Flash Back! The Life and Times of Francois Chenet (Greatly Abridged)

(Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette) Well, it's Carnival of Genealogy time again, and our assignment for this month is to create a "flash" family history of one of our ancestors in 300 words or less.  I decided to write about my great-grandfather Francois Chenet.  To use Francois as the subject for my flash family history is absurd to say the least, given the...um...details of Francois' life, but the concept was both fun and challenging.  Let's just say I tried my best to capture the highlights (cough) of Francois relatively long life.  While my flash family history is short, I think I've done a reasonable job in capturing the essence of the man.  What do you think?

Francois Chenet (18 Apr 1813- 22 Mar 1886)

My great-grandfather Francois Chenet was born in St-Denis-sur-Richelieu, Quebec in 1813.  He married Marie-Marguerite Charron in 1836.  Their first child Marguerite was born in 1837.  Their second child Justine was born in 1839. Their third child Jean-Baptiste was born in 1840.  Their fourth child Julienne was born 1841.  Their fifth child Celina was born in 1842.  Their sixth child Philomene was born in 1844.  Their seventh child Francois was born 1845. Their eighth child Marie-Reine was born in 1847. Their ninth child Marie-Vitaline was born in 1848.  Their tenth child Joseph was born in 1849. In 1850 Marie-Marguerite died.

Francois married Theotiste Tetreault (1852).  Their first child Francois-Xavier was born in 1852.  Their second child Louis was born in 1854. Their third child Louis-Napoleon was born 1856.  Their fourth child Toussaint was born in 1858.  In 1859 Theotiste died.

Francois married Marie-Louise Dubreuil (1859).  Their first child Marie-Louise-Delima was born in 1860.  Francois enlisted in the Union army (1863).  Their second child Marie was born in 1864.  Francois was wounded at Cold Harbor (1864). The Civil War ended (1865).  In 1866 Marie-Louise died.

Francois married my great-grandmother Lucie Touchette (1867).  Their first child Victorine-Lucy was born in 1868.  Their second child Francois-Adei was born in 1871.  Their third child Joseph-Theodore-Hormidas (my grandfather, who became Frank.  Go figure...) was born in 1873.  Their fourth child Joseph was born in 1874.  Their fifth child Marie-Josephine was born in 1876.  Their sixth child Flavi-Joseph was born in 1878.  Their seventh child Francois-Elzear was born in 1879.  Their eighth child Marie-Delina-Vedora was born in 1882.  Francois died in 1886.

And the women of Quebec breathed a collective sigh of relief...

Submitted for the 115th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

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Two Year Blogiversary!

(Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette)  Where has the time gone?!?  I can't believe I've been blogging for two years!  It seems like only yesterday I wrote my first post and wondered who was going to read it.  I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read my blog--friends, family, followers, occasional readers, near and far.  I know my blog has a pretty narrow focus and my style of writing isn't every one's cup of tea, but believe me when I say I appreciate every comment, every bit of advice, the connections I have made, and the camaraderie of the Geneablogger community.  You guys rock!

So what's up at Heritage Zen as I move ahead into year three?  Goal number one: be flexible (if I can't get a post written by my own self imposed deadline.  To quote Scarlet O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day.").  Goal number two: don't get frustrated (ditto).  Goal number three: keep researching (Maybe I'll even tackle hubby's Ukrainians and my German/Prussian great-great grandmother's line.).  Goal number four: write about my research (Yes, I know I need to spend more time on my French-Canadian/Acadian side of the family.).  Sounds simple doesn't it?  Some days it's not that simple at all.  Goal  number five: continue to contribute to the Carnival of Genealogy as much as possible (COG is kind of like taking your vitamins. It's good for you!).  Goal number six: participate in NaBloPoMo in November again (It's a great way to build content!).

My big goal for the year is to start a new blog dedicated to my mystery photos of Worcester's Polish community.  Back in 2010 I started posting my mystery bride photos and a few other mystery photos on an irregular basis.  I've come to realize that it will literally take me years to post my entire mystery collection on Heritage Zen if I post only one photo at a time and then only on an occasional basis.  The subjects in my mystery photos deserve better treatment.  A dedicated blog seems to be the way to go.  My end goal is to connect and share with the descendants of the photos' subjects and give back to the Polish community in Worcester.  I hope you will follow my new blog when it's up and running.  I'll be sure to post news of its launch here.

Well, I guess that's it.  It doesn't sound like much, but that is a lot for me.

Thanks for reading everyone!  Now, it's time to get busy!

(THE FINE PRINT:  My blogiversary was actually yesterday, February 28, and yes, I am posting this on February 29.  In case you were wondering, refer back to goals one and two...)

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Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - Wordless Wednesday

Monticello, the House
(Original Images and Text, Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette) Last summer my family and I spent some time in Virginia on vacation.  While we were there we visited Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.  I thought I'd post a few photos from our trip since Monday was Presidents' Day.  Enjoy!

Vegetable Garden and Pavilion

Vegetable Garden

Garden Pavilion

Thomas Jefferson's Grave at the Monticello Graveyard

Monticello Graveyard

African-American Graveyard

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(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette)  My grandparents, Adolf and Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko were married on February 11, 1920 (For wedding pictures see here and here.).  After their wedding they took the train to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.  The quality of this photo is not the best, and I am not even sure if the people in the photo are my grandparents.  The man on the left looks like my grandfather when I zoom in, so it's reasonable to guess the woman on the right is my grandmother.  I can't be certain though.  My grandmother use to talk about how beautiful Niagara Falls was in February.  She said droplets of frozen water from the falls glistened on all the tree branches in the sunlight which made the landscape look like an icy winter wonderland.

