Category Archives: Musings

Stories and book, tv and movie reviews

Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Family History & Genealogy

If I don’t reply to your query, it is because I have no information. I don’t want to add to the comments with ‘I don’t know’. If you can help answer someone’s question, please post!

The internet is a good place to find out about your family history.  Unfortunately, it ain’t as easy as the tv ads for ancestry.ca look.  Often those ads with cheerful people clicking on a leaf and finding some fascinating bit of information about their great-granddaddy come on as I’m struggling to figure out whether this Peter is son of this Paul or that Paul.  It’s all I can do to not throw a shoe at the television.

There is a lot of information on the big genealogy websites like ancestry.ca and genealogy websites 1775 James Cook map of Nfldgenealogy.com.  And there are lots of other sites with information where you don’t have to pay a membership fee.  Some have vital statistics on them – birth and death records, census information etc.  Others are the product of family researchers.  Below are sites related to Newfoundland Mi’kmaq families that I have found useful.

A word of warning:  do not rely totally on any one source as the gospel.  Primary records have enough inconsistencies of fact and, with websites, you have the added possibility of error of transcription.  Dates get typed in wrong, names get misspelled.  There’s lots of room for error.  Plus some information is simply inaccurate or conflicts with other sources.  So with primary documents and the internet, be judicious, check and double-check.

Genealogy Websites

(see Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Books for more sources)

* Acadian Genealogy (by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino – many Nfld. west coast families)
* Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History (click a surname)
* Andersons (Fortune and Burgeo, BOI)
* Ashley Phillips’ Family Tree of Nfld (trees for Boucher, Lucas etc. – links at bottom of page)
* Benoit (by Jasen Benwah, plus other Nf Mi’kmaq fams)
* Desc. of Gabriel Billard (marr. Miriam Durnford)
 * Desc. of Michel Boudrot/Boudreau Lt. Gen. (1600s Acadie, marr. Michelle Aucoin)
*  Bras d’Or Families (by John Scott, incl. Jesso, Boutilier, & other fams & regions)
* Bras d’Or Indian Village Band Assoc. (Maliseet-Micmac Vital Stats, LeJeune gen, Nfld. Mi’kmaq)
* Canadian Genealogy & History Links (Nfld page)
* Chegau – Mi’kmaq Treaty Descendants (Chego, etc. family tree by Donna Marie Launey
* Chegau Mi’kmaq Family DNA (Donna Marie Launey)
* Chiasson Family
* Desc. of Charles Crocker (by Elizabeth Sheppard Hewitt)
* Desc. of Daniel’s Harbour (Payne, Brooks, Park families)
* Desc. of Jean George Dauphinee
* Doucet Family
* Fayz World (lower right, ‘My Family Tree’ – lots of info!)
* Gallant Family (PEI, by Linda Keefe-Trainor, click ‘tree’)
* (Gallant) Haché-Gallant Family
* Gaudet Genealogy (Mark B. Arsland: France, USA, Canada, NL)
* Desc. of Edward Gaudon (Joe Gaudon, Sept. 2000)
* Genealogy in Time (links to many sites)
* Mi’kmaq Ancestry of Jerry Gerrior (Gerrior/Girouard and others)
* Desc. of James Hall (NS & NL – click no. link at left for gens)
* Desc. of George & Jane Harvey (Town of Isle aux Morts)
* Hatcher Families Genealogy Association
* Herridge-Nurse Family History (Matthews, Garnier, Strickland, etc.)
* Jesso Family (most Nfld. west coast families)
* Labrador (Southern) Family History (Labrador Cura, by Patty Way)
* LeBlanc/White (‘Steve’s Genealogy Blog’)
* LeBlanc & MacLean Families (Trish LeBlanc – Rootsweb, link goes to surname list)
* Lefresne-Robinson Family, South Coast of Nfld (Rootsweb, link to surnames)
* Legg Family of Dorset (includes Nfld., Janet’s Family History)
* LeJeunes of Cape Breton & Nfld (by Lark Szick)
* The Ancestry of Henry LeJeune/Young (by Kirk Butt, see note below on BSGGS for this)
* Desc. of Jacques LeJeune (Robin K. Young gen. home page)
* John Young (LeJeune) of Bras d’Or NS (by Kevin Young)
* Dr. William Litchman (South Coast families, Lushman etc.  Click a Publications title for content. Also see his “every-name index” for Burgeo-LaPoile 1921 census, below.)
* Desc. of George Lomond (by Sharon Dillon; also Dillon, Knott, Currie)
* Lucas, etc. (Betha Jeans’ genealogy.com FTM user tree)
* Maliseet & Micmac Vital Statistics (NB Church Records – 346 pg PDF so it takes a long time to load)
* Marche Family (see note below on BSGGS for access to this huge family tree)
* Mattie Mitchell Webpage (by Fred Powell)
* Muise Family (by Doris Muise)
* Desc. of Philippe Mius d’Azy (by Yvon Cyr)
* (Muise) Four Generations of d’Entremonts (Musée des Acadiens)
* Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics (‘accept’ then search)
* O’Connell Family Tree (most Nfld. west coast families)
* Payne Families
acadien flag* PEI Family Lineages (flag by Acadian names)
* Donald J. Perrier of Alberta, Canada
* PEI Genealogical Society
* Pike Family History & Genealogy Resources (by David Pike)
* Rowe of Newfoundland (by M. John Rowe, see Ch. 11 for Reault/Rowe of Bay St. George and Port au Port
* Roy Family, through Marie Aubois (by John R. Nelson)
* Rumbolt, Hann, Lane & Howarth Genealogy Pages (Northern Peninsula, Bay of Islands)
* Jacques St-Pierre’s Family Tree (Doucet, Muise, LeJeune, et al. Hover over “Last Name” at top right for drop down menu of names)
* Saunders/Hynes of Fortune Bay, Griffin Family (‘My Nfld Family Tree’ by Devon Griffin – navigation at lower right)
* Southwest Coast of Newfoundland, Women’s History (by Cape Ray Lightkeepers House, Virtual Museum of Canada. Mini-bios. I found site hard to navigate, but just click around it – interesting)
* Vatcher Family History (by Ed Vatcher)
* Wendy’s Ancestral Tree (Cajun/Acadian families, go to paternal Pitre line)
* Western Newfoundland, and Labrador, Deceased Veterans (Cdn Assoc. of Veterans in UN Peacekeeping, Western NL chapter – family, work and military info.
* Western Newfoundland Family Lines (Rumboldt, Payne, Matthews, Hiscock, Eleniak, White, Caines, Vatcher, Brake, Snook – names with dates and places of birth and death)
* Wheeler Descendants (mainly Twillingate area)
* Stephen A. White, Genealogist (LeBlanc and others & Acadien history)
* Ancestors of Wayne Harvey Young (LeJeune & Stone)

