Every day I live in two worlds; present day Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the historical realm of my ancestors. Research on my family tree has not yet uncovered a link between the two worlds. My ancestors have lived in every New England state, except New Hampshire and I haven't delved all that deeply into the history and forebears of this area. Yes, I have tagged along as each of my children in turn has visited the old houses and museums, including Strawbery Banke, but I have not visited them from the perspective of a researcher, family historian or genealogist. BUT, because of my little secret, not only have I gained a fresh perspective on our family life, but also on life in our historical city.
Our adventure into Portsmouth history begins at the Discover Portsmouth Center. An endeavor of the Portsmouth Historical Society, the center was opened in 2008 in the former Portsmouth Public Library building. The two welcoming volunteers were more than happy to point us to several historical homes to visit including:
Additionally they suggested a visit to Strawbery Banke Museum. Before we left the center we were encouraged to view the current exhibit; Maritime Portsmouth: The Sawtelle Collection as well as the newly refinished and beautiful wood floors on the second story. The works of art in this incredible collection bring Portsmouth's nautical heritage to life. If you are at all interested in Portsmouth history or in its seafaring past, this collection should be on your summer 2011 bucket list. There are many portraits of ship building families. Perhaps one of your Portsmouth ancestors is included.
Next stop is the John Paul Jones House, which is down and across Middle Street at the corner of State Street. See you there!