Friday, April 18, 2014

Italian Groceries Anyone? - Lowell, 1914

I found this interesting advertisement for Italian groceries in a 1914 edition of the Lowell Sun. Apparently my great-great-grandfather, the mysterious Peter Statuto, not only sold fruit and confections, but was a fan of olive oil as well. Maybe that’s why my family tends to like it so much.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jacques Goulet 1615 - 1688

I have not written much about my mother’s side of my family on this blog, so I thought I would correct that with my next few posts. In addition, I thought it might be interesting to go backwards from my oldest known maternal ancestor to some of my most recent maternal ancestors. Since that is my chosen pattern, I will start with my 10th great grandfather, Jacques Goulet. 

Jacques Goulet is one of the oldest ancestors I have on my family tree for which I can prove a documented connection. Since the amount of people one shares common ancestors with increases the further one goes back into history, I am sure this same statement could be said for a lot of family historians. Luckily for all of us, Jacques’ history is pretty well researched.

Jacques Goulet was born in Normandel, France on April 17, 1615. Normandel is an area in the Lower Normandy region of France. The parents of Jacuqes were Thomas Goulet (b. 1612) and Antoinette Felliard. Thomas and Antoinette also had two daughters; Louise Goulet (b. 1619) and YvonneGoulet (b.1622).

Like his father, Jacuqes Goulet was wheat miller. He worked on a farm in France called Le Chatelets. In November 12, 1645,  Jacques Goulet married Margeurite Mulier at St. Pierre Church in La Poterie-au-Perche, France. This church is still standing. 
St Pierre Church - Source
Jacques Goulet was recruited to make the journey to Quebec by an investor in the Company of One Hundred Associates, which was a French company specializing in immigration and fur trade in the New World. He, his wife, and sister became part of a large group of immigrants from the Perche area of France who left their homes in exchange for land in the New World. This high rate of immigration from a single place was called the Percheron Immigration.

There remains a plaque at the St. Pierre Church in La Poterie-au-Perche commemorating the departure of Jacques Goulet and his sister. It reads (translated in English of course), “To Jacques Goulet born on April 17, 1615 in Normandel and Louise Goulet, born Poterie on July 26, 1628, wife of RenĂ© Le Tarte, left La Poterie for Canada. “I Remember” The phrase "Je Me Soviens" (I Remember) would later become the official motto of Quebec, perhaps signifying an intentional connection to their past and their ancestry as French immigrants.


The Plaque at St. Pierre's - Source

After arriving in Quebec, Jacques and Margeurite had their first child. Ultimately, the couple would have 11 children in New France.

- Genevieve – b. 28 Oct. 1646
- Nicolas – b. 14 Dec. 1647 (Great Grandad x9)
- Jacques – b. 9 April 1649
- Rene – b. 27 Oct 1650
- Louis – b. 26 Aug 1653
- Charles – b. 1656
- Thomas – b. 24 March 1660
- Francois – 1664
- Antoine – b. 20 Aug. 1666
- Joseph – b. 27 March 1669
- Margeurite – b. 27 June 1675


In Quebec, Goulet continued his work as a miller. He became very successful, doubling the amount of land he owned between 1667 and 1681. He owned a gun and also a horse, which was apparently rare in colonial Quebec. Jacques died at the age of 73 on 26 November 1688. He is buried in the cemetery at L’Ange-Gadien.

Jacques Goulet and Mageurite became the common ancestors of almost all of the Goulets in North America. People from all walks of life; actors, politicians, artists, authors, singers; can all clame to be directly descended from Jacques. So far he is one of the only pioneer ancestors I have on my tree and I certainly share him with quite a crowd. I think it would be common to find that the Goulets might even be related to two separate French-Canadian branches of your family.

My branch of the Goulet family remained in Quebec until my great-great grandfather, Pierre Joseph Goulet (b. 29 Jan 1866) arrived in the US in 1874. Pierre married Marie Cedulie Gagnon (b. 1866) in Fall River, Ma in 1887. throughout their lives the two were both employed as mill workers in Fall River, Ma and in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

I’ve always known a bit about my French-Canadian ancestry while growing up. However, I only realized how extensive it really was as an adult. My maternal grandmother, Jeanne Josephine Goulet (1917  - 1998), spoke French as her first language while growing up in a household with a French-Canadian father and a Belgian mother. My mother and aunts often recall speaking French with their grandmother as young children. However, my mother will admit she would need practice to pick it back up. Sadly, though my grandmother was fluent, I never heard her or her cousins speak French during their lives at all. As for me, I know very little.


