I will be presenting a tutorial on conducting Quebec- Francophone Genealogy Research, September 10, 2011 at the:
Parker Colorado Genealogical Society
Stroh Ranch Fire Station
19310 Stroh Ranch Road
10 September 2011
Business Meeting: 1:30pm – 2pm
Speaker: 2pm – 3:30pm
I have created the following materials for use in the session for both:
advance preparation (awareness) –as well as–
for the session itself.
The materials will form the basis of our discussion and an advanced reading will ensure that we can have a more in-depth set of discussions and mentoring activities. I know that it is unusual to assign homework for a session but hopefully folks will find a small amount of advance reading makes the session more productive.
Canada has some of the world’s best documented family history information. This is especially true for Roman Catholic French Canadians. They were wonderful record keepers and the materials have been excellently preserved.
Over the years I have had the great good fortune of finding a number of small publishers/ booksellers who have, in their own ways, been most helpful. I hope you find some of these links and pointers useful in your New York and Quebec research.
Quintin Publications- Quintin Publications provides a wide array of professional genealogical research texts and document collections. Most of their texts focus on French Canada although they also publish materials from the British Isles and North America.
Clyde M. Rabideau – Heartnut Publishing- Clyde has been researching and writing books on the Robidous for many years and have tracked most of the descendants of Andre Robidou who came to Quebec in the mid 1600s. He also has published several books on the vital statistics for the 3 upstate New York counties of Clinton, Franklin and Essex.
American-French Genealogical Society- A genealogical & historical organization for French-Canadian research. They provide numerous self-published documents in addition to their association membership activities.
FrancoGene- In addition to numerous CDs and texts they claim to be the gateway to Franco-American and French-Canadian Genealogy on the Internet
Finding “French Canadian” North American ‘relatives’ can be quite a challenge. My searches most often lead me to southernmost Quebec (Bas Canada, near La Prairie and Lacolle areas) as well as to Northern New York (specifically Clinton County, NY). It seems that is the general area where most of my French-speaking forebears lived (from 1780- 1925); on occasion they manage to spill into the Quebec or Montreal areas, but that is almost always in the years before 1780. As you might know, the area I search is rather small geographically, as well as from a population perspective. But my observation has been, even though folks did not move around very much, they hid very well.
Over the years, I have learned a few hard fought lessons in doing my Francophone Quebec/ New York genealogy. I hope my series of tips & pointers will save some of you a few steps and maybe even some time in your searches.
Tricks? I use to uncover my French Canadian family data includes…
I almost always start by performing a quick search for folks using Ancestry.com records, especially the Drouin records. You will need Ancestry’s mega world license in order to make this function work well for you. Remember Canada is not part of the US and Ancestry licenses the use of these records with great pride and price. They are included in the WORLD license!
If you are unable to afford the International license fees for Ancestry (and many people are not predisposed to that exorbitant license fee), then the next best thing is FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch has almost all of the Drouin records indexed and, on top of that, they are very easy to read (page by page). Just remember you will want to have a reliable and super fast Internet connection for this ‘reading effort’. Otherwise, the reading will be pure torture, because of its slowness. You will find the FamilySearch Drouin records information filed under: Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900 Obviously, as the title implies, this information has a rather strict time frame limit constraint associated with it. For more detailed searching and reading the following documents plus numerous additional tomes are now online…
“For best results”I recommend always performing steps 1 & 2.
As with any genealogy search, I also rely on Mocavo.com queries. I love to see what others may have found, about those people I search. You never know where good information will appear.
NosOrigines is one of the best online databases for French Canada. The data is almost always accurate and it is closely monitored for quality and accuracy, unlike the junk you find promoted on OneWorld or other Ancestry or FamilySearch supported family trees (all of which are extremely unreliable, in my experience…).
Research Rootsweb looking for clues & hints. I have found some very useful information on family members and their already published trees there! I generally find this to be the second most helpful source of family members right after NosOrigines.
For older materials there are two essential sources of data one is:
Cyprien Tanguay’s Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes which may be found in two locations:
Once you find useful Census reports. I recommend you take the time to read every page of the relevant Census document – even when they are dozens of pages long. I do this in both US and Canada Census documents in hopes of finding clues beyond those available for my original searched ‘person’. I have had great success using this method to identify/ validate other related families, friends, and family stories.
I recommend you conduct extensive research on siblings to find clues about parents. This is also a useful method for finding name variations, relatives, etc.
Much like with any Census data I find, when I find a grave I searched every online cemetery record in the surrounding area in hopes of finding additional information about family or family members and relationships.
When I find a useful Church record, if I have access to the entire church record, I scan the document for additional siblings, events, etc. If I have ordered and received the Church microfilm for my use in the local LDS Family History Center, I place any productive Church film on permanent hold. I like to keep my folks nearby for when I get another bright search idea.
