The ‘Road’ to family history

Nov 02, 2017
Ray Shevenell takes it slow in Coaticook during his nearly 200-mile trek in 2015.

Belfast — Penobscot Marine Museum will bring Portland-based filmmaker Tonya Shevenell to the Midcoast Monday, Nov. 13, for a 6:30 p.m. screening of her film “The Home Road” (2017, USA) at the Colonial Theatre, 163 High St.

In 1845, 19-year-old Israel Shevenell left his home in Canada and walked nearly 200 miles to Biddeford. He found work and built a new life in an American boomtown being transformed by the Industrial Revolution, and is recognized as the city's first permanent French-Canadian settler and French voter.

In 2015, his 74-year-old great-great-grandson, Ray Shevenell, retraced this pioneering journey, walking from Compton, Quebec, to Biddeford. Tonya Shevenell tells their stories in her first documentary film, an exploration of family, history, and identity — and how a journey into the unexpected inevitably leads to home.

Both filmmaker and subject will be on hand. Tickets are $15, $13 for museum members and children. Proceeds from the screening will benefit the PMM photo archives. To buy tickets in advance, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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