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.
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.
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.
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): Ancestry.com, [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.