The World  Drogo de Monte-acuto's Coat of Arms

Margaret Montague
Haliburton Ontario, Canada

By Margaret Montague, Secretary

A simply wonderful reunion was held in Salt Lake City, Utah from July 21st to the 25th. There were people in attendance from as far away as Tasmania, Australia. Others were from many states including Tennessee, Texas, California, Kansas, Ontario, Canada and of course, Utah. The four day agenda was very well planned.

On Thursday afternoon we spent time at the LDS Library and watched a short video introduction to the ancestral search system. This was followed by a get-acquainted evening and a lunch. Dick Montague from Montague, California provided, free of charge, a CD Rom on his travels to every place in North America that bears the name of 'Montague'. A truly fantastic travelogue.

Friday morning was spent at the LDS library where our group received instruction on how to use the LDS search system and then were free to do our own research on their computers. A tremendous amount of this information is available on the Internet. We will have an article regarding this and how to use it very soon.

After lunch at JB's restaurant we returned to the hotel to hear three speakers. Graham Montague Weston from San Antonio, Texas who is a nephew of Edward Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, spoke on his family tree that can be traced back to Mary Queen of Scots.

Our next speaker was Sacha Masek from Molecular Genealogy Research Project. This research is designed to link individuals together in "family trees" based on the unique identification of genetic markers. this is accomplished by using the information encoded in the DNA of an individual and/or population to determine the relatedness of individuals, families, tribal groups, and populations. Pedigrees based on genetic markers can reveal relationships not detectable in genealogies based only on names, written records, or oral traditions. The fact that DNA is inherited and that each individual's genetic profile is the product of his/her progenitors means that DNA can be used not only to create unique identifications, but also to identify members of the same family, clan, tribal group, or population.

At this time, the use of genetics in the field of genealogy is primarily limited to tests involving the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. These genetic tests are used to confirm or disprove shared ancestry among individuals who believe they descend from a common ancestor located in their paternal or maternal lines. Although these tests are extremely useful, they are restricted to two specific lineages, and are therefore only informative for identifying very few ancestors. To expand this technology to include all lineages and many more ancestors, the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation is correlating genealogical data with segments of DNA from the Y chromosome, mitochondrial DNA, and most importantly, autosomal DNA. 

Those of us who wished to contribute a sample for DNA testing were given a kit that we would return to the project headquarters.

We were next treated to Joel Montague's search for Drogo de Monte-Acuto's birthplace. This he found at Montaigu les Bois in France. He was allowed into the crypt under the small church and there found a broken casket containing bones. His research convinces him that this is, indeed, the resting place of our original ancestor. He was very upset that there was no formal burial place but this is a very small town with not much money for such things. Because of the appalling condition of the grave of Drogo in France it was hoped that funds could be raised to provide a proper coffin. Anyone wishing to help out can contact Joel Montague.

Finally, Larry made a presentation of the very unique, and potentially very large, online Montague database that is being developed by himself and Warwick Montagu in Australia. The presentation was done online using a small example database while Larry and Warwick were in video conference that was being projected for the entire group's participation. Several members of the audience were able to communicate directly with Warwick via this video conference regarding their comments and suggestions. Larry will continue his handling of the Montague Website. This is a very big job and he would welcome any assistance he could get.

Following dinner at JB's an informal meeting was held to discuss plans for the next reunion. Although no definite location has been chosen it will be held in the East in 2010. In order to more properly coordinate future reunions, it was decided that a non-profit association needs to be established. This requires a board of directors (at least 3). Elected by popular vote was Curtis Montague of Kansas, President. Mike Montague of Salt Lake City, Vice President. Ken Montague of Salt Lake City, Treasurer, and myself, Margaret Montague of Ontario, Canada, was elected Secretary. An informal donation was made by those present to help set up a fund to provide seed money for the establishment of a 501(c)3 tax-free organization, and for planning the next reunion. As well, it was decided that a membership fee of $20.00 a year be implemented. Organizing a reunion requires a considerable outlay of money and it is not right that the organizer of the affair use his own resources.

On Saturday morning ten of our group went hot-air ballooning arranged by Hiram Montague. This proved to be absolutely breathtaking. The day was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and only a very light wind that carried us over the mountains and down into the valleys. A treat not to be missed. A short drive then brought us to Park City for lunch and a look at this old mining town that has been restored and is most colorful. We returned to our hotel in mid-afternoon to rest up for dinner at Rodizio's Brazilian Restaurant.

Following dinner Mel Bashore, historian at the Mormon Church offices, related some amusing stories about the Mormon's trek to the Great Salt Lake.

Sunday morning at 9:30 am we were privileged to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's radio broadcast from the Convention Centre just across the street from our hotel. This facility seats 21,000. The roof boasts a small river and a waterfall that tumbles down the side of the building.

Monday there was a parade (3rd largest in the U.S.) This day honors the first settlers who came to the Great Salt Lake in 1847 and is a state holiday. I was not able to see this as my plane reservations were for 6:00 am that day.

Although the week-end was a busy one, we had free time to sight-see. There was the museum of Church History, the Lion House, the Bee Hive House (home of Brigham Young) the Family History Library, Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Salt Lake Temple to name just a few. This is the most beautiful city that I have every seen. The town overflows with flower beds and manicured lawns and parks and not a scrap of debris anywhere on the streets. It was squeaky clean. Those of you who were unable to attend missed a truly unforgettable event.

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