All posts by Claire Lindell

Claire Lindell is a retired school teacher with an interest in French-Canadian and Finnish genealogy.

The Pitfalls of a Neophyte Genealogist

Who was my third grandmother? Which one of these women married Moyse Hypolite  Fortin? Were they cousins? Were there mistakes in the information I was finding? I needed answers.

Genealogy requires exact details and facts in order to get the story right. As a new genealogist I learned this very quickly.

In the case of my third great grandmother there were conflicting reports. One day I would find Henriette Bertrand in Ile Perrot and then later find an Henriette Bertrand in Vaudreuil. The dates varied by only two years and they fit in with the time frame of my third great grandfather.

The two communities are very close to one another, a matter of only a few kilometers.

It soon became apparent that there were in fact two Henriettes. I found the baptismal  document on line for Henriette 2. The discovery made me realize that perhaps I had been researching the wrong person.

At this point I needed clarification. I made a visit to Centre d’histoire La Presqu’íle in Vaudreuil and was able with the help of the archivist learn for certain which of the Henriettes was the correct one. Now I had what appeared to be a monumental task ahead. Research had  been done for Henriette 1 thinking she was the right person.  Now, this lineage was of little value as she was not one of my ancestors. This meant  starting over with Henriette 2 and tracing her line.

The archivist was very helpful finding documentation and pointing out the right direction to proceed.

This was indeed a valuable lesson and I am grateful having  learned it early on in my research. It has constantly been a reminder that before making the next move, make certain you have as many exact verified facts as possible  about the particular person you are researching. That way you can avoid  mistakes.

The following two documents were found on Ancestry-Drouin Collection


Baptism Henriette Bertrand



Registres paroissiaux et Actes d’état civil du Québec (Collection Drouin), 1621 à 1967

Name: Henriette Bertrand
Event: Enterrement (Burial)
Burial Year: 1815-1900
Burial Location: Montebello, Québec (Quebec)

Source Information: Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations

Inc, 2008.

Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

Comparison of data for the two Henriettes

Henriette Bertrand   1                                                                    Henriette Bertrand 2

Born:  December 28, 1811 in Vaudreuil                                  Born March 7, 1813 in Ile Perrot

—————————————                                                       Died November 5, 1838

Mother:  Apoline St. Julien                                                           Mother:  Scholastique Sabourin

Born: Nov 6. 1783 in Vaudreuil                                                 Born:  1789 in Rigaud

Died:  Aug 2, 1834 in Vaudreuil                                                 Died:  July 28 1821 in Rigaud

—————————————                                                       Married: September 12 1831 in Montebello

Father:  Francois Vital Bertrand                                                  Father: Francois Joseph Bertrand

Born:  Jan 4, 1780 in Vaudreuil                                                   Born 1784

Died:  July 11, 1859 in St. Joeph du lac                                      Died:  1832 in Ste Justine de Newton

In 1832 Henriette  2   married Moyse Hypolite Fortin, my third great grandfather. She died November 5, 1838 at the age of twenty-five  in Montebello,  having given him a daughter, Leocadie Fortin, my great-grandmother and a son, Louis.


               Centre d’histoire La Presqu’íle

Achives regionales de Vaudreuil Soulanges

431 BC St. Charles

Vaudreuil-Dorion J7V 2N3

Life Decisions

A simple act followed by a statement can be life-changing. Such was the case for Kaarlo.

Several  years of study at Michigan College of Mines in Houghton, Michigan had prepared Kaarlo, a young Finnish boy from Ashtabula, Ohio  for a career in the mining industry. He had worked as a cook on the ore boats on the Great Lakes and knew he wanted something more fulfilling, much as he loved sailing the lakes.

In 1928 he graduated with a degree in Mining  Engineering. There was a job waiting for him at  Royal Tiger Gold Mines in Breckenridge, Colorado. He packed his Model T Ford and set out for the west with high hopes and dreams of creating a good life, doing something he truly enjoyed.

