Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Home again!

As always, my trip to the Moncton was really great! I never return home disappointed. I was able to tie up some loose ends in my research, obtain documents that I will be able to share on my web site as well as documents pertaining to my own family.

Arriving in Moncton Sunday, September 17th I was the guest of Stephen White at his home for the week. He was the perfect host and did everything possible to make our stay comfortable in every way. He is also a great cook! ;o) All of this on top of being the best researcher at this time in our Acadian history! It doesn't get better than that!

Monday evening we had dinner at the home of Paul Delaney who has produced many important pieces of research; he has done extraodinary research on the Acadians. Paul too is a great cook and we spent a wonderful evening and you must know that a great deal of the conversation revolved around research, etc.

The first thing we did when arriving on campus this morning was to go to the Acadian Book Store to see if there were any new or interesting books I did not yet have. I pick up three new books. Then off to CEA to settle down to another day of research.

Wednesday evening we went to dinner with Francis LeBlanc and his wife Norma who is a Gautreau, Aline Cormier and her friend, Marcel Jussaume who is a good friend of the family and was traveling with me with Stephen White as our guest. Hector Boudreau and his wife Jeanita who is a LeBlanc were also supposed to join us but in the end could not make it.

The highlight of this trip was that I have finally found my cousins that I knew were still living in New Brunswick. Two of my great uncles raised their families in New Brunswick so there are many cousins still living there. I focused on one of thos families this time around and one of the archivists at the Centre d'etudes acadiennes at Moncton University by the name of Ken Breau, took a small lead that I had, found a obituary that listed all of the surviving children and where they live. The next day a great "cousin" Francis LeBlanc picked me up at 8:30a.m. and we headed to Notre-Dame. I did not have the slightest notion of where to start but Francis knows just about everybody and I knew he'd have an idea of who to contact and he did indeed.

He stopped at the home of a Philippe LeBlanc but Philipped did not know the people we were looking for but suggested we go across the road to Annette Babineau's home as "she knows everybody". When searching for someone or something, that is the best news anybody could give you: that they know *everybody*!

Of course, Annette knows Francis and asked what he was doing there. He told her I was searching for my family and did she happen to know Helene LeBlanc Babineau? She said, "that's my sister-in-law"! So after making several phone calls to track my cousin down [her husband had passed away in 1999 and she no longer lived at the same house], she connected with Helene and asked if we could come over as she had a cousin from Massachusetts wanting to meet her. So off to Bouctouche where she now lives. It was a great day! We exchanged information a bit then I decided I would print my information and send it to her and she will fill in the blanks. She took us to lunch in Bouctouche for a great seafood dish. For those who have never been to Bouctouche, it is on the ocean.

After lunch we picked up our car and followed her to her brother Raymond's home, then to her brother Alyre's home and then to her daughter Claudette's home. Raymond and Alyre live in Notre-Dame and Claudette and her family live in Irishtown.

When I met Alyre he seemed quite baffled when I told him that my grandfather Damien was the brother of his grandfather Phocas. I wondered what that was about until I found out that 8 years ago he had done research on the family and had made charts, one of which he gave me. He had not found my grandfather Damien while doing his research and so that was the baffled look on his face when I introduced myself. Well now he knows that he has another great uncle he didn't know about.

There is also a cousin Rose Anna LeBlanc who is a nun but was away that day. She too lives in Bouctouche. There are two other cousins who live in Ontario. Hopefully we can all be in the Maritimes at the same time next summer!

So after spending the day, Helene did not want us to leave - how nice is that?!??! They want me to return next summer and stay with them. They could not believe that I had been searching for them for the past ten years. So next summer my stay in the Moncton area may well be longer so that I can visit with my cousins but also have plenty of time to do research.

There is also another set of cousins living in their vicinity that they were not aware of. This is why: their grandfather Phocas dropped dead at the age of 54. Their father was only two years old at the time of his death. There were ten children to care for and the mother knew she could not take care of all those children alone without their father as the bread winner. Consequently, she had relatives on her side of the family take one child each and her mother is the one who raised the father of these cousins from the age of two - so he was raised by his grandmother rather than his mother. Once that split happened following Phocas death, they were less and less with his brother Laurent's family so when the grandchildren came along they did not even know them. In fact I asked Helene if she knew Laurent and she said she remembered seeing him when he was very old. So that branch of cousins still has to be found but it should be easier when I get these cousins going on it too.

