October 25, 2009

Profile Interview: Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

A New England Acadian Leader
Caroline A. LeBlanc, MS, RN

Today, I think it is unfortunate that many in the U.S. do not realize they are Acadians. I often meet people and when I hear their surname I ask if they realize that is an Acadian name and most often they do not. Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

CONGRÈS MONDIAL ACADIEN (CMA) 2009, TRACADIE-SHEILA, NEW BRUNSWICK: no one had organized a LeBlanc Reunion, presumably because no LeBlancs live on the Acadian Peninsula. In New Brunswick, family names are concentrated in distinct Acadian regions throughout the province. LeBlancs live in the Moncton-Bouctouche area, about three hours south of the peninsula. There are also many LeBlancs (Leblanc, White, and Blanc) in Massachusetts and Louisiana. Weeks before the Congrès, Acadians from Louisiana decided this was unacceptable and pulled a program together.

August 22, 2009: I attended my first LeBlanc reunion--smaller and less structured than previous reunions from what I was told. Speakers and participants spoke French--Cajun accents, Maritime accents. I live in New York State and am descended from Acadians in Bouctouche and Massachusetts, but I could understand almost nothing since I know very little French.

The last speaker of the morning was a woman, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino. She is from Methuen, Massachusetts, a town in the old mill region where Acadians and Franco-Americans went to find for work in the late 19th, early 20th century. Lucie's profile can be seen at the sidebar to the right of this blog. Lucie and I--like all LeBlancs of Acadian descent--share the same original ancestors, Daniel LeBlanc and Francoise Gaudet, who came from France in the 1650s and settled in Port Royal, now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

Lucie spoke, in English and with passion, about the Acadian Mother's mtDNA project she started in 2007 (more on that later). It was the only talk I understood and it was enough. It gave me the chance to meet Lucie--a vibrant, friendly and down-to-earth woman of Franco-American descent: Acadian (LeBlanc) and French Canadian (Levesque--through which she is related to Charlemagne and Jack Kerouac). In 1999, Lucie's website, Acadian Ancestral Home, was awarded the American Local History Network's (ALHN) Award for Excellence. A panel of five judges chose the site, in the category of culture. Criteria included content, navigation, links, and appearance. Lucie’s web site provides in depth information on Acadians and Acadian history. Lucie also graciously responded to my additional questions in our email interviews. Not surprisingly, her life story informs her work.

ACADIANS IN NEW ENGLAND: A point Lucie made, during her talk at
CMA 2009, and in our interviews, is that New England Acadians are the "forgotten Acadians." As Lucie notes, at the first formal gathering of Acadians in 1881 "all the attendee’s names were recorded except those representing New England.” In 2000, early in her work on behalf of her Acadian heritage, Lucie met with the members of the CMA 2004 committee to assure New England Acadians would be represented in that Congrès. They were and it was a first. Lucie notes that Acadians in Louisiana and the Canadian Maritimes have established sister cities and "paired historic sites." Part of the reason similar relationships have not developed with New England Acadians, she conjectures, is that "Acadians in New England were assimilated into the French-Canadian communities for many years."

Reverend Clarence J. d’Entremont discusses this in his paper, “Acadian Survival in New England,” reproduced with permission on the Acadian-Home Website. He posits a number of reasons Acadians were absorbed into Quebecois traditions: the greater number of French from Quebec, their “generally …more developed culture,” and Quebecois/Acadian intermarriage. According to d’Entremont, there was a significant increase in Acadian cultural consciousness at the cusp of the 20th century with the emergence of La Societé Mutuelle l’Assomption and later, La Societé Historique Acadienne in 1960. The latter only existed twelve years and no prominent New England Acadian organization took its place. Vatican II and the closing of French churches and schools further diluted both Acadian and French-Canadian identity, in Lucie’s opinion.

