Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Phylogenetics and Folktales

Recently, I came across an article titled "The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood." At first, I was amused by the fact that the title could be read to suggest that someone had established the genetic origins of Little Red Riding Hood, as if she were a real person. Of course, what the article was really about is the origins in oral tradition of the tale that we have come to know, primarily through the efforts of Charles Perrault, as Little Red Riding Hood.

I have always loved folktales, but I have also always been dismayed by the way in which Disney, Looney Tunes, and children's literature more generally have sanitized and prettified these tales to remove the deeper threat to existence they all possess and leave them with a sticky sweet happily-ever-after patina. Most folktales were never designed for children, except perhaps to frighten them into obedience. Rather, folktales were designed to pass down the collected wisdom and experience of communities, as a means of preserving social order and helping people to cope with the harsh realities of daily life. And, their origins are much richer and older than we often imagine.

In contrast to the historical and geographic methods that have traditionally been used to establish the origins of folktales, phylogenetic analysis uses statistical techniques to study the evolutionary relationships among groups of objects, taking into account a much larger set of variables, and analyzing a much more complex set of relationships. Without going too deeply into the mathematical details, the article's author used cladistic analysis, Bayesian analysis, and NeighbourNet graphing to establish relationships among 58 variants on the story from around the world. Simply stated, the objective was to establish the model that best fit the data.  

It turns out that the tale we now know as Little Red Riding Hood is a hybrid constructed out of three major strains, with a number of minor variations. One strain identified with the story of The Wolf and the Kids has its origins in Africa. A second strain associated with the story of Tiger Grandmother comes from East Asia. The third strain, linking Little Red Riding Hood, Catterinella, and The Story of Grandmother, is associated with the Middle East and Europe. The East Asian strain turns out to be the most recent, with the Middle Eastern and European strain being the best candidate for the oldest set of variants. 

The research suggests that the earliest forms of this story are about 2000 years old. Further, despite what has happened to the tale at the hands of modern interpreters, it appears that if you want to avoid getting eaten by a wolf, a tiger, or your grandmother, just ask permission to go to the toilet!

The article by Jamshid Tehrani is available to download from the open access journal PloS One, from the Public Library of Science.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Publicity, Faith, Reza, and Me

Reza Aslan's new book on the historical Jesus, Zealot (Random House, 2013), is climbing the bestseller charts and provoking a bounty of positive and negative reviews. In what is rapidly becoming a viral video clip, Aslan is interviewed by Lauren Green on Fox News. If you haven't seen it, watch it. Green shows no interest in listening to anything Aslan has to say. Her singular mission appears to be dismissing the book on the basis that Aslan's faith compromises his objectivity.

I have written two books on the Qur'an: Reading the Qur'an in English (Cape Breton University Press, 2009) and Women, War & Hypocrites (Cape Breton University Press, 2010). While neither of my books has enjoyed even a small fraction of the sales of Zealot or Aslan's previous book, No God but God (Random House, 2006, 2011), there are similarities with respect to the responses we receive. The most common question I get about my books from both Muslims and non-Muslims is, "Are you Muslim?" When I respond by asking why that would matter, some non-Muslims give me a puzzled look and say something like, "If you're not Muslim, why would you bother?" It distresses me to think that this is a thinly-veiled articulation of the opinion that I'm crazy to waste my time on what they believe to be a nonsensical and dangerous superstition. Similarly, some Muslims openly state that if I am not Muslim, then my opinion either does not matter, or I must be attacking their faith. As with Aslan's treatment on Fox, too often, the merits of the book, whatever those may be, are viewed as secondary, or irrelevant, compared to the merits of the man.

Like Aslan, I was raised a Christian, I spent several years at university studying Christianity, and I have a PhD in sociology. One big difference comes with respect to our declarations of faith. I taught introductory courses on the religious traditions of the East and West, as well as more advanced courses on sacred texts, including a course on the Qur'an. In all of these classes I did my best to be objective about the subject matter and neutral with respect to my own religious views. Students always wanted to know what religion I followed, and I continually refused to answer. Aslan is openly Muslim, and I am openly noncommittal.

