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Grandfather's Books

Grandfather's Books is the history of Quebec. It is a detailed three-part record of the White Family dating to 1755. In her introduction, Teresa White records: "When my father entered St. Brigid's Home, I became the depositary of his boxes and our family chronicles. Among these precious souvenirs, I found my grandfather's books and retrieved the records on which this work is based." The three parts include a narrative of the events that brought the family from Ireland to Quebec and North America.

Book I: From Ireland to Quebec
"In 1790 the family left County Queen and settled in Kilkenny, which was a Catholic county, and had been since 1642. There, they taught school, and from there they watched as British indifference and greed, coupled with crop failures, set the wheels in motion that would eventually halve the population of the country. In the early 1800s many were leaving Kilkenny. Some chose Canada as their destination, and certainly they had reasons for their choice. The fact that passage on boats to America was more expensive was possibly one factor. Edmund and Elizabeth must have sadly encouraged their only two sons to leave. There was really no future in Ireland in 1823."

"At this period in time, many seigneurs wanted their lands cleared and settled, and they preferred Irish settlers, for they found the Irish more able to endure the hardships of settlement in places of little access, far from the larger centers. Such was the case for the seigneur Arthur Juchereau-Duchesnay, who colonized his seigneury almost exclusively with Irish settlers whom he placed at St. Catherine’s and at Valcartier."

"The James White branch of the family (our branch) settled at Lake St. Joseph, about three miles (four kms) from the village. They were one of three families that first settled the Lake, the Conways and the Gurrys being the other two."

Book II: In His Words
"Our grandfather kept a daily journal from 1932 to April of 1953, within ten days of his death. He possibly did so at other times as well, but those are lost. These excerpts give a glimpse of the man he was, the life he led, and the lives our fathers were living in those middle years."

"Aug 27 - I picked blueberries (3 quarts) and had a hard time getting out of swamp. Charlie came in to get me. George went to Saint Gabriel and left a tire with Phonsey White to get vulcanized, then went to Gourdeau’s for a corn roasting party. Got home 1:30 a.m.
Sept 25 - George went to Saint Gabriel this evening with Marcelle and Louis DeLery and got the tire from Phonsey White. George got into a ditch when entering DeLery’s. Damaged car. We left it there.
Oct 11 - Received letter from John. They are about to leave for overseas.
Oct 24 - Light snowflakes falling for first time.
Oct 26 - We put on double windows. St. Denys Garneau found dead yesterday, on island in Jacques Cartier River."

Book III: Timepieces
Documents and background commentary details the family history from 1853.

Published by Carraig Books, a Canadian publisher specializing in Quebec-Irish history, Grandfather's Books (195 pages) features over 100 photos and a family tree. Catalogued as ISBN 0-9698581-8-3, and published December 15, 2005, it is distributed by: RTS Canada, Montreal. Copies may be ordered ($20 Cdn). plus shipping) from

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