The curious case of Paul America

Pierre Lagacé:

Such a sad ending…

Originally posted on Above The Field:

Paul America

An image from Paul America’s screen test, circa 1965.

I’ve done a lot of research on distant cousins up and down my family tree over the years, uncovering some fascinating stories and learning a lot about ancestors dating back centuries. I’ve written about a few of those stories here on this blog (see links at end of this post), and I’m sure there are many more to find. However, it was pretty striking to learn about a much more recent story, involving a much closer connection.

The story of my late cousin Paul Johnson, aka “Paul America,” is straight out of the movies, both figuratively and literally, and involves none other than ‘60s icon Andy Warhol and other characters from the wild decade in which I was born. I had only heard bits and pieces over the years, tales of a wayward teen with matinee-idol looks who spiraled downward in a…

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Five Months and a Day

Pierre Lagacé:

Stay tuned for more…

Originally posted on The Red Cedar:

French Canadian Heritage Day Logo

French Canadian Heritage Day Logo

For the past several months I have been actively involved in organizing the petition for Michigan’s first French Canadian Heritage Day and putting a lot of energy into building, promoting, and editing the blog Voyageur Heritage. It has been both a learning experience (a good one) and a pleasure to get to know so many people as interest grew in this project. That alone is a good result, on a personal level.

But on a wider level, I feel equally as satisfied that the work we have done as a committee and as a community has made a difference. October 4, 2013, five months and a day since this project begin, is really just a beginning. From the outset, my hope was not to just get a special day for French Canadians in Michigan. More importantly my personal goal was to raise awareness…

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1921 Canadian Census

The time is more than right…

Click here to sign the petition…

To: The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Media Relations, Library and Archives Canada

Please release the 1921 Census now.
The 1921 Canadian Census is an essential resource for researchers and ordinary people around the world. Given its proximity to the First World War, veteran’s families have expressed a particular need for these details of their heritage.
It was supposed to have been released publicly on June the 1st, 2013, but it is still unavailable. The LAC  has only said, on June the 4th, that it should be out “in a few weeks” which could be three or more than fifty-two.

It is an international embarrassment, especially in comparison to the recent 1940 US census project.  By heralding the US release, crowd-sourcing the indexing, and encouraging the cooperation of public, corporate, religious and other groups, the US digitalization was completed quickly and with minimal errors.

Almost as important, citizens and non-Americans came away with a sense of ownership of these ‘dusty old records,’ pride in the accomplishment, and an enhanced closeness of so many different peoples.

On June the 17th, LAC sources claimed that the job is finished and on their servers, but political directives have stopped further activity. The LAC has been hobbled by cutbacks, had their bosses fired, and even publicly criticized by the former Director for the creation of a ‘pay-wall.’
Please provide an immediate release of the data, even if it is still incomplete. We need transparent, detailed explanations of all such efforts, now and in the future.



Car Craziness

Pierre Lagacé:

A blogger that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend.
I am not a dentist, but I recommend it too.

Originally posted on itinerantneerdowell:

“How do I love thee? let me count the ways.” These words from Shakespeare apply to America’s love affair with the automobile.  Maybe the relationship has soured a bit over the years.  Certainly the cost of maintaining the relationship has skyrocketed.  My Dad was a car nut.  He loved his cars and derived satisfaction from them.  It was a part of his personality.  My Mother found it hard to understand.  She tolerated Dad’s other love affair.  It’s easy to spot a true car nut.  They’re  constantly polishing and fussing with their “babies.” For others, cars are merely appliances.  I’ve ridden in cars owned by non-car nuts.  They’re rolling trash cans.  Sometimes there’s barely room for your feet.  They stack things on the cars hood and trunk oblivious to what it does to the finish.  Radio volume knobs are turned up to drown out car noises.  It makes me cringe in disgust to think about it.

I caught car craziness from Dad. …

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How I Got Addicted to Genealogy

People who read this blog know that I am French-Canadian. They also know this blog is only the tip of the iceberg. I have several and some are written in French.

Our Ancestors is the English version of my blog Nos ancêtres that I started back in January 2008.

