All posts by Julie Wilmot

About Julie Wilmot

Julie, a native of Errol, New Hampshire, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a concentration in Native American Studies from the University of Maine, Orono, and a Master of Arts degree in History and Culture from Union Institute and University. She has worked at the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History in Orono, Maine, and was a presenter at the New England Historical Association Spring 2014 Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her research interests include French-Canadian migration to Northern New England, and international cases.

‘You must be from Minnesota’

Before I began working at NEHGS in November 2015, I had a job where I interacted with between thirty and fifty different people every day. One of those people was a linguist, who, upon hearing me speak, said, “You aren’t from here.” She was right. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I grew up in northern New Hampshire and moved to Massachusetts in 2011.

I said to her, “No, I’m not from Massachusetts. I’m a transplant.”

Her answer, oddly enough, was, “You must be from Minnesota.” Continue reading ‘You must be from Minnesota’

A belated Christmas gift

map-of-coos-julie-wilmotSome people are extraordinarily difficult to shop for. My parents fall into that category. They’ve collected several things over the years, so even thinking of something they would like is a challenge. My father is also the sort of person who goes out and buys whatever he thinks he needs within a week or two of thinking of it, which leaves me, and my sisters, struggling for gift ideas at the holidays. This year, instead of buying my parents something they’d neither want nor need, I decided to make them family trees. I have a family tree on RootsMagic that I’ve been working on for the last few years, and I thought they might like to have the information I’ve collected. Continue reading A belated Christmas gift

A New Hampshire ghost town

Old Hill Village Meeting House, courtesy

Recently, while researching a case, I stumbled across Hill, a small town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Hill was originally formed as New Chester in 1754, and was incorporated in 1778. The town was renamed Hill in honor of New Hampshire Governor Isaac Hill in 1837. Hill was part of Grafton County until 1868, when it became part of Merrimack County. Continue reading A New Hampshire ghost town

A Midwestern femme fatale

Belle Gunness article
Image courtesy of the Kokomo Tribune.

We have a tendency to envision our ancestors as upstanding members of society.  In some cases, they were. In others, they were anything but. I first stumbled across Belle Gunness while researching the Midwestern ancestry of a client, and I’ve been disgusted and oddly intrigued by her ever since.

Belle Poulsdatter was born circa 1860 in Norway. She emigrated to America and settled in Chicago, Illinois, where she married Mads Anton Sorenson in 1884. The couple had several children, two of whom died under unusual circumstances.[1] Then, Mads Sorenson died suddenly on 30 July 1900. Continue reading A Midwestern femme fatale

Grassroots genealogy

Errol map
Map showing the area around Errol. Courtesy of the University of Texas Library

When most people learn that I grew up in a town of three hundred people, they’re amazed. Some aren’t aware such small places still exist. Others want to know if we have electricity or modern appliances. (The answer to both questions is yes.) Inevitably, the same criticism arises: “I bet everyone knows everyone, and everything that they’re doing, too.”

I won’t deny that I knew everyone in the town when I lived there. In fact, I still know the majority of the population. Small towns have positive and negative aspects, as do cities. Everyone may know you by sight, and they may know more than you’d like them to about you and your family, whereas cities give you a sense of anonymity. I don’t recognize everyone I meet on the streets of Boston. The same can’t be said of Errol, New Hampshire. Continue reading Grassroots genealogy

Irregular border marriages in Scotland

Scottish border map
Courtesy of

Not long ago, I was searching for a record of an 1830s marriage between two prominent Scottish families. I was certain I would have an easy time locating this particular record, having identified the parish and county in which the couple were married, so I began my search. Yet while I searched several sources, including Given Name Index to Marriages in Old Parochial Registers to 1855,[1] and Scotland Marriages, 1561-1910, I found no record of the marriage. I attempted the search again using every variation of the surname I could think of, but struck out. I then turned to published genealogies regarding the two families, but found no mention of this particular couple’s marriage. Continue reading Irregular border marriages in Scotland

An untapped genealogical resource

Courtesy of The Patten Lumbermen's Museum
Courtesy of The Patten Lumbermen’s Museum

Long before I loved genealogy, I fell head-over-heels for oral history. My great-grandfather, Everett Eames, died in 2005. By that time, I was nineteen, and had been regaled with stories of his years in the logging camps of northern New Hampshire and Maine for over a decade. Everett had a long, colorful life. After working in the lumber camps, he opened Eames Garage in Errol, New Hampshire, before working in the shipyards of Bath, Maine, during World War II. Continue reading An untapped genealogical resource