It wasn’t long after arriving at the mines that he found the owner-manager tampering with the assays (the device used to measure gold). Once the owner realized that the young man was aware of his actions, he ordered him to be “out of town by sundown!”.  Kaarlo didn’t back down and stated that he would leave as soon as he could get his car on a railroad car to carry it  over the mountains.

Dreams of working in the gold mines were crushed. Being young and a go-getter,  he immediately contacted the College to see if they knew of any openings for newly graduated engineers. They responded that there were openings in Canada in the nickel mines in Copper Cliff, Ontario.  It was time to head north.


                                    The Big Nickel in CopperCliff, Ontario,  now part of Greater Sudbury

Kaarlo Victor Lindell crossed in to Canada on the 31st of January 1929 at Bridgeburg, Ontario1 with hopes and dreams of a rewarding career and a new challenge. He found a room in a boarding house and began working for the  International Nickel  Company(INCO) and never looked back. He spoke Finnish and soon made friends with his coworkers, among them many Finns. His employer took advantage of his knowledge of Finnish and in 1934 was sent to Northern Finland where he was actively involved in opening a nickel mine in Petsamo. In 1939 that part of Finland was seized by the Russians.

Along the way he met a pert, pretty, vivacious young lady, named Estelle (Esty) and sought her hand. They were married on September 6th 1930 in Sudbury. In the meantime Kaarlo had legally changed his name to Karl and took religious instruction in the Catholic faith having been a Lutheran all his life.

In 1939 with WW11 on the horizon Karl wanted to serve his new country. He became a naturalized citizen on the 8th of August 19392, however, with four children and a fifth on the way,  (me) his services were needed in the nickel  industry. He remained at work for INCO. Nickel production was crucial for ammunition during the war years.


Royal Tiger Gold Mines thrived from 1918 and into the 1930s, however, it declared bankruptcy in 1938 and in 1973 the town and all the buildings in it were torched to keep the “hippies” from squatting.

Northern Ontario, on the other hand has over time developed  and prospered.

It is interesting to speculate how Kaarlo’s life might have been, especially  if he had stayed in Colorado?


I would not be here to tell the story!


FamilySearch indexing – How you can become involved

The following article was written for Genealogy Ensemble by Marian Bulford, a genealogist from the West Island of Montreal who has been indexing for many years. She gives us valuable insight about indexing and how we all benefit from the contributions of those who index the records we use in our genealogical pursuits.

Indexing is the data entry of human records worldwide in any language you choose. If you can type, then you can index, so why not get started today?!

Keyboard01_MicrosoftThe FamilySearch website has provided a way for anyone with an internet connection to assist in the monumental task of indexing world genealogical records. It is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as The Mormons.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in the process of digitizing the bulk of their genealogical records, as well as partnering with genealogical societies and other groups to digitize other records of genealogical value. Most of the websites today have obtained their records from this church.

As indexing is entered, the records are checked and arbitrated a few times. Then these digitized records are uploaded to the online FamilySearch Indexing project site for anyone, including you, to view free of charge.

Easy to download software and index
The indexing software is free and easy to download, and the online tutorials should get you started quickly. There is also an online help desk if you have questions.

You do not have to be a church member to index or search this free website. To start, simply go to the website link here. It takes only a few minutes to download your selected batch of records — in any language and in any part of the world you choose — and transcribe the entries using the provided software you will find on the web page.

Alternatively, if you just want to research a wonderful database for free with no obligation or fees, go to

If you volunteer to index for FamilySearch, just remember, you are helping to add millions of data for us genealogists to find plus, as a side benefit, indexing can help you become a better researcher as you become more familiar with the wide variety of historical documents available to you and the type of information each contains. You can choose a beginner, intermediate, or advanced batch to index.

Where to start?
Indexing consists of births, deaths, marriages, banns, obituaries, christenings, or baptisms. In addition, there are historical records consisting of many other interesting items worldwide. For instance, how about indexing the following databases?

