Category Archives: Research tips
Between the early 1600s and 1755, a community of French-speaking farmers known as the Acadians thrived in Nova Scotia.
In 1755, war between France and Britain spilled into North America. When the Acadians refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the king of England, the colony’s British governor ordered the Acadian people deported. By the fall of that year, some 1,100 Acadians had been forced to board ships and were being transported to the American colonies including Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. By 1758, most of the Acadians who lived on Île St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island) had also been deported. Some of the Acadians who escaped deportation died of starvation or disease.
Over the following years, the Acadians scattered. Some ended up in Louisiana and the Caribbean. Others sought refuge in New France, settling mainly in the Quebec City region, including Île d’Orléans and along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Today, some of their descendants are still living in the province of Quebec while others have scattered across North America and around the world.
You can read an overview of the Acadian deportation, including a list of suggested books in English and French at http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/the-deportation-of-the-acadians-feature/
The best place to research the Acadians who settled in Quebec is at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). You can make telephone or email inquiries in English to the BAnQ in Montreal and to regional branches. For contact information about the Montreal branch and other regional branches, see: http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/entrez_archives/centres_archives/
You should get a reply in English within a week to 10 days. These are free services available to anyone anywhere, in Canada or elsewhere. Similarly, you can email or telephone your question in English to the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal (the main branch of Montreal’s public library) or to the Collection nationale within the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.
Here are two lists of books available on the subject, mostly in French, some in print, others digital:
Here are some other resources available at the BAnQ:
Here are some other links to information about the Acadians:
For each of the towns and villages of Quebec in which Acadians settled between 1755 and 1775, you will find posted below the web address of the regional repository of BAnQ, the address of the local Catholic parish and a listing of local cemeteries.
The regional repositories of BAnQ contain documents about the Acadian families who settled nearby. Some of the content of files stored at various branches of BAnQ across the province are listed within the Pistard search engine at www.banq.qc.ca however, most family lineage researchers are intimidated by the complex research process involved.
>> Bastiscan – Champlain
>> Bécancour – Nicolet
>> Becquets (Saint-Pierre les-Becquets) – Nicolet
>> Berthier – Lanaudière
>> Cacouna – Lower St. Lawrence
>> Champlain – Champlain
>> Gentilly – Nicolet
>> Îles-de-la-Madelaine – Gaspé
>> Joliette – Lanaudière
>> Kamouraska – Lower St. Lawrence
>> L’Acadie – Upper Richelieu
>> L’Assomption – Lanaudière
>> Louiseville – Maskinongé
>> Maskinongé – Maskinongé
>> Montcalm – Lanaudière
>> Nicolet – Nicolet
>> Pointe-du-Lac – St-Maurice
>> Rivière-du-Loup-en-haut (Louiseville) – Maskinongé
>> Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu – Lower Richelieu
>> Saint-Esprit – Lanaudière
>> Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm – Lanaudière
>> Saint-Ours – Lower Richelieu
>> Saint-Sulpice – Lanaudière
>> Trois-Rivières – Trois-Rivières
>> Yamachiche – Maskinongé
Have you heard a family story about an ancestor who was a voyageur or coureur des bois? These were the men who canoed across the interior of North America to trade with the indigenous people for beaver pelts and other furs and bring the pelts back to Montreal.
The fur trade thrived in the 17th and 18th centuries and the early years of the 19th century. Setting out from Montreal, the voyageurs’ destinations included what is now western Canada, Ontario, Michigan and Illinois. Some had wives and children in Quebec and some fell in love with aboriginal women and were the ancestors of Canada’s Métis people.
Before they set out on their travels, the voyageurs signed contracts with fur trading companies or their agents. These contracts specified where they were to go and for how long, and how much they were to be paid. Notaries, most of whom resided in Montreal, Lachine or Ste-Anne-du-Bout-de-l’Ile (now known as Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue), prepared the contracts and kept them on file. As a result, more than 34,500 of these contracts have survived.
The notarial records themselves are stored at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) along with all the other contracts, wills, leases and other documents these notaries prepared.