While at CEA Regis Brun who is an archivist and author dug out a land deed that was granted to my great grandfather Sylvain LeBlanc in 1848. He purchased 300 acres of land on the south side of the Cocagne River which is Notre-Dame. My grandfather Damien was two years old at the time. I now have a copy of that deed as well as a copy of the map where the property was/is today. Another archivist Ronnie-Gilles LeBlanc showed me a copy of a statement my great great grandfather Firmin LeBlanc would have made regarding a haunted house known as "La Maison Dunk" - or the "Dunk House". I now have a copy of that as well.

I also have corrections to all of the census records that were made by Stephen White. I will make those corrections as soon as I can. Lots of "pages" but I will try to get that done this weekend. Anyone who has the census transcriptions of Charles Trahan will want to check in to make those corrections once they are on my site.

I have other items that I will post to my web site Acadian Ancestral Home very soon.

Friday late morning when I saw Aline Cormier at CEA I asked her if she was interested in going to Fort Beausejour and Beaubassin. She had not yet seen the monument to the Acadians at Beaubassin so off we went. While at the Fort I purchased a good book chatted with the Claire who works for Parks Canada and remembers me year after year when I return. After we crossed the border into Nova Scotia to Fort Lawrence and down the stairs behind that area to Beaubassin. A monument with the names of the Acadians known to have been living there at the time of Deportation was erected not too long ago. It is quite a site to look over the expanse of land and to know that you are standing in that place and looking over those lands that once belonged to our Ancestors! It is no wonder they loved their Acadie. No matter where you look the land is lush and the sites of nature are gorgeous. I could just imagine their homes, barns and animals grazing in those fields.

We left Beaubassin and headed back to Moncton stopping at the Acadian Museum on campus to pick up a new Acadian flag.

Friday evening topped off the week with dinner at Francis LeBlanc's home with his wife as the chef. Norma is a great cook. At the end of the evening we didn't know if we were tired from eating so much good food, drinking so much good home made wine or laughing so much. It was a great way to end our week in Moncton.

I took photos with the cousins while with them - I will post them soon.

As always I am *very* grateful to Stephen A. White, Paul Delaney, Ken Breau, Regis Brun, Ronnie Gilles LeBlanc and Carmella the admin asst who always make my time at CEA interesting through their assistance.

Until the next time,

Your Acadian Cousin - Lucie


Sarah said...

Hi Mom! I'm so glad that you had such a fun and fruitful trip. :)


Maria Yoppolo said...

I so enjoyed reading of your trip to my old stomping grounds...I was born in Memramcook, NB (Maria Breau-1948) and lived in Moncton (Sunny Brae) until after graduating from Ecole Secondaire Vanier 1967...(right next to "L'Universite"
I often return to my homeland, oh beautiful Canada....and have been to the places you hace mentioned...
Rented a Chalet in Bouctouche several years back...overlooking the "Pay de la Sagouine"...had the best "poutine rapee and chiarde" there...at the Bouctouche restaurant la Sagouinne...
I read Aline Cormier's letter aband saw the picture's she posted on Acadianroots club (I belong to that site of wonderful people)...
Thank you for sharing your trip with me as it was a pleasure for me to take this wonderful walk down "memory Lane"..
Une Acadienne and PROUD to be one..
Maria Breau Yoppolo

eleanorgauvin@aol.com said...

Hi Lucie,

I just had to tell you that I really enjoy your "blogs" You are a gifted writer..I feel like you are talking to me. I am one of the White's (LeBlanc)who grew up in Millbury, MA.
Have you heard of the Maine filmmaker, Brenda Jepson who, along with narrator Layne Longfellow has created a documentary about French Acadians and their 1755 expulsion from Nova Scotia?
Thanks for all you do for all us researchers.