Monday, June 18, 2012

Family Photos

When my grandfather, Michael Barresi, passed away a couple of years ago, my grandmother gave me a few of his photo albums. They were mostly pre-war, and WWII photos. I treasure them to this day. However, though my parents have a load of photo albums of my immediate family, many of the pictures only date to 1969. I was missing the photographic history of my mother's family.

I asked a couple aunts and uncles if they had any photos, and finally got five photo albums from one aunt. The photos date from about 1935 to 1988 and include countless pictures of my maternal grandparents, including my grandfather in his Navy uniform, which I had never seen before. But the albums include pictures of my great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and many others whom time nearly forgot.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


My work over the past couple of days has been investigating the Thomas Morgan and Mary Elenor Hanna/Cromwell relationship in my family tree. Up until today I have had Thomas Morgan, son of William Morgan and Elizabeth Morgan, born 1623 in Friars, Wales and died 1697 Baltimore, MD; and Mary Elenor Cromwell, daughter of John Cromwell and Abigail Steward, born 1630 in Huntingdon, England and died 1668 Baltimore, MD.

Through the Steward/Stewart line, I was able to trace the family back to Alan Dapifer Dol FitzFlaald born 1016 in Bretagne, Ille-et-Vilaine France and died 1080 in Jerusalem. The Stewarts were the original High Stewards of Scotland and relatives to the Princes of Wales, the Kings of Scots and Kings of England. Of course being an armchair genealogist, I have to take what previous researchers have provided and what little paperwork I can find on-line.

And with further investigation, I have found no real evidence that Mary Elenor Cromwell was the daughter of John Cromwell and Abigail Steward/Stewart. And I kept asking myself, where did the name Hanna come from? Was it a first husband? Was it her actual maiden name? 

Edward III

 I also found a number of inconsistencies with the relationship of Lady Alice de Grey (b.1413 Herefordshire, England d.1459 England) and John Burley, Baron of Bromscroft (b.1408 Bromscroft Castle, Shropshire, England d.1442 Same.) In fact, one of the inconsistencies was if Alice de Grey even existed. Likely, someone mixed up the Thomas Greys along the way. Also, I have seen so many inconsistencies about Alice de Grey's husband: was it John Burley or William Burley.

With that being said, I have a second lineage that has fewer holes...I think.

I now have Mary Elenor Hanna, daughter of John Hanna (b.1620 Ireland d. 1697 Baltimore, MD) and Thomas Morgan (b.1639 Pembrokshire, Wales d. 1697 Baltimore, MD,) son of William Morgan and Elizabeth Clarges Clarke. This seems to be the second of two camps on the Morgan and Hanna/Cromwell relationship.

But through this Morgan family line, I am able to trace it back through Rowland Morgan (b.1498 Wales d. 1577 Wales) and his mother Elizabeth Vaughn (b.1470 Wales d. 1528 Wales.) Elizabeth's 3x great grandfather was Edward III. With Edward III being an incredible Gateway Ancestor, I can trace the family back through the entire reign of the Plantagenet dynasty.

Likely, both lineages have a number of errors and contain genealogical inaccuracies, but it has been fun to think that Edward III, King of England, is my 23x great grandfather, that Eleanor of Aquitaine is my 26x great grandmother, and that Geoffrey II, Count of Gatinais is my 30x great grandfather. And thanks to this cool website and ancestor calculator, Geoffrey II, would have 4,294,967,295 people like me claiming heredity.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Book of Us

I am not renewing my account when my current subscription ends next month. So over the past week or so, I've been printing out all the documents I've saved to the 3,000+ people in my family trees. With the nearly 1,000 pages laying on the desk, I realized that this is my Book of Life. I always told my wife that one day I would write about our life together, but looking at the cumulative printout of our combined trees, maybe that story has already been written. In these pages, we have the story lines of all great epics and all great romances. In these pages, we have laborers, fisherman, housewives, and shoe makers striving for the ever elusive American Dream.

My wife's paternal family traveled from Wales, Sweden, and Ireland and ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio working in the Ohio River Valley mills. Her maternal family is from Nova Scotia, Sicily and the Azores and ended up fishermen in Gloucester, MA.

My paternal family came from Southeastern Italy and Sicily and ended up in Boston's North End before moving to the immediate suburbs of Revere and Saugus. My maternal family came from Ireland, Quebec, and Illinois via Pennsylvania to become small business owners in Nashua and Boston.

Growing up, when I used to ask my mother what our lineage was, she would say we were "mutts". But we are much more than that. We are America.

In this stack of pages, there are ship manifests from the 1880s; land deeds from Pennsylvania in the 1750s and records from the first US Census in 1790. There are birth records, death records, military enlistments, WWI enlistment cards, and numerous Naturalization records.

Our families tell a history of stories about people that actively sought a means of making their lives better. In these pages are stories of men who fought in the French and Indian War and the War for American Independence. In these pages are stories of men who fought in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Civil War.

Each of these records tell a history unto themselves, but are also part of a much greater history, a history that is still being written today.
John J. Evans and Catherine Jenkins 1872 marriage - Weathersfield, OH (my wife's 2x great grandfather)

Stefano Belmonte 1919 Naturalization record (my 2x great grandfather)

Edmund Huff (sometimes called Edward) Revolutionary War Service Revord (my 5x great grandfather)