Lucie grew up knowing she was French and speaking French at home and school. She spoke English with the children of other immigrant groups, her playmates. But she did not know she was Acadian and does not think her father was aware of his Acadian ancestry. His parents died when he was young and he was absorbed into the generic Franco-American identity. Older siblings raised him and Lucie grew up "believing that he too was French-Canadian until I began researching his side of the family.” In Tracadie-Sheila, Lucie told me, "My grandfather had changed the family name to White. My mother, God Bless her, said to my father, ‘I won't marry you unless you change your name back to LeBlanc because I will not marry someone with an English sounding name.’ " Thus, Lucie was born a LeBlanc.

Many Acadians anglicized their names or English authorities did it for them. English census takers in the Maritimes changed LeBlanc to White. Every descendent of immigrants knows how immigration officials assigned English names they thought better or easier than the ethnic name the “foreigners” brought from the old country. In some cases, this was a blessing. The family name of one of my friends of German descent was “Fart.” Customs officials changed it to “Parker,” thus sparing the family many cruel jokes. Reverend Clarence .J d’Entremont notes:
Away from home, on the streets or in the factories, Acadians had to act like Americans. They could not do otherwise in an era when President Theodore Roosevelt was writing: We must be Americans and nothing else…. This was an era when Acadians could see signs displayed in store windows, or on the walls of factories, which read: Help wanted. Catholics or aliens need not apply. It is during this period that the Aucoin name became Wedge, Chiasson became Chisholm, Doiron became Durant,…Leblanc became White….Acadians at home, but on the street or at work, Americans only (3).

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino was born into the French parish of Ste Anne’s in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Her great-grandparents on her mother’s side (French-Canadian: Levesque and Dumais) had helped found the parish. Both her Acadian father, George Charles LeBlanc (born in New Bedford), and French-Canadian mother, Rosanna Levesque, (born in Lawrence), were first generation Franco-Americans.

Her Acadian grandfather, farmer turned lumberman in New Brunswick, and his second wife migrated to New Bedford, MA where they had four children, including Lucie’s father, George. This LeBlanc grandfather had seventeen children. Some from his first marriage died in New Brunswick. George’s mother died at the age of 42. The family was too poor to return to New Brunswick, even for a visit. Later, the family moved from New Bedford to Lawrence. Lucie’s maternal great grandparents migrated from Quebec to Lawrence. Her Dumais grandmother and her Lévesque grandfather were each in their late teens when they moved to Lawrence with their families.

Every Acadian I have met wants to know and talk about what happened to her/his ancestors in Le Grand Derangement of 1755. In response to my question about her ancestors, Lucie writes: What happened to my ancestors…is not entirely clear—we keep digging. Nonetheless, the years of deportation, exile, and/or imprisonment left a terrible trauma on all families because no matter who they were, they lost loved ones who had been placed on the deportation ships whether or not they made it into exile…. My family descends from Firmin LeBlanc, the eldest known son of Joseph-Andre and his [first] wife, Marguerite Hebert. Joseph-Andre’s parents originally lived in Grand-Pre. They went to Port Toulouse (St Peter) on Cape Breton then returned to Grand-Pre where [Jos-Andre’s] mother Madeleine Boudrot died in 1747. His father Claude-Andre Leblanc moved on to Beaubassin and then to Ile St-Jean/ Prince Edward Island from where he was deported in 1758. Claude-Andre landed in Boulogne, France where he died in 1765.

The following is Lucie’s record of what Stephen White told her about Jos-Andre. I include it in the original in order to demonstrate the complexity of data and its interpretation when researching Acadian genealogy (perhaps all genealogy).

"Unfortunately, I know nothing about Joseph’s whereabouts prior to his appearance with his second wife, Marie Doiron, on the list of prisoners at Fort Beauséjour in August 1763. I do not know where he and his first wife, Marguerite Hebert resided after their marriage about 1745, nor where any of their children were born. Placide Gaudet thought that Joseph had lived at Memramcook, but I believe he thought that because he presumed your ancestor was the Joseph LeBlanc who is shown at Memramcook in Pichon’s census in the winter of 1754-1755. But he was mistaken, because that Joseph was the husband of Cecile Benoit. So your Joseph’s movements between 1745 and 1763 are something of a mystery."