In the Fox interview, Aslan continually tries to make the point that he is an academic, and that writing books such as Zealot is his job. Sociologists studying criminals do not have to be criminals. Why should a sociologist writing about Christianity or Islam have to be a Christian or a Muslim? Big subject for another day, perhaps, but there is no question that scholars of religion are often subjected to a particularly mean-spirited version of anti-intellectualism.

Of course, one truism that gets reinforced by Aslan's appearance on Fox is that there is no such thing as bad publicity. I hope that significant numbers of people who buy Aslan's book actually read it. Similarly, even though I have not sold many books, I hope that the copies that are out there have been read. At the same time, as Oscar Wilde said: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." Hey Fox News, give me a call.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Widow of Hubert O'Quin

In the ledger book for 1843, of Philip Robin and Company, operating in Cheticamp, Cape Breton, there is an entry for the widow of Hubert O'Quin. The fact that there is an entry for a widow is not particularly noteworthy, as in any given year in the mid-1800s, among the 400 or so entries in the Company's ledgers, there are usually about a dozen widows. What stands out is the size of her account, relative to those of other widows. It is 54 pounds, 8 shillings and 4 pence, compared to the typical 2 or 3 pounds. This peculiar finding prompted two lines of questioning. First, who was this widow? And second, what was generating this level of financial activity?

Part of resolving the first issue hinged on determining that the name O'Quin was used by the Company clerks in place of Aucoin, one of the founding families of Cheticamp. Genealogical records tell us that Hubert Aucoin was born in 1791 to Anselme Aucoin and Alice Rose Chiasson. He was the second of nine children. He married Marie-Magdelene Bois, daughter of Regis Bois and Appoline Arsenault, on 25 July 1812. We are not sure when Marie-Magdelene was born, but records seem to suggest that she was twelve when she married Hubert. The couple had five children, three of whom were girls, with their fourth child, Norbert, being lost at sea on 5 April 1842. According to tradition, Hubert is supposed to have been shipwrecked off Cape North in about 1841. The ledgers tell a different story.

Tracking entries for Marie-Magdelene both before and after 1843, it turns out that she was actually widowed in 1831, her husband leaving her with a debt of about 37 pounds, and she is still on the books in 1852 -- a full two decades of seeming financial independence. Through those years, she purchases the usual supplies from the Company store: furnace oil, cloth, sugar, tobacco, rum, biscuit, tea, coffee, and various sundries. However, on occasion, she also pays for rental of a small boat, passage on a couple of voyages, and transfers amounts to various men in the community. Her sources of income include an impressive array of items: top-grade cured cod, inferior cured cod, whole cod, cod liver oil, haddock, dog fish, seal blubber and pelts, sheep and potatoes. At one point, she is even paid wages for a month's service on one of the Company's ships, the Young Witch.

Who was this woman?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Even Lawyers Get Duped Now and Then

While examining the letter books of the law firm of Purves and Archibald, of North Sydney, Nova Scotia, as part of my research into the operations of Charles Robin and Company in Cape Breton, I came across this letter of 21 April 1877.
Editor of the 'Illustrated Weekly'
New York
Dear Sir,
I am a subscriber to your valued paper, paid up till Nov. 7, 1878. In the issue of the 10th March last appeared an advertisement from the Standard Silverware Company of New York, offering on good terms certain wares upon payment of a fixed sum, and the forwarding to their address of a coupon. As will appear by the enclosed copy, I in good faith forwarded the sum of four dollars American currency and faithfully complied with the terms of the advertisement. I am without any reply and now write to ask you to make such inquiry as may appear necessary to you. If the advertisement is a fraud, I shall take care to have it exposed in the Nova Scotia papers, with the certain result of eviscerating the circulation of your Illustrated Weekly in this vicinity.
An early reply will oblige.
Yours very truly,
S. L. Purves
Barrister at law
Clearly, this letter has nothing to do with the Robin Company. What drew my attention to it in the first place was that, rather than being written in the interest of a client, the lawyer was writing on his own behalf. Further, rather than reflecting the objective matter-of-fact tone that one might expect to find in legal correspondence, this letter betrays more than a hint of hostility and emotional involvement.
Does this letter constitute a threat? It might sound like it to many readers, but the legal safety valve is contained in the use of the word 'if'. The lawyer is merely stating a potential consequence, if in fact the situation is found to be fraudulent. However, can the proposed action to negatively impact regional subscriptions really be considered a proportional response to the loss of four dollars, even if it was in US funds? I don't think so. Instead, I think that what we have here is a simple case of bruised ego being partially soothed through the expression of righteous indignation. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Risky Business

