December 31, 2009

The Best of 2009 for our family

Sarah and Corey's Wedding - May 2009

Our Family

Tyler, Theo and Rebecca (Consentino)  Hains
Corey and Sarah (Consentino) Jackson
Lucie (LeBlanc) and Anthony Consentino

There was the bride's  first dance with her  Dad

that included the groom dancing with the Bride's Mom

 The Bride and Groom's first dance

All the beautiful photos 
that captured precious moments

The beautiful Bride

 We danced and danced

and danced some more...

Corey is the son of 
William (Bill) and Charlotte Jackson

Corey's brother and sister-in-law 
Bill and Mary

Corey with his nieces 
Kaitlyn and Brianna

The Wedding Party

They just realized that the priest forgot to say 
"you may kiss the bride"...

No matter what the day brought it was a day filled with blessings, love and the warmth of families brought together by these two wonderful people:  Sarah and Corey.  They made 2009 a year to remember.  God bless them throughout their marriage and throughout all the days of their lives.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 28, 2009

Thanks for the blessings of 2009

 Granpa and Theo on Christmas Eve

Christmas 2009 has passed on into history.  It is time to take a look at what the year was like and what we hope for in the coming year.  Though Christmas is gone for another year, I just have to say that toddlers have so much fun with the simplicities of life. In the following photo, Theo thought it much more fun to play with the wrappings that came off his gifts than the gifts themselves - so fun to watch him! 

Our family had a wonderful 2009 with all of the planning that went on for Sarah and Corey's wedding.  It was an exciting time and the wedding was just the best - we are so happy to see our Sarah so happy with the love of her life.  Corey and Sarah are just the best together like Rebecca & Tyler are a great couple together.  They are blessed and we as their parents are blessed to see them well married and so happy.

Added to the pleasure of it all is our little Theo (has his own blog entitled "Theodorable") who was born September 2008.  Theo has just brought so much joy into all of our lives.  It is fun to see him grow on all fronts.  He is a smart little boy and at fifteen months old he is already into teasing his Mémère (grandmother).  I just love it.

Yes, we have had our ups and downs over the years  but I choose to look at all of the wonderful things we shared with our family and friends.  God has been good to us and we look forward to a great 2010.

I decided some time ago that life is too short to focus on the difficulties of life.  They present themselves and all we can do is work through them one day at a time.  In fact, they make us stronger as we move through life.  All that matters are those wonderful situations, days and events that God gifts us with:  family, children, grandchildren, friends...  and to be able to wake up each morning and say "hey this will be a great day!"  Each and every day is a gift - enjoy it and make it the best you can in the coming year.

Note:  The photos were taken by our son-in-law Corey 
who is quickly becoming the family photographer.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 25, 2009

Three Christmas Miracles

Christmas 2009 is almost over.  It has been a wonderful celebration for our family and our extended family and friends.  It is our hope that all of you have enjoyed the miracles of Christmas because they abound.  I will share three of them with you on the genealogy front.

This morning I first found marriage records for a member of the AFC mailing list who was at a brick wall not knowing who the names of her ggreatgrandmother.  She can now move forward.  Christmas miracle #1.

Then I found a marriage record for another individual who had contacted me for help because he had been told that his grandfather was not born in the city he had always been told and believed he had.  The marriage record clearly states his place of birth as Lynn, Massachusetts but the spelling of his name was incorrect in the record.  His surname was Meunier - the clerk spelled it Munier - so now that we know this, the individual will go once more to request his grandfather's birth certificate.  He should have no difficulty obtaining one now.  Christmas miracle #2.

Lastly, I found the marriage record of one of my father's sisters that I have searched for years and could not find it.  Instead of marrying by the name of Genevieve LeBlanc, she gave her name as Jennie White.  She and John Miller married in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Strange though that she gave the name of her father as Daniel rather than Damien and she gave the name of her mother as Delia Durant.  First of all, this last name was Odille Doiron - secondly Odille was not really her mother as her birth mother died when she was born.  Her birth mother was Genevieve Arsenault and she had been named after her but not ever  having known her, and Odille being the only mother she knew, I'm sure that is why she listed her as mother.  Christmas miracle #3.

So three Christmas miracles came my way today.  Two for people I was  helping and one for my family research.  Three wonderful blessings at Christmas from a more than wonderful Child laying in a manger.  I hope you had at least one Christmas miracle today!


Your cousin Lucie
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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 24, 2009

Silent night - Holy Night

December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas With Love

Rosanna Lévesque and George Charles LeBlanc
take July 3, 1948

With fond remembrances of Christmas past
Mom and Dad, we love you.
The memory of you is always warm and alive.
Thanks for who you were and for the legacy
and heritage you have left us.

