During the week of August 13, I took my parents on a genealogy-based tour of New England. My mother’s ancestors are mostly from Massachusetts and Maine, so those were our primary destinations. Along the way, just to keep things interesting, we also paid a visit to the homes of some of my literary heroes.....
Our first stop on Sunday the 13th was at St. Thomas Seminary in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where we visited Father Henry Dery – the family genealogy expert. I am related to Father Henry through my maternal grandmother’s father, Jeremiah Alfred Dery, Henry's half brother.
Emile, Henry & Jeremiah Dery.
Jeremiah was born on October 28, 1894, in Winchendon, Massachussetts. He served in the U.S. Army (Massachusetts – Pvt. 2 Co. 151 Depot Brigade) during the first World War, then married Gertrude Abbie Bergevin (May 28, 1904 – February 18, 1940) in her hometown of South Ashburnham around 1921. They had four children: Gloria Jeanette (October 16, 1922 – March 7, 1993), Dorothy Rita (August 20, 1924 – February 3, 1969), Jeremiah Daniel (March 16, 1927 – April 19, 2004) and my grandmother. After Gertrude’s death, Jeremiah’s sister Flora Mae helped raise the children at their home on Maple Street in Webster, Massachusetts – our next stop.
Jeremiah & Gertrude Dery, and daughter Gloria - 1923
Jeremiah worked as a furniture upholsterer in Webster. The Dery Brothers Upholstering Company occupied the Joslin Building at the corner of Main and Mechanic. My mother remembers visiting him at work, where he would entertain his grandchildren by spitting out nails and hammering them into place with lightning-quick reflexes. She also has fond memories of nearby Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg – or, at least, she likes saying the name, which is allegedly a Native American word for “You fish on your side, I’ll fish on my side, and nobody fishes in the middle.”
Note the name of this shopping center... and check my spelling
Afterwards, we drove north through Worcester, where Jeremiah’s father (my great great grandfather) Adelard J. Dery lived for a while before moving to the Webster-Dudley area. Adelard was born in 1873 in the town of Granby in Shefford County, Quebec. He appears in U.S. census records for 1910 and 1920 as a resident of Worcester. Adelard worked as a dairy farmer and store owner in Dudley, where he was living at the time of his death on December 26, 1933. Adelard and his first wife, Emily O’Leary Desmarais (who died in December 1907), had ten children: Jeremiah Alfred, Flora Mae, Aldege (January 6, 1898 – September 1977), Dorilla, Bibianne, Maurice O. (March 14, 1895 – January 1, 1974), Joseph, Emile, Adelard Jr. (January 1, 1907 – January 30, 1940), and a baby girl who died in infancy.
Adelard Dery (1873 - 1933)
According to the genealogy research of another relative, Adelard J. Dery is descended from Nicolas D’Hery, who was born in Havre de Grace en Seine, France, in 1625 and died on January 16, 1680, in Quebec, Canada. It has been suggested that the name Dery may have evolved from one of three towns in France with the name Hery, and that the surname was originally spelled D’Hery (“from Hery”).