Gustave Dutaud The Lawyer

Gustave Dutaud, a member of the Bruneau family, was my grandmother, Beatrice Bruneau Raguin’s first cousin. I hope they knew each other as both lived in Montreal and from what I have found out, Gustave was worth knowing!

He was well-liked and well-respected as per messages in newspapers after his death. “There is a sense of loss when good men die, something goes from the richness of the world, something we can ill spare. Such is the feeling aroused by the death of Gustave Dutaud.” according to Marguerite Cleary.

“ If he was not conventionally religious he was a fine example of a French Canadian Christian, whom to know was a rare privilege.” said George Hosford.

His mother Virginie Bruneau, was 38 when she married Francois Dutaud and they only had one child. Gustave attended the Feller Institute, in Grande Ligne, Quebec south of Montreal, the school founded by Henriette Feller for French Protestants. She along with Louis Roussy came to Canada from Switzerland as missionaries, to convert the French Catholics. Gustave’s grandparents, Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prudhomme heard their gospel and converted in the 1850s along with their children.

Gustave later entered McGill University where he obtained a BA in 1903 and a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) in 1909. He worked as a reporter for the Montreal Gazette while completing his law degree. He was a KC (Kings Consul), an official interpreter for the Court of Kings Bench and practised from his own law firm.

“He had a lion’s heart for anyone who suffered under injustice.” Much of his legal practice concerned a number of social welfare organizations including the Society for the Preservation of Women and Children. He was interested in the troubles of the poor and used his legal training to help them out of difficulties. Gustave won a case for a woman hit by a car on Sherbrooke Street and McGill College, where the driver blamed the pedestrian for the accident.

He lead a busy life. He was a member of the Montreal Reform Club, the goal of which, according to its 1904 constitution, was “the promotion of the political welfare of the Liberal party of Canada.” Also a member of the Knights of Pythias organization which believed, “It is important to promote cooperation and friendship between people of goodwill. One way to happiness is through service, friendship, charity, benevolence and belief in a supreme being.”

In 1923 Gustave took his first trip to Europe. He accompanied the Montreal Publicity Association to a London convention as their honorary legal adviser. Aside from his time in England he also toured France and Scotland. “He returned to Canada more than ever convinced of the desirability of this country as a place in which to live.” He was amazed at the poor living conditions of the French peasant farmers. He described the French Chateaux as, “picturesque but uncomfortable, much nicer in pictures than as places to live.” The French wanted to replace war-damaged stone buildings with the same and not live in stick-built houses common in Canada.

Europe was still suffering after World War I. The group visited the battlefields of France. Gustave found “Verdun a sinister expanse of horrors surrounding a miserable medieval town, which had been destroyed by shell fire. There were still many ghastly reminiscences of the war. A trench where many of the French troops had been buried alive and where the soldiers still stood buried, with the tips of their riffles and bayonets protruding from the ground.”

“The finest things he saw in Europe were the masterpieces at the Louvre while the beauty of Scotland entranced him, as quite the most lovely country visited, more so even than his ancestral France.”

His compassion for people included his parents. They moved to Montreal to live with him after his father became ill. His mother stayed with him after his father’s death, until she died in 1926. Unfortunately, Gustave never married or had children, so when he died in 1949, another line of the Bruneau family ended.


Montreal Star, 11 July 1949 page 10. accessed April 22, 2022. George Hosford. George Hosford roomed with Gustave and later was warmly received at his home and office.

Montreal Star July 7. 1949 Letters to the Editor page 10. accessed April 22, 2022. Marguerite Cleary. She recalled Gustave Dutaud as a man with a mind that was noble, not conventionally religious, a lover of Anatole France, he expected little from humanity and sided by nature with the underdog, a gentleman.

Gustave Dutaud Obituary: Gazette, Montreal Quebec, Canada. June 25, 1949. Page 15. Accessed from April 19, 2022.

Old World Living Conditions Poor: The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) · 12 Mar 1925, Thursday, Page 6. Accessed from April 19, 2022. Gustave’s trip to Europe.

McGill Year Books: Accessed November 21, 2022. Gustave Dutaud McGill BA 1903. He was also in the Drama club while obtaining his BA, and one of only seven students in third year law. Gustave advertised in the 1916 year book as Barrister and solicitor.

