing and documenting the link between at least some of the early Scots-Irish immigrants in Maine and those in New Hampshire.
Rebecca Graham is President and board Chair for the Maine Ulster Scots Project.
Rebecca J. Graham, LL.M, is a graduate of University of Southern Maine, Ulster University, Belfast, and European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation, Venice, Italy.
She is the President and Board Chair of the Maine Ulster Scots Project, a non-profit history organization dedicated to saving and sharing Maine’s Scots-Irish Heritage through genealogy, research, archaeology, public educational programs and partnerships.
Specializing in International democratic governance evaluation, she is currently a public policy expert representing municipal government before Maine's Legislature at the Joint Standing Committees on Criminal Justice and Public Safety; Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Environment and Natural Resources; Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Insurance and Financial Services; Marine Resources; and Transportation. She is also a member of Maine’s 2020 Bicentennial Events Committee.
Good Wives and Subtle Warriors; Women of The Eastern Frontier
Scots-Irish women were the driving force behind the building of churches, incorporation of towns, and in a few instances, frontier military peace policy as a result of cooperative relationships with indigenous women. Conflict on the eastern frontier and the general lack of support provided to Scots-Irish settlers by the Massachusetts Bay government provide a unique opportunity to name women who would otherwise only be known as ‘Wife of …’, if they were to be known at all. Frontier conflict allowed the strength of female characters to make their way into the writings of men of power, even if those men wrote about being appalled by the women’s unlady-like like behavior.
The challenge for uncovering the contributions of Scots-Irish frontier women to the founding of New England communities lies more in how we approach examining archival records and view the constructions of power than a complete lack of material. This talk will examine the sometimes not-so-subtle power of frontier women in Maine and New Hampshire through court records, local legends, and litigation, telling stories of resistance to authority, economic diversification, and indigenous cooperation that created peace zones around one frontier town.
Sunday Program & Activities
The Upper VIllage Hall with its Family Stations and Genealogy HQ will be open to Conference attendees from 9:00am – 5:00pm. Self-guided and possibly guided tours of the Cemetery and other sites will be available.
Two church services across the street at first Parish are open to all.
The First Parish Congregational Church “Founders Day” service at 10:00am will feature returning recent pastors, an historical communion service, and other history touches.
The Nutfield Ecumenical Worship Service at 1:00pm will include representatives from multiple area houses of worship.
An informal closing reception will follow the 1:00pm service. The history museums in Derry, Londonderry, and Windham will be open for visitors all afternoon. The special dedication and installation of the MacGregor family’s iconic Horse Fountain will take place at 4:00pm in MacGregor Park, next to the Derry Public Library downtown.
All information is subject to change; check back often to see the latest.