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2011 Favorites In Review: And The iGene Goes To...

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2012 Cynthia Shenette)

Welcome to the Carnival of Genealogy's 5th Annual iGene Awards hosted by Jasia at the Creative Gene.  I am honored to present this year's awards for Heritage Zen in the categories of Best Documentary, Best Picture, Best Comedy, Best Screenplay, and Best Biography!

As you can see I have once again dipped into my costume closet for an appropriate dress for the occasion.  For this year's ceremony my wardrobe was inspired by Whoopi Goldberg's turn as Queen Elizabeth I during the 1999 Academy Awards.  I'll be the first to admit, Whoopi pulled off the look way better than I do, but given my limited opportunity to wear Renaissance attire I figured I run with it.   Now I know you are saying,  "Where's the Elizabethan collar?"  You caught me during an impromptu moment.  The dress does have an E-collar (no, really it does), but I took it off to relax backstage before the show (which is kind of like the Elizabethans' version of letting your hair down, if you know what I'm saying).  Enough with the idle fashion chatter.  There will be plenty of red carpet photo ops after the show...

First up is the award for Best Documentary.  The award goes to...A Comedy of Errors: My Family in the Census (Part 1 of 3) for my series on errors in the census!  The United States government makes mistakes?!?  No!  Say it isn't so!  I hate to shatter your illusions but yes, occasionally (or as in my case, often), census takers do make mistakes (Just because you're dead doesn't mean you don't count.).   I know enumerating a Polish neighborhood was probably no easy task back in the day and probably left the poor census taker scratching his head all the while mumbling, "I'd like to buy a vowel," but really...  Oh, and for you Moonstruck fans, I like to look at the photo of my great-grandfather Antoni, and imagine him wiping his tears like Cher's grandfather at the end of movie saying, "I'm so confused..."

Next up is the award for Best Picture, and the award goes to...it's a tie AND for the second year in a row!  The iGene is to be shared between the photo in Send Up a Flare, Mystery Bride Identified! - Mystery Monday and the photo in My Family Tree: A Literal Interpretation!  My photo of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shenkowski and corresponding happy ending post in Send Up a Flare brought tears to the eyes of audiences nationwide.  Also, is there a genealogist amongst us who doesn't dream of finding a photo of their ancestors perched in a tree?  I don't think so.

The award for Best Comedy goes to...What the Dickens 2, Or More Tales From Hell's Kitchen, my sequel to last year's Best Comedy winner, What the Dickens, Or How to Blow Up a Duck!  When was the last time a sequel won a major award?!?  It's time to don your gay apparel (and grab a fire extinguisher) and return with me to Christmas Past as I share more heartwarming holiday tales of food preparation gone wrong.  If there was an award category for Best Disaster (kind of like the Towering Inferno or Earthquake (In Sensurround), THIS would definitely be it!

The award for Best Screenplay goes to...Girls Just Wanna Have Fun..., my entry for the Swimsuit Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy!  Does this not have the potential to be the perfect chick flick?  Five twenty-something girls go to the beach for a day of sun and fun!  It's kind of like a post-World War I/pre-Roaring Twenties version of Beach Blanket Bingo!  Given that this is likely to be an ensemble film, I decided to cast the entire ensemble of superb actresses from the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle as my grandmother, Antonina.  In case you are concerned about the English accents, have no fear.  Jennifer is already American, and anyone can learn an accent (After all, how hard is it to master that Boston accent anyway?).  Rounding out the cast is a young Colin Firth as Kahuna and  a young Johnny Depp as Moondoggie (Candy for the eyes, ladies, candy for the eyes...).

The award for Best Biography goes to... my series Flu 1918 (Part 1 of 3) - Amanuensis Monday!  Flu 1918 is a serious entry documenting the effects of the Spanish Flu Pandemic on my family and the citizens of Worcester, MA.  A shoo-in dramatic winner for sure.

Now a brief thank you...

I'd like to say thank you to iGene host Jasia at Creative Gene and the entire staff at the Carnival of Genealogy for once again putting together another great show (That production number with the kick line was amazing, wasn't it folks!?!), the Academy (of Genealogists and Family Historians), my friends on the Frustrated Footnote Committee (I know I promised to try try harder last year, but I really mean it this time!), Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers for hosting the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (because frankly where else could I share my stories of food preparation mayhem with a wider audience two years in a row! Thomas, buddy, this one's for you!), my family (especially my (still) long-suffering husband (Love ya honey!), and my son the Lego guru (Don't forget your homework son! Spelling test tomorrow!)), and finally a BIG shout out to the AFC Championship New England Patriots who are headed to the Super Bowl on Sunday! GO PATS!!!

Well this concludes this edition of the iGene Awards.  Thank you all. Goodnight.

THE FINE PRINT: In an effort of full disclosure I feel it's my duty to disclose the sad truth that my husband seems to feel I have way too much time on my hands  (I'm beginning to suspect he is right...).

Submitted for the 114th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy.

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