Author Archives: Kaitlin Farrisi

The Search Continues

So I had been feeling a little hopeless with the Farrisi link to my family. I hadn’t been able to find records verifying the little bit of what I had been told and no one seems to know much. Near the beginning of the course I had contacted my Grandmother’s oldest sister because I was told that she would know the most. I called her and spoke to her and although she told me about the Brewster surname, she said she didn’t know much about Farrisi. (This past Friday she did send me a packet of information concerning the Brewster side, consisting of names and relationships of people which is good!) I have mentioned before that she told me that the only person who would know more about Farrisi would be Irene (She married Melville Farrisi, the son of Pasquale and Maria/Mary? and brother of my grandfather Anthony Farrisi).

I had called Irene right after and spoke to Irene’s daughter Christine. Christine told me that Irene would have to call me back because she was sick. I never heard back, so despite my worries of being annoying, I called back this weekend. Christine answered again and I discovered that Irene had just had surgery and all that taking place was the reason she was unable to talk to me. She is in the process of recovering and Christine told me Thursday would be a good time to call. I’m very excited to finally speak to her and learn more! Christine said she didn’t know much but this weekend we spoke for a while and she actually had a lot of useful information! Originally I had been told that it was my grandparents Pasquale and Maria/Mary Farrisi that came over from Salerno/Naples, Italy. However, Christine told me that it was actually their parents before them that came over. She said that Mary never left the U.S. after she was born in New York and that they lived in New York their whole lives. I also learned that it was an arranged marriage between Pasquale and Mary in 1916, regardless of Mary’s interest in someone else (weird once again because maybe I wouldn’t be here!). I also am very eager to find out names of Pasquale and Mary’s parents because this is what I have not been able to figure out! Christine told me that Mary’s mothers name was Christine which is so so helpful!

I was able to go on ancestry to search for records now that I knew that Pasquale Farrisi and Mary Gennadio weren’t the ones who came over from Italy (it was their parents). I am really really looking forward to talking to Irene to learn more!! Below is what I have found from ancestry so far. It’s a census record with Mary Gennadio, with the correct age/birth year and her mother as Christine/Christina from New York but originally from Italy. I think this is her! I just don’t know if the spelling that I have been told (Gennadio) is correct or if Genadyo is correct?!


At this point I am still exploring this discovery more. It’s hard because I am unsure whether these people are actually family members!

Tedious Tasks over the Weekend

Over this weekend I have done a lot of scanning, Facebook stalking, grave hunting, and more scanning. As I have said before, the maternal side of my family has been a lot better with keeping records and stuff like that so I haven’t had to search hard for birth dates and stuff like that. Facebook has been a huge tool with helping me to find that kind of stuff with the other side of my family. I have been trying to develop the living part of my tree so I have used Facebook a lot. I just use notepad to record information I find like birthdays, schools, etc. Then I will have to put all this information on ancestry. It’s all very time consuming.

Scanning has also been time consuming, but I am just trying to get all the hard copies of pictures and other stuff on my computer to then put on ancestry. All these pictures are mostly for my maternal side. Beneath is a picture of my grandma Lorraine and grandpa Dave. Beneath that is a picture of Lorraine’s mother and father Ella and Raynard. My grandma has given me all of these great photos.



Also over the weekend, Chase and I have done some hunting in Greenlawn to help with findagrave. Instead of fulfilling photo requests, we decided to take photos in H-1. He started at one end and I started at the other. H-1 is split up in four sections, and we only covered one so far but I had a little under 300 pictures once we were done. I am about halfway done with going through them on findagrave (Also very tedious because you have to look up and make sure the grave photo doesn’t already exist and then either just upload a picture or create the “memorial”). Hopefully we’ll be able to eventually photograph all the graves in H-1 (we’ll see!!).

I called my mom this weekend too to see when my dads results for 23andme are expected to come in. Unfortunately it won’t be until after the class and mine won’t come until after either. It’s a little disappointing because I really want to see my results! I also need to be brave and call back Irene (my grandpa Farrisi’s brother’s wife) to hopefully discover more about the Farrisi side. Her daughter told me that she would call me back, but I haven’t heard anything yet. It’s hard because I don’t want to bother her or be annoying! Tomorrow I am planning to call though. Overall I have gotten a lot done this weekend, but still have lots more to do!

New Discoveries

This past week I have focused a little less on my own family tree and a little more on things like findagrave and the archives project. I don’t mind entering census data for the archives project so I have done a good amount of that, but I also decided to help with find a grave. I looked at grave requests for Spartanburg area and also near my home in Carlisle (I figured if I gathered all the information for my sister ahead of time I could bribe her into going to find some graves for me some day). For Spartanburg, I decided to work with Greenlawn Cemetery because that cemetery isn’t too far, and also there were a lot of photo requests. I gathered all the information, spoke to someone on the phone there, and eventually just went up meeting in person. The man who looked up all the information and location of the people I was looking for was extremely helpful and nice!! I thought finding graves would not be as time consuming as it is! In 40 minutes time I only managed to find two graves, but I still have a lot more time and more people to discover.