  • France, Diocèse de Coutances et Avranches – Registres Paroissiau from 1796 to 1880
  • UK Sussex Church of England Parish Records from 1538 to 1910
  • US Louisiana WW2 Draft Registration cards from 1940 to 1945
  • South African Free State, Estate Files from 1951 to 1980
  • Polska, Radom Roman Catholic Church Books from 1733 to 1868
  • Brazil, Pernambuco Recife Registro Civil from 1900 to 1920

All of the above databases, and many more, now await us to index them and provide a name or a lead for someone who is searching for their ancestors.

To help you through the indexing process, there are Help fields on the right of every batch you download. You never know, you may even come across some of your family names whilst indexing.

Once records have been indexed through FamilySearch Indexing, the new indices (and sometimes the document images) are posted online for free access at FamilySearch.

How I started
Because I am originally from the UK, I usually go to the UK batches for my indexing as I love history and I find so much of interest there, but I also like to mix it up and, as long as it is in English, I will index it.

Last year, I helped index the US 1940 Census. (As you well know, the census is usually the first place we go to find an ancestor’s name.) That monumental task was also completed well within the time range expected and up and running far sooner than anticipated.

Tremendous response to call for volunteers last month
Last month the FamilySearch website asked for volunteers for two days of indexing by asking everyone you know to join in. This, in part, is their response after that weekend. “We hoped to have an unprecedented 50,000 contributors in a 24-hour period. FamilySearch volunteers excelled, surpassing that goal by 16,511! That’s right—66,511 participants in one day! Incredible! We are grateful for the patience and persistence of many volunteers who faced technical difficulties due to an overwhelming response.” To read more, visit the blog post, FamilySearch Volunteers Set Historic Record.

According to some sources, volunteers participating in online indexing projects are adding over a million names a day in total.

Once records have been indexed through FamilySearch Indexing, the new indices (and sometimes the document images) are posted online for free access at FamilySearch Record Search.

So, log on and go see what you get back for a few hours, or even minutes, of indexing. Why not try a test drive on the above links and be part of the many people proud to add to the billions of records that amateur and professional genealogists like us search for daily.

Life in New France Was Fraught with Danger

Montreal,  originally known as Ville Marie was founded in 1642 by Paul Chomedy Sieur de Maisonneuve. At the time there were very few inhabitants. Within the next several years ships arrived and the population grew.

In 1663 the company of Saint Sulpice became the owner of the Montreal Island. They built their Seminary in 1684 and starting in 1685 Montreal became more and more of a military stronghold surrounded by a wooden palisade

In 1665 my 7th great Grandfather Claude Jodouin, born in Poitiers, France,  arrived in Ville Marie,  New France. He was a master carpenter and worked for the Sulpicians. Shortly after his arrival1 on March 22,1666 in Notre Dame Church he married Anne Thomas, a King’s daughter. Over the years they had ten children.

Saint-Henri  des Tanneries  was an non-populated wooded area far removed from the walled section of the settlement which is now referred to as Old Montreal. There the workers would tan hides. The odor from the tasks was most unpleasant, to the point of being quite unbearable. This was the reason for establishing the tanneries far from the population. The area today still bears the name Saint Henri.

While working at the tannery Claude Jodouin’s life came to a fateful end. He was fifty years old.

In the Bulletin des Recherches Historiques2 the following describes his death.

“Le sudit document nous apprend encore que, le 16 octobre 1686, un charpentier nomme Claude Jaudouin employe a la tannerie fut inopinement tue par un autre ouvrier. Nicolas Martin dit Jolycoeur. Celui-ci, ignorant que son compagnon etait au bois entendant un froisement de branches imagina qu’un ours venait a lui. Pris de peur, il dechargea son fusil dans la direction de bruit avec le regrettable resultat que l’on sait.”

Translation:        It was in a wooded section outside the tannery, that a fellow worker thought he heard a bear rustling in the bushes, took aim and shot. So ended the life of Claude Jodouin, the master carpenter.

In the Dictionnaires de genealogies des familles du Quebec3  it indicates that Claude Jodouin was killed accidentally. Little did I know that my first trip to La societe de genealogie canadienne francaise in the east end of Montreal would reveal the manner in which he died.

