Down East has a nice ring to it. It was what my family said when we packed our bags and fishing rods and headed to where my father had been born and raised: Liscomb Mills. I spent many joyous times throughout my life down east. Where were you last week? “Down East.” Where are you going this weekend? “Down East.” It slipped off our tongues as easy as a toddler would say Momma.
When I went out west to work in the Rockies, I met many others who were from Down East. In Alberta, down east referred to everyone east of Quebec; it didn’t mean they were from Liscomb Mills. To us, those two words conjured images of home, family and long-time friends. Where you from? “Down East.”
My connection with those two simple words runs deep, so there was no surprise that when I learnt of a genealogy website named “Down East” I had to check it out.
Down East ~ A Maritime Heritage focusses on Atlantic Canada. The creators, Don and Mary Shankle, have a family much like my own where ancestors settled in various locations along the east coast and descended from at least three distinct ethnic cultures.
Their research into their family’s Acadian lines include thirty-six surnames, involving Boudrot, Bhebrat, Comeau, Doucet, Fougere, Langlois, Melanson, Petitpas and Prejean amongst others.
Researchers of German ancestral lines on the South Shore of Nova Scotia will find information on surnames such as Beck, Corkum, Hartmann, Lohnes, Scholoer, Schmeltzer and Weil. Here you’ll find a link to a page dedicated to naming the original settlers of Lunenburg, a section called “Lunenburg’s Founding Fathers – 1753” though I’m certain a few mothers arrived, too, and undoubtedly helped build the town. Elizabeth Islin and Elizabeth Richel are two I noticed as I glanced through the list.
The database links for Lunenburg include birth, marriage, death and parents.
Bolan, Horwood, Mahaney, Pike, Power, Taylor and Winsor are family names the Shankles researched in Newfoundland.
The registers noted in each section are descendant charts. They start with the first known generation and work through the years to the latest generation. These charts are extensive with all the basic information (birth, marriage, death) and notes such as ‘adopted by stepfather’. They are a treasure trove of data for anyone finding a connection to these families. Although a surname listed on the main page may not be one you seek, it might be worthwhile to search the registers to see if one of your surnames married into one of the families mentioned.
The Shankles have also researched their ancestors on the other side of the pond and have included information about certain surnames from France (Le Chevalier and Samson), Switzerland (Bruengger, Dentzler and Steiner to name a few), Germany (Barth, Jung, Worther and more) and the British Isles (Britain, Ireland and Scotland; Bishop, Haskins, Lorimer and others).
Besides genealogical data, the site includes wonderful old photographs and links that will aid in helping others researching the same names, areas or ethnic groups. All information on the web site is available for free.