Saturday, December 15, 2012

John Bernard Daley 1907 - 1922

One of the questions I continually ask about the life of my grandfather is why he was adopted into the home of the Daley family at the age of three. Before changing his Surname to Daley at the age of 18, my grandfather was known as Peter Statuto. This is the only clue we have about his biological mother until his birth records are released by the state in 2020. However, in the 1930 US Census, my grandfather appears as a ward of the state with the Daley family in Dorchester, Ma.
1930 US Census showing my grandfather with the Daley damily
My family and I once believed we knew who his biological father was. Of his mother, all I know of her is that her last name was Statuto, she was Italian, and she lived somewhere in Massachusetts in 1920. My grandfather became a ward of the Daleys when he was three years old. However, what truly prompted them to take him in remains a mystery. All I can do is guess based on records and the memories of older relatives.

My grandfather's adopted parents John J Daley and Ellen Tully had at least six children:
-William J Daley b. 1896
- Frank Joseph Daley b. 1898
- George Anthony Daley b. 1900
- Mary E Daley b. 1902
- John Bernard Daley b. 1907
- Helen M Daley b. 1909

Though most people in his early life knew he was adopted and that his mother was Italian, they did not know the full story. When I began investigating his early life, I heard quite a few interesting Peter Daley origin stories. For instance, I was told that John and Ellen Daley picked my grandfather up at the local Catholic Church, where he was being given away. It was 1920, so who knows?

It is really the life and death of John Bernard Daley that gives any clues as to why my grandfather was brought into the Daley family at all. John Bernard was born in Boston in 1907. He was named after his father John and one of Ellen’s brothers Bernard. I knew that John Bernard had died young, but did not know how young until I located his obituary in the Boston Globe archives this year.

Obituary of John Bernard Daley
According to the obituary, John Bernard died in January of 1922, at the age of only 14 years. My grandfather was born in June of 1920. He had been raised by the Daleys since the age of three. Therefore, the very next year after John Bernard’s death, my grandfather was brought into the Daley family.

I have been told that it was Ellen Tully who was the moving force behind adopting my grandfather. Perhaps he filled a void created by the loss of her son. I also know that my grandfather cared for her deeply. He never searched for his birth mother because he felt that role had been completely filled by Ellen Tully. She died when he was only 15. I can imagine that it must have been very difficult for him. However, as with most things, he did not speak of it.

Genealogical research can be very difficult, especially if you have holes and mysteries like my family does. I guess it is important to remember to look at different records like John Bernard’s obit, my grandfather’s change of name form, and the 1930 US Census to see if you can make sense of what was happening in the lives of your ancestors. Admittedly, I don’t know all the facts concerning my grandfather’s life. He was a very quiet man during his life. However, looking at these documents, now eight years after his death, I think I actually understand him a little better.

No comments:

Post a Comment