Greater Lowell Genealogy Club Newsletter - Fall 2005

Fall 2005


Newsletter of the Greater Lowell Genealogy Club

Upcoming Events:

September Meeting: Thursday, September 22, 2005 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the

Chelmsford Public Library.

Special Genealogy Program:

The Chelmsford Genealogy Club and the Chelmsford Library are presenting Maureen Taylor on September 20, 2005 at 7:00 pm. Her topic for the night will be Dating and Preservation of Old Photos.

October meeting: Sunday, October 23, 2005, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, we will be holding our annual Pot Luck Dinner at St. John's Episcopal Church, 260 Gorham St., Lowell. Please use the back door. The church is next to the court house.

November meeting: See below for more information.

December meeting: Happy Holidays


September Meeting: General meeting and club elections. Anyone interested in a board position must be a member in good standing. Any position is open to new candidates. If you are interested in running for any office please contact any board member and your name will be added to the ballot! Nominations must be received before the September meeting.

October meeting:

It's time for our wonderful pot luck dinner, please come! Barbara Updyke has volunteered to coordinate the dinner again this year. (She did such a great job last year we kind of volunteered her again!) For anyone who has missed our past dinners, you should really try to come! We have a wonderful afternoon and fantastic FOOD!

November meeting:

Diane Laferriere is working very hard to set up a trip to the National Archives. She is trying to contact Walter Hickey regarding private time for the club on a Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed!


The board hopes you all have a happy and peaceful holiday season.

Past Happenings:


April meeting: Our April meeting was a huge success. We all viewed the video Genealogy 101 by Rootsweb with Rhonda McClure. This video was 1 hour of Rootsweb instruction and ½ hour of Ancestry instruction. If you missed the meeting and would like to view the video, contact Barbara Poole. She would be happy to let you borrow it.

Members in attendance: Laura Bedard, Peg Leedberg, Diane Laferriere, Therese Masson, Yvonne and Ed Miller, Bob Henderson, Barbara Poole, Diane Shields, Maureen Famolare, Eileen Larry, Mary Latham, Gail Curley, Isabelle Westover, Barbara Murphy, Helen Bunney, Karen Jeffers and Barbara Updyke.

May meeting: A rather small group of members made the trip to South Boston's State Archives. Even though the group was small there was nothing but raves from everyone. I heard nothing but how great everyone was helping those that needed help and how great Diane was for doing the driving. Many were amazed at the wealth of information found there and at the ease of finding it. A couple of the members even crossed the parking lot and visited the JFK Library. An exciting time was had by all and talks of more trips down were heard by all. Members in attendance: Diane Lafarriere, Eileen Leary, Barbara Updyke, Barbara Poole and Karen Jeffers ( I was out of town for the day or my name would be here, too! Maureen)


President - Maureen Famolare -

978-663-6491 -

Vice President - Diane Laferriere -

978-649-3855 -

Secretary - Barbara Poole -


Treasurer - Karen Jeffers - 978-663-3664

News Items

The board has agreed to spend $100 for a software program to help Diane Laferriere improve our website. The software will allow Diane to update, improve and maintain the website with less time and aggravation.

The board also wishes to inform all our members that there will be a meeting at Maureen's house, 34 George Brown Street, Billerica on September 24, 2005 at 9:30am. The purpose of the meeting is to sort through BOXES and BOXES of Lowell City Directories (owned by the club) that are taking up lots of space in her garage. If you would like to help, come on over. Any help would be appreciated. Also if you have any suggestions on what to do with these directories, contact us.


One Simple Question

By Diane Laferriere

Here is the beginning of my research that I am doing for a friend.  Since I have not completed the search, my story is not done. 

John, a friend of my husband, knew I was interested in genealogy and asked me if I could find the answer to one simple question for him. Anyone who has done genealogy knows that the answer to one simple question just leads to more questions. So we sat down and talked for about an hour, I asked him questions about his family, anything that he knew, even if he was not sure that it was true. The question that he wanted the answer for was “Where was his grandmother (fathers' mother) buried?” He remembered going to Maine as a child looking for someone's gravestone, but he was not sure who they were looking for. Normally finding someone's grandmother is not very difficult, so with the information he gave me I set out to find his grandmother.

To start with, John did not even know his grandmother's first name. So on my search to find her, I started with her children, John's father and aunt, both of whom were born in Massachusetts around 1905. His father's name was Karl and his aunt's name was Arleen. My first stop was the Mogan Center in Lowell, open on Tuesday nights until 9:00 pm, where the vital records for Massachusetts up to 1905 are available. I was hoping that at least one of them was born in 1905 or earlier. I got lucky, I found his aunt Aileen, not Arleen born in 1905 in Boston and the index gave me the volume and page number where her birth was recorded and where her parent's names would be listed. The page number was 2 so I did not need scroll through the microfilm very far. However, if anyone has spent any time looking at these microfilmed records, they may know that the filming was done on books that had been used for many years. To my dismay, page two was torn down the middle. I could see the father's first name “Louis” and that he was born in Germany, so I knew I had the right family, but the mother's first name was gone, but her place of birth was Waltham, so that was a start. Now, if I could only find the birth record of John's father (Karl); they both wouldn't be unreadable, would they?

