February 27, 2011

Women of World War II

Rosie the Riveter by J. Howard Miller

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.

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 were 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 in our armed forces.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

February 23, 2011

Arthémise Dumais Lévesque

My Mémère (Grandmother) was baptized Arthémise Marie Dumais in 1874 at Ste-Anastasie de Lyster, Quebec, Canada.

She passed away in 1962 in Lawrence, Massachusetts where her family had migrated when she was a teenager.

I used to spend a great deal of time with my Mémère. Much of our extended family lived in the same neighborhood in nearby tenements. (They used to be called tenements whereas today they are given a sophisticated name of "apartments" - they are all the same. If you have a comfortable living, I suppose it is an apartment with amenities; if not, it is still a tenement with little amenities.)

My Mémère and I had a special relationship and I loved her dearly. There used to be evening novenas in the parish church almost year round. She used to take me with her as a small child - in the winter months I used to get tired pretty early and would fall asleep with my head leaning on her fur coat until she would wake me to go home. After all, playing out-of-doors for a young child was very tiring and by 7p.m. this child was ready to call it a day but would not miss going with Mémère for anything in the world. When I was in junior high and high school I would meet her at 6 a.m. Mass every morning.

Étienne "Stephen" Lévesque

My Pépère (Grandfather) was baptized Étienne Lévesque on in 1872 at Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, Baie-des-Sables, Matane, Quebec, Canada. He passed away on May 3, 1953 in Lawrence, Massachusetts where he too had migrated withhis family as a teenager. My grandmother and his mother were fourth cousins and I'm sure their relationship was not lost on the family.

As all immigrant families to Lawrence, their families settled into a French-Canadian ethnic neighborhood near their parish church of Ste Anne. The Italians, Lebanese, Irish etc. all had their own neighborhoods - it was almost like villages within the city. Each had everything it needed such as variety stores (markets), pharmacies as well as newspapers in their own ethnic tongue and social groups where they could meet and organize to be involved in the city.

My Pépère, like most immigrants who lived in Lawrence, worked in the mills. He worked for as long as I could remember in the Wood Mills - once the largest worsted mill industry in the country. At work, and as I discovered in other settings, he was known as Stephen which is English for Étienne.

I did not see a whole lot of him except when I slept over at their home. He would leave for work around 1p.m. - as did most of our family - begin working at 2p.m. and end work at 10 or 11p.m. My Pépère worked in the weave room as did most of our family. My mother, my sister and my brother worked at the Pacific Lower Mills situated on the canal. The Wood Mills were situated on the Merrimack River. The mills all went south in the 1950s because employees could be hired at much lower hourly rates. By the way, it is in Lawrence that the Bread and Roses Strike took place.

My grandparents married in 1895 at Ste-Anne Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts. The above photo was taken on the day they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1945.

I believe that in remembering our ancestors, we honor their memory, their commitment, their faith and their love of family. There isn't a day when I don't think about them.

Lucie's Legacy

February 16, 2011

An Interview with Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor, known to many as the “Photo Detective,” has loved photography and historical images since she was a young child.  She is forever fascinated with the topic and her work has been internationally recognized.

Maureen will be making two presentations at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC).  Her first presentation with David L. Mishkin is a workshop on Friday, April 8th from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. entitled Preserving Family Photographs (F-215)

Her next presentation, The Last Muster:  Photographs and Stories from the American Revolution, (S324) will occur on Saturday, April 9th at 1:45 p.m.

As an “Official NERGC Blogger,” I interviewed Maureen Taylor to ask about her initial interest in daguerreotypes; her ongoing passion in working to find the history behind the photos she finds or that are given to her; and how she became internationally known as an expert in her field.

Your book The Last Muster:  Photographs and Stories from the American Revolution is an interesting reflection of the work you have been doing, in this case with daguerreotypes of the American Revolution. Your research’s intersection with genealogy and history is a real strength. What drove you to research the history of the photos you found? What started you on the journey of identifying these old daguerreotypes, and when?
I saw my first daguerreotype way back in 1978 at the Rhode Island Historical Society.  I couldn’t believe how gorgeous and realistic the image was.   At a NERGC conference held at Cape Cod, an attendee showed me a photo of his Loyalist ancestor.  I was hooked and immediately thought, “If he has one then there could be more.”  The Last Muster contains 70 images of men and women who lived during the American Revolution.  I’m now working on a volume two!

Tell us about the most difficult “hunt” you’ve ever done. Where did the photo or photos come from and what made the research difficult?

I maintain a “Cold Case file” of images.  While I can date the images and often tell the story of them there are sometimes persistent mysteries.  Not all of our everyday history makes it into history books, there are details that are lost to us today.   The cold cases usually involve an odd prop or piece of clothing.

I understand that you receive a lot of private work from individuals seeking help in identifying people in old family photographs. Who are your typical clients? How does your work with their photographs begin? 