Although I have been focused more on some other things, I also have been looking into my own family tree. As I mentioned before, my Grandma Smith is really interested in genealogy as well so she has been extremely helpful!! Her mother, Ella May Brooks, was the one who was in an orphanage, so records have been difficult to find. We both have been trying to find out more, especially because we don’t even have records of her parents. She was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico so I had been pretty unsuccessful with records. However, I decided instead of searching her place of birth as New Mexico, to search it as if she was born in New York because I know that census records aren’t always correct, and I made an awesome discovery that previously hadn’t shown up in my hints! A picture is below, but I found a 1920 census record (when she was 14) from an institution called the House of Mercy. The women were listed as inmates, so I knew that that meant it was in fact an orphanage and all the info I already had on Ella matched perfectly. When I googled the House of Mercy I found out more, and even confirmed the match more because nuns were apart of this institution (My grandma told me that Ella wanted to become a nun at 16 because she lived in a convent/orphanage).Image

I was so happy when I found this record because it gave me a lot more information and hopefully somehow I can find someone to talk to about more records from the House of Mercy (haven’t gotten that far yet though). My grandma also mentioned before a letter that she had that was written to her mother, Ella, from a nun. She sent me a copy of this letter which part of it is below.Image

Unfortunately it doesn’t say the year, but this is still really great! My grandma also gave me a typed up copy that makes it easier to read. I’m inserting that as well! The letter is from Saint Mary’s Convent so I have to see if that is related to the House of Mercy or if it is something different.


I am very grateful to have so much help from my grandma with this. At this point, I have so much information and different things to explore, but not enough time I feel like! I’m still working on putting in photos on my family tree and exploring hints but there just seems to be so much to do still! My grandma has sent me tons of other stuff as well that I have been scanning into my computer, but haven’t put on my tree yet (The stuff she has sent me is amazing! I have found out so many things about my maternal side because of her. Unfortunately, my paternal side of Farrisi and Brewster is where I’m lacking information). I’m kind of crazy with organization so it’s all been taking me a while to get everything how I want it and in the right place. Anyways, my search continues!


Research Methods

As I had mentioned in class, I have kind of reached a wall with my research like some other people in class. Because of this, lately I have been focusing on scanning pictures and putting pictures into my tree. This is a much more tedious task than I thought, so it is actually quite time consuming. I figured I would just do this while I waited to hear back from some people.

We were asked about our research methods and mainly I have worked online. I have used websites like ancestry, ellisisland, familysearch, and findagrave. I actually haven’t been extremely successful with these websites when I’m researching the Farrisi side. However, with the other sides of my family tree these websites have been pretty useful. Aside from websites, I have focused a lot on talking to people in my family who have a lot of information. I have mentioned before that my grandmother Lorraine Smith (Austin) has been a big help, as she shares an interest in genealogy as well. She actually texted me today to let me know that she put a second package in the mail with more information for me. I haven’t received the first one yet, but I know there will be lots of useful papers and photos in there for me to use that will trace the Austin and Smith surnames of my mother’s side.

Since online information hasn’t been a huge help for my father’s side (Farrisi specifically) I have focused on contacting people. I am still waiting to hear back from Irene Farrisi (Pollard) and hopefully she will know a lot about her parents-in-law, which are my great grandparents. I also spoke with my half aunt about her father, which is my grandfather. She sent me a link to some old pictures of my grandfather that she had scanned and uploaded before. One picture was a graduation one and the caption she had said the high school and the year he graduated. So last night when I was adding those pictures to my family tree I thought maybe Google searching his high school could be useful. It ended up bringing me to his yearbook which had been scanned in online through! I never thought that that would be a resourceful place to find information but it was actually pretty neat. I had to sign up for the website but it was really worth it. I also found my grandfather’s brother in his yearbook. I found out that both of them went to Catholic High Schools in New York, New York. I would definitely recommend other people looking into this. If you can find their senior yearbooks especially! Those list a little bio thing about the person beneath their picture so I found out what my grandfather participated in in high school. Below is a screen shot of his yearbook picture and bio I found online! I also found my parents and their brothers and sisters in their yearbooks, it was pretty exciting (I planned on going to bed at 11 last night but ended up staying up two hours later because of this discovery).Image

As you can see in the picture, it tells you what clubs he was in and other things. I could then go to the particular club page and see what each one stood for. Below is the yearbook of my grandfather’s brother (Melville Farrisi). Image

I didn’t crop the photo completely so that I could see the year and high school name.

