Local author gives insight into French settlement in area and Reaume family history

 

Author Barbara Reaume Sandre has written "René," a book about her 8th great-grandfather.

Author Barbara Reaume Sandre has written “René,” a book about her 8th great-grandfather.

By Ron Giofu

 

An area author has given an inside look at a local family all the while telling a story of what life was like 350 years ago.

Barbara Reaume Sandre has written “René,” a book which largely describes her family history but sees her take some creative turns along the way to make the story flow.

“The book is a historical fiction about my eighth great-grandfather René, who came to Canada in 1663,” explained Sandre.

The book was written over the last two decades and the retired Essex District High School teacher added it was written while she searched out her own family history at the same time.

“I’ve been doing genealogical research for over 20 years,” Sandre pointed out. “I was able to obtain a lot of information about (René) because the French kept impeccable records. He is the forefather of all the Reaumes in Essex County and most of the Reaumes in Ontario and Michigan.”

Sandre said René, a master carpenter, married what was known as a “King’s Daughter,” a term used to describe one of the 1,000 French orphans, widows or peasant girls sent over by King Louis XVI to populate the new world.

“The book is about his life,” she said. “The story is about their life together.”

Sandre said her eighth great-grandfather “got into a lot of trouble” during his life and the book details some of that. She describes her book as about “80 per cent fact-based.

“All of the events I talk about actually happen,” she said. “I just filled in the blank spaces.”

Genealogy was something Sandre said she always has an interest in.

“The more information I found out, the more I felt I knew him and wanted to know more about him,” she said.

The Reaume family has ties to Amherstburg, she noted, as her grandfather Niles Reaume settled in Amherstburg as did other members of her family.

Sandre added she was only going to write the book for her family at first but eventually decided to have it published. Borealis Press out of Ottawa agreed to publish it with Sandre saying “it was one of the most thrilling days of my life” when she got word one year ago they were going to publish her work.

The book came out in October and is available locally at the Marsh Historical Collection, located at 235 Dalhousie St. It is also available at her gift store  Great Presentations, located at 3159 Dougall Ave. in Windsor. The cost is $19.95.

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