Our Newsletter


Genealogy Ensemble

A group of Montreal-based friends who meet monthly to discuss genealogy
and write about their ancestors


June  2018    Newsletter No 5




 Breton Church. Emily Carr. 1906. Public Domain Wikipedia.


“Whether you are a Franco-American or Franco-Ontarian, if your ancestor first came to New France, you should visit Fichier Origine,” advises Jacques Gagné in his important new post Researching Your French Ancestors Online on our blog at http://www.genealogyensemble.com.

If you are a serious genealogist with roots in France or Quebec do check out Jacques’ useful tips.

More recently, Jacques has posted a popular article on How to Search for Huguenots Ancestors in France. He considers this piece some of his best work to date. Clearly, it’s not to be missed.

Every Saturday, new articles by Jacques Gagné are uploaded to the Genealogy Ensemble website, so look out for more insights into Quebecois genealogy in the coming year.

With Spring having finally sprung, we end the ‘business’ year with a short and sweet 2017-2018 summer summary issue.


What a Year for Genealogy Ensemble!

We Wrote, Edited, Designed and Published a Book!

It was one year ago, in June 1917, that we nine authors of Beads in a Necklace: Family Stories from Genealogy Ensemble set out on a brave self-publishing endeavor. Who was to guess our project would be such a success!

By May, 2017, we had finalized our choices for the stories we wanted to put in the book. In June, Janice Hamilton and Tracey Arial got to work editing the stories.

During the summer of 2017, there was much back- and-forth between the co-editors and authors as paragraphs were re-arranged and sentences were polished.

Once everyone was satisfied, the forty-nine stories were sent to an outside copy-editor, Joann Egar, for further copy-editing.

Meanwhile, over the summer, Production Manager Sandra McHugh was keeping all the authors on task.

Special meetings (outside the monthly meeting) were held to decide how the book would be organized.
Each author posted two photographs per story on Dropbox. In the summer/early autumn, Sandra worked on the book’s design and layout and Claire Lindell edited the photos.

At the same time we picked out a printer.

Everyone continued proof-reading. A cover was designed by Leslie Wagner.

We decided upon a launch date: November 15, 2017.

Claire and Sandra visited the printer in October. Publicity was prepared by Dorothy and Janice for radio and television and genealogy websites and organizations. The launch party was organized by Lucy Anglin and others and invitations were sent out.

The “Beads” manuscript, on a Word doc, was sent to the printer the first week of November. The finished hold-in-your-hands soft cover edition was ready JUST in time on the 15th. Claire Lindell drove the boxes of books to our launch party at St. John the Baptist Church in Pointe-Claire with minutes to spare!

Still, upon seeing the finished product, we all breathed a sigh of relief. The book looked great!


The launch party was great fun!


Tracey on Mutsumi Takahashi CTV at Noon. (clipped from CTV Montreal video) You can watch the interview here. https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1278589


In early January, Barb Angus led the group in a book-signing at Cole’s in the Dorval Garden’s Shopping Center. A great time was had by all and many copies of Beads were sold.


Our Presentations



Between January and April, 2018, presentations on How to Write Your Family Stories were held at the Montreal West Library (Janice and Mary Sutherland), at the Benny Library in NDG, at the Hudson Memorial Library and at the Church of St-John the Baptist.
In January, Tracey Ariel, Barb Angus and Claire Lindell took to the 417 highway in a snowstorm to speak to a gathering of about 150 people at the monthly meeting of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, or BIFHSGO.


Big Crowd in Ottawa (Courtesy BIFHSGO).

And it’s not over….

On July 15, 2018, Janice will be giving a talk on How to Write Your Family Stories at Biddeford, Maine, focusing on her Puritan ancestors . She expects about 20 people to attend.

In the fall, Janice and other group members will be giving a How To Write Your Family Stories presentation at the Mordecai Richler Library in Mile End, Montreal. October 21, 2018 is the tentative date.

Similar presentations on the West Island and elsewhere are in the works. So, stay tuned.

If your library group, community group, women’s group, writing group or church group would enjoy a How to Write Your Family Stories presentation, contact us at genealogyensemble@gmail.com.


Summary of Stories


Janice Hamilton’s latest post is William the Conqueror and Me and it deals with some very deep ancestry, as you might guess. The Beads in a Necklace co-editor recently discovered an ancestor, Margaret Wyatt, who is descended from Henry I, William’s youngest son. Janice is the author of several non-fiction books for children, one of which is on the very topic, so it’s quite a coincidence.

Barb Angus posts this month about the hard life of Allan Syme of Blantyre, her husband’s grandfather, a Scottish coal miner. There is some great history in Barb’s post, as well. Read A Coal Mining Heritage to learn about what it was like to ‘descend into the darkness’ almost every day to put food on the table.

And, finally, in her recent post, Tracey Arial discusses the difficulties of tracing First Nations ancestors. Read Who were Sophie Henault-Canada’s Parents?


Quote Unquote

When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry,
you are talking about any person on Earth.

Alex Haley


What We’ll Be Doing on our Summer Vacation.


For some of us, summer vacation means family and a break from genealogical exploration and writing. For others of us, it means traveling to far-away places to enjoy the scenery and to do some feet-on-the-ground style research.