The next step would be to go to the Massachusetts State Archives in Boston and look at the vital records there. They have the records on microfilm to 1910, but that trip would have to wait a few weeks before I had time to go. In the mean time, I started searching for the aunt. John knew her married name and that she had been married twice. So maybe the census would shed some light on the grandmother. I searched the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 census for the grandfather Louis, his wife, and their two children (Aileen and Karl), but no luck. Then I realized that by 1930, any child born around 1905 may already be married. I tried John's father, Karl to see if maybe he was still living with his parents, but no luck. I could not even find him in the 1930 census. Then I searched for Aunt Aileen, first using her maiden name (nothing found), and then her married name from the first marriage. Luck at last; she was living in New Jersey per the 1930 census. Aunt Aileen was living with her husband, their 3 daughters, and Aileen's mother, Mary. It all seemed to fit, Aileen was born in Massachusetts, her father was born in Germany and her mother was born in Massachusetts. Mary was born in Massachusetts, and both of her parents were born in Maine, also she was a widow. This means that John's grandfather had died before 1930, but I did not know where. I still need to go to Boston to see the birth record for Mary's son, Karl and maybe I will be able to find the marriage record for Louis and Mary. The grandmother has a first name - Mary.

To be continued

Recommended Reading

Member, Maryann Stacy of Wells, Maine has recommended the book, The Belles of New England” by William Moran. She wants you to know it is a wonderful look at the lives of working people (mostly women) in New England. We thank her for the recommendation.


Belanger - Robitaille - Rondeau

My name is Susanne Connor. I was born and raised in Lowell. Some of my family still resides in and around Lowell. My mother and her parents lived in L'il Canada, before building a house in North Chelmsford. Our family cemetery is St. Joseph's. My questions go back to my great grandparents on my mother's side - a Joseph Philippe Belanger, born in Manchester, NH, died and buried in Lowell, Oct. 31, 1959(?), St. Joseph's Cemetery. I would like to know about his mother and father because I am trying to uncover Native American heritage that I may have from the time of King Phillip's war as well as the French and Indian war. I know that some direction of my historical path leads me to Canada prior to the immigration to Lowell. My family's work histories are woven into the Mills of Lowell.

My Grandmother was Annette Belanger Robitaille, deceased Jan 1988.
Her sole surviving sister,  Rita Belanger Leonard is 81 and resides in Lowell, but being the baby of the family has little or no knowledge of the family history....she says," I should have asked my Grandmother.....she knew  all of it.",   UGH!!

My Great Grandmother, Rose Davignon Belanger, was into community affairs in Little Canada. She was also a housekeeper for the Olf Corporation Hospital (St. Joseph's /Saints Memorial Hospital).

My grandfather was Orille Emile Robitaille, deceased Oct.1998, born, raised, and buried in Lowell. He built a home in North Chelmsford circa 1935. His mother was Marie Louise Rondeau Robitaille,  born in Canada (?? where), lived and died in Lowell, also buried at St. Joseph's Cemetery. Her parents were Treffle and Herminie Rondeau......and that's where I loose track of the family tree. I believe they are buried at St. Joseph's as well. I do not know who their parents were. Cousins that I am in contact with do not have the information either...
My great grandmother, Marie Louise Rondeau Robitaille was born in Canada I believe.....she only spoke French Canadian.

Apparently I have designated myself as the Family Historian. "smiles" I involved myself in the Franco American Exhibit this past June. I am very grateful to Mehmed Ali for the opportunity to display some photos in the exhibit. I have lived in Western Massachusetts for 31 years.

How can I find any information on these people? Any direction would be helpful to me. Thank you.

I found your site through the internet (was looking for the library) and glad I did.

Susanne Connor

--- Information - P-L-E-A-S-E

If you have any ideas for speakers, day trips or general meetings, OR if you have any interesting tidbits of information contact:

Maureen -

Karen -

We love stories, hints, queries or interesting web sites. Heck, just about anything you want to send us! Thanks.

??New Column??

-It's Up To You-

Several members have suggested we start a new column in the newsletter. The column would feature members and the lines they're researching or bricks walls they are hitting. If you are interested in submitting your information, we have included a form on the last page of the newsletter. This column can only be possible if the member research is received. Look at it this way- you might find a long lost relative, who knows.

A Simple Tip to Make Microfilm Reading Easier:

On a sheet of light blue stationary (white paper “disappears” when you put it on the white surface of the reader), draw a line the long way of the paper with a yellow or pink Hi-Liter, about two inches in from the edge. Put this on the microfilm reader and position the paper and film image so that the desired line of the image is highlighted. It looks just like the highlighting was on the film. To prevent the paper from slipping around or sliding to the floor, put a little weight on an edge.

Another Method - If you are trying to read light or blurred writing - try putting a yellow, green or blue (or in combinations) colored clear plastic pages (you used to use these for reports in high school) against the screen. It also may help to bring out faded writing if you place the plastic sheets down on the photocopy machine than put your pages you cannot read on top. Enlarging the copy also may help. Experiment by using different colors and layers.


We apologize! The following list was supposed to be in the Spring 2005 newsletter, but was inadvertently left out. If you are looking for information in Connecticut or New Hampshire, Al Dudley's list is a great place to start.

Albert Dudley's List



Form for Sharing Information to appear in newsletter

Member's Name _____________________________________________

Contact Information (E-Mail, Address or Phone - You choose.)


Lines Being Researched Place Time

__________________ ______________ ______________

__________________ ______________ ______________

__________________ ______________ ______________

__________________ ______________ ______________

Brick Walls I need help on:




Use another sheet of paper if needed (or the back of this sheet).

------------------------------------------------- cut here------------------------------------------------


If you do not have a current membership card, you have not paid 2005 dues.

The membership rates are as follows:

___ $10.00 per Individual

___ $20.00 for a Family

___ $5.00 per Senior (age 62 and over)

Enclosed please find $_________ for 2005 dues.

Name __________________________________________



Phone __________________________________________

E-mail __________________________________________

Send form and check to:

Greater Lowell Genealogy Club

c/o Karen Jeffers

35 Franklin Street

N. Billerica, MA 01862-1441