1. When did you first start working on your family history?

I first began to work on my family history in 2005.

2. What was your most surprising discovery?

I’m not sure I’ve had a surprising discovery. I am lucky in that I come from a family that has always discussed family history. While we never had such an extensive record of it until I picked up the mantel, we have known about our roots and talked about it around the dinner table for as long as I can remember. But if I had to pick something, I was very proud and slightly surprised to learn that we are direct descendants of one of the first families of New France – Vaillancourt. There is a monument in Quebec with my ancestor’s name on it.

3. Have you done a DNA test? Were there any surprises about countries of origins?

I have done a DNA test along with having both my parents do tests as well. At first, we were a little taken back when my Mom’s Ancestry test showed her as only 34% French and 66% Scottish/Irish. This certainly didn’t support my research. I had to reassure my 85-year-old mother that she indeed was French. But since the improvements at Ancestry, her results have now changed to 92% French. She is relieved.

4. What is the brick wall you would most like to break down in your family history?

My great-grandfather came from Poland in 1905, and while he brought many of his siblings over during the next 25 years, three siblings stayed behind. He was one of the siblings, who I haven’t been able to account for, and I would like to know what happened to him, his story. He would have witnessed both World Wars. Oh, there is also my Irish immigrants, I would love to put parents names to them.

5. What is your favourite part of researching your family history?

That’s an easy one. Writing the stories. Don’t get me wrong I love the research, but I believe that genealogy doesn’t just stop at the documents. The other half of the equation is to shape that research into stories. I love stitching together the bits and pieces of information into a narrative that is entertaining and engaging for others to read. It gives me some sense of relief to know that my hard work has a better chance of being past down to future generations if it is in a blog or a book or any kind of story format that’s shareable. For me, the end game is not the documents and facts but the stories.

Speaker Spotlight: Lynn Palermo

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