Well Matched Roommates

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Amazon.com

Despite Roxy’s stripper name — the actual name on her birth certificate was Roxy Barbara Streisand Gillard, and I’m not even kidding — she was as far as possible from the way you’d expect a Roxy to look. Roxy was a connector — or was it a nucleus? At school I had always skipped biology, so I wasn’t good with scientific metaphors. Anyway, she connected people. She was pretty much how I made all my friends in Toronto. She made an effort to make plans with friends, and to introduce them to others, like a community hub. There — Roxy was a community hub. She was rarely alone. She was always up to something interesting.

Roxy liked to talk. I liked to listen. The roommate situation would probably work out well.

Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall

This novel won the Lambda Literary Award: Transgender. A review can be seen HERE. More award winners can be found on the Amazon.com  Lambda Literary Award: Transgender listing.

Silent Flying Christmas Eve Canoe

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Wordery.com

The voyageurs dipped their paddles. The canoe rose in the air. Faster and faster. higher ad higher. It skimmed the treetops, skirting the clouds as it turned southward.

The Flying Canoe, A Christmas Story retold by Eric A Kimmel and illustrated by Daniel San Souci and Justin San Souci

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My Immigrant Ancestors: Francoise and Jean Venne

This example of Immigration in the USA is taken from my own family tree.

This couple never entered the United States. The Venne family (on my mother’s side) landed in Canada in 1671 and stayed there until 1864. That’s 193 years and 5 generations of Venne men living in Canada prior to entering the USA.

All other French Canadian/Creole branches (on both my mother’s and father’s sides) extend into the 1700 to 1800s – at least. This is the only couple I was able to trace back to a country other than Canada or the United States. Completing the necessary research on the rest will require significantly more time, so they will not be posted in the near future.

That said, the following data is the best currently available. There are many gaps in the information. It is presented as research in progress.

Francoise Manseau (Manseaux) and Jean Baptiste Davoine Voyne (Venne) (Voine) (Vien)

Francoise Manseau (Manseaux)

Unknown birth and death dates

  • Birth Location: France
  • Immigration Year: 1671
  • Canada Residence: L’Assomption, Lanaudiere Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Native Language: French
  • Occupation: Housewife
  • Education: Unknown
  • Naturalization Status: Unknown
  • Number of children: At least 2

Jean Baptiste Davoine Voyne (Venne) (Voine) (Vien)
1657 – 1736

  • Birth Location: Rennes, Departement d’Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France
  • Immigration Year: 1671
  • Canada Residence: L’Assomption, Lanaudiere Region, Quebec, Canada
  • Native Language: French
  • Occupation: Unknown
  • Education: Unknown
  • Naturalization Status: Unknown

More details about the Venne family line in Canada can be found on the Claude Dupras website.

My Immigrant Ancestors: Victoire and Jacques Mayotte

This example of Immigration in the USA is taken from my own family tree.

This couple stands as an excellent example of the challenges presented by genealogy.

I have many facts and family legends handed down (verbally) through the Venne family line – these are wonderful when trying to decipher which information applies to your own family tree and which does not.

The Myers side is significantly more murky. I have a few bits and pieces to use when evaluating details, but the limited information is exacerbated by the inconsistency in documented details. Most notably, the names are spelled many different ways. Strangely enough, the spelling variations occurred across location, time and family members. Several of the Mayotte children were buried under last names that differ from both their parents and each other. All of the variations I have found documented are included below.

Because this side of the family requires significantly more investigation, I am providing the following information as an example of best-available and in-progress-research.

 

Victoire LaMois Niguette and Jacques Louis Mayotte

Relationship to me: Great Great Grandparents

Victoire (Victoria, Victory) H LaMois Niguette (Neget, Frechette)
1843-1933

  • Birth Location: Quebec, Canada
  • Immigration Year: 1865
  • US Residence: Taftville, New London, Connecticut
  • Native Languages: French. Unable to speak English (per the 1930 census).
  • Occupation: Housewife
  • Education: No schooling. Possibly illiterate.
  • Naturalization Status: Alien. No evidence naturalization was ever achieved.
  • Number of children: 11

Jacques (James) Louis Mayotte (Mailhot, Myers, Maillotte, Miers, Mayatte)
1832 – 1895

  • Birth Location: Quebec, Canada
  • Immigration Year: 1865
  • US Residence: Taftville, New London, Connecticut
  • Native Languages: French
  • Occupation: Farm hand, Odd Jobs
  • Education: No schooling. Illiterate (per the 1910 census).
  • Naturalization Status: Alien. No evidence naturalization was ever achieved.
  • Number of children: 15 (It appears that he had 4 children when he married Victoire, but no evidence of a previous marriage has been located.)

My Immigrant Ancestors: Marie and Edmond Richard

This example of Immigration in the USA is taken from my own family tree.