In addition, the information in many of the voyageurs’ contracts is available online, thanks to La Société historique de Saint-Boniface (http://shsb.mb.ca/en). St. Boniface is a traditionally French part of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and its Centre du patrimoine (heritage center) specializes in the history of the francophone community of Manitoba, and in the heritage and genealogy of the Métis people.
http://archivesshsb.mb.ca/en/list?q=Notaires+de+Montr%C3%A9al&p=1&ps=20 This link takes you to the database of contracts. You can search in English, but the data is mostly in French. There are various ways to search the database, but if you know your ancestor’s name, you can put that into the search box. There is a small box for each result, and clicking on “more detail” opens it up. Included in the details is the date the contract was signed. For example, 18090503 indicates May 3 1809. You can use Google translate or a similar online translator if you need help understanding the text.
http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Fur_Trade_Contracts_during_the_French_Regime.29095438.pdf This article by Diane Wolford Sheppard of Michigan is a collection of representative contracts drafted during the French Regime, including engagé (hiring) contracts, partnerships, partnership settlements, obligations and invoices for fur trade purchases. They have been translated into English.
http://www.habitantheritage.org/french-canadian_resources/the_fur_trade For more in-depth background, images and documents about the fur trade in the Great Lakes region, see this page posted by the French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan.
Institut Généalogique Drouin
If you are researching French Canadian ancestors, the best place to look is the Drouin Institute, www.drouininstitute.com. The institute can help you find a great deal of information about your ancestors, but only some pages are in English and you may become confused because there are several different ways to access the site’s information.
In addition to the subscription database at https://www.genealogiequebec.com/en/, the institute has a vast selection of publications for sale through its bookstore.
You will find the link to subscribe to the institute’s online database, Quebec Records, at the top of the page www.genealogiequebec.com/en/ or, if you are on the French-language page, click on abonnement.
The Quebec Records collection, updated as of February 2016, includes more than 42 million files and images. Take a look at the About Us page (https://www.genealogiequebec.com/en/about) to get an idea of the scope of information available. It includes the Lafrance Collection of Catholic baptisms, marriages and deaths starting from 1621, and some Protestant marriages, 1760-1849. The online Drouin Collection includes a variety of genealogical records from Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. Scroll down the About page to see the listing of additional databases, including notarized documents and obituaries.
The Quebec Records page has a link to the PRDH project, or Research Program in Historical Demography, http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/home. This huge undertaking by the University of Montreal put together all Catholic baptisms, marriages and burials, as well as Protestant marriages, in Quebec from 1621 to 1849.
According to the project’s website (http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/LePrdh) the result is “a computerized population register, composed of biographical files on all individuals of European ancestry who lived in the St. Lawrence Valley. The file for each individual gives the date and place of birth, marriage(s), and death, as well as family and conjugal ties with other individuals. This basic information is complemented by various socio-demographic characteristics drawn from documents: socio-professional status and occupation, ability to sign his or her name, place of residence, and, for immigrants, place of origin.” The PRDH site includes an extensive bibliography. Subscription rates depend on whether you live in Quebec, the rest of Canada or elsewhere.
The Drouin Institute sells a number of products through its online boutique. For example, you can buy family histories on CD through https://institut-drouin.myshopify.com/collections/patrimoine-familial (search for your family’s name in the naviguer box on the right), or you can purchase published family history books at https://institut-drouin.myshopify.com/collections/patrimoine-familial. Almost all of these products are in French.
The page http://www.drouininstitute.com/index.html links to the online boutique. On that page (https://institut-drouin.myshopify.com/search) you can put your family name into the search box and it will tell you what products, including CDs, books, spiral binders and PDFs, can be ordered.
Another way to search this resource is to go to www.institutdrouin.com/neufs. This page will lead you to a long list of product numbers. Click on each selection to see what titles are available.