For other family trees, genealogical and vital statistics information and sources, go to Bay St. George Genealogical Society.  There is a lot of material in the main site, but for $10 a year membership, you get to go in the ‘Members Only’ section.  There you find many of the invaluable papers on Newfoundland family history written by Allan Stride among other materials. NL GenWeb and Newfoundland Grand Banks are also great resources for vital statistics data.

Also see Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. Register for full access to their materials. The society has a quarterly journal The Newfoundland Ancestor.

A wonderful source for information on Burgeo history and families is the 1925 Diary of Burgeo by Joseph Small. Also valuable for those interested in south coast families is Dr. Litchman’s index of the 1921 census for Burgeo-LaPoile, available in Kindle format at Amazon.


Some of these sites are easier than others to navigate around.  I’ve linked to home pages whenever possible so that you can see what’s there.  I’ve used all these sites, so know it is possible to get around if there’s more information there.  If there’s so much information that you don’t know how to find who you’re looking for, try searching with ‘control’ and ‘f’ keys on PCs or ‘command’ and ‘f’ on Macs and type the name or place in the little search box.  At least within the ‘page’, that will find them.

These links are valid as of now, March 2011. (*Checked & updated March 2016.)  They may change or be removed in future.  They’re not my sites so I apologize in advance if problems develop with them.

Secretariat: The Movie (2010)

Amazon link for movie Secretariat
Amazon link for dvd

The thing that annoyed me most about the movie Secretariat was that the horses playing him were not in the credits. In particular, the one who played him in close-ups was superb – playing to the camera, acting the ham. Just like the real Big Red, so those who knew him say. I hope I will learn his and the others’ names and more about them on the dvd.

Ok, that’s my criticism. Other than that, I loved the movie. It’s the story of Secretariat’s fabulous 1973 Triple Crown win, and the story of his owner Penny Chenery Tweedy. Now, I’m a Man o’ War girl when it comes to that important question – who was the greatest racehorse of the 20th century? It’s not a decision based on any real knowledge of thoroughbred racing, just that he was the first racehorse I knew anything about. I had a put-together model kit Man o War 1920of him when I was a kid, and it caused me to find a book about him in the library. And, even if you’re in the Secretariat “greatest horse” camp, you can’t deny the magnificence of Man o’ War, the original “Big Red”. His stride, as marked out at the Kentucky Horse Park, is still the longest of any known horse, including Secretariat.