Quebec Heritage News: 

The Montreal Reform Club, at 82 Sherbrooke St West, used the building as its city headquarters for half a century. Established on June 17, 1898, the Reform Club was the social wing of the Liberal Party of Canada, and its provincial wing in Quebec. By 1947, the club counted a remarkable 850 members, 670 French-speaking and 180 English-speaking. 

The irony, of course, is that since April of 1973 the building has belonged to the nationalist and pro-independence Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal. On May 17, 1976, the SSJB renamed the property La Maison Ludger Duvernay, in honour of the founder of the Society. The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal has never complained of the presence of frightening federalist ghosts within its walls! accessed November 27, 2022.

Anatole France: French poet, journalist, and novelist with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie Française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature, in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized by a nobility of style, profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament.”

Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières in the Early Days of British Canada

Early View of Montreal

Montreal Today

Above photo found at montreal.html

Ordinances, proclamations, etc. issued by the military governors
of Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivieres, from the capitulation of
Quebec until the establishment of civil government on
August 10, 1764

The following database contains links to authors who have written on the subject of the Capitulation of Quebec and the aftermath. Also included are numerous biographies of the people who played a major role during that period.

Click the link below to access the database in a new window,

From Daguerreotype to Digital in Four Generations

Sarah Maclean Macleod : Daguerrotype or Tintype

The above picture is a digital reproduction of a tintype or daguerreotype portrait of Sarah Marion McLean, my husband’s great great grandmother, taken (most probably) around the time of her marriage in 1849 in Flodden, Quebec. I scanned the metal photograph to computer over 10 years ago.

The pic above is composite montage of Sarah’s 4 times great granddaughter, Nora, my granddaughter born 2019, stored on my cellphone. The collage consists of photos snapped from moment of her birth until her 1st birthday. These pics are but a fraction of the pictures existing of Mademoiselle Nora, now 4 years old, on various cellphones belonging to family.

I have in my possession only two other photos of Nora’s 4x great granny, Sarah, one where she stands beside her seated husband (Isle of Lewisman John Mcleod ) looking very pregnant. Another cardboard studio photo of her is from her final year. At the back of the photograph someone wrote in her name and dates. Sarah Marion McLean McLeod 1825-1912. She may actually be dead in the photo.

Unfortunately, I have misplaced the metallic originals, so I can’t test whether they are daguerreotypes or tintypes. (Tintypes are slightly magnetic.) They must be in a box somewhere in the garage with the other ‘important’ family photos I am missing. I mean, it has to be, right? I would never have thrown out such precious mementos.

The Macleods emigrated to Quebec in 1838, before so many others in their clan were pushed out in the infamous ‘clearances.’ Sarah Maclean from Coll arrived in Quebec a little later, after her parents and two brothers died back home. She had a sister in the province. Sarah, who was born at the height of the Industrial Revolution, led a long life in southern Quebec before passing away just as the motor car was making life in the Eastern Townships much more exciting. Too bad. Apparently, she loved to travel about.

Sarah is oft mentioned in family letters I have on hand from the 1908-1913 period. The family is feuding over her care in old age. Apparently, she speaks only ‘the Gaelic.’

A few years ago, I digitally enhanced her portrait. There was a white ‘hole’ in her forehead. I scanned the dag/tintype into the computer (afraid that any residue from harsh chemicals on the photo might be harmful to me) and filled in the hole using Photoshop.

Later on I embellished the photo of this Scottish ancestor whose face has passed down through the generations.

So, in the almost 200 years between the births of Sarah and Nora, the photographic world has gone from solid metal daguerreotype to a multiverse of ephemeral digital media – with the act of taking photographs becoming progressively easier.

Photographers in the Victorian Age were well-heeled trailblazers and techno-enthusiasts in possession of a great deal of very expensive -and very cumbersome – equipment. Today taking pictures is, no, exaggeration, mere child’s play. Nora is already pretty adept with a cellphone. I imagine in a very few years she’ll be taking candid photos of me as I crawl out of bed and creating instant animations with my dishevelled image and posting them online. Well, she already is.

Nora is already taking candid photos of her grandmother.

