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The French Canadians of Michigan

Their Contribution to the Development of the Saginaw Valley and the Keweenaw Peninsula, 1840-1914

Jean Lamarre

History, Michigan

Great Lakes Books Series

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Paperback
Published: May 2003
ISBN: 9780814331583
Pages: 232 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 2 black and white images
eBOOK
Published: May 2003
ISBN: 9780814339978
Review

Lamarre's book remains a thoroughly researched and valuable contribution to French-Canadian cultural, socioeconomic, and migration history.

— Michigan Historical Society

Most information regarding the French Canadians in Michigan concerns those who settled during the French period. However, another significant migration occurred during the industrial period of the nineteenth century, when many French Canadians settled in the Saginaw Valley and on the Keweenaw Peninsula—two regions characteristic of Michigan’s economic development in the nineteenth century. The lumber industry of the Saginaw Valley and the copper mines of the Keweenaw Peninsula provided very different challenges to French Canadian settlers as they tried to find ways to adapt to changing environments and industrial realities.

The French Canadians of Michigan looks at the factors behind the French Canadian immigration by providing a statistical profile of the migratory movement as well as analysis of the strategies used by French Canadians to cope with and adapt to new environments. Using federal manuscript censuses, parochial archives, and government reports, Jean Lamarre closely examines who the immigrants were, the causes of their migration, their social and geographical itinerary, and the reasons they chose Michigan as their destination. Besides comparing the different settlements in the Saginaw Valley and the Keweenaw Peninsula, Lamarre also compares the Michigan French Canadians to the French Canadians who settled in New England during the same period. This book is a major contribution to the study of the French Canadian migration to the Midwest and will be valuable to researchers of both Michigan and French Canadian history.

Jean Lamarre is Associate Professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada.

The French Canadians of Michigan not only brings to light a frequently neglected chapter of French Canadian immigration to the United States. It also raises questions about accepted stereotypes and stimulates further research on the extraordinary peregrinations of this ethnic group – la nation québécoise – across Canada and the United States.

– Leslie Choquette, Institut francais, Assumption College

Jean Lamarre has demonstrated that French-Canadian migration was not only a New England phenomenon. Lamarre's study makes a fine addition to the literature in immigration history and, specifically, to the scholarship on the peopling of the Great Lakes region. Local historians, too, will find it a useful addition to their libraries.

– John J. Bukowczyk, Wayne State University

Jean Lamarre's book, The French Canadians of Michigan is a welcome addition to the current revival in statewide ethnic studies. As the trend toward in-depth immigration analysis continues. Michigan readers can now go beyond the traditional anecdotal volumes or short perfunctory sources that in the past characterized the histories of Michigan's newcomers. Lamarre's book remains a thoroughly researched and valuable contribution to French-Canadian cultural, socioeconomic, and migration history.

– Michigan Historical Society

Overall, the author does a good job of documenting a neglected aspect of the French Canadian migration experience in a rather limited space."

– Material Culture