My maternal grandmother (Grammy) Jeanne Josephine Goulet -  right
Though enculturation and assimilation have erased a good deal of my French heritage, I now feel a greater connection to it than I ever had before. Along with Ireland, I absolutely want to visit Normandel, France and probably Quebec first. There are so many Goulet connected places to visit it's astounding. Until then all I can say is “Je Me Soviens”  - “I remember.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ancestry DNA Update

My original ethnic summary
When Ancestry DNA first became a service available at Ancestry.com, I was eager to jump at the chance to unlock the ancestral information hidden in my genetic code. I was very hopeful that Ancestry DNA would become a helpful tool in my quest to fill in the holes and mysteries in my family tree. Therefore, I spit into a little tube and sent my saliva in for analysis. Like many, I was not super blown away with the results, which had come back as 93% British Iles and 7% Uncertain. 

I knew I had a great deal of Irish ancestry, but was pretty surprised my known Belgian, French, and Italian ancestry did not seem to make an appearance. By my estimation, Western Europe, at the very least, should have popped up in my family DNA.

Of course, the service also matched my genetic code with users whose DNA was close to mine. At first there were few matches, but eventually I had pages and pages of fourth cousins and distant relatives. Unfortunately, I can’t really say I have unlocked any mysteries with these matches yet. The real mystery was knowing how we were related at all, as a fourth cousin only shares a great-great-great-grandparent. Never mind all the fifth through eighth cousins that matched as well. I still have hopes that this tool will be useful.

However, months ago, Ancestry DNA updated the ethnic estimations for all users. The new information specified areas previously only listed as unknown and diversified general areas like the British Iles. I found the new info pretty interesting and was eager to share it with my family. Below is a picture of my updated ethnic breakdown.
The new ethnicity estimations show a lot more detail
The update showed that I was mostly European, identifying Ireland as the largest percentage at 70%. This time Western Europe was included, showing 10%, and Great Britain clocked in at 5%. I’m a little unclear about how British DNA is calculated vs Irish DNA. Perhaps I showed a little Anglo-Saxon.
Map showing the 3 largest percentages in my ethnic breakdown
In addition, my DNA showed trace amounts from the regions of Italy/Greece (5%), Iberian Peninsula (3%), Finland/Northwest Russia (2%), Eastern Europe (2%), and Scandinavia (<1%). Of the bunch, my Italian ancestry is the only part I can prove through records and research.

However, the biggest surprise was the amount of Western Asian and Southern Asian DNA that I apparently carry around. Though the amounts were less than 1% for both regions, I had no indication I had any Asian ancestors at all. As a history teacher, I automatically think of Mongol invaders, who spread their DNA pretty heavily from China to Poland. At the moment, I don’t have another great explanation.

In light of the new information I uncovered regarding my paternal grandfather’s biological ancestry, I also recently ordered the Y-DNA kit from Ancestry DNA, which is obviously strictly paternal ancestry. I figured, since that is the area in my research with the biggest mystery, and I am carrying around a potential key in my own Y-DNA, why not see what results I get from an additional test?

All in all, I have had mixed results with using DNA as a genealogical tool. I found the information pretty interesting, but not yet really useful. Using an additional DNA test for my father and a male relative we believed should have been his half-cousin, I was able to disprove a parentage theory for my grandfather. However, my DNA tests have not so far given me any new info. Rather, any new discoveries I have made recently have come from birth records, newspaper archives, tax records, wills, cemeteries, and census records. More or less the same old stuff I have been doing for years.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Peter Statuto and the Law


When I began researching my great-great grandfather, Peter Statuto, some of the most surprising things I uncovered were his seemingly frequent run-ins with law enforcement during his life. For a “fruit dealer” from Lowell, he certainly lived an adventurous life. 

Peter Statuto arrived in the US from Italy in 1880. By 1889, according to the Lowell Sun, Peter was already facing charges in Worcester. The article in the Lowell Sun does not explain much, simply stating that Peter Statuto was arrested February 1899 for embezzlement of a wagon. Apparently, he was then bailed out and taken to Worcester to face trial.

Of course, it’s difficult to know the details of his crime. Embezzlement isn’t strictly theft. Still, an article in the Lowell Sun published only few days after the first reported that the case was heard before a judge and Peter was discharged. A man named William A. Hogan appeared in his defense.

Of course, the drama with the wagon appears to continue when Peter later accused a man named Charles McCarthy with larceny of a wagon in August of the same year. This must have been some wagon. Still, Charles McCarthy later appears as one of his employees as late as 1902. So, one must wonder how the matter of the wagon was settled. 

