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, 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.