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Cover of Quebec During the American Invasion, 1775 to 1776, published in 2005.

My SAR Journey: Service

Some French-Canadians joined the Americans in fighting against the British, fighting side-by-side with those who were not that long ago their sworn enemies. Many joined militias in the colonies that bordered Canada, especially in New York. Those who have French-Canadian ancestors who appeared early (prior to 1850) in the United States should look or evidence…
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Nineteenth-century etching of the Salem Witch Trials.

Myths in History: What is “Common Knowledge?”

According to the Board for Certification of Genealogists, the standards for documenting call for genealogists to “identify the sources of all substantive information and images they gather, use, or plan to gather or use, except sources of ‘common knowledge’ beyond disputes, such as the years of major historical events.” [1] The problem is, what about…
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Colonial Society of Massachusetts website.

Free Online Colonial Massachusetts Records

The Colonial Society of Massachusetts was founded at Boston in 1892 to promote the study of Massachusetts history from the earliest settlements to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Society occasionally convenes conferences on the subject. It is a member organization of the Ne England Regional Fellowship Consortium. And it is co-sponsor, with the…
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Sarah Barker gravestone.

Archaeology and Genealogy

When doing genealogical research, we become familiar with local history. Knowing and understanding the history of the areas where our ancestors lived can make a big difference in research success. It can also make a difference in understanding our ancestors’ lives and telling their stories. One area of local history that often gets overlooked is…
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SAR Website

My SAR Journey: The Beginning

Aside from family associations, French-Canadians do not have a large number of lineage societies. Part of that may come from the fact that, compared to the United States, Canada has a relatively peaceful history. Thus there are few opportunities for those of us of French-Canadian descent to join one of these groups. Recently, however, this…
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Early twentieth-century obituaries.

Have You Written Your Obituary Yet?

Genealogists are obsessed with finding our family’s stories. We spend countless hours combing through records, attempting to recreate our ancestors’ lives. If we’re lucky we find letters or diaries that give us an insight into who our ancestors were. Unfortunately, it is all too often the case that there is no surviving correspondence or diary.…
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Front cover of Spell it Out!

Understanding English

You never know when you are going to bump into a valuable resource for your research. When I was in London a few years ago, I was researching at the British Library. While waiting for a friend, I was perusing the gift shop and found a wonderful book that has proven very important to me.…
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Underwater image of the remains of one of the drowned towns.

Extinct Localities

Locations play an important role in researching our ancestors. Knowing where our ancestors lived directs us to places to find the records that document their lives. While these locations are often easy to identify, it is important to research the area. Because you might find yourself in a situation where, to paraphrase The Princess Bride,…
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Boston Globe front page, January 16, 1919, describing the molasses tank explosion.

Centennial of a Disaster: The Great Molasses Flood

Just past noon, one hundred years ago today, a storage tank owned by the United States Industrial Alcohol Company. The 2.3 million gallons (8,706 tons) of molasses contained within it immediately started sweeping out like a tidal wave, destroying everything in its path. Horses, wagons, automobiles, buildings, and even the elevated railway line were destroyed.…
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525,600 Minutes: Seasons of Genealogy

Many of you may have picked up on the musical allusion in the title of this post as a takeoff on Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. You may have even sung the first part in your head. The beginning of a new year often brings us to reflection of the previous year, and…
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