Lucy Anglin will be visiting England. First, she will visit the grand kids in Reading, and then she will tour the rugged coast of northern Scotland. Lucy will finish up in Scotland where she will tap into her Lindsay ancestors. “I hope they will show me a good time for my birthday,” she says.

Afterwards, there’s a big family get-together in Beaconsfield and then Lucy escapes for two weeks of ‘quiet time” at her deserted island cottage on Lac Papineau.

Marian Bulford says her two grandchildren and their parents are coming over (to Montreal) for July. Her son lives in England.

“I plan to show the kids our book and photos of their great-grandparents on both sides. One photo of an aunt, my Dad’s sister, is the image of our granddaughter. My son and his wife were suitably surprised.

“As Louis and Molly are only five and seven, I will keep it short but my intention is to get them interested early.

“Next year, I intend to write a story about my paternal Grandfather who was the ‘Village Policeman’ in Cornwall, UK; also a story about Indexing online; and another story about the British Woollen Act which I found out about whilst indexing – more to come on that!”

Apart from presenting at Biddeford, Maine, this summer, Janice Hamilton will be looking at her American ancestors.

“I’m looking at my Puritan ancestors who came from England to New England between 1630 and 1640 and settled in Springfield and Westfield MA, Windsor CT and Hartford CT.”

Sandra McHugh will be vising her husband’s ‘home’ in Greece. She says, “As my mother-in-law is 87 and sharp as a whip, I get to practice my Greek this way and it passes the time. I spend long conversations with her about the family. She tells me stories. I also spend a bit of time with Georges’ (husband’s) cousin who is also into genealogy.”

Sandra also hopes to go to the archives on the island of Tinos. The archives are located in Xinara, the diocese of the island. “The archivist, Irene, is very helpful and she actually brings out the old parish records and looks them up for you (we are not allowed to flip through them as they want to preserve them carefully). This is such a cool thing. She is really a delight and speaks English.”

There’s more. “If I am lucky, my mother-in-law may organize a meeting with the head of the Catholic Church on Tinos. He is her cousin. He is genealogist and an historian as he publishes scholarly works on the history of the island. So even to talk to him about the history of the island would be a thrill. This is my dream and she has offered but it has not come together yet.”

Dorothy Nixon will be staying closer to home with multiple visits to the Cinematheque Quebecois to comb through their collection of documents related to the Famous Players movie chain.

Dorothy’s great uncle Isadore Crepeau was Vice-President of the United Amusement Corporation in the 1920’s. That company erected dozens of the classic era movie houses in Montreal, including the1930 Monkland Theatre on Monkland Avenue and the 1924 Rialto on Avenue du Parc.

Dorothy says, “I will be looking for background information on my mother’s uncle Isadore as well as any information on her father (my grandfather) Jules Crepeau, Director of City Services in the 20’s. Grandpapa Jules used his big position in a number of ways to favour the motion picture industry in the city. It was very much a family affair.” Dorothy also hopes to soak in the city scene and attend The Francofolies Festival.

As her website says, Tracey Arial does genealogy in the winter and city gardens in the summer. Tracey has a business consulting in Permaculture: “I officially became an urban agriculture entrepreneur in 2013, after joining friends to co-found the Urban Abundance Solidarity Cooperative (CAUS) in Verdun.”

From Tracey’s website: “Our company created and manages seven shared gardens in Crawford Park, two family farmers’ markets during the summer, and an aquaponics model project at the Douglas Research Institute.”

Check out the information here.

Mary Sutherland says, “Most of my activities slow down or stop over the summer except for golf, so I always think I will have lots of time to focus on genealogy. Long days at the cottage with no internet or television should allow much writing time and time to organize files but it never seems to happen.

This year I will try and organize my information to be ready to write more stories.

One thing I would like to do is drive down to the Feller Institute Cemetery. Cimetière de la Grande Ligne, Sainte-Blaise-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, is a mere 55-minute drive from my home in Montreal. Ismael Bruneau, my great Grandfather, is said to be buried there along with his father Barnabé Bruneau and his mother Sophie Prudhomme. My mother once drove her uncle, Sydney Bruneau, to the cemetery. According to my recollections, she asked him what he wanted to do for his 80th birthday and he said, “Visit his father’s grave.” This was in 1974, the last time I think anyone in my family has visited.

On May 12, 2018, just checking the cemetery, I find Ismael Bruneau’s information has been removed from the Find a Grave listing so a visit there is even more important! Was he ever there?”

For Barb Angus it’s a Norwegian Cruise to the Shetlands and the Orkneys. But first it’s Vancouver, to see the grandchildren.” Barb is very interested in the Orcadian’s past connection to the Hudson Bay Company.

Claire Lindell says: “This summer I will try my utmost to visit my older brother (85) and glean some insights from him about relatives and our parents when we lived in Sudbury, Ontario. He lives in the Muskoka area so it is a long drive!

Claire is also considering an overnight trip to Ile d’Orleans where her seventh grandfather first settled and then she will go to Chateau Richer near Ste Anne de Beaupre where he finally settled.

Another trip she is seriously considering, but not genealogically related, is a visit to the National Gallery in Ottawa for the Impressionist exhibit. “While in France I did not get to see their work. We spent too much time (if you can ever spend too much time) at the Louvre!. Now these wonderful artistic works are almost in my backyard…so no excuse.”

We thank all the fans of Genealogy Ensemble for their support this past year and wish you all a very happy summer.

See you in September!




















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