L'encyclopédie est le site du MEM - Centre des mémoires montréalaises

José-Louis Jacome and the Making of a Memoir

18 décembre 2019

José-Louis Jacome’s account of finding his roots tells more than a personal story: it bears witness to the beginnings of Azorean immigration to Montréal.

In 2018, the MEM – Centre des mémoire montréalaises met with José-Louis Jacome, a Montrealer born in the Azores. In this video, he describes how a personal project to trace his roots became a memoir about the beginnings of Azorean immigration to Montréal in the 1950s.

Mémoires des Montréalais : José-Louis Jacome

Mémoires des Montréalais : José-Louis Jacome

Une production du Centre d’histoire de Montréal, 2018
Durée : 8 min 9 s

Réalisation : 
Stéphanie Lessard-Bérubé

“Even after you’ve emigrated, a part of you always stays connected to where you’re from.” — José-Louis Jacome

On a snowy evening in March 1958, José-Louis Jacome, a young boy from the Azores, settled in Montréal with his family. It was the start of a new life for José-Louis, who went on to fully integrate into Québec society. Nonetheless, thirty years later, after his parents died, José-Louis felt the need to reconnect with his Azorean roots.

José-Louis Jácome com Madalena da Costa e José Manuel Pereira

José-Louis Jacome en compagnie de Madalena da Costa et José Manuel Pereira
José-Louis Jacome’s personal collection

He began asking questions of family, friends, and anyone else who could fill in the gaps in his knowledge and help him recover forgotten memories. He also assembled a collection of documents that tell his family’s story before and after their arrival in Montréal. His personal archive includes photos taken in the Azores before the 1950s—rare images for that time. 

José-Louis gathered all this documentation to fill a personal void and stay connected to his roots, but also to let his children know where their father came from. His meeting with Joaquina Pires, a Portuguese Montrealer who is very active in her community, played a decisive role in the project’s evolution. Recognizing its value, she convinced him that the information he had compiled should be published.

That advice led to much more than a book. Today, José-Louis realizes that his experience resonates with many Azorean Montrealers, as his search for his roots tells a much bigger story.

Thank you to Canada’s National History Society for its financial contribution to the filming and editing of this interview.

Référence bibliographique

JACOME, José-Louis. D’une île à l’autre. Fragments de mémoire, Montréal, autoédition, 2018, 255 p.