Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day - Father Paul Houde

Father Paul Houde did not die while serving in the military, but I want to take the opportunity to remember a relative that served in the US Armed Forces and certainly was there amongst men who died. Father Paul Houde was born in 1911 in Nashua, NH to Joseph and Clara (nee Deschamps) Houde. Father Houde graduated from St. Anselm's College in Manchester, NH in 1934 and was ordained in 1938. Living a peaceful life on the small Catholic campus teaching classes and working with young adults in a collegiate setting, Father Houde joined the Army Chaplain Corps in 1942, first serving as chaplain on the Peterson air base in Colorado. From 1943 until 1945, Father Houde served in the Pacific with the 42nd Bomb Group of the 13th Air Force, nicknamed The Crusaders. When he returned to the states in December of 1945, he returned to St. Anselm's where he remained for the rest of his active life.

Many of us, myself included, think of one type of soldier when we envision the military. However, soldiers come in many shapes and forms and serve different important roles. The role of Chaplain can not be overlooked. Ministering to the sick and dying during a time of war is an unenviable position and I can only imagine what the experience was like for Father Houde and countless others like him.

On this Memorial Day I will be thinking of him along with the rest of the soldiers that served in our Armed Forces throughout the world and throughout our history.

FYI: Father Houde is my 1st cousin 2x removed. He was first cousins with my grandfather William D. Fields. Joseph and Clara Houde had 10 children, Ernest, Lelian, Irene, Florence, Antoinette, Alida, Raymond, Armand, Edgard, and Paul. Five of the 10 children were ordained in the Catholic Church. I know of Sister Alida Houde and Father Paul Houde, but I'm not sure which of the other children were in the ministry.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Those Places Thursday

One of the main attractions to researching family history is thinking and dreaming about places that my relatives lived and worked. Was it better to live in 1840's Quebec or 1920's in Boston? Would I have wanted to be part of the French settlement group that helped build Port Royal, Nova Scotia or would I have been better off living in a small town in the heart of Sicily? I often think about those places and what my ancestors lived like, what they looked like, and wondered if they all knew that they were destined for distant shores. They all ended up in Boston, MA, but it took hundreds of years and voyages from countless countries to get them to Boston at one point in time. Lucky for me, they all made it and prospered just enough to keep the family going, for future generations to try and make a better life. Whether in the cold of a Canadian winter, battling the potato famine or running away from demons, they all came here for their reasons and we are all a product of their travails. That's what I think about on Those Places Thursday.

Port Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada
Mineo, Catania, Sicily, Italy
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
County Cork, Ireland

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Alfred and Susan Belmonte

My great grandparents, Alfredo Salvatore Belmonte (b. 25 Oct 1901 Boston, MA d. 1964 Melrose, MA) and Susan (Susie) Beatrice (b. 14 Jan 1908 Swampscott, MA d. 22 Apr 1994 Melrose, MA) were married in 1925 when my Nana was 17 years old and Grandpa Alfred was 24. Alfred was born in Boston to Stephano Belmonte and Carmela Buchichio and Susie was born in Swampscott to Antonio Beatrice and Diomina Tammaro. They were the first people on my father's side that were born in the United States.

In 1925, they were all living in Revere, where Alfred and Susie stayed until they moved to Melrose in the 1950s. I never knew my Grandpa Alfred, but grew up with my Nana as a big part of my life. I miss her more and more all the time wishing I had asked her more questions about herself and her family.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trip to Ohio

Tonight we're going to visit my wife's family in Ohio. Her father is from New Philadelphia, OH, southeast of Akron/Canton, which is where we're flying into tonight. I've never been to Ohio, so I'm looking forward to the experience. We'll be staying in the town next to New Philadelphia, called Dundee, with my father-in-law's brother and we'll be taking a lot of daytrips. My wife is excited to take me into Amish Country and show me some of the local sights. And being the geek that I am, I can't wait. I'll be taking photographs along the way to chronicle our visit and I know we'll be stopping by some cemeteries to record some of my wife's ancestors.

Some of the family names I'll be searching for in Ohio are Evans, Jenkins, Kelly, and Gustafson.

Here's a map of where we're heading. I'll report back next week with some updates on my findings.

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