Lucie adds: We have no idea where Marguerite Hebert died. Perhaps in exile. What we do know…can prove… is that at some point Jos-Andre became a prisoner at Fort Cumberland with his second wife Marie dite (said, called) Bidaque Doiron along with three of his children from his first marriage. Three more children would be born to him with his second wife while [they were] prisoners.

All were ancestors of present day LeBlancs in the New Brunswick / Moncton / Shediac / St-Anselme area. Before and after their imprisonment at the time of the deportation, Lucie’s ancestors, like most Acadians, were farmers. The present day village of St Anselme, just outside Moncton, was originally Village des LeBlanc, founded by Lucie’s ancestor, Joseph-André LeBlanc.

Lucie continues:
After the treaty of Paris in 1763, the Acadians who remained in Nova Scotia and/or New Brunswick were tenant farmers. After a while, they decided to be their own landowners and petitioned the government for land grants. [I have a copy of] the Memorial sent to His Excellency Thomas Carleton, Esquire, Captain General and Governor in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick asking that land be granted... Joseph Leblanc headed the petitioners. Each of them petitioned to be granted 200 acres of land except Firmin who stated [an additional] 150 would be [needed] for cutting a road. The memorial is dated 24 July 1786. Heading: Joseph LeBlanc & 10 Others / Memorial for Land in Westmorland County/Wright’s Track. The only signature on the memorial is that of A. Botsford who wrote it on behalf of “Joseph Leblanc and Others.” The Memorial goes on to say that they were settlers on that land “formerly granted Richard Wright to whom they were under no contract, and having resided on said Tract for several years and have made large Improvements which tract is escheated. They therefore humbly pray that your Excellency would be favorably pleased to grant them a Warrant… In 1815, Firmin petitioned for more land.

Such petitions are on microfilm (which can be photocopied) at genealogical and governmental record sites. Lucie found this document at the Universite de Moncton, CEA. The petition named four LeBlancs: Fearman (Firmin), Paul, Francis and Andrew. There were also four Boudreaus, one Doiron(Gould) and one Bourgeois (Bussoir). If you have ever viewed or touched an ancient document, seen the name of a direct ancestor, or just your family name, on one, then you know the thrill of such a discovery—especially if you descend from a n exiled people.

I asked Lucie what motivated her dedicated and ambitious work on behalf of the Acadian people—past and present—when so many people are content to limit their efforts to discovering personal family information. She replied: When I realized what my Acadian ancestors had survived and how difficult Acadian research is because of the Diaspora, I was totally amazed and committed myself to making known the travails of our ancestors…. [Then] when I realized how difficult it was to find “correct” and “true” Acadian history; when I realized how difficult it was to do one’s Acadian genealogy…my quest began.

Lucie decided that it was “a must” for her to go to Moncton, to meet Stephen White. Since her first trip to Acadie in 1998 she has gone annually. You can read about that and subsequent “journeys home” on the Acadian Home web page link to My Odyssey: On the Journey Home.”

Recalling her own childhood, Lucie notes:
When I was a child, the whole extended family lived in pretty much the same neighborhood. I could see the tenements where my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins lived from our back door. None of the French lived far from the parish church and we had our own schools so that in some ways our ethnic upbringing was contained whereas in others it was not. For instance, we lived in one of four large tenement buildings. There was a mix of Franco-Americans and Irish living in the four tenements. We lived in the building “in the back”—the front tenements were inhabited by the Irish who had more income than the Franco-Americans who worked in the mills. We all got along very well and it was fun to have so many other children to play with…though I spent a great deal of time playing with my cousins.

I spoke French before I spoke English. My grandparents only spoke French and expected us to speak to them in French though they could speak English by the time many of their grandchildren were born. My mother spoke French in the house pretty much all the time too. Most of my English was when I played outside and when I went to school. However, at our parish school, half the day was in English and half the day in French.