Kaitlin Farrisi

Expanding family tree

I have always had some interest in genealogy so I was really excited to take this class for interim. I think some of my interest comes from my last name being Farrisi and not knowing any other Farrisi’s other than direct family. So I have always wondered why exactly that is and assumed one of my great grandfathers had come over from Italy, but never was sure. I was interested to find out more and this class has been my opportunity to do that.
The four surnames that I have focused on are Farrisi (my dad’s dad), Brewster (my dad’s mom), Smith (my mom’s dad), and Austin (my mom’s mom) and each of them have come along with different discoveries so far. From the beginning I have known that the Farrisi link would be the one of the most difficult aspects because of the lack of information I have. I have discovered that it was my great grandfather (Pasquale Farrisi) that came over from Salerno, Italy to New York. His wife, Maria Gennadio came over as well. What I’m not sure about though is if they came over together, if they were married before or after, and if Gennadio is her maiden name. There is a lot of uncertainty with them. My dad doesn’t know and I have talked to two other relatives that I was told would know and they haven’t been much help. I type in Farrisi in passenger lists on ancestry and can’t discover anything either (a little frustrating!) Farrisi in general turns up little results so I don’t exactly know what to do. I’m hoping that my great aunt (?) Irene will be some help with this. She married my grandpa Farrisi’s brother who has already passed away. I have never met her before but got her number and called and got in touch with her daughter, Christine (my second cousin?). Irene is currently sick so Christine eventually said she would have her call me within the next few days. Aside from finding out family tree info, its actually pretty cool talking to some people that I have never met or talked to before but they’re related to me! (my relatives are mainly all in New York so we have not done a good job keeping in touch). Anyways, I’m just waiting on that to further the Farrisi link. The picture below is a picture of Pasquale and Maria – my great grandparents who came over from Italy
The smith side has turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. My mom’s mom (my grandma), Lorraine Smith (formerly Austin), has been really good with giving all my family members information. We had been given before a Smith genealogy book that traces back the smith side of my family pretty far back and has lots of pictures too! I also discovered that she shares an interest in genealogy as well so I have been in touch with her and she is going to send me some stuff. This will cover the Smith and Austin sides. The Austin side is a little difficult as well and my grandma and I are hoping to discover some things. It turns out that her mother (my great grandmother) was raised in an orphanage in NYC but was born in SantaFe, New Mexico in 1906. She lived in a convent until she was 16 and she wanted to become a nun (also interesting because if she would have followed through I would not be here today!). My grandma said that she had some letter that was written to her mom from a nun that she was going to try and find for me!
As for the Brewster side, I’m encountering some more problems. My grandma’s mom came over from Austria so I have not been successful here either. I spoke with my grandma’s older sister Georgette yesterday on the phone (lives in NY, almost 90). She said she didn’t know her grandmother because they were still in Austria so that has been slow with information as well. Overall I have discovered that my dad’s side seems to be from New York/NYC. They seem to have immigrated over to the U.S. not extremely long ago (great grandparents). My mom’s side (Smith and Austin) also reside mainly in New York, with the Smith side also in Vermont. I’m still working on a lot of details but hoping to find a lot more out! Sorry this post is so long!!
Kaitlin Farrisi

The Williams

Today Chase and I decided to take a trip back to Magnolia Cemetery to see if we could find the Williams’ graves. Surprisingly we actually found the graves we were looking for within minutes. The two graves of T.A. and Sarah Williams’ children are to the left as soon as you walk in the cemetery. We thought we would look there first because on the first day of class that was mainly the area that we hadn’t covered yet. So there we found the graves of Johnie Brookfield and Annie Hartstene, the son and daughter of T.A. and Sarah. On the grave it states that Annie Hartstene Williams was born June of 1892 and died Nov of 1897, so she was 5 when she died. The son, Johnie Brookfield Williams, was born July 11, 1881 and died June 17, 1883. We knew that these two were the son and daughter of Sarah and T.A. because it says directly on the grave “son of…” and “daughter of…” As other people have mentioned, Sarah and Thomas are supposed to be buried in Magnolia along with their two children. Thus, Chase and I tried to see if possibly they could be buried beside their children and their grave markers just not be there. There seemed to be enough space to the right for at least for one of them which you can see in the pictures attached.

Also, there is another stone found within the gates that Chase thought might be something else. I thought that it was just part of the gate, but it actually looks like something is etched in it and its not on the opposite side either. Who knows. I’m going to include that photo as well for everyone else to see.                -Kaitlin

ImageKate'sPhotos 2031ImageImage