Here are some of the spiral binders you can buy from the institute containing records that Montreal genealogist Jacques Gagné says are not available through commercial databases:
Item # N-0076 –Rawdon – St. Patrick Catholic Parish – Montcalm County – Marriages, baptisms, deaths (1837-1987) – Parish later renamed Marie-Reine-du-Monde de Rawdon > Spiral binders $55. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0278 – Iberville County – Protestant & Catholic Marriages (1823-1979) – Towns of: Henryville – Iberville – Mont-St-Grégoire – St-Alexandre – St-Athanase – Ste-Anne-de-Sabravois – Ste-Brigite-d’Iberville – St-Grégoire-le-Grand – St-Sébastien – Ste-Angèle-de-Monnoir – 802 pages – 2 volumes > Spiral binders $75. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0327 – Trois-Rivières – St. Patrick Irish Catholic Parish – Marriages (1955-1981) > Spiral binders $10. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0504 – Terrebonne Judicial District – Civil Marriages – (1969-1991) – 8,900 marriages – 684 pages > Spiral binders $69. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0578 – St. Lawrence River’s Mid North Shore – Moyenne Côte-Nord du St-Laurent – Judicial District of Sept-Iles – Marriages (1846-1987) – 10,342 marriages – Towns of : Sept-Iles – Port-Cartier – Clarke City – Godbout – Gallix – Baie-Trinité – Rivière-Brochu – Franquelin – Moisie – Rivière-Pentecôte – Pointe-aux-Anglais – 607 pages > Spiral binders $43. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0579 – St. Lawrence River’s Lower North Shore & Southern Labrador – Basse Côte-Nord du St-Laurent et du Sud du Labrador – Protestant & Catholic marriages, baptisms, deaths (1847-2006) – 6,470 marriages – Region of Minganie – Aguanish – Baie Johan Beetz – Hâvre-St-Pierre – Anticosti Island – Longue Pointe de Mingan – Mingan – Natashquan – Pointe-Parent – Rivière-au-Tonnerre – Rivière-St-Jean – Region of Lower North-Shore – Aylmer Sound – Blanc Sablon – Chevery – Harrington Harbour – Kegaska – La Romaine – La Tabatière – Lourdes de Blanc Sablon – Musquaro – Mutton Bay – Pakua-Shipi – Rivière St-Paul – St-Augustin (St. Augustine) – Tête a la Baleine – Region of Southern Labrador – Capstan Island – Clear Bay (L’Anse-au-Clair) – East St. Modest (e) – Flower’s Cove – Forteau – L’Anse-au-Loup (Woolf Cove) – L’Anse-Amour – Pinware – Red Bay – Sheldrake – West St. Modest (e) – Catholic Parishes (17) – Anglican Church (4) – United Church (2) – Methodist Church (1) – Congregationalist Church (1) – Plymouth Brethern (Gospel Hall) (3) – Pentecostal (1) – The church records of the Presbyterian Church in Harrington Harbour were destroyed by fire in 1973 – 330 pages > Spiral binders $28. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0585 – St. Lawrence’s River Upper North Shore – Haute-Côte-Nord du St-Laurent – Marriages (1668-1992) – 17,689 marriages – Towns of: Baie-Comeau – Forestville – Les Escoumins – Tadoussac – Chutes-aux-Ouardes – Ragueneau – Pointe-Lebel – Betsiamites – Bersimis – Les Bergeronnes – Les Ilets Jéramie – 576 pages > $40. + taxes-shipping
Item # N-0613 – Gardenville Presbyterian Church & United Church of Longueil – Greenfield Park – Longueil – Marriages, baptisms, deaths (1905-1925 & 1926-1941) – 77 pages > $35. + taxes-shipping
Researched and compiled by Jacques Gagné – firstname.lastname@example.org
If some of your family members worked in Quebec’s asbestos mining industry, they may have lived in the towns of Thetford Mines, Asbestos or Black Lake in south-central Quebec. Thetford Mines was established in 1876 after large deposits of asbestos (amiante in French) were discovered in the area.
However, if your ancestor was an early settler in the area, you may have to broaden your search. Prior to the appointment of permanent Catholic priests in this region, acts of baptisms, marriages and deaths were included in the records of the Catholic Missionary Districts of Trois-Rivières, Nicolet, Drummondville and Sherbrooke. In the Thetford Mines region, this applies to villages located within the surrounding counties of Wolfe, Arthabaska, Nicolet, Frontenac, Drummond and Richmond. In each of the above districts, the records of baptisms, marriages and deaths performed by the missionary priests were integrated with those of local families who attended the regional cathedral.
