Monday, April 23, 2012

Hello, is it me you're looking for?

Had some amazing finds last night and today. My great grandfather, Francesco Barresi (b.1880 Mineo, Sicily) had three known brothers, Salvatore (b.1878 Mineo), Mario (b. 1883 Mineo), and Arcangelo (b. 1885 Mineo) and over the last couple of months I have found all three of the brothers' birth records from Mineo via's Italy Collections. These collections are not indexed and to use them, you have to scroll through them a little like microfilm. However, today I found not only Francesco's birth record,but his father's and his mother's, his parent's marriage record, his father's death record, and his mother-in-law's death record.

By finding these records, I not only know that Francesco's father, Arcangelo, was born 31 Dec 1843 Mineo and died 21 Dec 1884 in Mineo, but that Arcangelo's father was Salvatore and his mother was Rosaria. I called my father this morning to tell him the news and I told him that I was likely the first Barresi in more than two generations that knew the name of Arcangelo's father and mother. Many in my family don't understand how excited a family genealogist gets when they discover an entire new generation. And it is thanks to organizations like FamilySearch that allow us armchair archaeologists to uncover previous unknown histories without having to go to Italy, or Ireland, or anywhere.

I now know what church my 3x great grandparents attended and where my 2x great grandparents were baptized. I know who the Mayor of Mineo was in 1843 and 1861 and 1877. I know the name of the doctor that attended Arcangelo before he passed away at the age of 41. I know who the witnesses (Godparents) were at Arcangelo's baptism and what street he lived on when he died. All of this from a computer 4,300 miles away, but closer than ever.
Francesco Barresi 1880 birth record 
Rosa Ledda 1861 birth record (Francesco's mother)

Arcangelo Barresi 1843 birth record (Francesco's father)
Arcangelo's and Rosa's marriage record 1877

Arcangelo's death record 1884

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Newly Found Paperwork

     A year or so ago, my paternal grandmother had given me her parent's birth records, along with their wedding picture. My grandfather (her husband) had passed away a short time before that and she must have also given me some paperwork that belonged to him. The papers included his birth certificate, baptism record, Naval service record, and Naval discharge. 
     The birth record is the only paper that didn't have any new information on it, although his mother's maiden name is misspelled as Norfa instead of Nolfo. And my big goal this week is decipher and translate his baptism record (and Caterina's maiden name is misspelled again.) Another one of the rumors surrounding my grandfather turns out to be true as well. At least partly. We had heard rumors that he had been born Mario, but had changed his name to Michael. More recently, about four years ago, I found out that he was born Michael Mario and he changed it to Michael Joseph. His birth certificate clearly states that he was born Michael Mario Barresi, but his baptism record only lists him as Mario Barresi. My grandfather was likely partly named after his uncle, Mario Barresi (b. 1883 Mineo, Sicily, Italy) and/or his cousin Mario Barresi b. 1910 Saugus, MA. The latter Mario Barresi was known as Mike the Tailor and had a tailoring shop in Saugus.
     And though I have many pictures of my grandfather in his service uniform throughout WWII in Hawaii and Alaska, his Naval records show the military ribbons he received as well as his last place of employment prior to enlisting. I didn't know that he ever worked at GE, but his future father-in-law also worked there at about the same time. And although I knew he was in the electrical industry, I never knew that he went to school for it, no matter how brief.
     I still don't think I've taken enough time to analyze these papers and get all the info in order, but I plan on taking my time and getting to know my grandfather a little better.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Silas Huff - middle, w/hands crossed
This is a picture of Civil War veterans in Burchard, Nebraska. Silas is my 3x great grand uncle and he fought in the 53 Illinois Infantry in the Civil War.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O Brother Where Art Thou?

I recently struck up a correspondence with a distant cousin named Bill Huff. Bill, along with his brother Max, are two of the most prolific Huff/Hough family genealogists and historians. Their cumulative work is based on the research of the preeminent Huff family historian, Granville Hough. I owe the majority of my Huff family research to these three men.

In my correspondence with Bill, he brought some new information to my attention. My 3x great grandfather, William Huff, whom I'll call William II, was born 1825 in PA. My research showed that he was the son of William Huff, whom I'll call William I, born 1782 in PA and Anna Barnes. However, Bill didn't have William II listed as William I's son. This was partly due to the fact that William I and Anna Barnes didn't marry until 1828, three years after William II was reportedly born. There are no records to indicate that William I was ever married before his marriage to Anna, so this is open to speculation. And researchers hate speculation. However, there was a link and paper trail between William I and William II. I had the information in front of me, but it was Bill who articulated the connection, though strange it is.

William II married Delilah Smith before 1843 and had two children with him, William Huff/Hough, whom I'll call William III (b.1843 OH) and Sarah Huff (b. 1848 PA). Delilah unfortunately passed away before 1860, likely 1859. William II then married 17 year old Levina Foulke in 1859 and they had one child, George Washington Huff (b.1861 IL) my 2x great grandfather.

By 1869, William II, Levina, and Sarah, are living in Morris, IL, but William III is living with his grandmother Ann/Anna Huff in the Joseph and Sarah Thomas household in Felix, Il. This is William III's aunt and uncle. It is William III's living with Ann (Barnes) Huff that is the hard link between William II and William I, making it clear that they are father and son.

