Slavery in French Canada

As we’ve discussed before, Americans often think of a slavery as an institution only of the American south. But slavery was a scourge felt around the world to one extent of another. This includes our French-Canadian ancestral home. Slavery’s roots in Canada pre-date European settlement. Indigenous tribes used captured member of other tribes as slaves.  After … Read moreSlavery in French Canada

Genealogy’s Amazing Race

I’m not a huge fan of “reality” television. Much of it has nothing at all to do with reality. And as much as these programs claim to be unscripted, it is painfully obvious how scripted many of them truly are. Worse is much much influence producers can have on the final outcome, going against the … Read moreGenealogy’s Amazing Race

How Do You Know You’ve Reached Your Research Goal?

It sounds like a perfectly reasonable question. “Have you met your research goal?” The answer to such questions, however, can often be far more difficult to ascertain than you initially thought.  To wart, the goal must be very specific, leaving no room for ambiguity. It must be possible to look at the goal and give … Read moreHow Do You Know You’ve Reached Your Research Goal?

Seasons of Genealogy: 131,400-Minute Check In

Back at the beginning of January I posted about goals and resolutions and setting yourself up for success with your genealogical research in 2019. As difficult as it may be to believe, the first quarter of the year is in the history books. So have you done so far? (If you missed that post, go … Read moreSeasons of Genealogy: 131,400-Minute Check In

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, “I … Read moreExtinct Localities

Marriage Dispensations in the Catholic Church

When working with French-Canadian Catholic church records, it is very common to come across ancestors who needed a dispensation. This was an approval granted by the bishop or cardinal to suspend the usual rules for Catholics that would prevent the marriage from occurring. Dispensations come in two types: dispensation of banns or dispensation for consanguinity. These … Read moreMarriage Dispensations in the Catholic Church

Dit Names and Databases

This post was inspired by a message my friend Marian Pierre-Louis posted on Facebook. She is experiencing French-Canadian for the first time in helping a friend with her research. the question posed was “How do I handle dit names in genealogy programs or online trees?!!” Dit names are sobriquets; nicknames to differentiate individuals who bear the same surname. … Read moreDit Names and Databases

Land Ownership in Canada

Our French-Canadian ancestors had a far different system of land ownership than we, their Franco-American descendants, are used to. The seigneurial system, born out of feudal France, requires we think of researching their property records in different ways. In the earliest days of the settlement, the crown granted large swaths of land to the Company … Read moreLand Ownership in Canada