We also remember with great love those who have passed on: my sister Claudia and her husband Chanel, my brother Albert and his wife Irene; and my nephews Joseph and George; my nephew Bob's wife Gerry as well as my husband's Mother Maria, Father Philip, brothers Vincent and Lucius; sister-in-law Mary.  A Christmas Remembrance for a good friends Carol Morin and Gladys DeVilliers.

Sincere thanks to all of you who have supported me throughout the years.  Some of you have become good friends and I am most grateful.  Heartfelt thanks to my husband, daughters and sons-in-law for all their support.  Thye always inspired me to keep going.  Love to all!


December 20, 2009

Minuit Chrétiens - O Holy Night

The music for "Cantique de Noël" was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847.  The music was set to  a poem written by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877) entitled "Minuit Chrétiens".  Placide Cappeau was a wine merchant and a poet who had been asked by his parish priest to write a Christmas poem. 

It was translated into English by minister John Sullivan Dwight and titled "O Holy Night".  Many popular versions exist and over the years it has remained one of the most popular Christmas Carols and it is one of my favorites.

Minuits, chrétiens ~ Cantique de Noël
Minuit, chrétiens, c'est l'heure solennelle,
Où l'Homme-Dieu descendit jusqu'à nous
Pour effacer la tache originelle
Et de Son Père arrêter le courroux.
Le monde entier tressaille d'espérance
En cette nuit qui lui donne un Sauveur.
Peuple à genoux, attends ta délivrance.
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, voici le Rédempteur!
De notre foi que la lumière ardente
Nous guide tous au berceau de l'Enfant,
Comme autrefois une étoile brillante
Y conduisit les chefs de l'Orient.
Le Roi des rois naît dans une humble crèche:
Puissants du jour, fiers de votre grandeur,
A votre orgueil, c'est de là que Dieu prêche.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.
Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur.
Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave:
La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n'était qu'un esclave,
L'amour unit ceux qu'enchaînait le fer.
Qui Lui dira notre reconnaissance,
C'est pour nous tous qu'Il naît, qu'Il souffre et meurt.
Peuple debout! Chante ta délivrance,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur,
Noël, Noël, chantons le Rédempteur!        

O Holy Night         

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of Our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd And the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 18, 2009

Childhood Memories - What was my wish at Christmas?

Each day as December 25th drew closer, I had one big wish - one prayer - that we would have a white Christmas!  At times that was  my prayer throughout Midnight Mass.  Some years it would be snowing as we left Midnight Mass; other times we would have had lots of snow prior to Christmas and yet other years, no snow at all.

Of course, these were wishes and prayers of a child.  Today I'd wish for no snow until all the family and friends have ended their travels for the holiday season.  Still it is nice to remember the wishes and prayers of childhood.  Again, life was simpler then.

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 14, 2009

Childhood Memories at Christmas

The hubbub of Christmas always brings with it a flood of childhood memories.

We were poor so our Christmas preparations were not about shopping for gifts in fact gifts in our whole extended family were just not a priority. What mattered was preparing food for "réveillon" after Midnight Mass and preparing a great meal for Christmas dinner wherever that would take place.

Réveillon was a "celebration" after Midnight Mass that sort of kicked of the rest of Christmas day.  Of course, it was about breaking bread together as we would say today.  It was a must to have tourtière (french meat pies) and apple pies that Mémère usually prepared for the family.

As children, we all looked forward to being allowed to stay up on Christmas Eve in anticipation of leaving just before 11:00p.m. for church. Midnight Mass was so well attended that it was difficult to find a seat if you did not go early. As parishioners of "La Paroisse Ste-Anne" (Ste-Anne Parish) in Lawrence, Massachusetts, we were privileged to have a chapel where daily mass was celebrated in what we called the "big" church where all special celebrations such as Christmas and Easter was celebrated as well as Sunday masses.

The chapel had once been the parish church until it became too small for the number of families in the parish. Above the chapel was a beautiful parish hall that included a balcony. All parish events were very well attended and at times there was standing room only once all of the seats were filled.  Eventually, the chapel was converted into a second parish hall.  In the upper hall, school plays, turkey cheers and big events were held.  In the lower hall the parish would sponsor whist parties and the like.  (Whist was a popular card game at the time.)

My grandmother (accompanied by me) would always arrive at church early and save the pew  for other family members. I remember the then pastor Père (Father) Forestier who was a member of the Society of Mary (Marist). He had seen the completion of our beautiful new "big" church. He was beloved by all parishioners and was greatly appreciated for his devotion and dedication to the parish.  I remember some of the scaffolding was still up when we attended our first Midnight Mass in the big church.  It had not been possible to take it all down by Christmas.  No machines to do these things in those days.

