Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Roland.

Roland became a wonderful WikiTreer in April of 2012 and is one of our awesome Leaders.  He participates in several projects including the Canadian History, Apps and Templates projects and he co-leads our Acadians Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Most of the Acadian surnames, but some of the ones I focus on are Arsenault, Saulnier, Gaudet, and Maillet.

What are some of the locations you are researching:

Basically following the path of my ancestors, who first settled in what is now Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. Fleeing the 1755 deportation of the Acadians, my ancestors resettled in what are now the provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. I’m also tracking some of the migrations they made to and from New England, mostly Massachusetts, for economic reasons.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?:

My dad once told me that Acadian author Antonine Maillet is my grandfather’s first cousin. One day, I decided to see if I could verify that fact by searching the internet. That’s when I discovered that genealogy is solving a never ending series of puzzles and the puzzle pieces connect my ancestors with history. Finding my grandparents’ marriage record as well as the transcript of a speech Antonine had given where she mentions her parents were the first clues that led me to determine that her father was my grandfather’s mother’s brother so they are indeed first cousins!

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I discovered so many ancestors, how can I pick a favorite?!

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

I’ve been able to follow most of my lines back to the 1600’s when many of my ancestors migrated from France to Acadia. That’s where I find many of my brick walls. One in particular I would like to solve is to find out where in France Pierre Arseneau came from and can we find his parents?

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

Aren’t we all related already if we go back far enough?

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including motorcycle racing, downhill skiing, kayaking and bicycling. I also enjoy traveling where I get to discover and experience various cultures.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?  Are there any projects/challenges are you involved in? What do you enjoy doing?

I’ve been on WIkiTree for over 5 years now. The existence of the Acadians project is what drew me to WikiTree at first, and I am now a co-leader of that project!

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

I love the collaborative aspect of WikiTree, that we all work on one tree. I also like the fact that WikiTree is web based which opens up a lot of possibilities for linking information together. For instance, if an ancestor is mentioned in some important document, links should point from the document to the ancestor’s profile and the ancestor’s profile should have a link to that document. Such links are key to connecting history with our ancestors.

It’s great that Chris Whitten is receptive to new ideas and encourages innovation. The WikiTree Apps project is a good example where Chris allows us with programing experience the chance to build tools to help the WikiTree community. I certainly see more possibilities in the DNA domain where WikiTree can be helpful.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Start off slow and take the time to understand WikiTree. Collaborating on a single tree is different than working on a personal tree, so take the time to understand how things work here.


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  2 Responses to “Meet our Members: Roland Arsenault”

  1. From your small tree in this view which includes your grandparents. I went looking in “Dictionnaire genealogique des familles Arsenault” I found your family and then realized you provided the information, small world. I was going to recommend the book by Denis J. Savard.


  2. Hi Roland,
    I am also a descendant of Acadians, on both my mother’s and my father’s ancestors.
    My father’s grandmother was Marie Rosalie Deveau, (B1863) her parents were Celestine Deveau, and Marie Maillet (B1825) Celestine Deveau’s parents were Mathurin Deveau and Marie Saulnier (B1789). Marie Saulnier’s parents were Pierre Saulnier (B1762) and Anne Melanson (B1766). All from Salmon River NS, and most belonging to Saint Vincent de Paul Church. By the way Rosalie Deveau married in Boston to a man from France. I have a copy of her baptismal record from the Saint Vencent de Paul Church in Salmon River NS. My brother and I took a trip up there about 15 years or so ago.

    My Mother is descendant of Mary Ellen Benoit (B1887) an Acadian from Pomquet NS, she is related to bishop Landry from NS. She married Daniel L Ford (B1890) from PEI one of seven boys, a man of Scottish descent, they met and married in Boston.

    We could be related, there was a lot of intermarriages between families back then, so who knows.

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