Wordless Wednesday – a day late

Malden, MA 1983
Clockwise: Foreground Theresa (Fields) Echavarri, Xavier Echavarri, Edward Fields, Anne C. Fields, William Fields (my grandfather,) Betty (Fields) Barresi, in her arms is Alicia Barresi, Sheryl Barresi, me, and the kid standing is my cousin Jeffrey Fields.

This is Christmas at my Aunt’s (Anne C. Fields) house, 1983 (we lived upstairs.) This is how I remember Christmas. To me, it doesn’t get any better than this.


102 Years Ago

I never knew her, my mother never knew her, my grandmother never knew her, but 102 years ago today, my 2nd great grandmother, Ellen Moynihan (she married James Slater and then married Thomas Tibbetts) passed away. She was in the hospital for a little more than two weeks(admitted on Nov. 25, 1910,) but had been suffering from stomach cancer for a year according to her death report. She was 42 years old.

Her son, James Paul Slater, had recently gotten married, November 20, 1910, and now I’m wondering if he got married because his mother was gravely ill? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

Rest in Peace.

Barresi – Fields Family Tree

I currently have 2,612 people in my family tree on Ancestry.com with 1,281 records. I couldn’t be prouder of the family lineage that I have been able to tape together over the past five years and have been able to share with many family members. William Huff (b.1782 d. 1886) was my 4x great grandfather and I have been able to trace my family line back through much of English and European history through him. However, I was just notified by a Huff family historian, that the father I have (and many other Huff families have) listed for William, is not his correct father. At least it hasn’t been verified. Bill Huff told me via e-mail, that through DNA testing, that they are not father and son

 The parents of William have not been substantiated.  Although he lived in close proximity with Edmund Huff, we have no record to show that William is his son.  At one time, I believed that Edmund and William were father and son but the DNA evidence is not close enough to substantiate this close relationship.  It would appear from DNA (and Max knows more about this than me) that they are related but the common ancestor is likely some number of generations removed.  Again, I am not an expert but this is my interpretation of the data. 

Though I don’t care so much about the royalty I thought we had in the family line (i.e. the Plantagenets) it’s the feeling of losing a connection to others. I thought I had built a solid resource for my family to use and I hope that I haven’t broken the trust by providing false information for so long. Now hundreds of people could easily be wiped off our lineage. I could go from 2,612 people to 2,300 or so. However, I am not going to remove the information from my family tree until stronger evidence would require me to do so. However, I’m not going to continue researching that historic family line either. I’ll keep working to determine who William Huff’s father was, but it could take DNA testing to get a solid answer.

Also, if you know any male Huffs in our family line please let them know they can take a Y-DNA test. Grandma Fields (Nellie Huff) had at least two brothers, John and William, but I don’t know what happened to them.

French Canadian surnames – Part 1

My great grandfather was born George Arthur Deschamps in Nashua, NH in 1885. He later Anglicized his name to Fields (because Deschamps means Of the Fields in French.) I know a lot of families with more ethnic sounding names change their names to a more Anglicized version, but for those that didn’t, I wanted to know what the surnames meant. So I started researching some of the French names on my maternal side.

Desmarais = of the marsh
Bougy/Bougie = (possibly) a candle
Royer = a meadow
Lapointe = nickname for a soldier and/or It was used of a worker with a kind of lace used to fasten  together the doublet and hose
Trahan = one who pulled the silk, a trahandier.Giroux means ‘the son of Geri’, a personal name introduced to Britain by the Normans during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name is composed of the element GERI (spear) + the second element meaning ‘hardy, brave and strong’.
Lachance = lucky
Drapeau = a flag
Doironsomeone from Oiron in Deux-Sèvres
Metayer = sharecropper
Toupinfrom toupin, which in medieval French meant ‘spinning-top’, possibly a nickname; in Occitan, however, it denotes a small earthenware pot and was probably a metonymic occupational name for a potter.
Dumont = of the mountain
Pepin = seed of a fruit
Fontaine = fountain or natural spring
Chabot = (possibly) person with a large head
Lille = a French town in northern Flanders France (on the Dutch border)
Poulet = chicken or Paulet = from latin paulus = small
Messier = harvester (someone involved in harvesting crops)
Petit = small person (or the smaller of two people with the same given name)
Roy = old French roi, meaning king
Meunier = miller (or someone from Meunet)
Mezeray = a town in northwestern France

Death in the Family

My mother’s cousin passed away last week on the way home from visiting his daughter and two of his grandchildren. John Richard Fields was only 66 years old and certainly much too young. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, two children, and three grandchildren. Rest in Peace Johnny.

John RFields, 66 of No. Reading and formerly of Stoneham died suddenly November 22. Born in Everett on June 23, 1946 he was the son of the late Robert A. & Eileen (Murray)Fields. Mr. Fields was raised in Stoneham and was a graduate of Stoneham High School and later from Northeastern University in Boston. He was a retired accountant and was an avid Boston sports fan. He was active in earlier years as an assistant Boy Scout Leader and coach in youth soccer and softball. He also enjoyed bowling. Mr. Fields is survived by his wife Maureen T. (DiCarlo) Fields, his daughter Amy Liberto and her husband Sal of River Ridge, LA and his son John RFields, Jr. of No. Reading. He was the brother of Robert, Thomas, James, Richard and Eugene Fields, Carolyn O’Keefe, Dorothy Harkins, Margaret O’Neil, Bernadette Lyall and the late William Fields. He was the grandfather of Lilly & Emery Liberto and Kaleb Fields. He was the brother in-law of Deborah and Brian Krenzer and the son in-law of the late Matthew & Louise (Cataldo) DiCarlo. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. His funeral will be held from the McDonald – Finnegan Funeral Home 322 Main St. Stoneham Thursday at 9am followed by a funeral mass in St. Patrick Church 71 Central St. Stoneham at 10:00. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the funeral home Wednesday 4-8pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the North Reading Dollars For Scholars Citizen’s Foundation, P.O. Box 529, North Reading, MA 01864

“By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night. May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.” – James Agee A Death in the Family

Tombstone Tuesday

DSC_0048 by Barresi3
DSC_0048, a photo by Barresi3 on Flickr.

This is the tombstone of my 2nd great grandfather Louis Deschamps. He was born in Quebec, but lived most of his life in Nashua, NH. He was a skilled carpenter by trade and a few of the houses he built and lived in, still stand today over 100 years later. He is buried in St. Louis de Gonzague Cemetery, Nashua, NH.

When Did You Get Here?

I do my research from a number of different computers and workstations, so I decided to write down some notes for myself to have on hand at all times. The first list I wanted to come up with was an Ancestor’s Arrival list. I’m not sure how this note will help me going forward, but I feel like I’m always looking for these dates as I try and make connections and solidify facts. Here is what the list looks like:

From France
Nicholas Joseph Deschamps, arrived in Nova Scotia before 1730
Paul Desmarais, arrived in Quebec before 1681

From Ireland
Ellen Moynihan, arrived 1881
Mary A. Slattery, arrived before 1864
Mary J. Ennis, arrived 1882
William Driscoll, arrived 1888/9
Mary Murphy, arrived 1880

From Italy
Diomina Tammaro, arrived 1905
Antonio Beatrice, arrived 1894
Carmela Bochicchio, arrived 1897
Stefano Belmonte, arrived 1893
Rosa Ledda, arrived 1893
Francesco Barresi, arrived 1906
Caterina Nolfo, arrived 1906

From Germany (likely Germany)
Huff, arrived before 1747
Carolus Charles Volck, arrived 1708

From England
James Paul Slater, arrived before 1864