Wedding of Marie Philippon and Alfred Tancrel, Lewiston Maine, 1897. Photo courtesy of the Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine Libraries
UMaine has received a nearly $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a first-ever bilingual portal to Franco American heritage records from archives in the United States and Canada.
The effort, led by Franco American Programs, an academic programs and resource center at the university, will make Franco American records more visible, searchable, and accessible to researchers, educators, students, genealogists, and the general public, says Susan Pinette ’91, director of UMaine’s Franco American Programs and also a professor of modern languages. Franco American Programs at UMaine also received $10,000 from the Maine Bicentennial Commission for a similar project titled “Where Were You.” That effort involves developing an online public history, genealogy, and map of Franco American populations in Maine. Researchers of history and culture of the French Canadian and Acadian diaspora of New England sometimes struggle to find primary sources when pertinent records are not catalogued with relevant identifiers, or are otherwise difficult to access, says Pinette.