When I’m on the hunt, I use as many spellings of surnames and given names as I can invent to conduct queries.. never say never! Not only will you discover that Census takers took liberties with names; parish priests, newspapers, gravestone makers, etc. did as well. Additionally, I have noted that there are regional preferences in terms of name use in documents. For example, NY Catholic Church records seem to prefer Latinate variants where Canadian’s seem to stick with native French, but often use short hand.
In both data discovery and refinement phases of your search, I recommend searching/posting messages to seek or share information. The Message Boards I most often use are on Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com.
When looking for burial information on this side of the border (US side), I make extensive use of the Northern New York Tombstone Project. I have found quite a treasure trove of useful information in their online database.
If you have additional ideas you would like me to share, please send them along and I’ll update this page. In another post I will be adding information regarding “where to find” and “how to get” non-online source materials.
This history will become the basis for my September 2011 tutorial at the Parker Genealogical Society. (Another example French Canada search for Francois Lafaye & Marguerite Foret/Forest is also underway at ManyRoads and may be used during the tutorial.)
Hyperlinks on this page will most often open source documents.
Comments, suggestions & questions are most welcomed.
For those of you who follow ManyRoads, you will recall that I have been looking for years for my great-grandmother’s family (Exina Menard- Deyo). I am sharing my work and data as it evolves (I hope much like a tutorial or case study.) for three reasons:
to help me keep things in one place (a running log?)
share the process of research with anyone interested in seeing my work as it stumbles, jerks and ultimately unfolds
to use in my September tutorial
Be aware, this page is being actively worked and its content will change!
This material grew in large part from a forum posting originally created by Bev Farrington (thank you Bev for the leads!). So far as I can tell, based upon Bev’s, as well as my own, research, our Alexandre Menard is NOT related to another Alexis Menard from Clinton County NY- he was the son of Francois Menard & Madeleine Matte.
Now on to what I believe we can say about Exina Deyo’s parents, Alexis/Alexandre Menard/Minar/Miner (also known as: Alexis Menard dit Bellerose) and Louise/Marie-Louise/LaLouisa Pageau/Pajeau/Painchaud/Page/Pigeon/Payette/Pajo/Pacheau.
In the 1851 Canadian Census, Alexis shows up as living with his parents (Alexis Menard- a farmer & Margueritte Barriere- housewife) as well as with his siblings (Pierre, Edouard, Abram- all three sons were classed as Laborers). Most peculiarly, the Alexis Menard family is listed on the exact same page of the 1851 Canada Census as the family of Joseph & Julie Dion/ Deyo/Deo (this is the family into which Exina later marries- George/ Georges Deo/ Deyo!).
Then if that weren’t odd enough, a very generous Menard Family Member (Jackie Menard Hillier) sent me additional information on Alexis; and there he was married to Aurelie Dion (10 Feb 1852). Be aware, this is the very same Dion family into which my g-grandmother Exina marries again (to a nephew of Aurelie) much later in time. To add further confusion to the mix, I have no children for this marriage, nor do I find a death for Aurelie (yet). My assumption, based upon the data I have, is that Aurelie and Alexis had no children. And, Aurelie disappears after this marriage; it is likely she dies.
Further research (perhaps I should say, fortuitous searching)also has lead me to the discovery of a Michel Page family in Huntingdon County Quebec. Is this the family of Louise Page? It looks like it might be. Certainly the name and location is correct. But most certainly we need more information.
Alexis’ & Louise’s marriage is likely to have taken place between 1852-1855 before 1856 (the assumed birth date of Marie-Louise Menard for whom I have yet to find a birth document) but after 1852, the marriage of Alexis to Aurelie this is based upon the fact that in 1851 Alexis was living with his parents in St. Bernard Lacolle, Quebec, Canada; and, the couple’s first known child was born in 1856. I expect that the actual marriage year is closest to 1855 (or 1856 minus 9 months).
Of an expected 13 children, we have, thus far, identified:
The family has not been found in 1860 US Census which leads me to believe they may have resided in Canada during the time that enumeration was taken (the Census year of 1860) and perhaps for the duration of the US Civil War- the years 1861- 1865.
One fact supporting this contention is that in 1865, the year Aurelie was born in LaColle Canada, the family was noted as being members of the LaColle parish in Quebec. Additionally, I have found a record for one “Alex Manor of Mooers, NY” who was a private in the 118th Regiment, New York Infantry Company I (Adirondack Regiment) of the Union Armies during the years of 1862-1865. (For a timeline of the 118th access this link). Circumstantial evidence appears to point to this as our Alex Menard although thus far it is impossible to prove this ‘absolutely’. Interestingly, the 118th and Alex Manor were present at the cesation of hostilities following their participation in the Battle of Appomattox.