While searching for information related to Charles Robin and Company outside of their own documents, I came across this letter from the law firm of Purves and Archibald of North Sydney, to a William Boww, Cow Bay, Nova Scotia, on 9 May 1871. 
My Dear Sir,
Your application for insurance on 'Dolphin' was laid before Directors yesterday, and after deliberation they decided they would not accept any risk upon 'fishing' vessels this season. In consequence of which your application was declined.
Yours truly,
S. L. Purves 
What initially drew my attention to this letter was the reference to a ship named 'Dolphin', which was also the name of one of the ships operated by the Robins in Cape Breton in this same time period.

Even though the ship mentioned here was not the 'Dolphin' I was looking for, the letter is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it contains a remarkably concise and blatant condemnation of the fishing industry, which is surprising when you consider the fact that fishing was one of the primary economic activities being carried out in Nova Scotia in the nineteenth century. Second, the refusal to insure the vessel runs contrary to the whole rationale for establishing marine insurance in the first place. The modern era of marine insurance was established by Lloyd's of London in 1774, as a cooperative of ship owners and other interested parties to distribute the high risk associated with moving goods by sea. What business did these 'Directors' think they were in?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Choosing the Right Title

I just finished writing a paper on the management of the cod fishery in Cape Breton in 1891. The next step is to send it out to an appropriate journal for publication. However, I'm stuck, because I can't come up with the right title. I know what I want to call it, but I also know what a huge mistake it would be to do so.

My proposed title is, 'Managing the Cod Fishery from Eastern Harbor, Cape Breton, in 1891'. Can you spot the problem? Before I get into that, let me tell you what's right about this title. First, it is important to ackowledge that this paper is best suited for a Canadian journal that publishes historical articles. With that in mind, an ideal title should indicate the particular subject matter of the paper, where it took place, and at what time. My title does all of that, but the problem, as you may have guessed, is with the word 'Harbor'. Shouldn't I be using 'Harbour'? Actually, no.

As you can see from the trading mark pictured above, Charles Robin and Company referred to the location of their business in Cape Breton, as 'Eastern Harbor'. Why they did this, is a matter for another day. The critical issue for the moment is that, if I want to maintain historical accuracy, then I should go with my proposed title, as it is. However, if I actually want my paper to get published, or if I want interested parties to be able to find my article, I either have to change the spelling, or drop the place name from my title. Here's why.

British spelling follows the conventions established by Samuel Johnson in his dictionary of 1755. In contrast, and reflecting systematic efforts at simplification and de-Latinization, American spelling follows the conventions established by Noah Webster in his dictionary of 1828. Now, with respect to everyday usage, Canadians, as they are with so many other things, are generally tolerant of either convention. However, when it comes to scholarly writing in Canada, we are with the British all the way. If I submit the paper as it is now, an editor is likely to reject it immediately, without ever reading it, wondering how I would have the audacity to submit something without having the courtesy or professionalism to check my spelling.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cape Breton Shipping Marks

A century ago, if you wanted goods to be shipped to the proper location, you could not always assume that everyone handling your merchandise could read. Consequently, companies utilized shipping marks to make the task of identification easier. For example, Charles Robin and Company ran fishing stations at four locations on Cape Breton Island. Here are the shipping marks they used.

This first mark is for the Company's station at Eastern Harbour. This location corresponds to the modern town of Cheticamp, on the mainland across from Cheticamp Island. The Company's principal agent for Cape Breton had his office in this location, and most correspondence with suppliers, banks, and other business interests originated from here. 

The mark for Cheticamp indicates that goods were to be shipped to La Pointe, which is on the southwestern end of Cheticamp Island. The Robin's had their fish processing operation at this location from the late 1700s until 1903.

Arichat is on Isle Madame at the southeast end of Cape Breton Island. This location is actually the first place the Robins did business with local fishers, back in the 1760s. 

