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Beads in a Necklace: Family Stories from Genealogy Ensemble

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--November 10, 2017.

A collection of fifty tender, witty and insightful stories about ancestors, penned and published collaboratively by nine Montreal genealogists.

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017 the women of Genealogy Ensemble will unveil a brand new book, Beads in a Necklace: Family Stories from Genealogy Ensemble, at a launch party in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, among family, friends and honoured guests.

A self-published limited edition paperback of this unique collection of short stories will be on sale at the November 15th launch and afterwards at Livres Presque 9/Nearly New Books, 5516 Sherbrooke W, Notre Dame de Grace, while supplies last.

At the same time, an Amazon Kindle e-book version of Beads in a Necklace will be published online and available to the public-at-large on the Amazon Kindle platform for a special introductory price of $2.99.

Genealogists are preoccupied with names, places, dates and documents. They want to map a family tree that is as accurate and extensive as possible for themselves, and for posterity.

With Beads in a Necklace, the women who write the family history blog Genealogy Ensemble have gone one exciting step further: they have fleshed out the dashes-between-the-dates on their family trees. The very personal family stories they have created should prove compelling reading for a broad range of people: family members, yes, but also fellow genealogists, history buffs and anyone who enjoys a good yarn, well told.

In 2012, a group of nine Montreal-based genealogists began meeting monthly to work on their creative writing skills. They wanted to record their families’ stories in more intimate detail, and to make these stories as authentic, and as poignant, as possible. Soon they began to post their stories on their own collaborative blog, Genealogy Ensemble ( Five years later, they have published a book, Beads in a Necklace: Family Stories from Genealogy Ensemble.

Beads in a Necklace is a collection of fifty historically accurate stories with a huge heart, inspired by family myths, heirlooms and artifacts, diaries and letters, and, of course, vintage photographs dug out of dusty old boxes.

These absorbing short stories describe the lives of merchants and military men, society ladies and filles du roi, reverends and rogues, medical men and restless women, and even some innocent babes who barely had time to draw a breath.

These ancestors lived between 1650 and 1970 in Montreal, Quebec City, rural Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario and beyond to the US, France and the British Isles.

Mary Sutherland, Claire Lindell, Dorothy Nixon, Sandra McHugh, Barb Angus, Marian Bulford, and Lucy Anglin, for the most part amateur authors, developed their creative writing technique over this five -year period under the guidance of professional journalists Janice Hamilton and Tracey Arial, who also co-authored and edited the collection.

Month after month, they experimented with a variety of narrative techniques to preserve the ever-fading memories of their grandmothers, great uncles and four-times great-grandparents, and to shed light on the interesting times in which these people lived.

The end result is a volume of easy-to-read family stories, featuring a colourful cast of real-life characters, and filled with fascinating bits of social history.

The stories also come with extensive footnotes to satisfy the most exacting professional genealogist or amateur historian.

The authors hope that the stories in Beads in a Necklace will serve as models for other genealogists and/or creative writers from any country or culture to write up their own fascinating family histories.

After all, everyone’s story is history-in-the-making.