During the 1861 Canada Census, the family of Alexis Menard and Louise Pageau is living in Lacolle next to Alexis parents. Based upon this data, they appear, as of 1861 ‘not yet’ to have emigrated to the United States. This conflicts with the assumed residences listed in Bev’s original posting on the family. Birth records of the family’s pre- 1861 children will provide a more accurate indication of their home location during the first years of their marriage. Until I find something different, I will continue with my assumed chronology, above, using the mix of Census data and birth records I have at this time.
By the time of the 1870 US Census, we find the Alex MAINOR family living in Ellenburgh Center (Clinton County) NY. This would seem to indicate that they emigrated to the US sometime during the years between 1861 and 1869. In 1870 the family members include:
Alex, 42, Canada
Mary, 31, NY
Louisa, 14, NY
Alexander, 13, NY
Aurilla, 5, Canada
Jeremiah, 2, NY
Adelia, 2/12, NY
With the 1880 US Census, the “renamed” MINERs are located in Clinton (Clinton County) NY. By this time the family has grown to include:
Louisa PAGE / Wife of / Alex MINER, / Died Aug. 21, 1883. / AE. 45 Yrs. /
May her soul rest in peace Amen /
She was mother of 13 children /
Francis / Their Son died / Sept. 1880. / Age 22. Mos. /
I have read every page of the Church and Census records for the following Towns and years:
St. Bernard Parish in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada- 1854,1855,1856,1857 (on Ancestry.com)
St. Valentin Parish in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada- 1855-1867, 1847-1855, 1839-1847 volumes (for years 1852-1859 and 1839 on FamilySearch.org; 1856, 1839 (on Ancestry.com)
St. Constant 1852-1855 on FamilySearch.org
St. Bernard 1852-1855 on FamilySearch.org
Lapraire 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
Napierville 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St Jean Chrysostome 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Mathieu 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Marc sur Richelieu 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Antoine sur Richelieu 1852-1855 also 1835-1841 on FamilySearch.org
St. Philomena Parish in Churubusco, NY, USA- 1873-1915 (LDS Family History Center)
St. Joseph du Corbeau in Coopersville, NY, USA- 1855, 1856 (on Ancestry.com)
I have read the following Canada Census documents:
Huntingdon County, Quebec, 1861, 1851 (all)
I continue to seek additional clues for Alexis Menard dit Bellerose’s and Louise Pageau’s life, marriage, children, events and photos(?). Is there anyone out there who might have additional clues or pointers? If so, please contact me directly.
For me the group was huge; okay, not really huge but larger than any I have ever the pleasure of speaking to before. The folks were congenial, enthusiastic and engaged. Their facilities (a spacious and well equipped meeting room in the Castle Rock Library) were wonderful. And their singing (yes they sang happy birthday to a member whose big day it was) was, well, a bit off key- probably because I helped.
Anyway if you live in the Castle Rock Colorado area and are interested in joining a highly active and well organized genealogy group, I recommend giving these friendly folks a look-see. You may visit them online here: Castle Rock Genealogical Society.
Shameless Plug: If you are interested in having me present this topic to your group… or if you’d like me to speak on another genealogical topic you might have seen written about on ManyRoads, please visit this page and contact me. Please note, we can do any presentation remotely with web supported technologies.
I will be speaking at two separate meetings of the Parker (Colorado) Genealogical Society.
Stroh Ranch Fire Station (New Location)
19310 Stroh Ranch Road
2nd Saturday of each month (except December will be the 1st Saturday)
Business Meeting: 1:30pm – 2pm
Speaker: 2pm – 3:30pm
My sessions will take place on 12 June 2010 and 9 October 2010. As might guess from the above, if you can make it, plan on being there at 1330 or 1:30pm. The subjects I will speak on are:
What’s in a Name? (tracking your genealogy through a long history of mis-spelled names). I will use a case study discussed on ManyRoads, my Deyo family research.
Quebecois Genealogy – tools to use when conducting genealogical research in French Canada.
During the past few months, I have been honored by my friends at the Parker Family History Center; they have expressed interest in having me speak at numerous genealogy groups with which they are involved including the Parker Genealogy Group, the Colorado Genealogical Society and the Parker LDS Family History Center.
Here are excerpts of the comments I have received on my presentations thus far:
Thank you so much. I will take your information to our next meeting and ask the members what they would most like to learn. The Colorado Genealogical Council has a speaker’s list available for all the genealogical societies and I would like to add your name and information to that list. [...] I’m very excited about what you have to offer. [...]thanks again.
Thank you very much for your program June 12th and PGS is looking forward to Oct 9th. I would love to see any programs you give wherever they are and to the Colorado Genealogical Council and Parker Family History center. The [people] who are in charge of the Family History Center will be in touch with you about your programs and when they might be. I was asked by the Colorado Genealogical Council to give them names of people I knew who are great speakers. I gave them your name. [...] Thank you for your interest and for just being you.