This final mark could prove confusing to those familiar with Cape Breton. Usually, Big Pond refers to a town on the East Bay section of the Bras d'Or Lake, well known as the home of the recently deceased singer, Rita MacNeil. However, the English-speaking Robins used the name Big Pond to refer to what was locally known as Grand Etang, a small village located on the north coast of Cape Breton between Cheticamp and Margaree Harbour. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Three Easter Facts

Easter is a complex religious festival that is core to the message and hope of Christianity, has links to aspects of Judaism, and with regards to some its modern customs, draws on elements of ancient Germanic mythology and folklore. Here are three things you may or may not know about Easter.

The quartodeciman controversy: Easter is a moveable feast, the date of which is calculated based the precepts of a lunisolar calendar, one which takes account of both the solar year and the phases of the moon. The word quartodeciman (Latin for fourteen) refers to the fact that many early Christians linked Easter to the Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, which begin on the 15th of Nisan. But as the Jewish day begins at sunset of the previous evening, the Last Supper would have taken place on the evening of the 14th. Some early Christians, primarily those who were converts from Judaism wanted to link the date of Easter to Passover, but others who wanted to make Christianity more distinct from Judaism, and therefore more appealing to gentiles, argued that the observance of the Resurrection of Jesus should coincide with the Lord's Day (Sunday). At the Council of Nicaea in 325, the Church decided that Easter would be observed on the Sunday following the 14th of Nisan. However, for those interested in practicing Christianity as it was in earliest times, given that today (March 28, 2013) coincides with the 17th of Nisan, today would be actually be Easter.

The Easter bunny: The association of rabbits with Easter actually comes from the ancient belief that lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and so on) were hermaphroditic. In other words, they were capable of producing offspring without sexual interaction - in essence, virgin birth. Hence rabbits became a symbol for Mary, the mother of Jesus, who theologically needed to be a virgin in order for Jesus to be conceived of the Holy Spirit. Rabbits are also associated with spring and fertility, as in "breeding like rabbits." In fact, hares are capable of superfetation - becoming pregnant with their next litter before they have given birth to the one they are presently carrying. The idea that Easter bunnies lay eggs appears to have its origins in German mythology, being mentioned in Grimm's fairy tales, and coming to America with the Pennsylvania Dutch (not really Dutch, but German).

The triple kiss: One of the key features of Easter celebrations in all Christian churches is the Paschal greeting, which takes the form of a versical, "Christ is Risen," and response, "Truly, He is Risen," or words similar to that. In Russia, it is common for parishioners to share a triple kiss - right cheek, left cheek, right cheek - known as the khristosovanie, or greeting (kiss) of Christ.The number three, of course, represents the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - the Three in One.

And, just because we can't get enough of this stuff, here's one more. Did you know that Easter eggs actually represent the empty tomb that the women discovered when they came to anoint the corpse of Jesus with spices in preparation for burial? Eggs look like stones, and when they break open they release a living being, just as the tomb of Jesus was opened to release the living Son of God. All you are left with is an empty broken shell. They were originally painted, or stained, red to represent the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Now, they are more brightly and intricately decorated to reflect the joy and hope of the risen Jesus.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Delivery Problems

Have you ever had delivery problems? Has an important package gone missing? It happens all too often, and it certainly isn't anything new. Case in point. While doing some research on the management of the cod fishery in Cape Breton in the late nineteenth century, I came across this.

On May 25, 1891, Philip Le Montais, principal agent for Charles Robin and Company, in Eastern Harbour (Cheticamp), Nova Scotia, wrote to Mr. McLeod at Mulgrave:
Dear Sir, 
Please let us know at your earliest convenience who gave you instructions to forward our goods (5 large boxes) to Port Hood. Captain McKinnon reported to us that you told him the boxes had been forwarded to Arichat when on the contrary they had been sent to Port Hood. As two of our craft had called at your station for them, you will please understand that we have been sadly disappointed in not getting these goods and a serious loss. They are still in Port Hood and I wonder are they going to remain there? We beg to call your attention to it at once and let us know if you will pay the charges, as we don't intend paying them beyond your station. In future please keep our goods in a safe place at your station, until you hear from us or are called for. 
How long had they been waiting for these boxes? Did they ever get them? I haven't been able to locate any documents that would shed further light on the matter, but more than a century later I feel their pain.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Purchase by Linda Spalding