The parish choir lead by Mrs. Desjardins who was our organist and choir director would begin to sing Christmas carols at 11:00p.m. I remember sitting and listening and soon I was dozing while leaning against my Mémère's very comfortable fur coat. Just as mass was about to be celebrated she would nudge me awake - I was always surprised to see the rest of the family had arrived unnoticed by me.

So many people attended Midnight Mass that communion could last anywhere from a half hour or more. My grandmother always sat in the first pew so I got to see all of my uncles, aunts and cousins pass by as they went to communion.

Midnight Mass was always the ultimate in ushering in the Birth of Jesus. We all loved it and it was a very special time for our families.  There was always a big beautiful manger in the big church as well as in the chapel.  My Mémère had a special crêche she would take out.  I remember it had little angels and she had fashioned wings made out of yellow cellophane.  Everything was gorgeous - the angels, baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph were set in a log cabin setting.  Something that had come with her family when they migrated from Canada.  You could tell this was very special to her because of the care she took in displaying  her crêche.

After Midnight Mass, réveillon would take place at one of my uncle's homes (my mother's brothers) because most of the time Christmas dinner was at our home. I remember my mother staying up a good portion of the night so everything would be ready for noon on Christmas day with aunts, uncles and cousins arriving between 11:00-11:30 a.m. I would awake on Christmas morning to the smell ragou, turkey in the oven, tourtière and apple pies.  Dinner time seemed so far away to the child that I was!

So when Christmas time rolls around, my head is flooded with wonderful memories of what it was like to celebrate Christmas back then. Nostalgia fills the air as well as a longing for parents, grandparents, siblings and extended family. When I was growing  up, family was everything and as mentioned before, celebrating Christmas was never about gifts - either giving or receiving -  Christmas was about being together, having an unforgettable dinner prepared by Mama and spending the rest of the day together talking, singing, laughing, playing and have a memorable day.  Mama and a couple of uncles played the harmonica and others played the spoons.  It didn't take much to entertain ourselves in those days.  Life was good!  Where has all that simplicity gone?!

I will be back with more "Childhood Memories".  Meanwhile, I hope you all have such wonderful family memories of Christmas past to recall as you prepare for Christmas 2009.


Your cousin Lucie
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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 13, 2009

Acadian Remembrance Day 2009

The following is a talk Stephen White gave last year on Acadian Remembrance Day:

"Today is the anniversary of the sinking of the Duke William in 1758, the event that took the greatest number of Acadian lives at a single stroke of all the tragedies of the Grand Dérangement. Three hundred sixty-two Acadians perished on that vessel. The Duke William went down just one day after the sinking of the Violet, in which around another 280 Acadians lost their lives, and on the sixteenth a third transport, the Ruby, ran aground in the Azores, killing over 200 more. The three wrecks thus carried off in the space of four days in December 1758 some 850 Acadians.

To mark this terrible series of events, and to commemorate as well all those who lost their lives during the Grand Dérangement, the Fédération des associations de familles acadiennes has held ceremonies each December 13th since 2003. Today these ceremonies take place between noon and one p.m. at the City Hall in Dieppe, N. B.

All who can are cordially invited to attend. For those who are unable to do so, it is recommended that they set aside a few moments to reflect upon the tragedy that befell the Acadian people between 1755 and 1763, and particularly upon the fates of those who did not survive the catastrophes of that period. It is hoped that in time Acadian descendants everywhere will observe this date, to remember those who died, just as they now observe August 15th, to remember those who survived.

As part of today's program, I will say a few words about the victims of the smallpox epidemic that carried off over 300 Acadians in Québec City between November 1757 and February 1758. Just 250 years ago this plague was at its height, and the priests at Notre-Dame were burying six to eight Acadians each and every day.

It is worth pointing out that the segment of the Acadian population that suffered the most from these trials was that of the children. Of the 222 Acadians who died at Québec City between November and December 1757, 145 were children and adolescents."

So the day has not ended and there enough of the day left to remember all of the Acadians who perished while being exiled from their homeland."

December 10, 2009

Four LeBlanc Brothers

Some time ago a long lost cousin who found me through my Family Tree Maker site sent me the above photo hoping that I could identify the four people in it.

Actually, they are four LeBlanc brothers.  The fellow to the far right is my uncle Albert LeBlanc.  The other three names are Narcisse, George and Henry but I don't know who is who.

George is my father but of course, I did not know him when he was this young and I didn't know any of my LeBlanc uncles (most unfortunately!).  I do suspect that the young man to the left is my father and that the fellow standing to his right is my uncle Narcisse then uncle Henry.