My typical client is a family historian who just inherited a group of photos and doesn’t know how to care for them and has a few unsolved picture mysteries.   My first step is to interview them about the history of that collection
In your book Preserving Your Family Photographs, you offer excellent advice on the proper storage of family photographs--beginning with “Preservation Facts,” covering where not to store photographs, and how to best store and protect them.

 For those readers who don’t have a lot of old photographs and may not feel their photographs are at risk, what advice would you give them? Is there a single most common pitfall that you wish everyone could avoid?
Here in New England the changing seasons offer the greatest risk to our pictures. Try to store them in an area of your house that doesn’t experience fluctuations of temperature and humidity.  An interior closet is the best place.  

Also…use the right pencil to write on the back of your pictures. A soft lead graphite pencil is best for heritage images while a Zig marker ( NOT a Sharpie) works on resin coated twentieth century images.
At your lecture at the Marblehead Museum and Historical Society last week you mentioned how grateful you were that Kent State published your collection of photographs that reflect a diversity, or cross-section, of those who served in the Revolutionary War. Your searches for people of various races, classes, and geographies have taken you all over the country.

Were there any particular challenges to this task, or any experiences in the process that you particularly enjoyed?

The Last Muster took about 8 years to pull together.  In the first years of the project, I spent a lot of time reassuring folks that these images could exist in their family collection. I’ve looked all over the place for pictures.   I love finding new images for the next phase of the project!  It’s the thrill of the hunt and then the discovery.

During your presentation in Marblehead, as well as in this interview, you mentioned that a second volume of The Last Muster:  Photographs and Stories from the American Revolution is forthcoming.  Is it possible to tell our readers when they can expect to look for this second volume?

I don’t have a publication date, but I already have a good number of images.  I’m hoping to finish it in the next few years.   I’m still looking for images, so if anyone thinks they have a photo that fits the criteria on my website, please send me a note.  I’d love to hear from them!

Early registration is required for anyone planning to attend Maureen's first presentation/workshop with David L. Mishkin on Friday, April 8th from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  

Preserving Family Photographs F-215 requires pre-registration.   Click here to register. 

Maureen’s address:

Maureen Taylor
The Photo Detective
P.O. Box 283
Westwood, MA 02090

Watch Maureen solve cases on Vimeo.  You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sign up for Maureen's free email newsletter to receive tips, articles and
more at Photo Detective.

The list of speakers who will be at NERGC 2011 can be found at:

More information about Maureen Taylor can be found at:

© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Lucie's Legacy
2011 - Present

February 12, 2011

Maureen Taylor Author of The Last Muster

Next week, my blog will feature an interview with Maureen Taylor that I am conducting for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC). 

Photo of Maureen Tayler
and Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

Here is a small preview of what is to come - a taste of the presentation that my daughter and I attended last Sunday at the Marblehead (MA) Historical Society and Museum - entitled The Last Muster.  Maureen shared highlights of her latest book by the same name.  The Last Muster contains images of the Revolutionary War generation.  Maureen identifies the daguerreotypes published and also presents the history of the people in those photos.

Known as the "Photo Detective", she is an amazing sleuth when it comes to identifying old photos of different types.  Her presentation detailed the painstaking and sometime serendipitous process by which she identified which photos were of Revolutionary War heroes and explored their roles in the war.

Photo taken February 6, 2011 at the Marblehead Museum

The above photo shows Maureen signing the books I purchased:  The Last Muster, Preserving Your Family Photographs and More Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929.

For more information about Maureen, including a complete list of her publications, please go to her 

Photo by Rebecca Hains of me taking a photo of Maureen

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
12 February 2011 - Present

February 9, 2011

The Continental Congress 1774-1776

The ten years between the Stamp Act crisis and the closing of the port of Boston in 1774 saw an erosion of British authority throughout the thirteen mainland colonies. In particular, the colonists' efforts to avoid British taxation led to a fatal crisis within the imperial order. When neither rioting nor royal petitions won for the colonists the political settlement they wished, provincials inspired by members of the Boston Whig movement began to systematically destroy taxed tea or otherwise impede its sale. The resulting crisis led Parliament to pass the Boston Port Bill (Coercive Acts), which in turn led to the calling of the First Continental Congress. This body, drawn from the provincial gentry, was primarily a last-ditch effort to seek legal redress and reform within the empire. Meeting in Philadelphia on 5 September 1774, the fifty-five delegates from all the colonies except Georgia elected Peyton Randolph of Virginia president of the congress; denounced the Coercive Acts; toyed with the Pennsylvanian Joseph Galloway's "Plan of Union," which would have kept the colonies in the empire; and formulated an address to George III. Adjourning on 26 October, the delegates agreed to reassemble the following year to set a course of action. The Second Continental Congress, which convened in May 1775, contained both a conservative element, headed by John Jay of New York and Pennsylvania's John Dickinson (1732-1808), and a radical group leaning toward independence. The Battles of Lexington and Concord, in April 1775, and the subsequent siege of the British army in Boston by a provincial militia army, drove the majority of congressional delegates into the radical camp, where John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), and others advocated the end of the imperial relationship. In mid-June 1775, Congress voted to raise an army and named George Washington to lead it. In July 1776, the delegates issued the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the colonies free from Great Britain, a move widely celebrated across America. By the Articles of Confederation, debated for months and finally adopted on 15 November 1777, the delegates constituted themselves as a unicameral legislative body that functioned as the central authority of the new nation until 1788. These representatives faced a host of domestic, military, and diplomatic problems. Foremost among these were raising and maintaining a Continental Army to fight the Revolutionary War, finance and money-supply issues, and launching overseas diplomatic initiatives. Factional fighting magnified these issues. Although the Continental Congress provided sufficient political leadership for the colonists to win the war, the financial and diplomatic problems faced by the new nation ultimately led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and a new government.