Linda Spalding was born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1943. She has lived in Canada since 1982, and has established a solid reputation as a writer of fiction and non-fiction, and as a teacher of writing. She is married to Michael Ondaatje. Her novel, The Purchase, won the Governor General's Literary Prize for Fiction in 2012.
An exiled Quaker, with an under-age second wife, several small children, and a knack for making bad decisions, moves to the south, inadvertently buys a young slave boy, and basically manages to alienate all of his family members and neighbors. In some ways this novel comes across as an ode to the first amendment of the US Constitution, all the while anticipating the thirteenth amendment, constructed from overlapping personal journeys, the majority of which are cast along trajectories of running away from, rather than running toward, something. There's a tremendous earthiness to the author's descriptions, and nearly every scene leaves the reader yearning for a hot shower and a decent meal. 
Canada is mentioned briefly, anecdotally as a country where place names all refer to royalty, and more substantively with respect to the black ex-slaves who, after their escape to the north, joined British forces to fight against the United States in the War of 1812. 
Of the three prize-winning works of Canadian fiction I promised to review (see previous posts), I liked this one the best by a long shot. If you had told me what it was about before I started reading it, I would have said that I have little or no interest in the subject matter, and to a large extent that still holds true. Spalding's writing style and her ability to develop complex and fulsome characters drew me and in and kept me reading. This book stands out as an exemplar of compelling storytelling.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Tribute to the Ladies

In a letter to his mother dated December 10, 1863, Colonel George Wells makes brief mention of a social activity organized by the officers of his regiment.

Thanksgiving, the officers of the 34th gave a ball which was really a most elegant affair – music, supper, decorations and pretty women were all in style. How it was accomplished God only knows.
As I searched for corroborating evidence of the events referred to by Wells in his letters, I came across this somewhat more colorful description of the evening. In a history of the regiment called Life with the Thirty-Fourth Mass. Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, published in 1879, William Lincoln, who had served as an officer in the regiment, offers this tribute to the ladies attending the ball.
The ladies, God bless them! were there in large numbers. And oh! the dresses! and ah! the un-dresses! Sprigged muslins, and other gauze-like fabrics, floated round forms of 200 pounds, at the least, of good solid adipose matter; and heavy stiff black silks stood out from and helped cover skeletons, whose bones could almost be heard rattling an accompaniment to the music of the dance. Flashy calicoes contrasted with heavy, glaring red merinos. High-necked and long-sleeved dresses, jealously guarded from, perchance, a too searching eye, the least particle of flesh, dry and withered too often, it is true; and again, there were other dresses so cut and disposed as to reveal the rich amplitude of shoulders and bosom to any who would not turn away
Ouch! At the risk of getting trapped in a quagmire of political incorrectness and cattiness, let me just say that archival research can be as entertaining as it is challenging.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Who was Private Norman Boyd?

Among the many curiosities to be found in the archival collection at the Beaton Institute, at Cape Breton University, in Sydney, Nova Scotia, is a single sheet of paper that, at first glance, appears to be a letter sent home to his mother in Cape Breton, from a private serving in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

At the end of the letter, after asking his mother to write to him, and providing his address, the writer adds this odd postscript: "When I enlisted I gave my name as Norman Boyd, so that I would have a chance to get away." What could this mean?

At one point in the letter, the writer identifies a certain John McDonnell as his first cousin, so we might speculate that he gave the name Boyd instead of McDonnell. Unfortunately, the letter provides no clue as to his motivation for enlisting under an alias, or for why he chose the particular name Boyd. Was he trying to get away from something, perhaps a criminal record, and thus the name change would allow him to avoid being tracked down by authorities? Or, was he hedging his bets in the event that he chose to desert the army and make his way back to Canada without being caught? Was he an American citizen?

We may never be able to establish the true identity of Norman Boyd. The letter contains no specific addressee, only the salutation, "Dear mother." As for finding Private Boyd in muster rolls of the Union Army, he only provides his address as Siege Battery B, in the Army of the Potomac. We have no clue as to which regiment, division, or corps, this battery was attached.