If anyone can identify this photo please let me know. Their parents were Damien S. LeBlanc and OdilleDoiron.

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Vincenzo Consentino

Thus far four parts of "A History of the Consentino Family Musicians" has been posted to this blog.  I am work on Part V.  Meanwhile I thought it would be appropriate to post a photo of the Vincenzo Consentino and his wife Maria Orteleva's tombstone since today is Tombstone Tuesday.

Vincenzo Consentino and Maria Orteleva were the parents of my mother-in-law Maria Grazia Consentino and therefore my husband Anthony's grandparents.

Vincenzo was born in Mistretta, Sicily, Italy in 1856.  He died in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1940 and is buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery with his wife Maria.  He was 84 years of age.   Maria Ortoleva was born in 1861 in Mistretta and died in Lawrence in 1946 at the age of 82.  They married in Mistretta abt. 1889.

Two of their adult children are buried with them.  One of them Felix who was in Part IV that was posted.

There was another person living with Vincenzo and Maria that is often overlooked perhaps because she never married or had children to memorialize her.  Her name was Lucia and she was Maria Ortoleva's sister.  Lucia never married.  

Lucia Ortoleva was born in Mistretta in 1867 she died in Lawrence in 1943 at the age of 76.  In a recent conversation with  Lucia's great niece (Miriam Consentine/o Baresi) she said she remembers Lucia very well as she used to spend a great deal of time at the home of her grandparents who owned a house on Oak Street in Lawrence.  She said her aunt Lucie was petite and very kind to everyone.

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 7, 2009

The Women of World War II

I was a very little girl when on December 7th 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the people of the United States  into World War II and out of the Depression. The state's industrial cities and shipyards sprang back to life to meet wartime demand for munitions, ships, and military supplies. But with men leaving to enlist, there was a sudden labor shortage; women stepped forward  taking their place on assembly lines. In many towns across the country, where women had traditionally worked unskilled jobs for low wages, new opportunities grew.

These opportunities offered  independence, self-respect, and money. At the end of the war, many women lost their jobs to returning G.I.s, yet others, armed with new skills, remained. The number of working women never again fell to pre-war levels. Some women who were not retained in their jobs  fought industrial management when told they would be replaced by G.I.s returning from war. They had earned their place in industry and in history.  However, doors that the war had opened for women workers slammed shut. While the number of American women in the workforce continued to grow, it would take decades, and a series of law suits, to restore the occupational opportunities WW II had created.

Rosie the Riveter by J. Howard Miller

During the war  industries throughout the country looked for new ways to increase their much needed labor force.  To counter the problem the government launched a propaganda program that would bring women to work in mills and factories throughout the land  They promoted the fictional character of  Rosie the Riveter.  Posters of  Rosie depicted her as pretty but equal to her beauty was that she was very patriotic, here loyality and efficiency were unequaled.  Many women who worked in the factories to help the war effort would call themselves "Rosies".

In Massachusetts, the mill towns were humming and work was plentiful as materials were woven for military uniforms.  The war brought about a sort of revolution where women were concerned.  Women from all society classes went to work and when the men returned after the war there were now men and women working side by side in the factories and mills.  So many women in the work force had never been heard of prior to the war.

Back from the war, men were working mostly in jobs held by women during the war.  In addition to that, the G.I. Bill of rights that provided G.I.s  returning from the war with the opportunity to go to college and advance their careers helped  to create the middle class.  The government gave billions of dollars to the G.I. Bill as well as to Veterans Administration. home loans.  The middle class was something as new as the "suburbs" that we would come to know.

Everyone who applied did not receive a first time loan to buy a house so did not have the opportunity to move to the new suburbs.  They remained in the city tenements, sometimes in broken down tenements of  the ghetto.  Businesses in the center of cities were growing pushing many of these tenants into a different kind of city life...  generations to come would be trapped in this situation.  Meanwhile those who could buy a home experienced a new sense of freedom and pride in ownership.  They were proud owners of a home in the suburbs where their children could roam and play unafraid of what was happening in the crowded cities they left behind.

Post World War II experienced the creation of a new chapter in the American life style.  It was no longer a choice of living an urban a way of life or a rural way of life.  People now had a choice of living an urban, rural or suburban way of life.

Suburbia grew thanks to the highway system created under President Eisenhower in the 1950's.  Now anyone who could own a car and hold a job in the city could commute and return to the peace and quiet of the suburbs at day's end.