One such Catholic Missionary Circuit was Les Missions des Cantons de l’Est, which was staffed by Irish Catholic Missionaries from Ireland who settled in the Chateauguay, Huntingdon, Beauharnois and Napierville Counties of Quebec. They were the Catholic version of the Protestant saddlebag preachers, or circuit riders. For more detail on these missions, see pages 65 and 75 of the section on Eastern Townships Catholic Missions, (Missions des Cantons de l’Est), 1826-1846, in the Genealogy Ensemble research guide entitled The Irish Catholics of Lower Canada and Quebec – Their Churches, https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/05/20/irish-catholic-churches-of-quebec/. There may be other information relevant to your search elsewhere in this document.
Prior to the opening of a parish, you should always look at the church records from older villages nearby. If both actions fail (Catholic Missionary Districts and church records from nearby villages), your family members may have been Protestants, or simply non-believers.
Before the establishment of Civil Registers in Quebec in 1926, records for non-believers are a problem, and you should look at notarial records. These will be addressed later this year with series of short articles in regard to the 10 repositories of the Archives nationales du Québec and the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.
Your best hope of finding Anglican, Methodist or Presbyterian ancestors from the Thetford Mines area is to contact La société de généalogie et d’histoire de la région de Thetford Mines and the Société Historique de l’Amiante. They have published a binder of birth, marriage and death records from the area’s Protestant churches that you will not find elsewhere. This binder, researched by local genealogists, is available from the society for $60. Here is the contact information for the society and the list of area churches included:
La Société de généalogie et d’histoire de la région de Thetford Mines
Société Historique de l’Amiante
671, boulevard Frontenac Ouest, Thetford Mines QC G6G 1N1
Stéphane Hamann – Archivist
418-338-8591 ext: 306
Item #4 – The Anglo Protestants of Megantic County – Indexes of births, marriages, burials 1826-1991 – ISBN 2921320029 – Compiled by Robert Boutin & Paul Vachon – $60. CDN + 20% shipping – USA destinations in US Dollars.
The Churches: Adderley Anglican (1948) – Black Lake Anglican (1926-1952) – Inverness Anglican (1859-1970) – Inverness Church of England & Anglican (1848-1954 & 1981-1991) – Inverness Methodist (1853-1925) – Inverness Presbyterian (1856-1979) – Inverness Standard Church in Millfield (1927-1928) – Inverness United (1926-1956) – Inverness Congregational (1848-1849 & 1882-1884) – Inverness St. Andrew’s United (1957-1991) – Inverness Holy Trinity Episcopal (1921-1922) – Inverness Baptist Church (1871-1872) – Ireland Anglican in Maple Grove (1926-1972) – Ireland Church of England (1840-1934) – Ireland Holy Trinity Episcopal & Anglican (1915-1944 & 1981-1991) – Ireland Holiness Movement (1901-1913) – Ireland Methodist (1837-1878) – Kinnear’s Mills Church of England & Anglican (1903-1954 & 1981-1991) – Kinnear’s Mills Presbyterian (1876-1939) – Kinnear’s Mills United (1926-1956) – Kinnear’s Mills- Leeds Church of England (1830-1952) – Leeds Holy Trinity Episcopal (1915-1917 & 1921-1924) – Leeds Methodist (1877-1909) – Leeds Presbyterian in St-Sylvestre (1832-1912) – Leeds St. James Church (1925-1926) – Leeds Anglican (1840-1851 & 1981-1991) – Lemesurier-Thetford Mines Anglican (1947-1948) – Leeds United (1928-1945) – Lemesurier Anglican (1947-1948) – Lower Inverness Protestant Mission (1855) – Maple Grove Anglican (1981-1991) – Nelson Protestant Mission (1855) – Rectory Hill Holy Trinity Episcopal & Anglican (1917 & 1948 & 1981-1991) – St. Sylvestre Protestant Chapel Military Base (1955-1964) – Thetford Mines Anglican (1947-1948 & 1954-1955 & 1981-1991) – Thetford Mines Church of England (1907-1920) – Thetford Mines St. John the Divine (1917-1980) – Thetford Mines Methodist (1911-1927) – Thetford Mines United (1928-1945 & 1957-1991)
The following books are available at the Cégep de Thetford Mines – Département de généalogie
Contact: Stéphane Hamann –Archivist – see above for details.
