Friday, August 19, 2011

Another mystery solved?

My grandfather (Michael Barresi) had a brother named Agrippino and Agrippino went by the name of Conrad. I remember my grandfather talking about his brothers Sal, Angelo and Conrad smoking cigars, playing cards and drinking wine, but that's all I knew. I remember it was a cool moment when I found Conrad's birth name. But Conrad always seemed out of place for an Italian kid in Boston and Revere, MA. How did he get that name? Now I think I finally know.

My great grandmother Caterina Nolfo's father was Corrado Nolfo (maybe Corado.) Therefore, Corrado Nolfo would have been Agrippino's grandfather. I have a feeling this was Agrippino's middle name, Agrippino Corrado Barresi. In the 1920 US Census, Agrippino is listed as Corrado!  By the time he was 2 or 3, his family was already calling him something other than Agrippino, something less ethnic. Corrado is still Italian sounding, but nothing like Agrippino (fyi, Agrippina is the town saint for Mineo, Catania, Sicily, where my family was from.) I can imagine a 15 year old Corrado Barresi, in 1926 wanting to sound even less Italian and started going by Conrad. Perhaps his parents began the Anglicization of Corrado to Conrad, but either way, it's an easy progression. A lot easier than Agrippino to Conrad.


I now have 1,359 people in my family tree. Starting with my grandparents, I came into this project knowing about 200 people and that is mostly just names, not DOBs, places of birth, date of death or places of death. It's a pretty good accomplishment so far, to be able to say that I have added 1,159 new, unique, family members to our history. I hope to continue adding to my extended family, but it does get more difficult as I move on.

Here is a listing of the furthest I've been able to go back (with as much certainty as possible) via my four grandparents (direct lineage)

Barresi line: 1765 Giuseppe Ledda (likely Mineo, Catania, Sicily, Italy) my 5x great grandfather
Belmonte line: Dionisio Belmonte 1838 (likely Bonito, Italy) my 3x great grandfather
Fields: Hubert Comeau 1363 Dijon, France my 17x great grandfather
Driscoll: James Ennis (abut 1820 likely Dublin, Ireland) my 4x great grandfather

I've put these places on a map for reference points.

As you can tell, I have a lot of work to catch up to my French lineage. And as always, I'll take any and all help and suggestions.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends and family

For the past year, I've been stuck researching the Italian side of my family. The Barresi line was giving me the most problems. I had been able to only go back to my great grandfather Francesco Barresi (b. 10 Mar 1880 Mineo, Catania, Sicily, Italy d. 4 Jun 1943 Revere, MA) and no further. I became more and more frustrated as time went on. Then earlier this week, the husband of a distant cousin found my blog and provided me with a wealth of information. Bill Boyarsky is the husband of my 2nd cousin 1x removed, Betty Jean (BJ) Spinelli. Bill has accumulated years of genealogy research and used to run his own website. And thanks to the internet, he was able to find my blog and provide me with nearly a thousand names of family members that I would never have found.

Bill was able to provide me with names all the way up to my 4th great grandfather, Guiseppe Ledda (b. 1765 likely in Sicily.) I've spent the past few nights entering all the new family members into my Family Tree and I've only cracked the first 4 pages out of the 15 total pages of single spaced names. I look forward to continuing tonight and tomorrow and the night after.

And though the names I now have for my records are fantastic and well worth all the anxiety, but the most valuable thing is that I have been able to connect with another family member and share our passion for preserving our family's history.

Here is the new genealogy for the Barresi - Ledda line:

Guiseppe Ledda  b. 1765
 - Antonio Ledda  b. 1798
    +Agaippina Caruso b. 1793
      - Francesco Ledda b. 26 Mar 1836
       +Mariangela Rosaria
          - Rose Alleda b. 27 Apr 1861, d. 14 Feb 1949
           +Angelo Barresi (birthname Arcangelo. DOB unknown) d. 1885
             - Francesco Barresi b. 10 Mar 1880 d. 4 Jun 1943
             + Caterina Nolfo b. 7 Mar 1881 d. 1957
                 - Michael Joseph (Mario) Barresi b. 25 May 1924 d. 13 Mar 2010
                 + Camille Marie Belmonte b. 28 Aug 1926
                    - Michael Stephen Barresi b. 5 Oct 1952
                    + Elizabeth Fields b. 1Jan 1953
                       - Michael Stephen Barresi b. 5 Nov 1978
                       + Courtney Kathleen Evans b. 3 Jan 1978
                          - Ava Celeste Barresi b. 17 Jul 2009