U.S. man finds out he's an Arsenault — and the rest is history

An American man with roots in Prince Edward Island won a heritage award Tuesday night for his efforts in producing a family history.

Seattle native produced 4,000 page, 5-volume history of his family, which has roots on P.E.I.

Scott Arsenault Shane was recognized for his five-volume, 4,000 page history of his family, including the Arsenault line from P.E.I. (Submitted by Scott Arsenault Shane)

An American man with roots in Prince Edward Island won a heritage award Tuesday night for his efforts in producing a family history.

Scott Arsenault Shane of Seattle, Wash., was honoured with the Mary Cornfoot Brehaut Award during the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation Awards. It recognized his significant genealogical work researching the Arsenault family.

Shane researched and wrote a five-volume history of his family, totalling 4,000 pages in all.

He didn't even know he was an Arsenault until he was in his late 30s and grew up thinking his grandfather's last name was Arnold. His grandparents changed their name when they moved from Vancouver to the U.S. in the early 1900s. His grandfather was originally from Egmont Bay, P.E.I., and left for the Klondike Gold Rush along with his brothers.

Scott Arsenault Shane received the Mary Cornfoot Brehaut Award from P.E.I. Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry at the Heritage Award presentations at Eptek Centre in Summerside on Feb. 20, 2018. (P.E.I. Government)

"A lot of people I know don't have any tie to their roots, to their history," he said. "So if anything this book can do, it can help people tie in to their past and then when they discover who those ancestors are, they'll realize they just aren't names on paper ... they were people who had hopes and dreams just like us."

"The end of it is you feel like you're really a small part of something huge but it makes you feel great."

Shane said tracing the Arsenault line of his family tree took him four years to research and brought him to France several times, as well as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Magdelen Islands and P.E.I.

Shane said he was proud to receive the award and it made all the time and effort even more worth it.

"I was so proud of the recognition, it made me feel like the work has purpose, it's valued," he said. "And that's all I can ask."

With files from CBC Mainstreet P.E.I.