Leeds 200 Years of History 1802-2002 (971-4575)
St. Jacques de Leeds – Kinnear’s Mills – East Leeds – West Broughton – Crawfordville (13th & 14th Ranges) – Goff’s Hill
– Harvey’s Hill – Kinnear’s Mills – Lambie’s Mills – Leeds Village (Municipality & Parish St. Jacques de Leeds) – Lemesurier – Lipsey’s Hill – Manse Hill (rue des Fondateurs) – Osgood River –
Palmer River – Sunday River – Wilsons’s Mills
From 1809, Origins, Municipal Life, Religious Life, Economic Life, Schools, Social Life (including war heroes, sports) Health, Families & Organisations
The pioneers of Lower Ireland 1818-1980, Marlita Lamontagne-Ouellette
St-Jean-De-Brebeuf 1930-1980, Marlita Lamontagne-Ouellette
Saint-Jacques-de-Leeds 1829-1990 Births, Marriages & Deaths (929-371-4575)
Denise Dion-Ouellette & Daniel Vachon
The Anglo-Protestants of Megantic County 1826-1991 (929-371-4575 R425)
Leeds & St. Sylvester Historical Sketches (971.4575 C9556), Ethel Reid Cruikshank
Kinnear’s Mills 1855-1980, Souvenir Pamphlet
Strolling up and down Kinnear’s Mills (917.14575), Pedestrian Tour
Kinnear’s Mills, James Kinnear
Pioneer families of Leeds Townships, J.G. Kinnear
Megantic County Schools (371-00971457 S M496m)
Megantic Historial Society
Annals of Megantic County (971.4575)
Dugald McKenzie McKillop
Marriages 1815-1879 of St. Francis District (929.37146)
Volume 1 – A – L
Volume 2 K – Z
Births 1815-1879 of St. Francis District (929.37146)
Volumes 1 and 2
Deaths 1815-1879 of St. Francis District (929.37146)
Volume 1 – A – L
Volume 2 K – Z
The pioneers of Inverness Township – 1800-1978 (971.4575)
Saint-Pierre-de-Broughton – 1855-1996 (929-371471 P622b)
Thérèse Bolduc-Boulanger & Denise Dion-Ouellette
Maple Grove – 1918-1988 (971.432 M297)
A history of Megantic County (971.4575 B279h), Gwen Rawlings Barry
Inverness County (971-4575 I62)
Kinnear’s Mills (720.9714575 G882k)
Ex. A and Ex. B (two books)
Leeds Township in 1802 and Saint-Jacques in 1902 (971-4575 L4841 V.1.)
1892- 1992 – 100 Years Courrier Frontenac
Souvenir Issue Thetford Mines Articles 1910 +
Finally, if you plan to visit the area, the Musée Minéralogique et Minier de Thetford Mines (http://www.museemineralogique.com/) might be of interest. The museum’s permanent exhibit features local history and minerals from around the world, and the organization sells French-language books about the area’s history and the asbestos industry; see http://www.museemineralogique.com/publications.html.
See also, “The Presbyterian Churches: Quebec City to Sherbrooke”, Genealogyensemble.com, https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/08/09/the-presbyterian-churches-quebec-city-to-sherbrooke/
French Canadian Emigration to the U.S. 1840-1930
compiled by Jacques Gagné
“The Archives nationales du Québec in Montréal on Viger Avenue are the repository of a wonderful and unique collection of books of marriages, baptisms, deaths of French Canadian families who left the Province of Québec between 1840 to 1930 for destinations south of the border. For it is estimated that during that 90 year period, 900,000 French Canadians left the regions along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, the Richelieu River, the Chaudière River for the U.S. ”
As part of this research guide, Jacques Gagné has also included the exodus of Acadians to the same New England States, New York State and other points within the United States of America including the Acadian families who were deported to Louisiana.