My mother, grandfather aunts and uncles working in the mills during World War II.  Many of them were weavers and when I would  hear them talk about their work, they took great pride in weaving a good cloth that would later be made into uniforms for the men and women of the military.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

December 6, 2009

Telephone Trivia

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

The first telephone "book" was published by the New Haven District Telephone Company, in Connecticut, in 1878.  It was one page long and contained fifty names - and because, in those days, the operator would connect callers, it was a telephone directory that didn't actually list any telephone numbers.

It is estimated the 85% of Americans now own a cell phone.

Before push-button telephones, people used dial telephones.  Before dial telephones were invented, operators connected every call.

December 3, 2009

A History of the Consentino Family Musicians

Part IV

Vincenzo Consentino

In Parts I, II and III of the history of the Consentino musicians, we shared the music professions of the descendants of Francesco Consentino.  In Part IV, we are going to talk about the descendants of Vincenzo who was Francesco's brother.

As far as the family knows, Vincenzo (Vincent) Consentino did not play a musical instrument so some of his children and grandchildren perhaps found an interest in music because of all their uncles and cousins who did.

Vincenzo Consentino married Maria Ortoleva  circa 1889 in Mistretta, Italy.  On March 3, 1902 Vincenzo arrived in the port of  Boston aboard the ship Cambroman with his wife Maria and children Guiseppe (Joseph), Bennedetta, the twins Liberto (Albert) and Maria and Felice (Felix).   Maria was refused entry into the United States because their youngest daughter Rosa was sick.  She went back to Sicily with the four youngest children and returned in 1905. The oldest children  Pietro (Peter) and Benedetta remained in Massachusetts with their father.  

On 29 May 1905, Maria Ortoleva arrived with three of her children in the port of Boston on the S.S. Romanic that sailed from Naples uly 29, 2007.  Rosa was not with them as she had passed away.

Of their five then living children Felix Consentino played the banjo and the mandolin.  My husband Anthony Consentino believes he learned to play these instruments from his cousin Joseph Consentino.  He married Clara V. Hausehalter in 1926.  Felix never really played professionally as his cousins did.  

Four children were born to Felix and Clara:  Miriam, Paul, Harold and Albert.  At some point Clara wanted Felix to change the Consentino name so he did - their family's name has become Consentine -  not much of a change as spelling goes  except that it sounds Greek rather than Italian.

Their second son Paul Consentine was a professional musician whose main instruments were clarinet and saxophone.  Paul spent most of his career playing at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.  When his career ended with the Navy, he retired in Annapolis.  That is all the information that we have concerning Paul.

His brother Harold was also a musician.  Above is a photo of Harold with his parents Clara and Felix on the day of his wedding. 

Harold Consentine and Patricia K. Schnieder 
and Harold's  parents Clara and Felix

Harold and Patricia had eight children.  Diana Marie,Harold Joseph, Denise Claire, Terry Ann, Carolyn Patricia, Lisa Jean, Kristin Lori, and Lindsay Katherine.

Harold played the piano though it seems he could play other instruments.  According to some of his children, he worked for a music store.  His daughter Denise Louque says:  "Our dad played so often.  My most favorite request was "world is waiting on a sunrise" he added his own flare to it... miss him playing!"

 His daughter Kristin Consentine Valdez sent me the following:  "My mother told me could play any instrument. When my parents moved to Newington, NH, they rented the Issaic Dow House. My father was a Newington Police officer for a few years. Later, he was employed as a music teacher and gave lessons at the Piano Store in the Newington Mall. People would gather round in crowds to listen to him while they shopped. He did that for many years. For another many years, he volunteered his Saturday afternoons and played at the Edgewood Center in Portsmouth, NH. (an elderly home facility) ."

Her sister Denise says he would roll out a piano to the center of the mall and that's when people would gather around to listen.

Harold passed away on November 23, 2001 - his family still misses all the music he brought into their lives.  Some members of  the family play an instrument  for their own pleasure.


In addition to his son Felix and two of his grandsons, Vincenzo Consentino had another son who played the piano.  His name was Liberto better known as Albert Consentino in the photo below.

 Some of the Consentino musicians
Albert Consentino, son of Vincenzo,
Frank (Frankie Kahn) Consentino 
Albert Consentino, sons of Joseph,
Anthony Consentino 
grandson of both Francesco and Vincenzo 
Gil Consentino, son of Joseph
Joseph Consentino, son of Frank (Frankie Kahn)

Albert  (Liberto in Italian)  was born in 1898 in Mistretta.  He married Delia Araldo three children were born to them:  Eleanore, Albert and Philip.  Albert became an medical doctor.  He practiced in Haverhill, Massachusetts where he and Delia raised their family.  He was chief at the Hale Hospital; served on the Haverhill School Committee for twenty years; and was also quite involved with the Rotary Club.