However, Peter’s biggest involvement with law enforcement came in April of 1902, when a former employee of his struck and killed one of his current employees. According to the Sun article, a man named Joseph Seymour, who had once worked for Peter Statuto, confronted a pair of Statuto’s delivery men while the two were at a local lunch room.

One of the employees, a man named Charles Elwell (or Elwood or Elward), first argued with Seymour. Then, the two men fought. Apparently, Elwell sent Seymour packing. However, Seymour returned to Statuto’s store the next morning, when he saw Elwell he said, “I’m going to fix you this morning for what happened last night.” Elwell agreed to fight the man again.
Joseph J. Seymour
The two made plans to walk down to an adjoining street and fight it out. However, Seymour demanded they wait for a couple of his friends, as Elwell was in the company of another man named Gallagher.

Apparently, as Elwell and Gallagher were talking on the curb, Seymour jumped from the steps of Statuto’s store and struck Elwell in the back of the head. Elwell fell unconscious to the ground, his friend attempted to break up the fight, but was struck by Seymour as well, who then escaped down the street. According to the article, police believed that Seymour had used brass knuckles in the fight, but Seymour denied it. Peter Statuto, who had witnessed the attack from inside his own store, rushed outside to help Elwell. He brought the man inside and splashed water on his face, but Elwell did not recover.

Seymour was arrested for assault and pled guilty to the charge. However, Elwell never regained consciousness and died the following morning. The charge was altered to assault with the intent to kill, which Seymour denied.

As one of the primary witnesses to the crime Peter Statuto was interviewed by a reporter from the Sun, which appeared in a new article the following day. He was also required to appear at the trial of Joseph Seymour.

An article that appeared in a June 1902 edition of the Boston Globe explains what happened to Seymour. According to the Globe Seymour was sentenced to serve from 4 ½ to 7 years in a state prison. The article goes further to say that Seymour became hysterical and needed to be escorted from the court room. From there, I’m not sure what happened to Seymour.
Seymour at his trial in Lowell
Peter Statuto, however, continued his business as a fruit salesman. His name is mentioned several more times within articles in the Lowell Sun, but only one more  time in relation to crime (that I could find). 

 According to the Sun, in February of 1909 a man named Philip Therien stole a watch and a chain, valued at $15. Mr. Therein was caught and admitted the theft. He even brought the police to where he had stashed the stolen items, which was in the basement of Peter Statuto’s store.

I thought this story was interesting for a couple reasons. First, Peter Statuto’s second wife was named Marie Therrien. It is more than likely that Marie Therrien and Philip Therein are related, as I’ve noticed newspapers were not super careful about the spelling of surnames in the early 1900’s.

Second, a man named Philip Therrien appears in the 1920 census, boarding with Peter Statuto’s daughter Amelia Gilman. This is interesting to me because the other person boarding with the Gilman family in 1920 was my mysterious great grandmother, Mary Rose Statuto, who was pregnant with my grandfather at the time. How exactly Philip Therein is connected to the family is therefore of interest to me.
Who exactly is Philip Therrien?
After reading about the adventures and misdeeds of my great-great grandfather, Peter Statuto, I feel like I have a better understanding of who he was. That is one of the things I enjoy most about this type of research. Of course, one of the best things about genealogy is that every record I acquire helps to paint a clearer picture of the origins of my family. With the addition of Peter Statuto’s records, our picture is now just a bit more colorful.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Peter Statuto 1855 - 1917

Peter Statuto is one of my paternal great-great grandfathers. He is the father of Mary Rose Statuto, who is the biological mother of my grandfather, Peter Francis Daley. The name Peter continued through my family line from him, to my grandfather, to my father, to also wind up as my middle name. We never knew, but we inherited this name from our Statuto side. I only recently began to really delve into my Statuto research. When I did, I certainly learned a lot about Peter.

I was first contacted by a fellow genealogist about the Statutos in spring of 2013. This researcher believed that Mary Rose Statuto, of Lowell Ma, was the birth mother of my grandfather. Previous to this we only ever knew that his original surname had been Statuto and that he had been born in Pepperell. 

Through his connection to Mary Rose, I was also given a great amount of information about her father Peter. This information has been very valuable and has opened up many new avenues of research and a lot of questions. Some of them I have answered and some I am still working on. However, I now know quite a bit more about my Mr. Statuto than I had before. 

According to US Naturalization Record Indexes Peter Statuto was born in Italy 22 March 1855. According to marriage records, his parents were Carmenandonio and Carminella Statuto. I don’t have his full naturalization record yet, so I don’t know exactly where he came from. I also don’t have his mother’s maiden name. 