Click here to open the pdf file : French Canadians in the U.S.A. 2014
The Europeans in Québec Lower Canada and Québec
Churches of the Scandinavian, Baltic States, Germanic, Icelandic people in Montréal, Québec City, Lower St. Lawrence, Western Québec, Eastern Townships, Richelieu River Valley – The churches of immigrants from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia. Lithuania, Iceland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria plus those from Eastern European countries – Churches which were organized in Québec from 1621 to 2005. Also included within this document you will find a number of book titles relating to the subject.
Click the link:
The Archives nationales du Québec in Montréal on Viger Avenue are the repository of a wonderful and unique collection of books of marriages, baptisms, deaths of French Canadian families who left the Province of Québec between 1840 and 1930 for destinations in Western Canada, especially in Alberta and Manitoba.
Monsieur Daniel Olivier, former archivist at the Bibliothèque de la Ville de Montréal on Sherbrooke Street East, the latter no longer in operation, referred to for years as Salle Gagnon was responsible with the assistance of his associates for the acquisition of many of the books of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and burials outlined in this research guide.
Madame Estelle Brisson, former archivist at the Archives nationales du Québec on Viger Avenue East in Montréal with the assistance of her associates was also responsible for the acquisition of many of the books of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and burials outlined in this research guide compiled by Jacques Gagné.
Click on the link The French Canadians in Western Canada
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
Registres paroissiaux et Actes d’état civil du Québec (Collection Drouin), 1621 à 1967
Ancestry.com. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations
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
I wrote this article as a self-assigned exercise in applying genealogical proof standards (GPS) to a brick wall.
Following GPS procedures, I did a reasonably exhaustive search of the evidence. For each statement I made, I included a source citation. I tried to resolve conflicts and write a conclusion. I also evaluated the weight of each piece of evidence, depending on whether it was direct or indirect, original or derivative, or primary or secondary. (See an explanation of GPS by Christine Rose, https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/genealogical-proof-standard/350)
The problem is that there is no birth or baptismal record for my four-times great-grandfather Phineas Bagg (c.1750-1823). I wanted to prove that he was the son of David Bagg and Elizabeth Moseley. In addition, there were several men named David Bagg in western Massachusetts at the time, so I wanted to show which David Bagg was Phineas’ father. It was possible to undertake a research project like this because the Baggs of colonial Massachusetts were limited in numbers and in geographical area. There is a great deal of information about this population, although record-keeping in Pittsfield was poor.
In the end, I decided that I could not make a conclusive statement about Phineas’ parents, but I found nothing to indicate that he was not the son of David and Elizabeth. In fact, circumstantial evidence suggests that he was their son.
As for the GPS exercise, it was a great deal of work. Citing all those sources took almost as long as writing the article. I’m not sure that I would go to such lengths to tackle another brick wall, but evaluating each piece of evidence was extremely helpful.
This article is also posted on my own blog, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca
Questions: There is no record of the birth or baptism of my 4x great-grandfather Phineas Bagg. When and where was he born? Was he the son of David Bagg and Elizabeth Moseley?
The Baggs were a large extended family in western Massachusetts during the colonial period, approximately 1650 to 1790. The first immigrant, John Bagg, married in Springfield in 16571 and each subsequent generation produced many children. Phineas (c 1751-1823) was part of the fourth generation. By 1790, there were 19 different families headed by a male Bagg in Massachusetts, primarily in the towns of West Springfield, Westfield and Pittsfield.2 Fortunately, there was only one Phineas Bagg3, which makes him easier to track.
There are several possibilities for his identity: he could have been the son of David Bagg of Westfield and later Pittsfield as most researchers suggest; he could have been the son of a related Bagg; or he could have been adopted.
