In recent years I’ve begun working on several projects related to my Franco American and Irish heritage, including the very early beginnings of some books for young readers. Look below for links to writing, presentations, and resources, many of which are published under the name Megan St. Marie.
The Sentimental Archivist (a work in progress)
I’ve begun writing a series of blog posts about heirlooms and objects related to my family history that I keep in my office to inform and inspire my work at Modern Memoirs. I hope to collect these into a book one day, and you can read the pieces I’ve written so far below:
- Seizing Joy at the Start of School with a Schultüte (September 8, 2023)
- Making “Sense” of the Past (January 13, 2023)
- Guiding Writers in Reflecting on Good Times and Bad (September 16, 2022, also published in the Autumn/Automne 2022 edition of Le Forum, a publication of the Franco American Centre at the University of Maine-Orono)
- Lives Stitched Together by Choices and Chance: Making Strange and Wondrous Connections Through Family History Work (June 21, 2022, also published in the Autumn/Automne 2022 edition of Le Forum, a publication of the Franco American Centre at the University of Maine-Orono)
- Papa, Sasa, and Zamani: Remembering My WWII Veteran Grandfather (April 19, 2022)
- Hail Grandma: A Clock’s Chimes Evoke Devotion to Family (January 12, 2022)
- Evangeline and Anne, L’Acadie and Me (December 13, 2021, also published in Le Forum, a publication of the Franco American Centre at the University of Maine-Orono)
- Watching Over Angels: On Learning the Eight Surnames of One’s Great-Grandparents (October 8, 2021)
Presentations Hosted by the Franco American Centre at the University of Maine-Orono
As a way of spending time “together” during the pandemic, my father and I began attending virtual events hosted by the Franco American Centre at the University of Maine-Orono. Eventually, we began to give presentations arising from my father’s family history research. These presentations are listed below, some with links for viewing:
- “Dans les Pas de Nos Ancêtres (In the Steps of Our Ancestors): A Father-Daughter Heritage Trip to France” (June 2023)
- Les Filles à Marier en Notre Famille (April and May 2022)
- Pain at the Root: Le Grand Dérangement and Our Family History (February 2022)
- Nous et Vous et Les Filles du Roi (June 2021)
- The Franco-American Presence in Highgate, Vermont Beginning in the 1830s (April 2021)
Other Writing Inspired By Family History
I was pleased to be invited to review books for the literary journal Résonance, “an open-access electronic, curated, editor-reviewed literary journal that seeks to encourage, showcase, and disseminate creative works by established and emerging writers, primarily by and/or about the Franco-American communities of the United States.”
My first piece appears in issue 4 and is a review of Meg Muckenhoupt’s The Truth about Baked Beans: An Edible History of New England.
My second piece appears in issue 5 and is a review of Joan DeJean’s Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast (Basic Books 2022)
Independent Projects with Family
My father, Ray Lambert, has lovingly maintained a family history website https://justinlambert.tribalpages.com/, which now includes over 40,000 relatives and ancestors. I am a co-administrator of the site. My father’s passion for genealogy and family history has been a tremendous gift to me and to others in our family, and the site is a source of inspiration and information for me as I pursue my own projects.
My uncle Hank Lambert self-published his memoir Highgate Switchel in 2017, and I helped him with a structural edit. This was such a meaningful project, and it inspired me to pursue various family history writing projects while I was on sabbatical in 2018. That work, in turn, led me to my current career at Modern Memoirs, where I help clients publish their memoirs and family history books.
Every year my father’s side of the family gathers at the family homestead in Highgate, Vermont for a July 4th family reunion. In 2021, my dad and I prepared a brief presentation about our ancestors who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Dad read a tribute to them, which included the following explanation of our relationships to these veterans:
Theodore Lambert, Sr. was my great-great-grandfather. If you are my
child or my niece or nephew, he was your 3-times great-grandfather. If you are my grandchild or the
grandchildren of my siblings, he was your 4-times great-grandfather. Born in 1816 in St. Jean, Quebec, Canada, he immigrated to the United States and signed up to serve in the Union Army when he was 46 years old. He enlisted as a Private on August 12, 1862 and joined Company F, 10th Infantry Regiment Vermont on September 1, 1862. He received a disability discharge from Company F on April 20, 1863 and became a naturalized citizen of the United States after his service in 1872.
His eldest three sons Theodore (Lombard) Lambert, Jr., Joseph Lambert, and Noel “Newell” Lambert, were all born in Vermont, and they also served in the Union Army. They were my great-granduncles, or the brothers of my great-grandfather Mitchell Lambert. Mitchell Lambert did not serve in the Civil War with his father and three brothers because he was born in 1850 and had just turned 15 years old when the war ended in April 1865. If you are my children or nieces or nephews, Mitchell’s brothers who did serve are your 2-times great-granduncles. If you are my grandchildren or my siblings’ grandchildren, they are your 3-times great-granduncles.
You can read the full text of our tribute to these ancestors at this link: Remembering Our Ancestor and Relatives Who Served the Union, by Uncle Ray, July 4 2021. After Dad read the tribute, most of the family walked down the street from the Homestead to the town’s Civil War Monument, where we did crayon rubbings of these ancestors’ names (depicted in the photo above.)