Sarah Marion McLean McLeod saw great advances in photography within her very own lifetime.

Although I have only three photographs of Sarah, I have many more of her daughter, Margaret McLeod Nicholson, my husband’s great grandmother 1853-1942 , perhaps 15 in total, and even more, around 75, of her granddaughter Marion Nicholson Blair, my husband’s grandmother, 1887-1947.

Margaret Macleod Nicholson, Sarah’s daughter. 1912. “I have the new pictures. I do not think they make me very good-looking.” (Letter)
Advert for Kodak, aimed at women, without the technical jargon in camera ads aimed at men.
Photo of Margaret, her daughters Edith and Flo and a neighbour taking tea on the lawn circa 1912. Colourized by me. Taken by Marion as she is in another pic from the same day.

According to her 1906 diary, Marion Nicholson (my husband’s grandmother) who was a teacher liked ‘to fool around taking Kodaks’ during her summer vacations. The Nicholson likely purchased their camera at Sutherland’s drug store in their home town of Richmond.

This was clipped because of the final potato entry, I imagine.
1910 Ad from the Delineator Women’s Magazine.
The Nicholson family photo album with the ‘tea on the lawn’ in upper right corner with Marion on the ground in her white dress. The album is full of pics of unnamed people,too. Alas!
Marion, detail from pic above.
My fave photo from album: Sailing in Hudson, Quebec.
Trip to Potton Springs. I love this pic. It looks like a still from an old movie. Where’s Lillian Gish?
Collage of Sarah’s female descendants up until the 1970s. That’s the ‘death’ photo of Sarah top left.

And the family photographs just keep on coming throughout the 20th century. There was that first decade, the era of shirtwaists and silly-looking BIG hats; then the roaring twenties with Sarah’s descendants in home-made flapper dresses sporting crude bobs; then the 30s with the Nicholson women wearing tonnes of movie star makeup to emulate their favourite big screen thespians; then the 40’s with the women in suits with big shoulders or, yes, even military garb; the 50’s ladies in A-line floral sun dresses sporting wing-tipped sunglasses; the 60’s gals reclining in frilly one piece bathing suits at the cottage, all puffing on cigarettes.

Nora will likely have thousands and thousands of photos taken of her in her lifetime. Still, I wonder, will any of these photographs be accessible to HER four times great granddaughter? Or will they have vanished over the years into the Cloud? I have already lost many many valued pics and videos when my ‘ancient” Note 2 suddenly expired.

Should I, as the family genealogist, be printing out all of the best photos on glossy paper with a colour printer with permanent ink, putting them into a giant album – a real album – for these future generations? (Always making sure to put names and birth dates to the pictures.)

(This would be an extremely costly proposition considering the price of colour ink.)

Or, do I merely create an enormous virtual album and put it on a key and into the safety deposit box and hope against hope that it won’t be casually tossed out one day – and that the info on the key will remain accessible?

Maybe all that will be left of the bazillions of photos of Nora, my granddaughter, will be on novelty items like coffee cups and calendars given to me each Christmas.

Or perhaps her image will exist only on this blog post, ready to be extracted from the ether in 2300 by some self-styled cyber-archaeologist.

I’m no fortune teller but I can hazard a good guess…but, first, I have to find that box of precious old photos down in the garage.

Possibly my favorite pic from the Nicholson collection. Waiting for the bus in Richmond, circa 1908. Edith Nicholson standing at front with young cousin Stanley Hill in front of her. Flora seated at left. Could be a scene from the Music Man. What is that decoration on Edith’s hat?

Years ago I wrote an essay for the Globe and Mail on the same topic. It was very well received and often reprinted. Gone with the WIndows.

The Judicial Archives during the French Regime of New France 1644-1693

Montreal’s Old Courthouse

Along the north side of Notre Dame East near Jacques-Cartier Square, three courthouses stand together. The most interesting is the neoclassical Old Courthouse, Montreal’s oldest palace of justice (1856) which is now an annex of the Montreal City Hall, and a preferred spot for wedding photos. The “New Courthouse”  from the 1920s, used for criminal trials before being turned into a conservatory and later a court of appeal, and the oversized Palais de Justice, built in 1971 when concrete and smoked glass were the rage. by  Dick Nieuwendyk  of The Montreal Times

The Judicial Archives during the French Regime of New France

1644-1693  &  1693-1769

In 2022, students at McGill University, Université de Montréal, Université Laval, Concordia University, UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and at Chicoutimi, these students would be in a position to attend classes which in part address the Judicial Archives during the French regime of New France (1644-1759).