And with this new information, I believe that Bill Huff was able to add William II to the Huff family line once and for all. But the new information didn't stop there. While Bill was helping me research my family, he also came across some other information.

            William HUFF (1825 prob. Clinton Co, PA - c 1862 OH) md (1) Delilah SMITH (1825 oh - d before 1860) and in 1850 lived in Greene Co, OH, along with brothers Edward and Hanson and other relatives.  By 1860, William HUFF moved on to Grundy Co, IL, with Hanson and other relatives, but Edward HUFF moved back to Clinton Co, PA.  Two ch are known from the first marriage.
I received this information from Bill via e-mail and it is from his brother Max's notes. Now that we know the William mentioned above is my William II, we now have two other brothers to add the family tree, Edward and Hanson. Previously, the only children that were known to William I and Anna Barnes were James, Louisa, Sarah, Jonathan, and Silas born between 1829 and 1838. And within a few days of research, Bill was able to add three more sons, born between 1821 and 1825. That's a total of 8 children over 17 years.

My question for Bill and other Huff/Hough family researchers and historians, is were all the children the children of William I and Anna Barnes or was there another marriage before Anna? I wonder if the 1828 marriage for William I and Anna is off by up to a decade? Maybe they were married in 1818? That would have made Anna about 23 at the time of her marriage and William 36, instead of 33 and 46.

Looks like we all have a little more work to do.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's 1940, do you know where your family is?

At the time of the 1940 US Census, neither of my parents were born, nor any of my aunts and uncles. It was still my grandparents' generation. All four were under 30 years old and only my maternal grandparents were married. All eight of my great grandparents were alive and only two were older than either of my parents are today. My parents are both only 59 years old and in 1940, my great grandparents, Francesco and Caterina Barresi, had just turned 60. I have been able to verify that 7 of my 16 2x great grandparents were alive in 1940; another six had passed away before 1940. I've never been able to find out much on Corrado Nolfo and his wife Concetta Ravalli (likely stayed in Italy,) so I do not know if they were alive in 1940.  However, the one that I am most curious about is my maternal great grandmother Mary (Murphy) Huff. As of 1930, she was 69 years old and still living in Brooklyn, NY. I have yet to find her in the 1940 Census, but finding her is my next investigation.

Here are my direct antecedents in the 1940 Census (Name, age, residence, occupation)

Michael Barresi - 15 years old, living at 68 McKinley St. Revere, MA - In school
Camille Belmonte - 13 years old, living at 173 Roosevelt St. Revere, MA - In school
William Fields - 28 years old, living at 176 Bucknam St. Everett, MA - Meat cutter
Dorothy (Driscoll) Fields - 24 years old, living at 176 Bucknam St. Everett, MA - Stenographer

Great grandparents
Francesco Barresi - 60 years old, living at 68 McKinley St. Revere, MA - No work in 1939
Caterina (Nolfo) Barresi - 60 years old, living at 68 McKinley St. Revere, MA - Housewife
Alfredo Belmonte - 37 years old, living at 173 Roosevelt St. Revere, MA - Florist
Susie (Beatrice) Belmonte - 33 years old, living at 173 Roosevelt St. Revere, MA - Housewife
George A. Fields - 55 years old, living at 119 Waverly St. Everett, MA - Owner/meat store
Nellie A. (Huff) Fields - 51 years old, living at 119 Waverly St. Everett, MA - Housewife
Charles A. Driscoll - 49 years old, living at 59 Floyd St. Everett, MA - Clerk/W.P.A. Real Estate Project
Elizabeth A. (Slater) Driscoll - 50 years old, living at 59 Floyd St. Everett, MA - Housewife

2x great grandparents
Arcangelo Barresi - died abt. 1885 Mineo, Italy
Rose (Aledda, Barresi) Forti - 79 years old, living at 63 Bristow St. Saugus, MA - n/a
Corrado Nolfo - n/a
Concetta (Ravalli) Nolfo - n/a
Stefano Belmonte - 69 years old, living at 171 Roosevelt St. Revere, MA - Laborer, City of Revere
Carmella (Bochicchio) Belmonte - 63 years old, living at 171 Roosevelt St. Revere, MA - Housewife
Antonio Beatrice - 53 years old, living at 437 Chestnut St. Camden, NJ - Laborer, factory
Diomina (Tammaro) Beatrice - 53 years old, living at 437 Chestnut St. Camden, NJ - Housewife
Louis Deschamps - died 1908 Nashua, NH
Adeline (Desmarais) Deschamps - died 1891Nashua, NH
George Washington Huff - died 1902 Brooklyn, NY
Mary (Murphy) Huff - n/a
William H. Driscoll - 71 years old, living at 214 Bucknam St. Everett, MA - Retired
Mary J. (Ennis) Driscoll - 70 years old, living at 214 Bucknam St. Everett, MA - Housewife
James P. Slater - died 1897 Boston
Ellen (Moynihan, Slater) Tibbets - died 1910 Boston

Here is a Google map I created so I can visualize where they all lived.