She was born in Lawrence and grew up at 2 Broadway Court. Mrs.
Consentino makes her living as the development director at St. Augustine School in Lawrence. But her avocation is researching French Canadian and Acadian history and genealogy.
''My goal is to reach as many Acadians and French Canadians as I can and to make available the research information,'' she said.
Mrs. Consentino created a 100-page Web site featuring personal history as well as history of the Acadians and French Canadians.
Mrs. Consentino started working on her Web site last April, but the project took off last summer after a visit to Grand-Pre, Nova Scotia.
''For me it was an awesome experience,'' Mrs. Consentino said.
The most fascinating part of her research was learning about the
deportation of 10,000 to 12,000 Acadians to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.
According to Mrs. Consentino, Gov. Lawrence of Halifax believed the Acadians were becoming a threat to Britain because they were prosperous and growing in number and still held allegiance to France. Lawrence ordered Acadians to sign an oath of allegiance to England, but they refused, not wanting to bear arms against their country of origin.
Because of their refusal, Lawrence sent one of his lieutenant colonels to the church in Grand-Pre where he ordered men and boys to congregate. Once inside the building, the doors were closed behind them and they were imprisoned for a month until ships came to deport them.
''It was ethnic cleansing,'' Mrs. Consentino said.
Although she does not know how many French Canadians live in the
Merrimack Valley, she said most of them migrated from Quebec. Many of those who settled in the area have family names of Beaulieu, Berube, Demers, Dumais, Monfet, Emond, Fortier, Fournier, Frechette, Gagnon,Gariepe, Garneau, Gauvin, Gendron, Gravel, Hamel, Joubert, Lefleur, Levesque and Talbot.
Mrs. Consentino said all ''French Canadians'' are not the same. Her research has taught her that there are two distinctions to be made among the Franco-Americans or French-Canadian descendants wherever they live -- some are descendants of the French-Canadians out of the province of
Quebec, and others descend distinctly from the Acadians out of the Canadian Maritimes.
''I would wager that even my parents never quite understood that there was a distinction. Clearly, I descend from two distinct Canadian lines -- Acadian and French-Canadian,'' she said.
Her mother's name was Levesque -- from Quebec -- and her father was a LeBlanc from New Brunswick. She traced her genealogy to Charlemagne on her mother's side because they are connected to Catherine de Baillon, which links them to the French king. Her connection to Kerouak is on her father's side. My Correction: connection to Kerouak is also on the Lévesque side.) Kerouak's mother was a LeBlanc. (My correction: Jack's mother was a Lévesque.)
Born in Lawrence, Mrs. Consentino studied at St. Ann grammar school and St. Anne High. She entered the Good Shepherd Sisters and withdrew after her father died. She later joined the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and worked in Texas and Pennsylvania.
Some years ago, she became certified as a chaplain and worked at St. Mary Parish in Marlboro as Patoral Care Minister.
Her fascination with her ancestors has been lifelong.
A year and a half ago, Mrs. Consentino found a notebook that belonged to her grandmother which contained notes she had taken while enrolled in citizenship classes in Lawrence.
So, after taking several trips to Quebec, Grand-Pre and other ancestral digs in Nova Scotia. Her search has also taken her to New Brunswick as well as New Bedford, Waltham and Worcester, Mrs. Consentino embarked on a serious mission to research her ancestry.
Mrs. Consentino recently took a trip to New Brunswick where she found information that her great-great-great-grandfather had been the first to settle the land in Fox Creek, New Brunswick, after the deportation years. When he died, he was the largest land owner in that area now known as St. Anselme. She has extracts of his will and how he divided his land among his sonsMrs. Consentino's grandfather was born there..
''I have some wonderful history to add to my family now,'' she said.
As a result of her research, she met a first cousin, Bill Baggett, for the first time this past December right in Lawrence where they both grew up. His mother, Mathilda ''Tillie'' LeBlanc Baggett was her father's sister. She married Joseph Baggett, who would become the fire chief of the City of Lawrence. Mrs. Consentino also gave Mr. Baggett a copy of the family genealogy.
For Christmas, Mrs. Consentino gave each family member a 300-page
Mrs. Consentino wrote a story in the quarterly American Canadian
''Genealogist'' titled ''My LeBlanc Ancestral Search.'' She will also be published in '''La Voix des Prairies,'' an Acadian--Cajun
Mrs. Consentino and her husband, Anthony, have two daughters, Rebecca, a graduate student at Boston University, and Sarah, a junior at Emmanuel College. The Consentinos' daughters are very involved in music and both sing with the Tanglewood Chorus.
The Lawrence Genealogical Society that meets at the Immigrant Archives has also contacted me and asked if I would speak at their meeting in January, 2000. This groups meets the fourth Thursday of every month except July and August. The contact person is Arthur Dallon. I have also been asked to contribute my family genealogy to the archives.
Allain, Arsenault, Babin, Babineau, Bastarache, Belliveau, Blanchard, Boudreau, Bourgeois, Boucher, Bourque, Cormier, Daigle, Doiron, Gaudet, Gautreau, Girouard, Goguen, Haché dit Gallant, Hébert, Landry, LeBlanc, Léger, Maillet, Martin, Melanson, Moulaison, Pellerin, Poirier, Richard, Robichaud, Savoie, Surette, Thériault, Thibodeau
Emphasis had also been placed on the fact that Stephen White, Genealogist at Moncton University's Dictionnaire Acadienne would soon be in print and of the great contribution Yvon Cyr has made through his web site, the Acadian/Cajun Rootsweb List and his CDs.
Nor was mention made of the fact that I am a member of the American Canadian Genealogical Society in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The above facts that I stated did not make it into print but I want to state them here.