 Among genealogical societies across Québec, the following societies:

Société de généalogie de Québec at Quebec City, Société généalogique canadienne-française in Montréal, Société de généalogie de l’Estrie at Sherbrooke, are most likely teaching their members about the Judicial Archives of New France.


The content of the link was constructed for family lineage researchers who have graduated from traditional genealogy search engines. It is a powerful dossier for family lineage searches who have graduated from the traditional Church & Civil Registers of acts of birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burials.

Contents of the database link below:

Royal Jurisdiction of Montreal 1693-1769

Guide to Court Records

Bailiwick Dossiers of Montreal

Transcripts of trial proceedings

Inventories of judgments of the High Judiciary Council of New France 1717-1760

Inventories of Ordinances issued by the Government Stewards of New France

Inventory of insinuations of the Provost of Québec

Bailiwick Dossiers of Montréal recorded by Notaries

Inventories of notary registries of the French Regime

Notaries & Clerk Registrars of the Court – Judicial District of Montreal – 1668-1760

Repositories in Canada

Understanding Mary, My Protestant Irish Ancestor

Can I learn anything about my great great great grandmother’s life, despite having only a name, a birthplace and a rough idea of where she lived as she raised her children?

That challenge led me to a fascinating thesis about the Irish Protestant Identity in Ontario written in 2010 by Brenda Hooper-Goranson. Hooper-Goranson’s research describes how many Irish women of Mary’s time ensured a lasting Irish identity in Canada that differed from that in the homeland.

Thanks to Ms. Hooper-Goranson, I have been able to imagine the life of women like my ancestor in general terms even if her actual life and personality remain obscure.

An Irish Protestant identity was transferred to Canada as solidly intact as any Irish Catholic identity was and it can even be argued that the former outlasted the latter with regard to late nineteenth-early twentieth century Canadianizing influences,” wrote Hopper-Goranson in the introduction of her thesis. “That distinctive presence was changed or softened in only one regard. In time, with the space and distance that Canada afforded, abrading homeland identities might be abridged, and Irish Protestant and Irish Catholic on new soil found opportunities to simply be ‘Irish’.1

People like Mary maintained connections to family in Ireland, helped foster relationships with neighbours, brought recipes, seeds, textiles and furniture from their home country to their new communities and fostered religious practices and apprenticeships in their children.

Whether Mary herself did such things isn’t certain. We do know that she was born in Ireland, thanks to the 1932 death certificate of her daughter.2 That same document mentions her husband’s Scottish roots, the family religion of Brethren, their daughter’s 1856 birth in Orangeville, Canada West and her death in Weston, Ontario.

Those facts allowed me to make several assumptions about my great great grandmother’s life that enabled me to read Hooper-Goranson’s thesis with an eye to imagining more. We know for sure that Mary Willard travelled from Ireland to Canada West at some point, and the decision probably wasn’t hers. A father, a husband—in those days, women didn’t often get to set their own destinies.

Where she lived in Ireland, whether she lived in other places too, whether she married her Scottish husband in Europe or elsewhere, whether they met on a specific journey or after separately travelling to North America isn’t clear. All I know for sure is that Mary Willard identified as Irish; her faith was Protestant; and she and her husband lived in Canada West when her daughter was born. Given that her daughter died in the Grand River region not far from her birth, it’s likely that her parents lived in the same region for most of their lives.

We do know that in the 1800’s, Canada attracted more migrants from Ireland than any other country in the world. When possible, these migrants tended to settle together with others of the same religion, many in Canada West, which became Ontario.

Irish hostilities between Protestants and Catholics became prevalent late in that century. Fenians raided Canada West from Irish communities in the northern states beginning in 1866. Riots broke out in Toronto in 1875, during the Jubilee March and in 1878, when O’Donavon Rossa visited the city to give a speech.