Both her parents left grammar school to help support the family--her mother in the mills, her father as a “moving company mover, a laundryman and a watchman." Regarding her own and siblings’ education, Lucie says: In our family, I was the first to graduate from high school. After high school, I went to the convent and classes were taught to prepare us for teaching. Classes were in English and in French. After I left the convent I went to college evenings while I worked full time days receiving tuition reimbursements for good grades….

Our parents like those of most immigrants encouraged their children to get an education. They had gone to work in the mills at a young age and did not want that for us. My sister left high school in her first year and went to work in the mills until she married at age 18. She later became a nursing assistant in nursing homes for a while but most of the time she was home after she married. My brother left school in the 8th grade to work in the mills and later became a truck driver. My other three siblings died as toddlers.

When Lucie started researching her Acadian ancestors, she had two daughters in college. Both are appreciative, supportive, and proud of Lucie’s work to learn about their family and assist others in their genealogical searches. Prior to her first visit to Moncton, Lucie had communicated with Stephen White, who has become a personal and professional friend, by postal mail. During her annual visits to Acadia, she does research at the University of Moncton’s Centre d’études acadiennes where White is the resident genealogist. She has also met many other researchers and Acadian authors: Paul Delaney, Regis Brun, Ken Breau, Ronnie-Gilles LeBlanc, to name a few.

Regarding my question about the future of the Acadian people, Lucie responds:
Acadians of the Maritimes have a bright future ahead of them because they are now well recognized and are leaders in many areas…. The CMAs/World Congresses of Acadians have helped many people get in touch with their heritage. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Evangeline” helped to make known the plight the Acadians had suffered—though the poem is actually fictitious in nature, it exposed a grave wrong perpetuated in 1755. It also gave the Acadians a sort of a ‘lift’ and helped them to be less afraid to be known for who they are. Today the battles waged for their rights in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Louisiana, especially their right for French schools have moved forward. In New England, because we had so many French parishes and schools, many of us were taught French early on.

As for the Acadians of New England: all we can hope is that we are helping to make more and more Acadian descendants aware of their heritage—that our ancestors were proud, brave, family and God loving—to them family was everything and their ‘joie de vivre’ put zing into their lives.

Researching whatever I could find with regard to my Acadian heritage became a passion that I wanted to share with other Acadian researchers. My French-Canadian heritage is equally important to me but those ancestors did not suffer the same lot as my Acadian ancestors and there has never been any difficulty in researching one’s Quebec genealogy and history.

Lucie’s solution: start the Acadian Home webpage website. It is one of the most comprehensive web pages on Acadians, and certainly the best site for information on Acadians in New England. Out of this work evolved The Mother of Acadia mtDNA Project and the Cemetery Indexing Project, The Acadian Ancestral Home blog spot and a Roots Web mailing list. In total, Lucie is administrator for five websites:

Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home
Mothers of Acadia mtDNA Project
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home Blogspot
Acadian GenWeb, part of Canada GenWeb
Acadian-French-Canadian-L-request@rootsweb.com : RootsWeb Mailing List

In addition, Lucie is webmaster for her Daughter’s of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter.

How, you may wonder, did an Acadian become a DAR? Well, Acadians actually fought in the American Revolution. You can read about this under the LeBlanc link on the side bar at the Acadian Home Website. Here is the history that gained Lucie admission to the DAR.

My ancestor Sylvain LeBlanc dit Sailor married Ursule Bourque—her parents: Michel Bourque/Bourq and Ursule Forest. As a result, I am the great-great-great granddaughter of Michel Bourque/Bourq [who] fought in the American Revolution under Colonel Jonathan Eddy. They tried to retake Fort Cumberland/Beausejour from the British. As of October 2007, I was approved as a Daughter of the American Revolution, “DAR.” I am very proud of that. The majority of DARs or SARs are descendants of the [English] founders of this country [the USA].

