Barrett Family

My grandmother Mary Elizabeth Barrett was born November 26th, 1916 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was the oldest daughter of Mary Elizabeth (Brady) and Flowrence Howard Barrett, and her siblings were Margaret (b. 1918 ), Eileen (b. 1920), Evelyn (b. 1922), Alice (b. 1924), and Charles. She would often tell me about the fun times in her youth that were spent going to Red Sox games and how she could buy a soda or ice cream for a nickel and ride on the subway for ten cents (that’s inflation for you)! My sister and I always called her Grammie. After she passed away in 2002, I began researching the family tree in earnest, and I wished I had asked her more questions while she was with us. I did try sometimes, but as anyone who knew her would verify, she had a stubborn streak. Overall my memories of her are sweet ones, and I am grateful for them.

The Barrett Family

The Barretts emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in the mid 19th Century.  John Barrett was said to be from County Cork from family records. He married Mary Collins on February 6th 1883 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. At the time of their marriage, John was a laborer and Mary was a cook. (Source: Mass Archives Marriages Vol.345 P.238). They had 8 children, five of whom survived to adulthood:  Flowrence Howard (b. 9 Dec 1883 d. 1954), James N. (b. 6 Oct 1888), John “Jack” (b. 1892), Edward D. (b. Aug 1893), and Margaret Barrett (b. Jan 1898). The family lived in Cambridge, MA at the time of of the US Census in 1900 and 1910.

John Barrett family on the 1900 Census

John Barrett family on the 1900 US Census living in Cambridge, MA.

John Barrett family on the 1910 US Census

John Barrett family on the 1910 US Census living in Cambridge, MA

In 1920 John, Mary and their sons James N. and Edward D. Barrett lived in nearby Somerville, MA. At that time their eldest son Flowrence Barrett and his wife Mary had 2 daughters and lived on Stearns St. in Cambridge, MA. His occupation was listed as painter.

1920 US Census, John Barrett family in Somerville, MA

F.H. Barrett family on the 1920 US Census

By the 1930 US Census, John Barrett had passed away and Mary lived in Cambridge with her son James N., his wife Sarah and their children Muriel, J. Norman, and Richard Barrett. Flowrence and his family were still at Sherman St. in Cambridge where the family would be centered for many years.

James N. Barrett and family with his mother Mary on the 1930 US Census.

F.H. Barrett family on Sherman St. in Cambridge on the 1930 US Census.

Mary E. (Needham) Nolan, Mary E. (Brady) Barrett, myself (age 2), and Mary E. (Barrett) Needham Hughes.


1) Descendants of John Barrett, compiled by Kathie and Ray Needham, September 2004.

2) Photo of Barrett girls, courtesy of Mary “Betsy” (Needham) Nolan.

3) Massachusetts Archives Marriages Vol.345 P.238, Record of John Barrett and Mary Collins.

4) US Federal Census Records 1900 – 1930. Source Information (for all census records):, [digital images]. Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Cambridge Ward 5, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll T623_657; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 727.

John Barrett, Year: 1910; Census Place: Cambridge Ward 10, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll T624_596; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 785; Image: 1323.

John Barrett, Year: 1920;Census Place: Somerville Ward 6, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll T625_718; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 444; Image: 1014.    F.H. Barrett, Year: 1920;Census Place: Cambridge Ward 11, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll T625_708; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 97; Image: 571.

James N. Barrett, Year: 1930; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll 917; Page: 23B; Enumeration District: 66; Image: 157.0.   F.H. Barrett, Year: 1930; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll 917; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 76; Image: 691.0.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill 😉
    Author of “Back to the Homeplace”
    and “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”


  2. Posted by Darlene on May 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    This is a great article! I remember my grandma Mary, she was a second mother to me. I will never forget the time I spent with her, and those wise words like go play in traffic or climb a tree, ha. I never did of coarse


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