In most Canada West communities, however, Hooper-Goranson argues that the challenges of felling forests, building homes, subsistence farming and mourning the losses from fevers and disease blurred the lines between groups. Often, a general homesickness for Ireland linked Catholic and Protestant settlers together into a common identity.

Class structures brought to the New World from Europe when Mary Willard lived fell apart in a matter of months, primarily to the amount of work required just to stay alive. Women of all stations did everything required to run a household, including helping grow crops for food, making candles, producing soap, grinding sugar, baking bread, milking cows, knitting or spinning clothes and preparing flour or wool. People offering domestic assistance had so many possible positions, they could be choosy.

…the observations of lrish Protestant immigrant James Reford show that he too, took note of a change in the social climate in America when he complained that even Irish Catholic servants “from the bogs of Connoght” expected certain comforts and conveniences far different from Home. “If you want a girl to do housework the first question is have you got hot and cold water in the house, stationary wash tubs, wringer? Is my bedroom carpeted [with] bureau table wash stand and chairs … and what privileges and the wages? … The writer makes the charge that such girls are too ambitious, and deceitful about their previously humble origins.3

Despite the amount of hard work, Irish women in Upper Canada worked hard to match the fashion trends back in Ireland.

After joining her husband in Canada in 1836, Margaret Carrothers wrote several years later from London, Upper Canada, encouraging her mother to make the journey herself with the remittance pay she sent home. Part of her enticement was the reassurance that her mother could look the part of the Irish lady even on the frontier. Although Margaret requested her mother bring the latest patterns of capes, sleeves, cloaks, and bonnets she delighted that ” … Dress of every kind is worn the same here as with you only much richer and gayer …… this has become a very fashionable place you would see more silks worn here in one day than you would see in Maguires bridge in your lifetime and could not tell the difference between the Lady and the Servant Girl as it is not uncommon for her to wear a Silk Cloak and Boa and Muff on her hands and her Bonnet ornamented with artificial flowers and vail.4

Whether hostilities arose or not often depended on whether communities included nationalities beyond Catholic and Protestant Irish. In those cases, rather than differentiating between themselves, Irish settlers saw themselves as a common group against the others.

There were many occasions where Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics found cause with one another enough to march together in support or defiance of Tenants Leagues, Famine Relief, Confederation, Fenianism, Irish politics and personages, and of course, St. Patrick’s Day was held sacred to both.5

Generations of women built up and maintained national communities as religious differences diminished. They married Irish men, stayed in contact with family members in Ireland, collected Irish recipes, crafted Irish patterns onto clothing and household items, learned Irish Dancing and celebrated holidays with neighbours.

Traditionally, Irish families make their plum pudding on the last Sunday in November before the beginning of Advent. Everyone in the household is supposed to stir the mixture, which contains 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his Disciples.

My great granny Charlotte used to make one every year. I remember it being blacker than fruit cake and with a yummy rum topping.

Sadly, her recipe either was never written down or, if it was, it has since been lost. I’ve been trying to duplicate the flavour ever since.

Haven’t managed to get it right yet, but here’s my closest guess so far.

Christmas Plum Pudding


  • 1 cup (250g) brown sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup (250g) dried currants
  • 2 cups (500g) raisins, ideally different colours
  • 1/2 cup (125g) candied cherries
  • 1 can (350ml) stout (I use Buckwheat beer because I can’t eat gluten)
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps nutmeg
  • ground cloves
  • 1 cup (250g) butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and shredded


  1. Grease and line three pudding bowls or the cooking vessels of your choice.
  2. Mix everything together except for the eggs and the stout.
  3. Beat the eggs and slowly add them to the mixture.
  4. Pour the stout in slowly, mixing the whole time. This is a good time to get the family involved.
  5. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.
  6. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (130C).
  7. Pour the mixture into the pudding bowls.
  8. Place deeper pans full of water in the oven. Put the bowls into the water so that they are about 2/3rds covered.
  9. Steam for 6 hours.
  10. Set aside in a cool dark place to dry.
  11. On Christmas day, steam the puddings for about 3 hours or until cooked through.
  12. Cut and serve with rum topping.