This is what started this whole obsession with dead people…

Édouard Métayer

Édouard Métayer is one of my eight great-grandfathers. He was the father of my grandmother Juliette Métayer. She is the little girl in front beside her brother Paul.

1914 enfants métayerBack in 2007 I knew almost nothing about my roots, but I had this vision of a picture resting on a dresser in a run-down apartment on Mentana Street in Montreal back in the 1950s.

Little did I know back in 2007 that my grandfather had been rich and lost everything  to gambling twice!

This vision was my great-grandfather Édouard Métayer. My grandmother Juliette had told me when I was young that her father had died in 1928 while he was responding to a fire alarm.

He was just a few months from retiring.

I am a retired teacher. I retired back in 2004 and I had some free time on my hands…

Well not quite since I went back to study translation at the university. Full-time and enduring traffic jams back and forth for 10 months. I still translate things, the latest one was a book about baby purees.


I am now a grandfather with two adorable grandchildren, a boy and a girl.

You won’t see their pictures on this blog.

Nothing personal…

I never put personal information on this blog when I write about your ancestors’ descendants or mine. This is why Dennis Lagasse IV was trusting me enough to share more than 100 pictures and why a whole lot of people did the same since 2009 when I started this English version of Nos ancêtres.

So feel free to share old pictures so I can share them with people who just like Harold write comments on my blog.

You never know what we can find together.

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Clair P. Roys Jr.

Joe had sent me this last year, but I did not remember he had sent it.

Clair P. Roys Jr. of Nestico Court, Bristol, died Friday at Care Manor in Farmington. He was 74. Mr. Roys was born in Bristol, son of the late Clair P. Roys Sr. and Mary Lagasse Roys.

A lifelong Bristol resident, he was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and was employed at Peck Spring for 21 years before retiring in 1986. He was a member of the McNamee Chapter 5 of the Disabled American Veterans and St. Ann Church in Bristol. He leaves his wife, Constance Lucier Roys; two sons, Richard Roys and Robert Roys, both of Bristol; a daughter, Judith Tarrant of Danbury; three sisters, Ann Gamache of Bristol, Marie Ballash of Plainville and Bertrude Kinney of Bangor, Maine; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol. Burial with military honors will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, Bristol. Friends may call Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the St. Ann Church Renovation Fund, 215 West St., Bristol, CT 06010.

Senior moments I guess…

Clair P. Roys Jr. is Harold Roys Sr.’s brother.

I am sure Harold Jr. must have met him and he probably has pictures to share or has pictures of people he can’t identify.

Maybe I can…

Pierre Lagacé:

A post on the blog of a blogger who posted a comment on one of my posts about the Civil War.

Originally posted on Before I Forget:

Spirits of the past
trapped in dark shadows cast
by a graveyard sun,
stand by nameless headstones
whispering sad stories
of young lives prematurely
lost to death’s cold hand
on Civil War battlefields.

Courageous in the battle,
Confederate and Union
brother against brother,
these soldiers did their best
and prayed a loving God
would someday give them rest.
Now weathered by the years,
an old stone angel
still guards these forlorn graves
giving lost souls direction
with her missing hand. ~ms



We moved to the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania Virginia area about 10 years ago, and we are surrounded by Civil War Battlefields. In fact, I recently found out that we are actually living on the Chancellorsville Battlefield.  (The battlefield encompasses a rather large area of land, and some houses were built on part of it before the National Park Service purchased the rest).

Because I am living on a battlefield…

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Putting a Smile on Your Face

That’s the only reason behind this blog created in 2009 after Doris visited where her ancestors once lived.

Click here.

2009-09-15 Maison Chaumont 1She had found my blog Nos ancêtres created in January 2008. That blog was a way to share what knowledge I had acquired about ancestors that lived in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines a little village founded in 1787.

I moved to Ste-Anne-des-Plaines in 1981 and I still live there though I still feel as a stranger in that little town. That would need some more explanations but that’s beside the point on this post.

My blogs, and I have many, were created to put a smile on your face and make your warm all inside when you read them…

Well most of the time.