ACADIAN-HOME-WEBSITE: Begun in 1998, in its first seven years, over one million people visited the Acadian-home.org web site. So far this year (October 2009), there have been 260,000 hits with an average of 25,000-30,000 in any given month. The website is comprehensive in content and links. It is very easy to navigate. Lucie is passionate about copyright protection of her own and other material posted on her website, always with the author’s permission. She has installed guards that prevent downloads of some materials without her express permission, which can be obtained by contacting her with a request. Lucie notes: “Many people write to tell me they return [to the site]—first time around some write to tell me it has taken more than a few weeks to read/access everything.” Lucie also has a blog-- “that many people visit and come back [to] on a regular basis” but she has no numbers.

Many people contact Lucie to help them “get past their brick wall and they are willing to pay so [they ask] what do I charge.” Well, Lucie does not charge for her labor of love. (Read Lucie’s blog entry above for her takes on the matter of charging people). “I simply ask what they are looking for and if need be enlist the help of Stephen White and send them the information they’ve been stuck on for some time. I love helping people.” She has never gotten what she considers a strange request, “just different as when a person has been adopted and seems to think I can easily find their birth parents, etc. There are many adoptees searching and my heart goes out to them.”

For several years, Lucie has worked with a woman who has given permission to share her story here. As a baby, the woman was sold on the black market in Montreal. An aunt told her that her adoptive Jewish parents paid $10,000.00 to adopt her, thinking she was a Jewish baby. But she has no Jewish mtDNA. “Her results are similar to some Acadian and French-Canadian results….At this point she does not believe she will ever find [her birth family].”

Lucie also describes a success story:
Two sisters in Quebec who had been put up for adoption by their mother before she married –at the time of their birth she was in the military. They knew her name but could find nothing. I suggested they check all the newspapers and never give up. One day the sister who had been communicating with me wrote to thank me for my encouragement because they had just seen their mother’s obituary in the newspaper and now did not know if they should go to the funeral. I encouraged them to go and to see where it would lead. Before the funeral, they went to meet the priest who would be officiating and told him their story. He told them that he would tell the family after the funeral and he did. They did not realize they had so many siblings as a result of their mother’s marriage and so many relatives. Though they never got to meet their mother, they found a whole family.

So genealogy is not only about digging through files, records, registers and archives—I believe it is being there and being attentive in a different way to people who want to be connected to their families.

Nonetheless, the Acadian Home Website provides easy access to many “records, registers and archives” including such things as the 1708 Acadian census, pictures of art works and literature about Acadians originally published elsewhere but no longer easily accessible. Such information is on either the site itself or the relevant documents, such as the list of the deportations ships and their passengers, can be accessed through one of the many links listed on Lucie’s site. What you do not find on or through the website, you are likely to find on Lucie’s blog.

In 2007, Lucie set up the Acadian & French-Canadian RootsWeb Mailing List. You can go to Acadian-French-Canadian-L-request@rootsweb.com to sign up. According to the inaugural announcement of the mailing list, “Rootsweb has approved this list for ‘northerners’ which means we now have a list that addresses the difficulties of researchers of Acadian & French Canadian descent from the New England states, the Canadian Maritimes, i.e. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and hopefully France, Newfoundland and the Magdalene Islands.”

MOTHERS OF ACADIA MTDNA PROJECT (2007). . Lucie administers this program with the assistance of Doug Miller He is the administrator of the French Heritage DNA & mtDNA Project begun in 2005. The Family Tree DNA site , provides a home for both these projects. She also adds both mtDNA results and lineages on her web site at the mtDNA Proven Origins page.

Modern genetics allows us to discover the history written in the genes of our cells. The science may be complicated but getting your mtDNA tested is simple: log onto the Mothers of Acadia Family Tree DNA site and follow the instructions to order a kit, painlessly collect a DNA swab, and mail in the swab for testing. Go to Mother of Acadia testimonials.

Explaining the science and project, Lucie writes:
Mitochondrial DNA, referred to as mtDNA, is transmitted from a mother to all of her children. The daughters of a mother transmits the very same mtDNA to her children and so it goes forever more as mtDNA mutates very slowly. Hundreds of generations later, the mtDNA transmitted from the very first mother has hardly changed, if at all. The sons of the mother cannot pass on mtDNA to their children. Sons pass on the Y-DNA transmitted to them by their fathers.

