Tag Archives: genealogy

Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, Ile St-Jean

The church and graveyard at Mont Carmel on the west coast of PEI. Here, the island feels Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, Ile St-Jean now PEIlike it should be called by its old name, Ile St-Jean, when it was part of Acadia. First seen at night, it’s scary and beautiful. The archway looming overhead in the twilight, the rows of headstones white and dark against the setting sun. ‘Oh My God’ isn’t blasphemous here. You feel the power of God – in the form of the Roman Catholic Church – on this windswept bluff with the church and cemetery from coast line photo Jim Stewartdark brick monolithic shape on the horizon pointing skyward.

Revisited in the daylight, still imposing but less frightening. I wander the graveyard – and see the names. Aucoin, Arsenault, Gallant, Poirier. Names I’ve known for decades, names from my genealogy database. Maybe not the same individuals, but the same names. My people with these Poirier grave Mont Carmelnames are from Newfoundland, and more likely connected to Nova Scotia. But I know there are connections between Newfoundland and this island. The people buried here are related to mine. This was all Acadia, with families that spread throughout the area.

I’d see the same names in graveyards in fence post cross memorial Sylvere Aucoin photo Jim StewartNova Scotia, Quebec, Louisiana, France.  Same families. In the 1750s, the British deported Acadiens to Louisiana and France. Some escaped to Quebec and the west coast of Newfoundland, away from British control. Others remained where they were, hidden. Some returned to their homeland when it was safe and some stayed in their new homes.

Acadien history in a graveyard

Acadien history is rich and has spread across North America for two and a arch at graveyard entrance photo Jim Stewarthalf centuries. On the west coast of PEI, it is everywhere around you. In this churchyard, it is awesome.

I don’t think to see if the door to the church is open. I am overwhelmed by the power of the building. Go in? Not when there is no Mass. It doesn’t occur to me to treat it as a monument, a landmark of beauty and detail of arch Mont Carmel photo Jim Stewartarchitecture – to sightsee. I step gingerly around the building, not going too close, afraid of it I guess.

A large brick house is beside the church, the priests’ house I assume. I see a car there, but no people. I imagine black-cassocked priests flocking around. Probably I’d have got a shock if a real-life present day priest or brother had come out, likely in jeans and sweatshirt. The new SUV sitting out front looks out of Interior of church from shepaintsred blogplace. So I’m glad nobody came out, maybe glad I didn’t try to go in the church. I like the picture I have in my head. But I’m glad that someone went inside: at shepaintsred, you can see what I missed.

The feeling of family reverence I had in the graveyard has stayed with me. Seeing names so familiar to me that they could be Magloire-Gallant Road sign, Mont Carmel PEImy own family. The solidity of community roots showing in rows of gravestones, hundreds of years of ancestors present with you.

(Click photos for larger views)

Anger by name…

Years ago, I was in a public library in Los Angeles and found reference books on family Massacre of the Vaudois of Merindol from Wikipedianames.  I looked up mine, Anger.  It said the name came from France, from the region of Anjou, with its main city being Angers.  I was thrilled with the idea of being French.

When I came home, I told my father.  He said “French!  No!  We’re German.”  He had always said when asked that he didn’t know the family origins – “a little bit of everything” was his answer.  So I remained convinced that we were French.

Much later, when I started delving into family history and found other family members doing the same, I discovered that Dad and I were both right.

The family was Huguenot or French Protestant.  In the 16th and 17th centuries, Protestants in France had to convert to Catholicism or be killed or expelled.  Or they fled the country.  They went to Protestant countries, among them the territories that became Germany.  And that is where the known history of our family starts.

Butlers-Rangers signage at Ottawa-War-MuseumGeorg Frederick Anger migrated to Pennsylvania in 1754. When the American colonies went to war with Britain, George Frederick chose the British side and he and his sons fought as Loyalists to the crown.  After the war, they moved across the new border and settled in Bertie Township, near Fort Erie.  They joined Butler’s Rangers, a British regiment made up of Loyalists.

The Anger men weren’t done with war.  In the War of 1812, they again found their new homeland in the midst of American and British conflict.  Then, forty years later, the Angers of Bertie literally found themselves in the midst of battle.  In the 1866 Battle of Ridgeway, part of the Fenian Raids in Upper Canada, the Anger homestead was smack Watercolour of Battle of Ridgeway, Alexander Von Erichsen Ft. Erie Museumin the midst of the battlelines.  Bullet holes are still visible in the bricks.  The house was turned into a field hospital, being handy to the wounded.