Peter arrived in New York on October 30, 1880 aboard the SS Nederland. By 1881 he appears in the City Directory of Lowell, listed as a “fruit dealer” on Middlesex Street. He remained in this business for the majority of his life and remained in Lowell until his death. He and his family appears in the 1910 census. 
Peter Statuto and daughters in 1910
Peter was married twice. His first marriage was to Marie Farrell. Together, they had one daughter named Amelia Statuto, born 1885. Unfortunately Marie Farrell seems to have died only a year later in 1886. 

In December of 1893, Peter Statuto was naturalized as a citizen of the United States.On 20 Jan 1895, Peter remarried Marie Therrien, the daughter of Hubert and Mathilda Therrien of Quebec. Together, they had three daughters:

Mary Rose Statuto b. 1896

- Mary Lora Statuto b. 1897

- Mary Philomine Statuto b. 1898

- Mary Louisa Statuto b 1901

Peter Statuto seemed to manage a fruit distribution or grocer’s business in Lowell and appeared in the Lowell Sun several times in relation to this business. Later he obtained the license to sell ice cream as well. In some of these newspaper entries Peter appears to have been involved with or affiliated with criminal activity. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Peter was a criminal himself, so much as to say that he was several times plagued by the criminal activity of those around him. In a future post, I’ll outline some of these more interesting events in Peter’s life. 

Peter died in Lowell on 4 February 1917. His death notice was posted in the Lowell Sun. According to this notice, Peter was a member of the Court General Shields F. of A. I believe this means he was a member of the Foresters in his area, though I am not sure what the initials “F. of A.”stand for. Previously Peter had also been a member and treasurer of the Christopher Columbus Italian Mutual Aid Society as well. Unfortunately, it appears that neither of these organizations have available records for this time period.  
Both Peter Statuto and my great-great grandmother Marie Therrien are buried in St. Patrick Cemetery in Lowell, Ma. I am currently planning a trip in that direction. 

I have to say it was fascinating learning about an ancestor that I never even knew I had, especially one who had a direct impact on the naming tradition of my family. Though I can only get a glimpse of what Peter Statuto might have been like through records and newspaper articles, I think it speaks volumes that his daughter named my grandfather seemingly after him. She wasn't the only one of his daughters to use the name either. 

As soon as I learn exactly where in Italy the Statuto family came from I know I’ll feel compelled to visit. I would also love to know more about the interestingly named Carmenandonio and Carminella. Until then Peter Statuto is a welcome new branch in the sometimes crooked and not quite linear family tree that has become the Daley Clan. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Mary Rose Statuto 1896 - 1955

Since the death of my grandfather, Peter Francis Daley Sr., in 2004, I have been attempting to uncover the mysteries of his past and origins. For a man I had known since birth, I found that I knew surprisingly little about him. As I began to research his life, I quickly discovered that he had been raised as a ward of the state in the Daley family since sometime before 1930.

Although I knew his birth name was Statuto, based on the 1930 census, I had only scraps additional information. I knew his birth date of June 1920 and I knew he was born in Pepperell, Ma. Having contacted the Pepperell Town Clerk in 2004, I was informed that I was barred from accessing my grandfather’s birth record for 100 years, as he was an illegitimate birth.

The 1930 US Census showing my grandfather as Peter Statuto

Although my family and I had suspicions about his parentage, for almost nine years of genealogical research I made little progress in solving the original mystery of my family, the reason I began research at all. There were quite a few Statutos of the correct age in Massachusetts in 1920. I had a long list, but I had no idea how to narrow it down to find which one was my great grandparent. In the spring of 2013 that all changed. 

In May of 2013 I was contacted by a fellow genealogist who was related to the Statuto family of Pepperell Ma. He informed me that during 1920 the sister of one of his Statuto ancestors moved into his ancestor’s home and appeared on the 1920 census. His relative was named Amelia Statuto and the mysterious sister was named Mary Rose Statuto. In addition, he suspected that Mary Rose had been pregnant at the time.
1920 US Census showing Mary Rose Statuto
I re-examined Statuto records I had saved and saw both women on my list of potential suspects. However, I had no information about the family. In a couple emails, the other genealogist gave me a crash course on the Statuto side of his family.

Although I could not be sure, as I believed I was still forbidden access to my grandfather’s birth records, I believed I had enough circumstantial evidence to be 95% sure Mary Rose Statuto was my great grandmother. 

I once again contacted the Town Clerk where my grandfather was born and was informed that his birth certificate was now available, which was a little surprising because I had been told previously that I had to wait until 2020 to see it. However, the record did confirm that Mary Rose was the mother of my grandfather. His father’s name was still missing however. Thus began my adventure into the Statuto family of Lowell and Pepperell, Ma.

