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"When we were little, for a number of reasons, he told us he came from France near the French-German border," said the semi-retired Vancouver journalist.
But on a visit to Expo 67 in Montreal, the family was greeted by a group of 20 relatives when they got off the train.
"Clearly, there had been this large family in Quebec that he had kept secret for his own reasons," said Fournier.
When her father reached 65, he didn't have a birth certificate and applied for one from Quebec, where a parish priest sent a hand-written copy, which gave the details of his birth.
After her father died, in 1981, Fournier wondered what the real family history was in Quebec.
"By the time my father could have spoken about it, he chose not to," said Fournier. "I guess I just didn't know. I really wanted to get a sense of where we were from."
Six years ago, with the help of her daughter Naomi, who is fluent in French, the two set off to find out.
"The Catholic Church keeps minute track of everyone who comes into the country," said Fournier. "We went to the archives in Sherbrooke with just one piece of paper. It opened a trove of documents, some online and some in parish registries, so you are looking at the priest's handwriting."
With two days of help from an archivist, it turned out Fournier had seven generations of ancestors living in Quebec's Eastern Townships.
"We basically went back to the 1600s and we traced my father's people to Paris on the one side and Lyon on the other," she said. "There the records in Canada ended."
But that wasn't the end of the journey.
"Then we did an amazing thing," said Fournier. "Armed with those documents, we drove to every single parish in the Eastern Townships that was mentioned in them. The graveyards were amazing."
The first one the mother and daughter went looking for was the grave of Fournier's grandparents.
"My daughter walked straight to this gravestone and it was my father's parents," she said. "My father was born in 1906 and his parents were born in the mid-1800s and there were their names and it was a bit eerie. Looking around we found the uncles and we found infant children."
Fournier's father's hometown was Roxton Pond, a mainly French community where his parents had owned a huge dairy farm.
"We drove round there and found streets that were named after his family," added Fournier. "We went to four or five other parishes and found successive generations. It was kind of like an open book waiting to be discovered."
It doesn't always take a journey to make contact with your roots.
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