Both men and women can be mtDNA tested. For each the direct maternal line goes from either the son or daughter to the mother - the line then goes to their maternal grandmother; to their maternal great grandmother and so on until that direct maternal line has been taken as far back as is possible. For an Acadian descendant, that would take the direct maternal line to about the 1600s.

Because many records were lost and/or destroyed at the time of the 1755 deportation of the Acadians, mtDNA is helping to resolve the long debated question of whether the founding Mothers of Acadia were of European or of Native origins. So far, all results confirm that those who were believed to have come from Europe did and those believed to be Native were.

As of October 18, 2009, 98 participants were tested. Of the 91 results received for the founding Mothers of Acadia, only 3 are Native American and those two descend from the same ancestor. All of the others tell us that thus far 31 Acadian Founding Mothers were of European origins. Results are needed for another 30 founding Mothers. Stephen White estimates there were at least 78 founding Mothers. He says, "This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but has only been compiled to give a general idea of how small a number of women became forebears of the Acadian people, while at the same time showing for which of these women mtDNA test results either have been obtained to date, or may be hoped to be obtained in the future. Unfortunately, a dozen women on this list are believed to have no female-line posterity so no such results may be expected for them."

CEMETERY INDEXING PROJECT (2006): Over 60,000 photos of head stones are indexed and available through the Acadian Cemeteries link on Lucie's website. This is a great example of a grass roots effort that thrives with a competent co-coordinator and group effort. Lucie writes, "Some of my cousins and friends in Moncton began photographing headstones… [to] help them in establishing death dates and/or burial dates of people in their own databases." (Authors note: in the frozen north, those who die in the winter are often not buried until the ground thaws in the spring so death and burial dates may differ). During one of her visits to Moncton, "Francis LeBlanc handed me a CD with the photos he had taken." Lucie put it "on the back burner" since she did not know what to do with the information. Then two of Francis's friends, Hector Boudreau and Juanita née (born) LeBlanc (Hector’s wife) also took photos and before she knew it, Lucie had thousands of headstone pictures on CD. Lucie recalls: Then, having thought long and hard on this I knew that I could not index all of those photos myself. I began searching for a free site where I could load each cemetery - I am the administrator of the Acadian French-Canadian Canadian Roots Web mailing list (Acadian-French-Canadian-L-request@rootsweb.com ) so I decided to ask members of the list if they would be interested in indexing [the] photographs. To my amazement and great pleasure, quite a few people volunteered and within a couple of months we had over 60,000 photos indexed and up and running on my web site. I was given more photos in my 2009 pilgrimage to Moncton and volunteers are lined up to index them as soon as I can put that together. I don't believe that any one person should try to do everything alone. People love to be asked and I think it is just marvelous to make all of this available to people who have relatives and ancestors … [whose graves] they will never be able to visit because they live too far away. I say [“far away”] but yesterday I received an email from a lady who lives in Moncton and is so grateful that she can access and download photos of her family's graves.

ACADIAN WOMEN IN NEW ENGLAND: When asked what role she thought Acadian women played historically and in modern times, Lucie replied:
I believe that within certain circles Franco-American women are more visible than in others. For instance there is a strong Franco presence in Manchester, New Hampshire so I’ve seen many women step up and take on leadership roles in the groups they join in order to foster Franco-American ideals and presence. In Massachusetts, with the closing of our French parishes, I believe we have become scattered as everyone has sought to join “some” parish community. But all that is left for the most part are the diocesan churches so that means the church has become a cross section of all ethnic groups. Overall, I think Franco-American women are more invisible than visible which is unfortunate.

Acadian women were the backbone of their families—I believe that of pioneer mothers and I believe that to be true today. I say, “It’s in the genes.” During deportation, many families were separated from their husbands and fathers. Acadian mothers kept their families together. Many children died on the ships deporting them while others died in exile. Some babies born at sea could not survive. It takes strong women to survive all that. After deportation, I believe Acadian women were once more the backbone of their families as their husbands sought land to work so as to feed their families. Once the deportation began, it was a matter of survival for a very long time. Acadian men were also very dedicated to their families and they worked hard to support them. Their families were everything to them.