He never became a professional musician - likely because he was busy enough as a doctor as well as his civic commitments.  Nonetheless, he composed and published songs.  Some of the songs were for children and we do have a book of his published songs.  He was very generous with his time and contributions to the school system.

His hard work did not go unnoticed.  In 1970 the Dr. Albert B. Consentino Middle School was dedicated in his name.  As part of the dedication ceremony, two of his published songs were performed by the Haverhil High School Choraleens:  "Lullaby" and "Waltz Delia".

The book of "Songs by A. B. Consentino, M.D." that is self-published, contains songs composed between 1935 and 1945, primarily for the entertainment of his children.  Many of the compositions have been played in churches, schools and over the radio.  At the time of publication, Sarkis Kirkjian, Supervisor of Music Education for the Haverhill Public Schools wrote the foreword that includes the following:  "The sincere, unretentious character of these songs and pieces displays the distinctive talent Dr. Consentino  has for melody writing.  This collection is sure to give much pleasure to singers, pianists and in fact to all musicians young and old.

Dr. Albert Consentino passed away in 1973 but he has left a rich legacy for the school children of Haverhill and is still well respected and remembered.  A few years ago I was in touch with the principal of the Consentino school who I knew in Lawrence.  He told me that any and all Consentino family members are welcomed to visit the school at any time.  So uncle Albert's legacy is alive and well.

 Part V of this series will be about my  husband Anthony Albert Consentino.  Anthony is the grandson of  both Francesco and Vincenzo Consentino.  Come read about the music legacy Anthony is passing on.

©Lucie's Legacy

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

No information or photos 
should be taken without permission.  
Thank  you.

December 2, 2009

Who is in those photos?

While I am working on Part IV of the History of the Consentino Family Musicians, I thought I would answer some questions about who is in the photos in the header above.

From the left:

# 1.  My grandparents Arthémise Dumais and Étienne Levesque on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

#2.  Photo taken with them and their children, grandchildren and great grandchild on the same occasion.

#3.  Their daughter Rosanna Levesque and George LeBlanc - my parents.

#4.  Wedding photo of Lucie LeBlanc and Anthony Consentino (me and my husband).

#5.  Photo of our two daughters Rebecca and Sarah.

#6.  Wedding photo of Rebecca Consentino and Tyler Hains.

#7.  Wedding photo of Sarah Consentino and Corey Jackson.

#8.  Our grandson Theo, son of Rebecca and Tyler.

#9.  Old photo of me and my grandmother at the beach when I was a child.

#10.  My husband Anthony when he was a boy.

#11.   Wedding photo of Maria Grazia Consentino and Filippo Consentino - my husband's parents

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Permission will not be granted for the photos in the sidebar
If you are a Consentino please contact me privately.

December 1, 2009

Ode to our Mothers

Welcome to Lucie's Legacy
This blog is dedicated to my family 
past, present and future. 

Author Unknown

Your mother is always with you...
She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.
She's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks.

She's the cool hand on your brow when you're  not well.
Your mother lives inside your laughter.
She's crystallized in every tear drop.
She's the place you came from, your first home.
She's the map you follow with every step you take.
She's your first love and your first heart break...
And nothing on earth can separate  you.
Not time... Not space... Not even death...
Will ever separate you from your mother...
You carry her inside of you.

The Rose Blogger Award has been created 
in memory of my mother Rosanna Levesque LeBlanc

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Cross posted at

November 17, 2009

The History of the Consentino Family Musicians

Part I
Francesco Consentino

circa 1910 - Lawrence, Massachusetts
The first of the Consentino family
to bring music to America

Among the early Italian pioneers in Lawrence, Massachusetts is my husband's family - on both sides.  His father was a Consentino as well as his mother.  In fact, they were first cousins.  His mother Maria Grazia/Mary Grace descends from the brother of Francesco Consentino.

Vincenzo Consentino
circa 1910 - Lawrence, Massachusetts

His name was Vincenzo.  When they arrived in America they set out to "Americanize" themselves and became known as Frank and Vincent.  So both Frank and Vincent are my husband Anthony's grandfathers.

Mistretta, Sicily, Italy

All Consentino originally come from Mistretta, Italy.  On the ship's list for Vincenzo his occupation was that of a shepherd.  When he came to America he started a cigar business.  Cigar stores were very popular back then.  What I've always loved about the immigrants who came to America is that they could be very enterprising - very entrepreneurial as we would say today.

On the ship's list for Francesco, he is listed as a cobbler.  Apparently he had honed a fine trade in shoemaking when living in Italy.  He once told my husband Anthony the following:  "Before coming to America, I apprenticed for sevenyears, leraning to design and hand craft custom made shoes."