Rum Topping


  • 1/ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup rum, brandy or sherry
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. Combine the sugar and butter with a hand mixer until fluffy and light.
  2. Beat in eggs.
  3. Add rum, brandy or sherry and nutmeg.
  4. Cook over boil water for 5 minutes or so, stirring constantly past the curdling point until the sauce looks smooth.
  5. Pour over the Christmas pudding.


1Hooper-Goranson, Brenda C. 2012. “No Earthly Distinctions : Irishness and Identity in Nineteenth Century Ontario, 1823-1900.” Dissertation, Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. McMaster University.

2 “Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” database with images, FamilySearch (Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937), Deaths > 1932 > no 3918-5556 > image 1593 of 1748; citing Registrar General. Archives of Ontario, Toronto.


4Linen Hall Library, Belfast, Edward N. Carrothers, “Irish Emigrants Letters From Canada, 1839-1870”, (Belfast Northern Ireland, 1951), pp.4-5. Margaret Carrothers, London, U.C. to Mrs. Kirk [Patrick?] Maguiresbridge, Ireland, December 25, 1839.


Seigneuries of New France and of Quebec 1654-1854

An aerial view of the seigneurial system in New France

The database below consists of the following:

Introduction to Seigneuries & Seigneurs of New France – 1654-1854

Table of Contents:

    Introductionp.   1-11
    Censitaires Recordsp. 11-12
    Inventory of Concessionsp. 12-14
    Notariesp. 14
    Authorsp. 14 – 124
    History Linksp. 124- 140
    Regional Genealogy Links by Countyp. -140 161
    Repositories in Francep. 161-163
    Repositories in Canadap. 163-166

The authors’ section consists of bilingual notations:

  • numerous biographical sketches of the seigneurs
  • published books, articles and theses on the subject
  •  regional studies
  • immigration
  • habitants and merchants

The Debutante

This month a Montreal tradition will resume after a two-year pandemic break: the annual St. Andrew’s Ball will take place at the Windsor Hotel on November 18. The event promises to be “a gala evening of dining, dancing and Scottish pageantry, celebrating Scottish heritage in Montreal,” featuring the Black Watch Pipes and Drums and highland dance performances.

My mother attended this event in 1937, the year that, despite her protests, she was a debutante. Writing under her married name, Joan Hamilton, she recalled that experience 40 years later, and her article, published in Montreal Scene magazine on November 26, 1977, described the endless social gatherings she and her teenage friends attended.

In those days “coming out” didn’t mean what it does today. Then it meant that a young woman of 18 was introduced to society, and to members of the opposite sex, which was important because my mother and most of her friends attended separate private schools for girls or boys.

She wrote, “For a tightly-knit group of Montrealers whose growing up took place in the mid-30s, life consisted of a round of parties that started with events called sub-deb dances and progressed to coming-out balls. Actually, they weren’t as grand as they sound. Life was simpler then, and one lived by a strictly prescribed social code. The sub-deb parties were given at private homes, primarily during the Christmas holidays, and the ages of the future debutantes ranged from 14 to 17.” When the girls became debutantes, the parties became balls.

Although many Canadians were suffering economically during the Depression, my mother recalled that there were dozens of debutantes each season, and there was a ball at least once, and sometimes twice a week from October until February. Many debutantes came out at their own parties, but others were presented at either the St. Andrew’s Ball or charity balls put on by the Royal Victoria Hospital Auxiliary. At that time, most of the balls were held at the Winter Club on Drummond Street, the Hunt Club on Côte Ste-Catherine Road, or the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The St. Andrew’s Ball took place at the Windsor Hotel.

In Montreal the St. Andrew’s Ball was first held in 1848, but some members of the society preferred a dinner for the men only, and the next ball wasn’t held until 1871. When it next took place, it was described as “the social event of the year,” probably because Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise and her husband were the guests of honour. Over the following years, Montreal’s Scots sometimes celebrated St. Andrew’s Day with a banquet or a concert, and the society did not choose a ball as its principal event until 1896.

According to the Montreal Daily Star, more than 900 people—a record—attended the 1937 edition of the St. Andrew’s Ball, including the Governor General of Canada and his wife, Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir. “Merriment reigns as sons and daughters of auld Scotia lay aside their cares,” the newspaper headline announced.

