The genealogy books of retired ESCRH teachers have documented the history of six families in the area
He taught the future at Hawkesbury High School, but since his retirement Jean-Pierre Laframboise has been obsessed with the past.
The former computer and business professor at ESCRH has just completed a genealogical history of the descendants of Abraham Methot and his wife Marie Madeleine Mezeray. The 228-page family records are incredible in their detail, with documents and photos of long-missing relatives – tracing the family’s lineage to 17e century.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the Methot Family History is the sixth family archive that Laframboise has documented and published a book since his retirement in 2008, after 31 years of teaching ESCRH students.
“I now have over 10,000 individuals in my genealogical database,” says the dedicated genealogical researcher, who attributes the spark of his interest to working alongside ESRCH Deputy Director Jean-Roch Vachon, who ran the Hawkesbury Genealogy Club and wrote articles on local families. “The best way to honor history is to keep writing it.”
All of the families he has documented so far have a connection to Laframboise or his wife Diane (Mullin). He began his research in 2010 – two years after his retirement – and published the story of his own ancestors of the Laframboise family in 2012. He continued with the Ravary family (2014), the Mullins (2015), the family Millette (2016) and the Bergevin family in 2019.
Laframboise does all of his research and writing as a labor of love, selling print versions of his publications at cost and only to people who are in the book. They aren’t available online, digitally, or in stores and libraries – just for families to enjoy and learn about the lives of their ancestors.
“Memories increase over time, but many get lost”
Each family history takes an average of 12 to 15 months to research and write – which requires several hours of research per day – but for Laframboise, it is not work. Rather, his research serves as a kind of therapy, as he delves into historical material – his thoughts only on family members who will benefit from information that might otherwise be lost.
“Memories increase over time, but many get lost,” Laframboise explains enthusiastically. “Writing about family is useful not only for this generation, but for all those to come. “
“Some of your loved ones may not find it relevant today, but they will appreciate the content tomorrow.”
Through his research, Laframboise developed his own method of unveiling the history of the first settlers of New France – using archives, genealogical websites, and the help of other researchers to track the progress of each descendant in lineage. direct. Starting from either someone’s grandparents or great-grandparents, he will then locate as many descendants as possible. For the Methot family, this represented 474 descendants of Hormidas Methot and Emma Levac, most with photos and dates.
“You have to have good collaborators for each branch to help you collect data and images,” notes Laframboise, other people who help him in his work.
Quebec and France have excellent ancestry databases
One of the reasons his research goes back so far is that most of the families Laframboise has researched are of French-speaking origin, with roots in the province of Quebec as well. Historical archives in Quebec and France are much more abundant than those of several other countries.
“It is much easier to find a French ancestor than any other. In France, they have an incredible database and also in Quebec, ”explains Laframboise. “For example, when I researched my wife’s family – the Mullins – they are of Irish descent.”
“Most of the Irish records and documents they kept in churches were destroyed – either by war or by fires – and it is very difficult to trace back beyond the 1800s.”
The big story is made of millions of little stories
His research uncovered amazing stories about long forgotten relatives, including the story of Joseph Frye, an ancestor of the Laframboise family, who was taken captive by the Iroquois to Kittery, Maine, in 1695, when he was just a young teenager. Taken to Canada and held for about 15 years near Montreal, Frye was later freed after a ransom was paid by order of King Louis XIV, who gave each of the approximately 100 captives a letter of naturalization so that they can make a living in another part of New France. This is just one of the many interesting stories to be found in Laframboise’s family history books.
“We must remember that beyond dates and events, great history is made up of millions of small individual stories,” observes Laframboise.
Dedicated researcher is also an avid cyclist
While his genealogical research has occupied thousands of hours over the past decade, one shouldn’t think for a moment that the retired schoolteacher is a bookworm who spends all his time in his basement. Laframboise’s second hobby is that of a “full-time cycling fanatic”, who has covered more than 130,000 kilometers on his bike since 2008.
Starting from his home in L’Orignal, Laframboise spent many hours cycling through Prescott-Russell. He and his wife also love to travel all over the world. His website allows visitors to travel virtually as if they were there with him.
So how does one person have the energy to spend so many hours on two such vast activities?
“I’m the type of person who likes to stay active and move, so I can find a good balance between physical and mental activities”, laughs Laframboise enthusiastically leafing through his new book on the Methot family, pointing to documents and photos. important. “I have already started my research for my next book on the Levac family.