When  he arrived in Lawrence, the first thing he did was to open a cobbler's / shoemakers shop and later his son Filippo/Philip - my husband's father - would learn the trade and eventually take over the business.

Meanwhile, Francesco had another passion in life:  he was a musician.  He came to America knowing to play the violin and the bass violin.

His oldest son Giuseppe/Joseph, whose photo is to the left, played the mandolin and other string instruments.

Family oral history tells us that while sailing to Ellis Island they entertained other immigrants on the ship while at sea.

In 1910, at about the age of 20, Joseph Consentino had already been playing publicly with other musicians and he also had three studios in a tenement (today we call them apartments) he rented where he taught string instruments.  In the photo to the left you see him playing the banjo.

Uncle Joe must have done quite well for himself as it was not long before he had a building built on Newbury Street in Lawrence where in addition to the studios he now opened a music store in 1920.

Born 5 December 1890 in Mistretta, Italy, Joseph married Maria Rancatore on 29 November 1909 in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  He was 19 years of age.  His new wife, Maria was 15 years old.  She passed away 28 July 1916 and Joseph remarried 22 November 1917 to Grace Maglitta.

[Note:  Joseph's daughter Dorothy tells me that Paul Whiteman had invited him to join his orchestra but Joe turned him down because it would mean lots of traveling and he had young children at home.]

Frank Consentino
aka Frankie Kahn

Issue from the first marriage was a son Frank Consentino born 29 March 1913.  Frank would become a very accomplished musician.  He would found and direct the Frankie Kahn Orchestra and his was one of the "Big Bands" of the era.     Frankie Kahn's  "Big Band" played at the Canobie Lake Ballroom in Salem, New Hampshire as did other bands of great renown like Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Guy Lombardo, Jimmy Dorsey, Lawrence Welk, Paul Whiteman, Louis Armstrong just to name a few.

Children from Joseph Consentino and Grace Maglitta included a son named Gildo.  Gildo, half brother to Frankie Kahn, wrote all of the arrangements for  the orchestra.

Tomorrow:  Part II - the Consentino family prepares more musicians for the community.

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Lucie's Legacy
and the
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home

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This article has been cross-posted with the
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home.

History of the Consentino Family Musicians

Part III
Lucius Consentino 1893-1919
Son of Francesco Consentino and Liboria Virgilio

Lucius Consentino was the second son and fourth child of Francesco Consentino and Liboria Virgilio.  He was born in Mistretta, Italy on 1 March 1893 and passed away on 3 March 1919 in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  He had just celebrated his 26th birthday.  On January 8,  1911 he married Maria  Scandura.

On June 5th, 1917 Lucius registered for  the World War I draft in Lawrence.  The information he provided included his birth date and stated that he was a  musician  and employed by the Orpheum Theater in Haverhill,  Ma.  Lucius and his brother Joseph Consentino provided music for the silent movies before the "talkies" came to be.

Lucius Consentino was an excellent drummer.  He also played other instruments but drums were his main instrument.

When Lucius passed away, in addition to his widow,  he left three children:  Frank, Liboria/Lea and Salvio/Sam Consentino.

Frank Consentino 1913-2009
in  his St. Alfio Band uniform
Son of Lucius Consentino and Maria Scandura

Frank was born 21 November 1912 in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  The eldest of the family and only seven when he lost his father.  His mother Maria Scandura Consentino then married Vincenzo Lacolla.  It seems that Vincenzo Lacolla was very good to the children Lucius left behind.  Nonetheless, Frank's uncle Phil would be like a second father to him and would in fact be his mentor.  Fillipo or Phil who had learned to design and handcraft custom made shoes from his father Francesco taught Frank the same trade his father Francesco had taught him and his brother Felix.  However, grandpa Francesco had passed on more than the trade of cobbler and shoemaker to his grandson - he had passed on his love of music.

Yes, Frank became a musician as so many were in the Consentino family.  His main instruments were the saxophone, clarinet and flute.  On his own he also learned to repair musical instruments.

At age 17, Frank's first band was the Villa Vista Virginians.  He later played with the St. Alfio Band of Lawrence.  His son Frank Jr. says "Dad played in so many bands and orchestras from Lawrence to Florida that I have lost count."

In 1933,  Frank married Concetta/Connie  Misserville who passed away 1 November 1942.  Issue from their marriage:  two sons named Frank, Jr. and Richard.

Frank held membership in American Federation of Musicians for 78 years.  He studied music with Joe Viola of the Boston School of Music; attended Jazz School with Stan Kenton; and studied with his cousins at the Consentino Music Studios in Lawrence where it all began.

