A Canadian Family

First Nations, French Canadians & Acadians

Uncle, Uncle! | Carnival of Genealogy 70th Edition

When I heard that the theme for this Carnival of Genealogy was Uncle, Uncle, I knew I wanted to talk about my father’s maternal uncle – Ruben J. Leger of Schenectady, New York – a man whom I never met and who probably never knew I existed!

Ruben Leger was my grandmother Yvonne Leger’s brother and though he never knew it, his actions during his lifetime were what later kindled my interest in genealogy. This happened about twenty years ago when my father gave me an old, wrinkled copy of a letter a Mr. Lewis J. Bezinge of Dallas, Texas had sent to my great-uncle Reuben. The letter is dated from the late 1950s but it was actually a copy of a letter dated March 11th, 1941.

Mr. Bezinge explained to my great-uncle Ruben that he had traced our Leger genealogy back to 1668, and that he had been helped in this by Ruben’s father (my great-grandfather Louis Gonzague Leger). A four page Leger Family Tree is appended and although there are gaps in the tree, most of the information is accurate.

I’d like us to take a moment to think about what it meant to do genealogy in 1941. This is not only pre-internet, pre-computerized databases and pre-scanners, this is pre-photocopiers and pre-electric typewriters. Think – when he contacted my great-uncle Ruben in 1957, Mr. Bezinge or his secretary had to manually retype all the pertinent information! For those of you who have never used a manual typewriter, I’d like you to think not only about the fact that the material had to be re-typed, but that there was no such thing as a “right justify” or “center” button to automatically line everything up. nor could you undo your mistakes with the touch of the “undo” button. Of course, secretaries had their little tricks. For instance, as a secretary back in the ’70s, I would “undo” errors with a sharp razor-blade) but it was still very laborious.

Thanks to my great-uncle’s curiosity about his roots, my father’s care in keeping family papers and Mr. Bezinge’s work I got a great head start with my Leger family history. Over the last few years, working with other Leger researchers and primary sources, I’ve filled in most of the gaps in the family tree and I’m now preparing a little booklet which will contain a new annotated version of the “Family Tree of Jacques Leger” with the following dedication:

“To my great-uncle Ruben Urbain Leger, upon whose shoulders I stand”

 

Related Posts

Index: Legers – France / Acadie / QC / NB

Core Index: Acadian & French-Canadian Genealogy and History

 

This Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Creative Gene

Creative Gene 

 

 

 

April 13, 2009 - Posted by | . |

3 Comments »

  1. Thank you, Evelyn, for telling the story of your inspirational “uncle.” My grandfather’s uncle, too, was the one responsible for inspiring my father’s, and hence my, interest in family history, and it is important that their stores are told as well. Regards, Brett

    Like

    Comment by Brett Payne | April 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. Evelyn,

    I am Lewis J. Bezinge’s grandaughter. I was thrilled to see this letter my grandfather had written. He had a room full of his family tree records. Yes, I saw that old manual typewriter which he used for his correspondence and family tree records. He had no secretary. It meant a lot to him (and to me) and he spent a great deal of time working on it. Thanks for your work on the Leger history. I am proud of my Bezinge/Leger ancestory.

    Like

    Comment by Evelyn Lucille Buchanan | August 8, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hi distant relative! My great grandmother was Claudia Leger and I have an interest in tracing the roots. I will attach my email could you please contact me? Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you!

    Like

    Comment by Nicole McCormack | September 22, 2017 | Reply


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