The migrations that took place in the 19th century were mostly toward the end, say the 1880s. A few may have migrated earlier….Those who migrated, say to the United States, did so in search of work. Many found work in the mills of New Hampshire and Massachusetts….On the whole, no matter the ethnicity; I believe that women have always been the backbone of their families and society.

I often think of what [our lives would be] had there never been the “Woman Suffrage” movement …. Without the suffragettes who fought valiantly for our rights as women in America, we probably would still not enjoy many of the freedoms and rights we have today as women. I believe that any women’s movement gives encouragement and support to other women’s groups. When the Bread and Roses strike took place in Lawrence, MA it was mostly women from a variety of ethnic groups who encouraged other women to walk in the strike and at great peril. My mother was 12 at the time of the strike and had already been working in the mill for a couple of years. She often spoke of the strike so it is quite possible she participated with her mother, father and siblings, but she never said for certain. I have blogged about it on http://acadian-ancestral-home.blogspot.com/2009/07/bread-and-roses-strike-of-1912-labor.html. So every time a woman has stepped out on the scene, be it political or ethnic, it has been a blow to push forward all women.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino is a woman who has stepped out and significantly pushed forward the cause of Acadians, Acadian women and all women. She is wife, mother, advocate, guide, web-master, genealogist, researcher, and spokes-woman. Before turning her considerable talents to promoting Acadian consciousness, she had been teacher, a Human Resources Manager, and a parish chaplain/pastoral care minister visiting the sick and shut-ins.

In part, Lucie’s publicity bio reads:
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino has served as Vice President, Director and Conference Chair of the American-Canadian Genealogical Society, Manchester, New Hampshire. She is a past member of the Acadian Cultural Society and the Lawrence Heritage Group.

Lucie often speaks at conferences and genealogy workshops and was a scheduled speaker at the CMA2004 and CMA2009 (World Congress of Acadians). She was the keynote speaker at the program commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Acadians held on Boston City Hall Plaza, on July 28, 2005.

The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, the American-Canadian Genealogist, the Michigan Habitant and and the Halifax Chronicle Herald have all published Lucie’s work. The Prince Edward Island French Newspaper as well as Radio-Canada have also interviewed her. In 2000, Radio-Canada CBC Moncton did an interview and in 2004 Canadian television interviewed her at Grand-Pré. In May, 2009 Radio-Canada CBC Television Acadie/Moncton traveled to Methuen to do an interview which included her family. The interview can be seen at
Radio-Canada CBC. It was originally broadcast in the Canadian Maritimes and Montreal.
Also in the CBC interview were Stephen White, Genealogist Centre d'études acadiennes, Moncton, New Brunswick, Dr. Barbara LeBlanc of Cape Breton, and Lorette Leafe of Manchester, New Hampshire. Barbara and Lorette were early participants in the mtDNA Mothers of Acadia Project where they discovered that they shared the same Founding Mother of Acadia.

In 2000, Michel Belliveau, from Baie Ste Marie, Novelle Ecosse, nominated Lucie for the 2000 Women’s Day recognition award. I asked Lucie where I could find more information on the award and her response was characteristic: “When I met Mr. Belliveau in 2000 and 2004 I never thought to ask him about it. It is nice to be recognized but honors are not what I am about. My goal and commitment has always been to help people know who they are as Acadians and to connect to their heritage…to their ancestors.”

On the Acadian Ancestral Home, toward the bottom of the sidebar is a link “CMA Past & Present.” I invite you to click that link, and then in the drop down box that appears click on “CMA 2004 Remembered.” There you will find Lucie’s thanks to various people and if you scroll down a bit you will see a picture of Lucie pouring water from a small vessel into a larger vessel. As the New England representative, Lucie was one of the participants who brought water from her home region. Lucie’s water, from the Atlantic coast off Massachusetts, mingled with water brought by representatives from the Mi’kmaq Nation, France, Belgium, Louisiana, and the Canadian Maritimes. The priest then blessed the mingled Acadian Waters and sprinkled Them in blessing upon the approximately 8,000 people at the closing mass. The Acadian Waters continue to bless us, just as Lucie continues to offer the blessing of her labor on behalf of Acadians from New England and other Northern states.