After a lifetime of providing music to perhaps thousands of people, Frank passed away 31 March 2009 at the age of 97.  His son Frank says "he played his horns until six  months before his death.  Dementia caused him to lose his coordination but about a month before he died I heard him playing a few notes on his flute.  He would never give up."

Certainly Frank's passion for music and for that of musician remained with him to the end of his life.

Tomorrow:  Part IV - Felix Consentino fourth  son and seventh child of Francesco Consentino and Liboria Virgilio

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian  French-Canadian Ancestral Home Blog

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November 15, 2009

History of the Consentino Family Musicians

Part II
Gildo/Gil Consentino
son of Joseph Consentino and Grace Maglitta

From the above photo we realize how young Gil was when his career began as a musician in the Consentino family.  Born 06 October 1919 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, he was the eldest of three children to issue from the marriage of Joseph Consentino and his second wife Grace Maglitta.  Before his birth, Gil already had a great deal of music talent in his background he could draw from.  Not only was his father Joseph a very talented musician before his family even left Italy for America but his mother Grace also came from a line of musicians.  She played the mandolin.  Her siblings were all musicians in their own right.

Here is what Joe and Grace's daughter Dorothy shared with me:  "Mom used to play with her sisters and brothers when she was growing up.  her youngest sister played piano and her brother Al played trumpet.  They were a musical family long before she met my father. "

Gil married Blanche LaRosa on 22 August 1938 in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Along with his brothers Frank (Frankie Kahn) and Albert he worked at his father Joseph's music store and studios as did his two brothers.

Gil Consentino

Around 1945-46, Gil and his wife moved to West Palm Beach, Florida.  An accomplished musician (piano and accordion were his main instruments though all Joe's sons played a variety of instruments)  Gil was soon playing with prominent bands and these bands played only for high society
and the wealthy.  His sister says some of the people and/or organizations they played for were Kimberly Clark (Kleenex fame), Morton Downey, Sr. at his home in West Palm Beach when he hosted parties; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at their home in North Carolina; the famous Breakers in Palm Beach; Estee Lauder's home; the Mar-a-Lago that was the former Marjorie Merriweather Post estate (daughter of Post Cereal fame) now owned by Donald Trump.

One evening at the Downey home, at two o'clock in the morning, Mrs. Downey asked Gil if he could play for another hour.  He agreed and before he knew it someone was coming down the staircase - when Gil looked up it was none other than Frank Sinatra.  Frank was sleeping in the house but Gil had been unaware of it.  Of course the purpose of his appearance was to ask Gil to "keep it down" so he could sleep.

They also played many charity balls in Palm Beach as well as victory parties in Newport, Rhode Island for the U.S. hosted yacht races.  Neal Smith's Orchestra that Gil played with opened shows starring Mitzi Gaynor, Victor Borge, Tim Conway and many others.  These may well have been the charity balls according to Dorothy.

When Gil's father Joseph passed away in 1959, his brother Al who was now running the music store and studios phoned Gil to ask him to return to Lawrence to help him run the business.  By now their brother Frank (Frankie Kahn) had passed away and had long before left the business to open his own music store and studios (Metro Music in Lawrence, Ma).  Gil and his wife sold their home in West Palm Beach and returned to Lawrence.  Gil missed Florida and the work he was doing there so after five years he asked his cousin Anthony Consentino  if he would buy his share of the business  so he could return to Florida.  They sealed the deal and he and Blanche soon left Lawrence for a life they much preferred.

Gil and Blanche had no  children.  Blanche passed away 21 July 1992 in Palm Beach, Florida and Gil passed 16 May 2000 in Palm Beach.

Meanwhile Gil's brother Albert and his cousin Anth0ny Consentino continued on with the Consentino Music Store and Studios. Al retired in 1982 and Anthony continued as sole proprietor until 1992.

Albert A. Consentino
circa 1960s

Al was also an excellent musician.  He learned and taught piano, accordion and trumpet.  He played in local bands most of his life - the music store was really his life.  Many children are indebted to him for having taught so many of them over the years.  He was much loved by his students and all who knew him.       Al passed away in 2003.

Joseph Consentino saw to it that all his children could play an instrument giving them the opportunity to pursue a career in music if  they so chose just as he had.  His daughter Dorothy took piano as a child and though she loves music she was really not interested in pursuing a career in music as had her brothers.

Tomorrow:  Part III - Lucius Consentino and his son Frank Consentino.  Lucius was the second son of Francesco Consentino and Liboria Virgilio and brother of Joseph Consentino documented in Parts I & II.

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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian  French-Canadian Ancestral Home Blog

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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 : 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 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 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 ( ) 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 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!