Dr Michael Guignard: Passion for research & Franco-American roots

A story by Biddeford Cultural & Heritage Center "Voices of Biddeford" project from early 1900s to 2019

"Voices of Biddeford" interview with Dr. Michael Guignard on October 11 and November 26, 2019

Dr. Michael Guignard was born in Boston and adopted as an infant by a Biddeford couple. He enjoyed the life of a typical Franco-American family of his time and went on to capture its roots through research for his doctoral dissertation, later publishing "La Foi-La Langue-La Culture: The Franco-Americans of Biddeford, Maine" in 1982. The dedication reads "To my parents, Rella and Wilfrid Guignard, who toiled at the Pepperell to ensure that I would not become a millworker." Dr. Guignard retired from a career with the US State Department where he served in numerous locations around the world, focusing on immigration issues.

In his interview, Dr. Guignard shared insights of his life growing up in Biddeford during the 1940s-1960s; talked about the transition to college, Washington DC and foreign service; reflects on his research of St. Andre's Home and the evolving societal view of unwed mothers. He also shared his personal story of finding out, later in life, that his birth mother was actually his mother's younger sister.

Recorded on October 11 and November 26, 2019

View a transcript of this interview, more pictures, and additional information.

For more stories from the "Voices for Biddeford" project, visit Voices of Biddeford.

Dr. Michael Guignard 2019

Dr. Guignard and his parents featured in newspaper article about his published book

Dr. Guignard's book: La Foi-La Langue-La Culture, The Franco-Americans of Biddeford Maine