Anne, Claude’s wife was still a young woman with the responsibility of their ten children.  From all accounts she was sought after by many eligible bachelors. Within a short period of time she remarried.4


1      POULIN, JOSEPH-PHILIPPE. “Premiers colons du debut de la colonie jusqu’en 1700.” In Programme Souvenir, Sixieme Congres de la Societe Genealogique Canadienne Francaise, Quebec (Oct. 8-10, 1960), pp. 13-22.  Arrival


1      L’Abbe D Tanguay, ADS, Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes Depuis la Fondation de la Colonie Jusqu’a Nos Jours, Cinquieme Volume, Depuis 1608 jusqu’a 1700, Eusebe Senecal, 1888.

2       Bulletin des Recherches Historiques Vol 41: p 39

3      Dictionnaire degenealogie des familles du Quebec, Jette

4       Ibid › accessibleQA


Indexing Records for LDS

Have you ever wondered who does some of the indexing for the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is actively involved in a very unique program in conjunction with the Utah State Prison. “Inmates who volunteered at the Utah State Prison Center last year indexed more than 2 million records…..They put approximately 50,000 hours of personal family research in the project.” This recent article in The Huffington Post was like a breath of fresh air to learn that these prisoners are contributing in a very positive way to help genealogists. Perhaps the next time you access familysearch. org  you might think about many of those prisoners who  are involved in preparing the records we as genealogist  so often seek .

A Pembroke Pioneer

Many years ago while visiting the red brick house with the huge front porch at 202 Isabella Street in Pembroke, I had little idea about the people who lived in that grand home.

Francois Evariste Fortin, my great grandfather spent his early years on the banks of the Ottawa River in Montebello Quebec.

Francois was born on the 6th of July 1845. At the age of twenty he married Adele Chevrier from Rigaud. She was also twenty. The marriage took place in Bon Secours Church in Montebello in mid-May of 1866. They settled in Hull, Quebec  where he was an innkeeper.

Several years later, in 1874 after the birth of Louisa, their third child, ( my grandmother) Francois, Adele and their children  moved up the Ottawa River to Pembroke, Ontario where the family grew. They had one son, Frank, who worked for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York and five daughters, Emma, Julia  (Sr. St. Gabriel) who became a Grey nun, Louisa, my grandmother, Alice who taught music for the City of New York until she was seventy-five and Aline who remained a spinster caring for her parents.

Francois began a business as a merchant-tailor and according to the  1881 and 1891 Census he had thirteen employees. Later census records indicate that he became a  contractor for the railroads and an inspector. He was actively involved with the Pembroke Southern Railway  (PSR) and an original director and in time was named Vice-President. Francois invested substantially in the PSR. The railway linked Pembroke to other local communities. It was eventually  bought out by C.N.R. and at the time became a spur line.

His interest in municipal affairs and a genuine  concern for the welfare of the town led him to run for town council and eventually  for the mayoralty in 1894. He was the first Mayor to serve three years in succession, 1894 – 1896. Francois-Evariste was also interested in politics and a staunch supporter of the Liberals. He worked tirelessly for the party.

Francois and his family were devout Roman Catholics. They would gather in their home each evening to recite the Rosary. He played an active role during the construction of Saint Columbkille Cathedral just blocks from their home. Along the way he  had a falling out with the Church and refused to participate in the evening recitation of the Rosary. He would seclude himself in his office. The family made certain that he could hear their prayers.

Over the years, Francois eventually was brought back in to the fold and made peace with the Church. He died less than two weeks before his ninety-first birthday, July 17th. He had lived in that community for sixty-two years. He was mourned by his family and the citizens of Pembroke alike and remembered as a well respected pioneer in the community. A Requiem High Mass was celebrated in Saint Columbkille. He is buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Pembroke, beside his wife, Adele who predeceased him by ten years.

