Saturday, May 13, 2006

Franco-American Soirée - Old Town, ME - June 17

Good Old Fashioned Franco-American Soirée Featuring the Silvertones

Join Us for Fun, Food and Music
Knights of Columbus Hall, Old Town, ME
June 17, 2006 - Time: 5:00-8:00 pm
$10 per person
For the establishment of Franco-American Scholarships
Contact: Lisa Michaud 581-3789, Bob Foley 827-4866 or Bo Ryan 866-2069

If you play an instrument, bring it!
Lisa Desjardins Michaud
Franco-American Centre Franco-Americain
University of Maine
Crossland Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5719

Tel: (207) 581-3789
Fax: (207) 581-1455

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Author of “A Great and Noble Scheme,” To Speak in Tolland, CT, on May 20

John Mack Faragher, the Yale professor who wrote A Great and Noble Scheme, the new book on the Acadian expulsion by the British, will be the guest speaker at the French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut’s spring membership meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20, at the United Congregational Church in Tolland, CT.

The talk is open to the public without charge. It should be of special interest to anyone with ancestral ties to Acadia, the former French colony that spread over what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and parts of Maine.

Faragher has called the roundup of the Acadians and the scattering of families to the American colonies and elsewhere an early form of ethnic cleansing. The tragedy inspired the poem, “Evangeline,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Faragher is Arthur Unobskey professor of history at Yale as well as professor of American studies and director of the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders. He teaches the history of the American West.

Born in Arizona and raised in southern California, he received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1977 and taught at Mount Holyoke College for 15 years before joining the Yale faculty in 1993. His earlier books have included Women and Men on the Overland Trail; Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie; Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, and, with Robert V. Hine, The American West: A New Interpretive History.

A Great and Noble Scheme, published in 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company, is subtitled, “The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland.”

In it, Faragher has used his talents as a historian to shed new light on the Acadian tragedy, finding surprising facts and fresh meanings in overlooked archives and other primary sources. He tells the story from both the Acadian and British sides and also includes the little known consequences to the Micmaq Indians allied with the Acadians.

The title comes from a British correspondent’s dispatch from Nova Scotia published on Sept. 4, 1775, in the Pennsylvania Gazette, saying: “We are now upon a great and noble Scheme of sending the neutral French out of this Province, who have always been secret Enemies. If we effect their Expulsion, it will be one of the greatest Things that ever the English did in America ....”

Copies of Faragher’s book will be available at the meeting for purchase and signing.
This release from:
Ivan Robinson

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gene Hunting in French Canada

Genizon BioSciences, a biotech company based in Quebec is using the genetic homogeneity of French Canadians to find new drug targets -- and redefine human disease.

In the 17th century, 15,000 French immigrants bravely made their way to eastern Canada. Some headed further west, many returned to France, but a hardy few stayed in Quebec. Starting with a total of just 2,600 people between 1608 and 1760, this group would grow 800-fold over the next 10 or so generations, with little marriage outside the group. The result is the Quebec "founder" population -- a genetically homogenous group of individuals that is ideally suited to the genetic study of disease.

Geneticists have long taken advantage of founder populations -- so named because only a few ancestors founded the entire population -- such as the Ashkenazi Jews and Icelandic people. Members of these groups share long stretches of DNA, which simplifies genetic studies of disease by reducing the background noise of other genetic variations.

Today's best-known gene-hunting company, deCODE genetics, an Icelandic gene and drug discovery company, has identified genes for diabetes, heart disease, and asthma within the small Icelandic population. Now a biotech company, Genizon BioSciences, is finding similar success with the French Canadians of Quebec. Based in Quebec, the company is taking advantage of new advances in genomics to find disease genes that have been hard to detect with other methods.
The full article by Emily Singer can be read in
Technology Review.

Monday, May 01, 2006

La Kermesse - Festival Franco-Americain - June 22-25, 2006 - Biddeford, Maine

La Kermesse returns for its 24th year and promises four fun days for everyone. Come to enjoy
  • Fireworks
  • Block Parties
  • A Parade
  • Big Attractions
  • Franco-American Genealogy
  • Special Field Entertainment
  • Live Music
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Educational Live Shark Show
  • Franco-American Writers
  • Great Food and Family Fun
  • La Kermesse Idol Contest
  • Smokey's Greater Shows on the Midway
For details, calendar and maps, link to