In the ‘30s, the debutantes wore long white evening dresses and white, elbow-length kid gloves, while their escorts were in white tie and tails. The evening began with dinner parties, with cocktails and wine served. On arriving at the ball, the guests went through a receiving line so the proud parents of the debutante in whose honour the party was being held could introduce her. Then the dancing began, with music provided by an orchestra. Supper was served around midnight, accompanied by champagne.

“One’s partner at dinner was supposed to, and usually did, have the first and last dance and escort you to supper, as well as take you home,” she recalled. “It was a good security blanket.” My mother was not one of those girls who was so popular with the boys that her dance card for the evening was always full. In fact, she hinted that she spent a fair amount of time in the ladies’ room, pretending to be invisible. Nevertheless, she wrote that her teen years were a lot of fun, going to movies, picnics and corn roasts in the summer and taking the train to the Laurentians to go skiing in winter, after the party season had wrapped up.

Two years later life changed for everyone, and some of the young men who had attended those parties went off to war and never came back. Nor did my mother marry one of the boys she was introduced to as a debutante; my parents met in Ottawa, where they were both working, just as the war was ending.

This article also appears on

Grand Voyers – Road Commissioners

Account by the Grand Voyer, Lanouiller de Boisclerc, 1735

At the onset of the 18th Century, the road system in New France crisscrossed only a minute part of the sprawling territory.There were the «rangs» of course, and short stretches of road here and there, but no thoroughfare linking the capital city of Québec to Montreal. In 1706, the Conseil supérieur (grand council) decreed that a road be built along the river shoreline bear settlements. Thanks to ste statute labour of his «corvées du roy», the Grand Voyer (senior road surveyor) Eustache Lanouiller de Boisclerc began work in 1731. When construction was completed in 1737, the chemin du Roy was 7.4 metres wide and streched over 280 kilometers, crossing through 37 seignories.\

The contents of the database below consists of :

Inventory of Minutes of Grand Voyers meetings………… p.4

Grand Voyers  –  Road Commissioners…………………………p.4 – 17

Maps  – county, regional, township, seigniories ……………p.17 – 42

Authors – who wrote about the Chemin du Roy  ………….p.42 – 103

History Links ……………………………………………………………… p.103 – p.118

Quebec Genealogical Societies …………………………………. p. 118 – 122

Publishers France – Canada ………………………………………..p.122 – 145

French Canadian Genealogy ……………………………………… p.145 – 157

                Fichiers Origines links for all 95 departments in France

Repositories in Canada ………………………………………………. p.157 – 159

Liquid Gold

Homer said in the 8th century BCE that olive oil was liquid gold. The olive tree reached Greece sometime in the 28th century BCE, introduced by the Phoenicians.1 A staple in Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil has been used for religious rituals , medecines, as fuel in oil lamps, as well as to make soap. Spartans and other ancient Greeks rubbed themselves with olive oil when exercising in the gymnasia.2 Aristotle also described the use of olive oil as a contraceptive. Mixed with either oil of cedar, ointment of lead, or ointment of frankincense, this mixture can be applied to the cervix to prevent pregnancy.3 The olive tree was so important to the ancients Greeks that they awarded an olive wreath to the winners of the Olympic games, symbolizing peace.4

I just came back from visiting my husband’s family in Greece and, as it was October, many of the conversations revolved around when each household would harvest their olives. Obviously, not everyone in Greece has olive trees, but it is common on the islands and in rural areas for each household to have olive trees. The olives are harvested to extract olive oil for family consumption. From the conversations that I listened to, it was important to harvest the olives just before they fell off the trees. This would ensure that the olives were at their greatest weight.  They should also be harvested before they are fully ripe, when they start to change colour to a purple colour, but are not yet fully black. The olive oil will be extracted from the olives at the local mill and it is important to time one’s appointment so that the olives do not sit too long after harvesting and sour.

Family olive harvesting has not changed much over the years. Olives are usually harvested by hand, with a rake that dislodges them gently so that they fall onto a tarp or a net at the bottom of the tree. All stray olives are gathered up and leaves and sticks are sifted out as much as possible.

