Between 1906 and 1924, my great grandparents, Francesco and Caterina Barresi, had seven children. The oldest, Arcangela (Rose) was born in Sicily and emigrated with her parents in 1906. The rest of the children, Concetta (1908,) Margaret (1913,) Angelo (1914,) Agrippino (1917,) Anna (1920,) and Michael (1924) were born in the either Boston or Revere, MA. Then I found death records of two sisters that I never heard about and a sad story emerged. After I spoke to my grandmother about this, she said that my great grandmother gave birth to 15 children in all; only seven of the 15 reached adulthood.
It was heartbreaking to find the death records of two young girls that would have been my grandfather's older sisters. He never had the chance to know them. On February 19, 1912 eight month old Giuseppa Barresi, lost her 15 day battle with "Broncho-Pneumonia". And then on October 28, Margareta Barresi, age two years and seven months, passed away after only four days due to gastroenteritis.
I can't comprehend how a parent is able to deal with not just the death of one child, but the death of two children in less than a year. Yet, in the end I think I know how my great grandparents were able to survive these tragedies. They lived through their children. In 1913, they had another baby, a little girl. They named her Margaret Barresi in memory of the daughter they lost only months before.