Several years ago, Jim and I made a trip to Ridgeway to find the family.  First stop was the Ridgeway archives and library.  I found out that my great-great-great-great-grandparents were buried in the “Coloured Cemetery,” north of Ridgeway near the Anger house.  Close to the American border, the area had become home to escaped and freed slaves.  But just when I was thinking, with delight, about what the Anger place of burial meant for my personal ancestry, the Anger gravestones in Coloured Cemetery, Ridgeway, photo Jim Stewartarchivist told me it had been the cemetery for everybody in the early days of the settlement.  White people, generally, had gravestones.  Black people had wooden crosses.  The Angers have gravestones.

All the cemeteries near Ridgeway have Angers buried in them.  But several of the children of George Frederick’s son John Charles moved west.  One of them, also named John Charles, had a son Peter who moved to Hazen Settlement in South Walsingham Township, Norfolk County.  It is from him that all of us here in Elgin County claim descent.

This is for my father, George, who died nine years ago today.  He had seen his family history in computer printouts first by my cousin Chris Anger and then by me.  Dad and I also came to agree that the family was German and French.  The title for this is from his saying about his surname – “Anger by name, Anger by nature.”

United Empire Rebels

A couple weeks ago, I posted the family tree of the Mabees, my paternal grandmother’s Christopher Mabee, Canadian Nationals 2005family.  It’s the family I knew least about, other than there are a lot of them in the Tillsonburg-Courtland area.  And I claim the fabulous figure skater Christopher Mabee, from Tillsonburg, as kin.  Don’t know how he’s related, but I believe he must be, so I call him “Cousin Chris”.

Anyway, the internet allowed me to connect my limited knowledge of the Mabees with sources of a lot of information about them.  The thing that I was delighted to discover is that the Mabees came to Canada from the US as United Empire Loyalists.  That makes my entire lineage, both sides of both parents’ families, UEL.

Nancy Hart of Georgia, holding United Empire Loyalists prisonerSo talking with my husband, who was born and raised in the US, about the Loyalists.  His children are Canadian because of the Vietnam War.  I am Canadian because of the Revolutionary War.  Telling him about a Mabee ancestor whom the British hanged as a “spy” for the rebels.  The rest of the family came north to Canada, and the American rebels, later known as the government and citizenry of the USA, seized their lands.

So what was that like?  Families divided by political opinion and geography.  For those who left, returning to the US was not an option unless they were willing to risk arrest.  Sounds like the American Civil War, doesn’t it?  Only it was a national border between them in the latter 1700s.

Butler's Rangers, painting by Garth DittrickBlack, white and First Nations – all belonged to the group that the new United States saw as traitors and that Canada called United Empire Loyalists.  All contributed to military efforts against the American “rebels” and all made new communities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

Voluntarily or not, the loyalists had already left their homelands at least once.  Europeans like my ancestors had sought freedom from religious, economic or political oppression in a new land.

Painting of Loyalists landing, Bay of QuintePresumably, my kin in the Mabee, Burwell, Anger and Lymburner families had found that in the beginning.  But when total independence was being discussed and fought for, they preferred political ties with Britain to living in the proposed republic.  “Better to live under one tyrant a thousand miles away, than a thousand tyrants one mile away” was how UEL Daniel Bliss put it.  And, to the north, there was a country/colony that agreed with that philosophy.  So they picked up stakes again and moved to British North America.

UEL version of Union Jack 1707-1801 Double rebels, and divided families.  Family members maybe never saw each other again.  Those who left had to abandon the land and homes they’d built up and homestead all over again in new country.  New generations became American or Canadian, maybe not really thinking much about their connections to the other country and their family there.

UEL military service coronet, for Canadian heraldryFrom New Jersey to New Brunswick and New York to Niagara, those United Empire Loyalists, rebels against the United States of America, are my people.

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 Newfoundland Mi'kmaq genealogy websites 1775 James Cook mapgenealogy.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)
*  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)
*  Doucet Family
*  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)
*  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)
*  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)
*  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)
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 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.