Marie Azarine Brault and Edmond Richard

Relationship to me: Great Great Grandparents

Marie Azarine Brault
1854-1922

  • Birth Location: Joliette, Quebec, Canada
  • Immigration Year: 1873
  • US Residence: Coleman, WI
  • Native Language: French
  • Occupation: Housewife
  • Education: Unknown
  • Naturalization Status: Unknown
    • 1910 Census: Not mentioned
    • 1920 Census: Alien
  • Number of children: 9

Edmond Richard
1853 – 1934

  • Birth Location:  Ste. Julienne, Comte de Montcalm, Lanaudiere, Quebec, Canada
  • Immigration Year: 1869
  • US Residence: Coleman, WI
  • Native Language: French
  • Occupation:
    • USA: Motor Factory Sweeper, Paper Mill Grader
    • Canada: Mill Worker
  • Education: Unknown
  • Naturalization Status: Unknown
    • 1910 Census: Naturalized
    • 1920 Census: Naturalization papers submitted
  • Number of children: 9

My Immigrant Ancestors: Justine and Didace Venne

This example of Immigration in the USA is taken from my own family tree.

Justine Brault and Didace Venne

Relationship to me: Great Great Grandparents

Justine Brault
1852-1895

  • Birth Location: Joliette, Quebec, Canada
  • Immigration Year: Before 1871
  • US Residence: Coleman, WI
  • Native Language: French
  • Occupation: Housewife
  • Education: Unknown
  • Naturalization Status: Unknown
  • Number of children: 16

Didace Venne
1846 – 1936

  • Birth Location: St-Jacques-l’Achigan, Montcalm, Québec, Canada
  • Immigration Year: 1864
  • US Residence: Coleman, WI
  • Native Language: French
  • Occupation: Farming, Saw Mill Laborer, Iron Mine Laborer
  • Education: None, Illiterate
  • Naturalization Status: Naturalized per the 1910 Census. Date of naturalization is unknown.

More details about the Venne family line in Canada can be found on the Claude Dupras website.

The Real Winnie The Pooh

Wordery.com

Like most people, I grew up watching cartoons and reading stories about Winnie The Pooh. Pooh bear is still very much a part of the Disney landscape and, therefore, popular culture.

What I did not know, was that Winnie was an actual bear who served time with the Canadian military (yes, she was actually a part of the military!) during WWI. Harry Colebourn, a military veterinarian (they were still using horses in combat during WWI) rescued the bear at a Canadian train station and named her Winnie, which is short for Winnipeg. Winnie tagged along with Harry all the way to Europe, until the war made it impossible to properly care for the bear and forced him to find a better home – at the London Zoo.

Winnie remained at the zoo for the remainder of her life, which is how she met the real-life Christopher Robin, who was the son of Alan Alexander Milne, the author of the original Winnie The Pooh stories.

As an adult, I read this story thinking…um…really?…Wow! All of these years of seeing Pooh Bear in television, movies and storybooks and I had absolutely no idea! It’s amazing what you can learn when you visit the local library. 🙂

Quote:

“In 1919, just before Harry returned to Winnipeg, he made another hard decision. He decided that Winnie would stay at the London Zoo permanently. Harry was sad, but he knew Winnie would be happiest in the home she knew best.”

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who inspired Winnie-The-Pooh, written by Sally M Walker and Illustrated by Jonathan D Voss

Unforgettable Wild Blueberries

Summer of the Wolves

Image source: Wordery.com

Back in the late 1980s, while working in the boundary waters for the SCA as a teenaged volunteer worker, there was a weekend when the team took a canoe trip to an island, just for fun. Given we were living on an island and every trip to a work site required a canoe made the fact that we were canoeing to an island rather mundane – which is odd to think about, so many years later.

The ‘boundary waters’ is a term applied (by locals) to a very large area of water and land lying between the United States and Canada. It is used to refer to areas of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin (on the USA side). Yet, the landscape has many similarities, across hundreds of miles. This novel is located in Minnesota, which is where I was located while working the ‘boundary waters,’ and some of the descriptions of the landscape and life in the outdoors reminded me of that summer in Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Which brings me back to the island. To get to a specific hillside, we had to canoe to the island itself, tie up the canoes, hike in, tie our shoes and supplies in bags held onto our heads and swim across this amazingly beautiful still-water (and extremely deep) lake. It was a short swim and the water felt wonderful. On the other side was a hillside covered in blueberry bushes and we spent most of the afternoon just relaxing and collecting blueberries.

When I read the following quote, I immediately remembered the island, the swim and the blueberries. Everything described below made me think ‘yeah, I know that.’

QUOTE:

He picked a handful for both of them to see. Blueberries. Small ones. These were like the green berries she had seen on the Big Island, except they were blue. A whole hillside of blue. Nika put one in her mouth. The taste was sharp and sweet, better than the fat puffy blueberries from the store. Ian laughed as he watched her face. The three of them went to work. For a long time there was no sound except the drumming of blueberries onto the bottoms of aluminum pots. Nika moved to a new patch of little bushes heavy with berries, eating most of what she picked. Ian looked her way as she stuffed another handful in her mouth, as though she were unwrapping a gift he’d given her. He smiled, then returned to picking. She was blown away that the blueberries just grew here. Nobody planted them. Maybe they had been growing here for a thousand years. Or more. Eagerly she began filling her own pot.

Summer of The Wolves by Polly Carlson-Voiles