David Bagg was born in Westfield, MA on 19 Feb. 1717, the tenth and youngest child of Daniel Bagg and Hannah Phelps.4 On 12 May 1739, David Bagg and Elizabeth Moseley announced their intention to marry in Westfield.5
Although both West Springfield and Westfield generally kept good birth and baptismal records, there is a minimal possibility that Phineas was born to another Bagg family and slipped under the radar. David’s brother Daniel Bagg and his wife Abigail, of Westfield, had six children: Daniel, 1735, Moses 1737, Abigail 1738, Roger 1740, Ann 1746 and Naomi 1750.6
There were at least five other young Bagg families in the area between 1740 and 1755. In Springfield, David Bagg and his wife Hannah Stockwell had three children: Noah, born in 1740, who died at age six, Mercy born 1746 and Mary in 1748.7
In West Springfield, Ebenezer Bagg and his wife Lois produced five children: Thankfull in 1749, Frederick in 1750, Warham in 1752, Walter in 1754, Ebenezer in 1756 and Judah 1758.8
West Springfield residents Thomas and Margaret Bagg had Thomas in 1749, Israel in 1752 and Oliver in 1754. In addition, their son Ezekiel was born 1755 died at age three and they had another son they called Ezekiel in 1761.9
James and Bathsheba Bagg of West Springfield, had Bathsheba in 1745, James in 1746 and Jonathon in 1748.10
There was another young David Bagg family in West Springfield, however, I have not found a marriage and mother’s name did not appear in the children’s baptism records; they are simply listed as son or daughter of David Bagg. These children were: David bap. Sept 18 1737, Hannah bap. July 15 1739, Aaron bap. Oct 28 1740, Mercy bap. Jan 19 1746 and Mary bap. Jan 19 1748.11
It is unlikely that Phineas was orphaned or given up for adoption and raised by David and Elizabeth. I have so far been unable to find any references to adoption practices in colonial Massachusetts, but there would likely have been a paper trail and I have not run across any legal guardianship documents concerned with Phineas.
Assuming that he was the son of David and Elizabeth, when was Phineas born? Most sources say he was born around 1750 or 1751. The best evidence for his date of birth comes from the record of his burial at Montreal’s Anglican Christ Church. Dated Nov. 3, 1823, it says, “Phineas Bagg esq of Montreal, merchant, died on the 31 day of November [sic] 1823, aged 72 years, and was buried on the 3rd day of November following by me. John Bethune, rector.” 12 (The minister made a mistake on the date of death: it was actually 31 October.) Neither of his sons signed as witnesses, so it is not clear whether any family members were present. Thus, although the source is original, the information is secondary.
David and Elizabeth had seven children baptized in Westfield: Elizabeth baptized 1741, Joseph 1741, Rachel 1742, Martin 1745, Eunice 1746, Abner 1748 and Aaron baptized 11 March 1750.13 If Phineas was born in 1751, this would have fit the pattern of Elizabeth having a baby every year or two.
Where was Phineas born? Probably Westfield, since David Bagg is not listed among the early landowners of Pittsfield.14 Pittsfield was a newly settled town in the Berkshire Hills, on the western frontier of the colony, about 50 miles from Westfield. David Bagg is thought to have moved there not long after 176415 but more research needs to be done on David Bagg’s land records in Westfield and Pittsfield to try to establish a time-line.
Another question arises here: there were several men named David Bagg in this time period. Was Elizabeth Moseley’s husband the same David Bagg who moved to Pittsfield after her death? The answer is probably yes. David Bagg jr., son of David and Hannah of Springfield died in 1756 in his 19th year.16 David Bagg, son of Jonathon Bagg of Springfield, died in 1760 in his 50th year.17 (Perhaps he was the David Bagg who had five children born in West Springfield.)
There was one more David Bagg: David Bagg, born Westfield to Mary Sacket, March 27, 1739.18 I have found no other records concerning him.
Following Elizabeth’s death, David Bagg of Westfield moved to Blandford, Mass,19 where he married Martha Cook, the widow of John Dickinson, on June 25, 1761.20 She died a year later. After he moved to Pittsfield, David married a third time, to Ruth Tupper.21 There is no record of his death.
Because David and his sons seem to be the main Bagg family in the Berkshires, the presence of Phineas in Pittsfield is a circumstantial argument that supports his being one of David’s sons. In the 1790 federal census (the first such census taken), Daniel Bagg, Martin Bagg and Phineas Bagg were counted in Pittsfield while David’s other known son Joseph appeared in nearby Lanesborough.22 However, there two other Baggs for whom there are no baptismal records, but who lived in Pittsfield in the 1770s through 1790s. Elijah Bagg turned up in tax23 and marriage records and Daniel Bagg was listed as a soldier during the Revolution24 and in other records.
