Michelle Ann Kratts

Qui êtes vous?

In Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Local Events on January 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm
bill and pete

William Siener and Peter Ames

Have you ever pondered those age-old questions? Where did you actually come from? Who were your ancestors? Qui êtes vous? Many people do and there are those who have made it their mission to uncover the answers to these questions. They are people like Peter Ames and William Siener, Ph.D.
On Wednesday, January 15, at 7:00pm, the Lewiston Public Library will present the American premier of the popular French-Canadian genealogy television program, Qui êtes vous? The program, quite similar to its American counterpart, Who Do You Think You Are?, chronicles various family history mysteries relating to national celebrities. This particular episode, which will be presented at the library, covers the search for answers to a family story involving Canadian television and film actress, Marina Orsini. Orsini, who is best known for her role in the television series, Lance et Compte, a hockey saga seen by English-speaking viewers in Canada as, He Shoots! He Scores!, has starred in a number of films and has received numerous awards. Her main quest in the program is to trace her family’s Scottish and Italian roots. As part of the process she wanted to find the truth behind the mysterious death of her great grandfather, Harold Edwin Young, who had lived for a time in Buffalo, New York. This is precisely when it became necessary for the program’s producers to connect with the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and to bring in local experts, Ames and Siener.
Peter Ames and William Siener, who happen to be cousins, are both deeply involved in researching the history of the area. Ames, a family history researcher, is well-known throughout the Niagara area for his work at historic Oakwood Cemetery, for organizing the preservation of local church records and for assisting people in their personal quest for genealogical answers—just to name a few of the projects he is currently working on. Incidentally, Ames’ late father, Donald Ames, was the Youngstown village historian during the 1990’s. Ames’ cousin, William Siener, is also involved with our local history. He was executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society for 20 years, after serving in a similar position in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and as Curator of History at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. After retiring, he helped catalog the local history collection at the Niagara Falls Public Library.
Working together, they were able to help Orsini reconstruct the last moments of her great grandfather’s life. Young, who had originally lived in Canada, resided in Buffalo during the Prohibition years. Employed as a truck driver, his official job was to deliver ice. However, a family legend maintains that he had been involved with bootlegging and entangled in an extramarital affair—which resulted in his untimely death at the hand of the angry husband. No one was ever able to substantiate the family legend until Ames and Siener located the necessary documentation that would prove if the stories had any truth to them. After obtaining the coroner’s report from Lackawanna the verdict was pretty obvious. Ames and Siener presented their research to Orsini in the Grosvenor Room at the Buffalo and Erie County Library and at the Saturn Club, also in Buffalo. Orsini, was very grateful for their meticulous work and for helping her to understand the circumstances of her great grandfather’s death.
The public is welcome to learn the truth of the story behind the mysterious death of Harold Edwin Young during the episode’s premier at the Lewiston Library. Please note that most of the program is in French and Italian. The sections highlighting Peter Ames and William Siener are in English.

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  1. I ordered my DNA kit last week and should receive it sometime this week. I’ll let everyone know my ancestral make-up when I receive the results.

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