Mary Rose Statuto was born 12 November 1896 in the City of Lowell to Peter Statuto and Marie Therrien. It was the second marriage for both Peter and Marie. Peter was a recent Italian immigrant and Marie Therrien was a recent French Canadian immigrant. Peter Statuto also had an older daughter named Amelia Statuto from his previous marriage. Along with Amelia, Mary Rose had three other sisters.

- Mary Lora b. 1897

- Mary Philomene b. 1898

- Mary Louisa b. 1901

 Of course, all sisters are named Mary, but they seemed to go by their middle name in later records. 

Mary Rose appears in the 1910 census, living with her father Peter Statuto, who was a well known fruit dealer in the city. She also appears on several city directories between 1913 and 1917, all showing her occupation as “Dress Maker.”

Then in 1920 Mary Rose appears on the US Census in the household of her half sister Amelia in Pepperell. Amelia had married a man named John W Gilman. Together, he and Amelia already had a substantial family. Aside from my great grandmother, the Gilmans were also boarding a Philip Therrien, who I must assume was a relation to Mary Rose. Perhaps an uncle or cousin on her mother’s side of the family, it’s unclear as of yet.

After 1920 and the birth of my grandfather, Mary Rose and Philip both seem to disappear. I can find no trace of either on the census records for 1930 and 1940. In fact, I initially believed that Mary Rose had died soon after my grandfather’s birth. However, I was wrong. 

 Using newspaper archives in Massachusetts, I was first able to find additional information about Peter Statuto and his business in Lowell. Following this lead, I then used the archives of the Lowell Sun to find an obituary for Mary Rose Statuto in 1955. 
 This meant that Mary Rose had, for whatever reason, intentionally given up my grandfather. As far as I know my grandfather, when he supposedly found out about his parentage, was never interested in contacting his biological mother. I wonder if the same could be said for her. I’ll probably never know. 

The obituary lists several pallbearers at her funeral. Some additional research showed that Peter Gilman and Albert Clark were both members of Amelia Statuto’s family. It seems the sisters had kept in touch. I am currently trying to track down Wilfred Bouchard of Pepperell and Daniel Dwyer of Groton to see what connection they had to Mary Rose. 

According to this record it seems that Mary Rose Statuto never married and potentially never had any other children, as no other family was mentioned. I can’t help but wonder what the rest of her life was like and where she lived between 1920 and 1955. I also still wonder who my paternal great grandfather was. 

So, it only took about nine years of research to uncover half of the mystery I first set out to solve. I’m still not sure who my grandfather’s father was, but I have several new avenues of research to follow for clues.

I’m also grateful that in those nine years I’ve met and maintain contact with some awesome members of my family I had never known. I’ve been to places connected to my family which I never would have gone. I learned a lot about my grandfather and how he grew up. I was able to research and record my ancestry on my mother’s side, much more easily I might add. I’ve also continually developed my genealogical and historic research skills along the way. I now have a fairly comprehensive (and continually growing) family tree to pass on to the next generation of my family.

Even though I’ve now only solved half of the original mystery of my family, it seems that what I’ve gained along the way has been well worth the while. I just hope it doesn’t take another nine years for me to solve the second half.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Discoveries in 2013

A lot has changed in my family research since I last posted. The biggest advancement has been the release of my grandfather’s birth records. Through this record and with the help of another genealogist, I have confirmed that my grandfather’s birth mother was Mary Rose Statuto of Lowell, Ma. 

Armed with this information, I was able to acquire a large amount of information about the Statuto family through the use of Newspaper archives for the most part. I learned about the life and adventures of her father, Peter Statuto, a well known grocer in Lowell during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He certainly was an interesting guy. Let’s just say for now that Daniel Duggan was not the only rascal in my family tree. I will be posting information about my discoveries in the very near future.

The other large development also concerns my grandfather’s family. Because of recently obtained (mostly unquestionable data) I believe I have disproved the theory that George Daley was the father of my grandfather Peter Francis Daley. In addition, it has come into question whether or not my grandfather is related to the Daley family at all.Who his biological father was remains a huge mystery which continues to frustrate me.

All this new information has pushed me into new lines of research I had never considered before. It has made me (once again) question the accepted origins of our family, our identity, and even our ethnicity. At times I have been hugely disappointed by my discoveries and at other times I am completely fascinated. Either way, good or bad, expected or unexpected, the past few months of research has been a roller coaster. Stay tuned, I’ll explain why.