Olive harvesting on Tinos, 1919 5

An example of the nets used to harvest olives

Olive oil was formerly extracted using millstones. The olives were emptied into a stone basin and ground into a mash. The millstone was harnessed to a donkey. The mash was then scooped out and poured into baskets that allowed the olive oil to drain out into vats. 7

Old stone olive mill8

I had the opportunity to visit a modern mill this olive season and, while mechanized, the process is identical. The purpose is to squeeze the oil from the olives to extract “liquid gold.” Initially the olives are weighed. The first machine separates the olives from any leaves and sticks and washes them. They are then sent to a barrel that crushes the olives and extracts the oil. As the oil is extracted, the machine counts the number of liters as the oil pours into a separate basin. Once this process is finished, the oil is poured into individual containers so that the client can take these containers home. At the mill that I visited, the olive pulp or mash is put into a compost pile.

Liquid gold 9

  1., accessed 31 October 2022.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Wikipedia, Olive Wreath,, 1 November 2022
  5. Baud-Bovy, Daniel et Frédéric Boissonnas, Des Cyclades en Crète au gré du vent, Geneva, Boissonnas & Co, 1919.
  6. Greece is travel, culture, gastronomy and more, Crete, Olive Oil: The Past, Present and Bright Future of Crete’s Lifeblood,, 3 November 2022
  7. Traveling Classroom Foundation, Making Olive Oil,, 3 November 2022
  8. Ibid.
  9. Green Golden Gold,, accessed 3 November 2022

Halloween Fairy

A family van pulled up outside the front of our house on Halloween night in 2020. A tiny fairy, dressed in white, leaped from the van completely beside herself, jumping up and down and waving at us in our living room window. She and her buddies ran to the goodie tray, picked something, and ran back again pausing to wave again before piling back into the van.

Pure Joy!

Generations of children have enjoyed Halloween over the years and perhaps the planning of costumes took priority in their lives even when their worlds seem to be falling apart.

For example, the children dressed in costumes depicting soldiers and nurses during World War 1 –

While during World War 2, the costumes became a little more intricate like this young boy dressed as an airplane –

Every year, I dusted off the sewing machine and happily pursued my daughter’s Halloween costume project. I especially remember the cat costume and the dalmatian (Walt Disney’s 101) costume as two of her favourites which were enjoyed time and time again afterward as part of the “dress-up” box.

In 2020, the whole world was held hostage by the Coronavirus. Halloween became a real challenge to those who wanted to celebrate the children’s special night. You really had to use your imagination if you wanted to distribute candy to the “trick-or-treaters”. Some folks even invented cardboard chutes that delivered candy to the children safely distanced from their front doors. 

But we had something else in mind.

Our grandkids in England spent the evening safely  at home in costumes with a feast of ghoulish fajitas, carved “jack-o-latern” red peppers and witches fingers for dinner with “vampire teeth cookies” for dessert. Their photos inspired us to make something special happen for our local children daring to go door-to-door during the pandemic.

We set up our display at the end of the driveway on Halloween afternoon. Our painted pumpkin displayed high on a stool and, a little lower down at kiddie height, a small table with a goodie tray filled with chocolate bars and chips and a sign inviting the children to help themselves.

As the final touch, we brought out a tall double lamp and plugged it into the house outlet with a long extension cord. The upper lamp pointed towards the sky and the lower lamp aimed directly on the pumpkin and candy.

I proudly posted a photo of our Halloween setup on social media. “Is this an all-you-can-eat buffet?” commented someone jokingly. Perhaps, but that would depend on if the children were greedy or not. If the first child emptied the tray into their bag then it would be lights out for the rest of the night.

Halloween 2020 – We watched the activity from our living room window behind the bush

But that did not happen.

A steady stream of neighbourhood children on foot were the first to stop by. Their mothers gently urging them to only take a couple treats. Then they happily skipped away after a quick wave in thanks.

After a few hours, my husband checked on the candy supply and reported that we still had half our stash left.

Near the end of the evening, another van pulled up filled with slightly older kids. Again they all waved their thanks to us in the window after helping themselves.

We both became quite emotional every time a child waved back at us, and during those moments, everything seemed right in the world.

At the end of the evening, we were delightfully surprised to find a single bag of chips left on the tray. No one was greedy afterall.

Everyone had left something for the next person.

And for one magical evening children and adults alike could forget what was going on in the world.

I still smile whenever I think of that tiny fairy.

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