Furthermore, we have no idea how this letter came to be part of the collection at the Beaton Institute. One of the critical aspects of archival management is to gather information about the provenance of the items that it receives and curates. Who was in possession of this letter at the time it was donated to the archive? Where did they get it? When? Did they know anything about the writer, the addressee, or any of the other individuals mentioned in the letter? Only those associated with the item can provide these sorts of details. Without this kind of information, items can remain hidden in plain sight. They are not lost. The archive has cataloged the item, and anyone wanting to look at it, merely needs to ask. However, without any context for the item, how would anyone know to ask?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

419 by Will Ferguson

Will Ferguson was born in Fort Vermillion, Alberta, in 1964. He studied film production and screenwriting at York University in Toronto, and following graduation he taught English in Japan for five years. He is best known for his humorous writings about Canadian history and culture, and for his travel themed works. He has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humor three times. He now lives in Calgary with his wife and two sons. His novel, 419, won the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2012.

The title, 419, refers to the section of Nigerian criminal code that deals with email scams, and at least at some level, these scams form the unifying thread to which the varied components of the four personal trajectories that make up this book cling for significance. The book reads like one part Heart of Darkness, peppered with a bit of Stockholm syndrome and a dash of Luigi Pirandello, all set in a dystopian travel guide to Nigeria, and especially to the internet sweatshops of Lagos. The story of Winston, the scammer, probably provides the most engaging and sustained narrative, while the stories of Nnambi and Amina, characters who are only introduced 150 pages into the text, seem superfluous and contrived. As for the Laura story, as she tries to avenge her father's suicide, committed in response to being victimized by Winston, I was not convinced by her motivations, her actions, her interactions, or the other members of her family.

I think it is fair to suggest that this book represents Ferguson's first genuine foray into the genre of literary fiction. On its own, I find it difficult to imagine that 419 would be judged as deserving of Canada's most lucrative literary award. So, was Ferguson being rewarded on the basis of his ability to switch genres and produce what many reviewers deemed to be a credible product, or was he being rewarded on the basis of his output to date? Who knows? At least from my perspective, he should stick to humor.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Surnames and Community Identity

Researchers commonly use surname counts as a means of studying settlement patterns, ethnic heritage, and cultural identity in defined geographic areas. Cape Breton Island, with its long history of occupation, for either economic or military purposes, coupled with its relative isolation, provides an excellent site for this sort of analysis, and by way of illustration I examined the surname frequencies in three small communities.

Cheticamp is a long-established fishing community with a population of just over 3000, located at the northwest end of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Ingonish, with a population of just over 1200, is located at the Park's southeastern end, and is home to the renowned Keltic Lodge and the top-ranked Highland Links golf course. The town of Mabou, on the west coast of the Island, with a population of just over 1200, was historically associated with coal mining, but is now more closely associated with its cultural strength, as particularly evident in its musicians, such as the internationally acclaimed Rankin Family.

There are 502 households in Mabou, representing 170 different surnames, of which 112 (65.8%) occur only once. The three most common surnames, in terms of households, are Beaton (66), MacDonald (60), and Rankin (28). Together these three represent 30.6% of all households. 

There are 527 households in Ingonish, representing 198 different surnames, of which 133 (67.1%) occur only once. The three most common surnames are Donovan (31), Whitty (24), and in a tie for third place, Barron (18), Doucette (18), and MacLeod (18). Together these five represent 20.6% of all households.

There are 1292 households in Cheticamp, representing 264 different surnames, of which 182 (68.9%) occur only once. The three most common surnames are Aucoin (152), Poirier (100), and Chiasson (85). Together these three represent 26% of all households.

In total, there are 545 different surnames represented across these three communities, but only 14 of these, or 2.5%, are represented in all three communities. They are: Aucoin, Brown, Campbell, Doyle, Fraser, Gillis, Harrison, Leblanc, MacDonald, MacDougall, MacKinnon, MacLean, Murphy, and Thompson.

While there are a number of observations that could be made about these findings, it is perhaps most intriguing to note that in all three cases, two-thirds of the households represent unique surname occurrences. Further, based on the relative density of heritage families we might speculate that Mabou is the most culturally cohesive community, followed by Cheticamp, and then Ingonish.