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 four 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, Foresters of America. 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.