Copyright © Caroline A. LeBlanc
All rights reserved Acadian & French-Canadian Blog

My sincerest thanks to Caroline
for choosing to write the above profile.

I am most grateful and honored!

October 2, 2009

Happy Anniversary Rebecca and Tyler

Rebecca & Tyler's wedding photo from September 2000

Rebecca and Tyler celebrate their 9th wedding anniversary this week. It doesn't seem possible that nine years have passed since that wonderful day. This evening I will sit Theo so they can go out to dinner and spend some time together. They don't have an opportunity to do that too often as all parents know once a baby comes along.

We are very happy for them and we wish them many more years of married bliss as they are such a great couple together.

So Theo and Mémère will have some special time together while his Mom & Dad are out. What a gift grandchildren are - and I can attest to the oft spoken comment that a grandchild changes your life, just as having your own children born to you does, just in a different way.

Theo's parents spend a great deal of quality time with him. He is inquisitive, doesn't miss a thing and dares to try something even at his age of one (as of September 20th). The pediatrician says he is advanced in his vocalizations and he is now walking too. What a boy! Even at his age he plays little games. The other day he wanted to touch my earrings.. "no Theo" said I - so Theo shakes his head "no" but proceeds to want to touch. lol He knows it is a no-no but he will still test me. It is amazing to watch a child grow. As parents we are often too busy to see some of the smaller details but as grandparents our whole focus is the grandchild when we are together.

I've been singing a particular song in French to him since he was born - when I start humming that tune, he knows it is nap time - of course he doesn't necessarily agree but who do you think wins? ;o)

For now his favorite words are Mama, Daddy and quack quack - the other day he said "hi there" to the bird and waves to the squirrels. I "think" he is trying to say Mémère but the jury is out that thus far.

So you can be sure that Rebecca and Tyler are very proud of their first vorn. He's a keeper lol.

Rebecca and Tyler, happy anniversary! Thank you for a wonderful grandson that we treasure with all our hearts.


Mom & Dad

October 1, 2009

Getting caught up...

Dear Cousins,

I apologize for the lack of blogs the past couple of weeks. I came down with what I call a "bear of a cold" and recovered just on time to prepare for the American-Canadian Genealogical Society's Fall Conference this past Saturday (September 26th). It was a great conference and my presentation went well.

(Photo is of Theo and me at a wedding we attended this past Saturday.)

Other than that, as the Fall college semester resumed so did my "grandmothering" also known as "baby sitting" of my grandson Theo who turned one on Sunday, September 20th. I am with Theo three days a week so I've had to readjust my schedule. At Theo's age, he is very active so I have not been taking along my laptop as I did last semester when he was an infant. That means much less time online as you may well imagine. This is a special time for me to be with Theo and I wouldn't pass it up for anything. The Internet and all of my projects will still be here long after this special time with him has passed.

Having said that though, be it known that I never pass up an opportunity to speak at conferences, genealogy groups etc. All I need is an invitation then we can work out the details.

Yesterday I received an interesting email regarding Ancestry.com - Anne who is on my mailing list sent me a message to say she called Ancestry and they have a special price for their World Deluxe subscription just now. They usually charge $299 per year. She still had a bit of a subcription left so they refunded what that amount reflected and charged her the $229 they are presently charging - it cost her about $200 for *13* months. They have even thrown in an extra month.

So if anyone is intersted, NOW is the time to subscribe. I've not seen it advertised anywhere so you might want to phone 1-800-262-3787 (10am to 6pm EST Monday through Friday) if you are interested in a World Deluxe subscription. It really is a good deal and you can access records from around the world that are on Ancestry's web site.

Fall has arrived in Massachusetts. My husband and I started to pick up leaves yesterday - we'll be at it well into Thanksgiving.

Have a great day!

Your cousin