             Francois Evariste Fortin Adele Chevrier grave_edited-aaa


Obituaries: The Ottawa Journal, July 7, 1936. p.10

Census of Canada 1851, 1871, 1881, 1891 1911, 1921

Interview with Madelyn Smith (Percival) 2011 my ninety year old cousin.

Canada Voter’s List 1935

Canadian Dominion Directory for 1871. John Lovell’s Province of Quebec Directory for 1871. Volume 1 p.998  John Lovell & Son, Montreal,1871

Ontario, Canada, Deaths,1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas 1838-1847

Copyright 2013 Drouin Institute (Lafrance) dlp_32631325.jpg

Le centre de genealogie francphone d’Amerique 1997-2006 GEDCOMn155 #Individu 19607

special thanks to fellow genealogist Oskar Keller for finding the grave.

Of interest:     Excerpt from The History of Pembroke

Pembroke was the first town in Canada in which electric power was generated for commercial use. On October 8,1884 the very first street lights in Canada cast their glow down Pembroke Street. A small building on Pembroke Street east of the Muskrat River provided electricity for street lighting as well as for the factories in the Town.

In 2003 a fully redundant fibre optic cable was installed around Pembroke, enabling local businesses to work anywhere in the world – without leaving their desks- through a telecommunications infrastructure that is vital to remaining competitive in today’s global economy.

The Gift


Ashtabula Harbor


While checking my mailbox recently a much anticipated envelope  finally arrived. Although I was expecting it, when seeing the contents  I was blown away.

Genealogists are often  faced with brick walls. Sometimes it’s a date, other times a  change in a family name or the spelling of that family name, and often a  language problem.

Catherine Lev, a cousin I have never met,  had sent the envelope. She spent her early years living in Ashtabula, Ohio  where the ore boats would be filled with coal from the neighboring states. They would make their way up the Great Lakes. My father and his seven siblings grew up in that large Finnish community on the shores of Lake Erie. Catherine’s mother, Aunt Helen, a nurse, Dad’s sister had always maintained contact over the years. So too, did Catherine keep in touch with her Uncle Karl.

Facebook brought Catherine and me together. We communicate regularly using email. In one of the messages we came to the conclusion that we both had an interest in our families’ histories and genealogy. She shared the fact that she had done the family tree on the Lindell – Karhu families.

When I opened the envelope and glanced through it I was delighted. It contained a Compact disk, neatly labelled GEDCOM lindell karhu.ged 12/24/2013.  Christmas Eve! What a gift!   Although I was eager to check  out the CD,  time did not permit, so I set it aside with the hopes of viewing it later in the day. When I finally put it in the computer and opened  it I couldn’t believe  my eyes!  There were  over four hundred family members going back to Finland in the early 1800’s.  Births, marriages, deaths and places all neatly organized. Catherine used the program Roots Magic. Indeed it was and is all very magical for the neophyte genealogist who knew so little about her father’s side of the family. As Paul Harvey at the closing of his radio broadcasts would say ” Now you know the whole story.”

Catherine Lev lives in Missoula, Montana close to her daughter Harlean. We are about the same age, give  or take a couple of years.  We continue to maintain contact using email. If she did not live so far away I would give her the biggest hug. Someday perhaps we will meet.

Researching Your Ancestors in France

Map of France 1740
Map of France 1740

 Are you researching your ancestors? Do you want to know what part of France they came from;  where they began their journey to New France?  If so, you might be interested in the new group formed by members of the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS).

The France Research Special Interest Group meets every 4th Sunday of the month at 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the QFHS Library and Center at 173 Cartier Avenue in Pointe-Claire, Quebec  just off of Highway 20 (opposite the CLSC).

QFHS members are welcome  to join  these monthly meetings.  Together, in a friendly and informal setting, new and experienced genealogists gather to discuss our French ancestors. The focus of the group is to share researching techniques available on the Internet. France has a wealth of free websites containing numerous databases and extensive archives  for each of the 95 departments dating back in time to  the 1500s.

If you are not a member and are interested in joining the group or want know more about QFHS, visit the website at