Posted By:Michael Hughes
Subject:Whitehead / Lightburn - Somerville, MA
Post Date:December 06, 2012 at 13:56:20
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Forum:Massachusetts Genealogy Forum
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Any WHITEHEAD descendents to this Somerville, Massachusetts family PLEASE read the following and contact me at email.

At the start of my research for my HUGHES FAMILY GENEALOGY, it was brought my attention that an old family rumor was in the air that my father, Francis James Hughes, was adopted. The first thing that I did was obtain his birth certificate in Boston, MA as he was born in Dorchester, MA. I received it and it stated his parents as James Hughes and Ethel Clark, who were always known to be his parents. At that time, I put this subject to rest.

However, several months to a year later, after speaking with other related family members who knew my grandparents asked me if I knew that my father was adopted? Well, this of course reopened my investigation into this – it got my curiosity going again! As my father was born in Dorchester, MA and my grandparents lived in Lawrence, MA, I contacted the Suffolk County Probate Court in Boston, MA and the Essex County Probate Court in Salem, MA. I submitted a copy of my license, my birth certificate, my father’s birth and death certificates and a letter as requested.

About a year later I received the adoption record from the Essex County Probate Court that a FRANCIS WHITEHEAD, born 06-Oct-1936 (my fathers birth date) was adopted on 12-July-1937 by James and Ethel Hughes at the St. Mary’s Infant Asylum (known today as St. Mary’s Women and Infant Center) of Dorchester, MA. The mother’s name on the adoption record was a Mary Whitehead of Somerville, MA with a witness signature of a George J. Whitehead. Further information provided by the St. Mary’s Women and Infant Center, which was hand written in a record log book, showed that this Mary Whitehead was 16 years of age at the time of Francis’ birth. As the 1930 US Census became available, I came across a Whitehead household in Somerville, MA with a “head of household” being a George J. Whitehead and a 11 year old daughter, Mary Whitehead! I also came across in the SSDI of a Mary Whitehead of Somerville, MA born 17 Dec 1919-died 24 Apr 1987, age 67! Also found in my research was an obituary of a Helen F. Whitehead of Somerville, MA who passed in 2002. By reading the names of her parents, brothers and sisters who pre-deceased Helen, combined with the names indicated in the 1930 US Census of the Whitehead Family household in Somerville, MA – what do you get!!! All I can say is that everything matches up!!!

What I want to say is that I do not want to “intrude” into this family as there was only one sibling left, of nine to Mary Whitehead, in which I had the pleasure to speak with on the phone a few years back. This woman, Evelyn C. (Whitehead) White, passed away at the age of 84 on 11 Jan 2008.

I wish to sit down and talk with someone related to this Whitehead Family and learn more about Mary Whitehead, my biological grandmother, what their heritage was/is and etc. for my own curiosity reasons. I do have many other questions and would love to talk to descendants of this family. Some questions include:

1. Only two out of five sisters married. Only one, Catherine (Whitehead) Graham, had children! Why was this? Did it have to do with anything medically? NOTE: Sisters of Mary passed at the following ages: Mary-67 (never married); Catherine-84 (married); Margaret-62 (twin to Mary, never married); Helen-81 (never married) and Evelyn-84 (married).

2. Only one out of four brothers (George Jr.) married. George Whitehead Jr, had one child! Why was this? Did it have to do with anything medically? NOTE: Brothers to Mary passed at the following ages: Joseph-55 (?); George, Jr-77 (married); Robert-43 (never married) and Francis-16 (never married).

3. George J. Whitehead Sr, father to these 9-children, passed at the age of 64. His sister, Mary E. Whitehead, never married and passed at the age of 90 and a brother, Herbert, passed before the age of 55. Why was this? Did it have to do with anything medically?

4. Where does their mother: Catherine M. [Kate] (Connors) Whitehead rest? What was her death date and where? NOTE: Catherine, mother to these 9-children, passed around the age of 50 in about 1935. Why was this? Did it have to do with anything medically?

5. And the $1,000,000,000 Question: Any clue to who my father’s biological father could have been? (A relationship that 16 year old Mary A. Whitehead would have had around in early 1936 (January 1936?) as my father was born in October 1936).