The 1973 Belmont

But that win by 31 lengths! Nothing has ever been seen like that. I didn’t see the actual race. I was living outside North America and didn’t have a tv set. I’ve watched replays since but, thrilling as even that is, I cannot imagine what it felt like to actually see the race not knowing what the outcome would be. By 1978, after Seattle Slew and Affirmed won back-to-back Triple Crowns, I felt that having a Triple Crown was pretty exciting but not particularly unusual. I never imagined that it would not be done again for so many years. No horse, before or since, has won even one of the individual races that make up the Triple Crown in such a spectacular fashion. Especially the Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three. Watching him is like watching a horse fly. It’s magic and majesty and pure joy.

belmont stretch panorama secretariat.comThe sheer magnificence of Secretariat is why I didn’t find jarring the overvoice of a passage from the Book of Job at the movie’s beginning and end. Such beauty and strength as a horse possesses calls up reverential words and imagery. The solemnity and beauty of the words fit the magnificence of the animal, one of the most beautiful in creation.

After seeing the movie, I checked online reviews. My interpretation of the use of the Book of Job is at variance with most of those I read. Quite a big deal was made of the fact that director Randall Wallace is an outspoken Christian. I did not know that going in so it didn’t influence my viewing of the movie.

Oh Happy Day

Two other scenes of the movie are focused upon as evidence of the Christian message of the director and/or Disney Studio. The choice of Oh Happy Day, as music coming from the stable radio, and as the horses are coming down the final stretch in the Belmont. The first time, when it’s coming from the stable radio, I just heard it as a popular song by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, and fitting when everybody in the scene was happy and poster for movie Secretariatfeeling good about Secretariat and his prospects. The second use of it, in the ultimate race, I found distracting just because it was loud and I’d have rather just heard the hooves pounding on the track. Music accompanying that beautiful sound is gilding the lily. Not necessary, not an improvement.

Two reviews stood out for me. One is by Steve Haskin in Bloodhorse Magazine. This is a fair and insightful review both about the movie and the story of Secretariat and his connections. He points out a number of inaccuracies and glossovers of actual fact. One he doesn’t mention is that the coin toss which decided Secretariat’s ownership was actually more complicated and dramatic. To save movie time, I suppose, it was abbreviated. Still tense with drama, but if you want to read the real story, look for The Secretariat Factor by Tom Kiernan (Doubleday 1979). That’s where I read it, but I’m sure it’s also told in other books.

“Tea Party-flavored”

The second review is by Andrew O’Hehir in Salon. He says that he wanted his review to be provocative and well, yes, it is. His reading of Secretariat is as “Tea Party-flavored” propaganda for a mythical American past when all was well. For this, he holds the director and Disney responsible for perpetuating the myths of nostalgia and inaccurate simplification. That, I believe, is hardly news. O’Hehir for sure has read Critical Theory and wanted to be sure that we all knew he had. The argument is along the lines that popular culture is a particularly effective way to create political or ideological propaganda because the consumers are entertained primarily and therefore unaware that they are being fed propaganda. Ok.

Can you, as does O’Hehir, read Secretariat as Christian right wing propaganda? Of course.  Just as you can read iconoclast comic Dennis Leary’s tv drama Rescue Me as anti-Muslim propaganda. Everyone in North America developed a heightened pride in and respect for police officers and firefighters after 9/11. Leary became a well-known advocate for firefighters in thanks to them for their efforts after that tragedy. The tragedy was caused by anti-American extremists – Muslim extremists. So do the math the same way, and you can consider Rescue Me propaganda just as easily as you can consider Secretariat right-wing Christian propaganda.

The movie Secretariat and real-life

O’Hehir argues that the movie’s negligible mention of the social and political upheaval in early 70s America is evidence of its propaganda/mythologizing of the past. Maybe it is. Maybe, too, those events didn’t directly affect the lives of the people whose story this is except through the schoolgirl political activism that is shown. Like O’Hehir, I lived through that time period, but my conclusions on the inclusion of sociopolitical context differ from his. I don’t think you need to cram in historical context just because it exists. Not if it doesn’t fit with your characters’ story.

As a teenager at that time, I was aware of what was happening in the US. I was active about it at about the same level of political acuity as Mrs. Tweedy’s daughter. My social concern got about the same kind of attention from my parents as did hers. It wasn’t that my family was living in a rarefied zone of privilege and wealth.Nor were they unaware of political and social events. It was that they had their hands full just getting on with their own lives without worrying about other people and cerebral political notions.

I think perhaps the same thing would have been true for the Tweedy-Chenery family. It may not be any more complicated than that. Mrs. Tweedy was a housewife with four kids and ailing parents. She had enough on her plate. If I asked my mother, I think I’d get the same answer.

A story of horses

Jack at Secretariat statue, KY Horse Park, Xmas 2007Anyway, I loved the movie Secretariat. Steve Haskin said that the actor horses didn’t “capture the majesty and physical presence” of Secretariat but that there “isn’t a horse alive who could’ve done justice to him”. Secretariat is a feel-good story with a happy ending (except, of course, for Secretariat’s main competitor, the magnificent Sham, who made him run the race he did). And Secretariat’s story is not told in its totality in the movie. How could it be? What is told, however, is worth watching – and cheering and crying.