Jacqui (nee Williams) Keating is excited during this visit home to Stephenville that her extended family is getting larger and larger.
That’s because she’s finding out about relatives she never knew she had, especially since getting in contact with Mary (nee White) O’Quinn of the Stephenville Founding Families Committee.
When they got together and traced their ancestral lineage it wasn’t long before they learned that some of their ancestors were the same people.
Keating now lives in Saskatchewan and arrived in Stephenville on June 22 and is taking a month-long vacation after wanting to come home for years and look into her background.
With that in mind, she was told to get in contact with O’Quinn, who is heading up a week of tributes to Stephenville’s founding fathers and families from July 16-20 at the Stephenville Curling Club.
However, prior to that, this Thursday at 6 p.m., descendants of Stephenville Founding Families are going to be involved in a parade from St. Stephen’s parking lot on West Street to Blanche Brook Park.
O’Quinn’s 12-member committee has been busy preparing for the tribute to the founding families, 28 of them, which were found on the 1935 census.
These tributes will be taking place from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. during that five-day period at the Caribou Curling Club and O’Quinn said everyone is welcome to drop by. Activities will include a kitchen party on the patio deck, banners depicting the founding families, and a slide show.
Keating was attending the “Back of the Pond” art exhibit on Tuesday evening, is planning to be in the parade on Thursday and will be attending as many of the founding family events she can.
She is appreciative of O’Quinn and her committee for giving people, especially members of the founding families, a meeting place to go and connect with relatives you are aware of and even possibly discover some you didn’t know of.
“Hopefully others will come to the events and maybe find someone from their ancestry — a wonderful opportunity to get together as one big, happy family,” Keating said.
She said for her, the connection to the founding families is on her mother Eulia Cormier’s side, who is the daughter of Euzeb and Laura Anne (nee Gaudon) Cormier.
“I always knew from mom’s stories that we (Cormier family) had been here (in Stephenville) for many, many years,” Keating said.
O’Quinn said Stephen Gallant is the first known person to be born in what was to become known as Stephenville today. As a baby he was named after his grandfather Etienne LeBlanc, who took the baby back to Cape Breton to be baptized in Margaree.
That visit resulted in in brothers Etienne and Celesten LeBlanc and their wives making the move in 1847 to establish the Acadian village of Stephenville.
Keating said her visit from Saskatchewan is proving to be well worth the effort, especially after meeting and learning about people she is related to. She believes connecting with family is important.