Jack Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress, 1979. Calvin Jillson and Rick K. Wilson, Congressional Dynamics: Structure, Coordination, and Choice in the First American Congress, 1774-1789, 1994.

© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
2007 - Present

February 8, 2011

Some Of The Women Who Participated in The American Revolution

Not only men fought in the American Revolution and military contributions were not the only important contributions to the cause. Many citizens participated in whatever capacity they could to help win independence. Below are some of the women who participated.
Abigail Adams
Hannah Arnett
Sarah Franklin Bache
Anne Bailey
Penelope Barker
Catherine "Kate" Moore Barry
Ann Eliza Bleecker
Mary Brant
Martha Bratton
Elizabeth Burgin
Mary Willing Byrd
Margaret Corbin
Lydia Darragh
Esther de Berdt
Rebecca Franks
Margaret Kemble Gage
Emily Geiger
Catherine Littlefield Greene
Nancy Hart
Ann Wood Henry
Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson
Miss Jenny
Sybil Ludington
Mammy Kate
Grace and Rachel Martin
Jane McCrea
Jane Mecom
Rebecca Motte
Mary Lindley Murray
Esther Reed
Frederika Charlotte Riedesel
Betsy Ross
Deborah Sampson
Molly Stark
Sarah Tarrant
Jane Thomas
Nancy Ward
Mercy Otis Warren
Martha Washington
Phillis Wheatley
Prudence Wright
Patience Wright
Elizabeth Zane
For more information about these women, please go to Women in the American Revolution

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
2011 - Present

February 4, 2011

The Dumais/Goodrich Story Is Growing

Raquel (Rachel) Del Castillo Dumais

If you follow this blog, you will recall that on January 10, 2010 I blogged about Raquel/Rachel Del Castillo who was my great aunt. I think she was also one of my mother's favorite aunts through marriage.  From the time I was quite young I remember my mother talking about "ma tante Rachel" (aunt Rachel). 

My mother spoke often of her and she thought she was one of the most stylish women she had ever known and she loved her for the wonderful person she was.  

The difficulty I encountered in doing our family genealogy and history was that I never knew how she fit into the family until I had a get-together with some of my mother's first cousins (my first cousins once removed).  Their mother was my grandmother's sister thus Dumais sisters so I figured they might be able to tell me something about the Dumais side of the family that I did not yet know.

While sharing and chatting, my cousin Rita asked if I had ever found information about Napoleon Dumais and his wife Raquel Del Castillo! Though only 5 years old when they returned to Lawrence from Cuba, now in her 90's, Rita remembered them and over the years wondered what had become of them. Wow!  I finally had a connection that I could dig into!

In my blog of January 10th I asked that if anyone knew anything about Rachel/Raquel Del Castillo to please contact me.  Lo and behold toward the end of June while I was painting our bathroom, I received a phone call from Florida.  Thinking it might be a telemarketer I almost did not pick up.  Then I decided I should so that this "person" would not keep calling.  I was floored when I heard the caller say "Hi, I believe we are related - Raquel Del Castillo was my great grandmother" - stunned, I asked her to repeat what she had just said... I was totally elated to have finally found this lost part of our family and our history.

This second cousin was none other than Adrianna Goodrich Blanco. She was excited.. I was excited.. and we had a difficult time putting our words together!  She told me that her uncle Bill Goodrich would call me later as he had been doing the family history.

As I've written about the connection that has been made with my Goodrich/Dumais cousin I must tell you that cousin Bill and I have been exchanging a great deal of information.  My family's connection with the Goodrich cousins does not end with Bill Goodrich and Adrianna Goodrich Blanco.  Recently I was contacted by another descendant of my great uncle Napoleon Dumais and great aunt Raquel Del Castillo.  She is another great granddaughter of this couple.  Then just last week, I received another message from yet another Goodrich great grandchild who happened upon my updated blog.  His name is also William Goodrich.  What is most interesting is that all three descend from three different children of Napoleon and Raquel.  Who knew we had so many more Dumais/Goodrich cousins?  It has been a marvelously enriching experience for all of us.

Stay tuned.. I have a feeling that I've not yet met the last Goodrich cousin.

If you have not read the whole story, the following link will give you an update on what has happened since I posted my first query regarding Raquel Del Castillo.

A Tale of Two Families - Dumais and Goodrich - The Whole Story

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
2011 - Present