May 21, 2012

A Little Family History...

George and Delia's Grave Marker, Courtesy of the "Find a Grave" Website.
It is located in the Neddo Street Cemetery in Whitehall, New York.
I've written about my Great-grandfather George Neddo before.  However, I recently ran across a book that is now digitized and available on the Web that has an interesting biographical entry about him.  The book is History and Biography of Washington county and the town of Queensbury, New York, published in 1894 by the Gresham Publishing Company of New York and Chicago.  On page 47, we find:
"CAPT. GEORGE NEDDO, who has for the last eight years held the important position of marine insurance adjuster for some of the best companies in the United States and Canada, was born in Rouse's Point, New York, which he has always made his home, on April 26, 1840.  He is a son of Peter and Mary (Belele) Neddo, who were both born in the Dominion of Canada, and where they were married, coming to the United States in 1837.

Peter Neddo was forced to leave his native country on account of his being one of Papineau's soldiers, and was given his choice to leave the country or be hanged.  He located immediately after his arrival in the village of Whitehall, where he resided until his death occurred in 1856, having been born in 1802.  He was a member of the Catholic church, and by occupation was a boat-builder. His wife died in 1885, at the age of eighty-one years; she was also a member of the Catholic church.  Capt. George Neddo grew to manhood in Whitehall, receiving his education in the schools of that village, and after leaving school, at the age of sixteen, commenced work at ship-carpentering, at which he continued up to the breaking out of the war in 1861.  In that year he enlisted in Co. A, 6th Vermont infantry, as a private, and served for three years and three months, being discharged at Brattleboro, Vermont, October 20, 1864, with the rank of captain.  In 1865 he commenced work again at boat-building at Whitehall, where he has continued manufacturing canal boats ever since.

He has completed since engaging in this business himself, one hundred and sixty canal boats, which is a greater number than has been built by any other man in Whitehall.  In 1888 he accepted the position of marine insurance adjuster, operating north of Troy and in Canada, for some of the best insurance companies.  Captain Neddo has been twice married: first in 1865, to -Mary Brown, of Whitehall; her death occurred in 1866, leaving one child, a daughter, Kate, who is the wife of John Morris, formerly of England, but now a resident of Whitehall; his second marriage was in 1867, to Delia Archambault, of Canada.  By the last marriage there have been born four sons and six daughters: Mary, Oliver, Delia, Emma, Henry, Eva, Clara, Thomas L., Robert C., and Phronie, who died in 1893, in her seventh year.
In political opinion Captain Neddo is a stanch republican, served on excise board, and has been village trustee, and takes an active interest in the success of his party."

As you might note, George's gravestone shows a date of birth in 1836 whereas the article states he was born in April of 1840.  This is typical when tracking down genealogical data.  There are often disconnects.  I tried contacting the Catholic church in which he would have been baptized, but their records from the 1830's-40s were destroyed in a fire long ago.  Then, through a Civil War site dedicated to George Neddo's 6th Vermont Infantry Regiment, I discovered a distant cousin named David Lowndes living in Oakland, California.  He has done extensive research on the Neddo family, including trips to Canada for first-hand reviews of original documentation.  This same George Neddo is David Lowndes' great grand-uncle.  It turns out the George was really born in Montreal on April 28, 1836, and baptized there the next day.  He was not born in the United States.  And even more confusing -- the real family name was Forcier.  The original French Canadians were a very small group of people with an even smaller number of distinct surnames.  To avoid confusion between two families with the same last name, families chose to assume a different family name.  In this case, my Forcier ancestors assumed the name Nadeau, later anglicized to Neddo.  In the world of genealogy and Canadian legal records, it is written as Forcier dit Nadeau.

An important lesson here -- from Peter Neddo (Pierre Nadeau to his Canadian friends), my great-great grandfather.  Given the choice of being hanged or leaving the country, choose the latter.


Becky Catroppa said...

Hi Bob...George is my great great grandfather on my mother's side! Great story!

Becky Catroppa said...

Hi Bob! I was doing some family history research and I came upon your blog. George Neddo is my great great great grandfather. Great article and nice to meet you!

Peter A. Douglas said...

A little more information. Peter Nedeau(Neddo) was also my great great grandfather. My great grandfather was Oliver Neddo, his son Albert Oliver Neddo is my grandfather, My mother was Francis Alberta Neddo (Douglas) remarried as Alger. All including my step father, Carl Alger, are buried in the Neddo cemetary in Whitehall. Thanks for all the information. Peter A. Douglas, Houston, Texas, 713-542-5029

Laurie said...

For both Peter Douglas and the Blog author - today I was chronicling the Gurney Lane Cemetery in Warren County, New York. I came across a stone for Albert Neddo who served in the Civil War and lived 1810 to 1904 according to the stone. Just looking around the net to find out more about him. Wondering if he is your family member. It says Co E 13 Regt but the rest I cannot read.

Jim Neddo said...

Very Interesting. I am a decedent of Pierre Forcier. My grandfather was George Neddo that was born in Whitehall, NY and passed away while living in Hopewell, VA. I would lover learning more!