During the War of the American Revolution, Phineas, David, Martin and Daniel Bagg all fought with Pittsfield regiments, while Aaron marched from nearby Lanesborough and Joseph was a Lieutenant in a Berkshire company.25 A paper titled “The James Bagg Family of Lanesborough”, written in 1918 by William A. Cooper, husband of Mary Bagg, noted that, in 1776, David Bagg marched to Albany in Capt. William Francis’ company, “and his son Phineas went with him”.26 However, given that this was written more than 100 years later, this statement carries little weight.
The next record of Phineas was his intention to marry Pamela Stanley, dated 21 March 1780 in the vital records of Pittsfield.27 If he was born in 1751 he would have been 29 at the time. I did not find records of the baptisms of their children, nor did I find a mention of Pamela’s death in the church records.28
Times were tough in post-revolutionary Western Massachusetts, and Phineas was caught in a credit crunch. Because of his debts, he lost much of his property to pay off his creditors.29 He headed north with his four children and a new woman. By 1798, Phineas was an innkeeper in La Prairie, Lower Canada, where he and Ruth Langworthy had two children baptized in the local Catholic church.30
Finally, how are the dots between Phineas Bagg of Pittsfield connected to the man who was an innkeeper in La Prairie and died in Montreal? First, a search of databases available on ancestry.com and americanancestors.org indicates there was only one man named Phineas Bagg. Second, there is a record of Ruth Langworthy and her parents in Pittsfield.31 Third, when sons Stanley and Abner Bagg were baptized as Anglicans in Christ Church, Montreal in 1831, they both gave their birthplace as Pittsfield.32 In addition, in her 1856 will, Sophia Bagg Roy mentioned that Abner and Stanley were her brothers and Lucie Bagg was the “natural daughter of my father Phineas Bagg.”33
In conclusion, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Phineas Bagg was born in 1751 in Westfield, the son of David Bagg and Elizabeth Moseley, however, most of this evidence is indirect, from derivative sources and secondary information, so it is inconclusive. I found no evidence that conflicts with this hypothesis. The next step is to do more research on Pittsfield deeds to see whether David transferred any of his property to Phineas, and to see whether there are any other resources I have missed.
- Henry M. Burt, The First Century of the History of Springfield. The Official Records from 1636 to 1736, with an Historical Review and Biographical Mention of the Founders. Volume II. Springfield, Mass: printed and published by Henry M. Burt, 1899. p. 524.
- Ancestry.com. 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. (accessed Jan. 14, 2013)
- Ancestry.com. 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Original data: First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Year: 1790; Census Place: Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts; Series: M637; Roll: 4; Page: 483; Image: 526; Family History Library Film: 0568144. (accessed Jan. 14, 2013)
- Westfield, MA: Birth and Death Records. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Abstraction of original records, donated to NEHGS by Harold T. Dougherty. “Westfield Birth and Death Records as Obtained From the Files at City Hall, Westfield,” donated 1937) (accessed Jan. 13, 2013)
- Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). (accessed Jan 14, 2013)
- Springfield births: Vital Records of Springfield, Massachusetts to 1850. Boston, Mass.: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008.) (accessed Jan. 19, 2013)
- West Springfield: Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2010). (accessed Jan. 19, 2013)
- Ancestry.com. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin. (accessed Jan. 12, 2013)
- Westfield, MA: Baptisms Performed in the Church of Christ, 1679–1836 (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org, 2003.) (accessed Jan. 12, 2013)
- J.E.A. Smith, The History of Pittsfield, (Berkshire County,) Massachusetts, From the Year 1734 to the Year 1800. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1869. p. 125-128. http://books.google.ca/books?id=xKkaqbyW8ZwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=History+of+Pittsfield++Smith&hl=en&sa=X&ei=syD0UNmGFuri0QHY14CQBQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA (accessed Jan. 13, 2013)
- Smith. Ibid. p. 476
- West Springfield Deaths. Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database: AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2010). (accessed Jan. 19, 2013)
- Westfield, MA: Birth and Death Records. (Online database: AmericanAncestors.org New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003), (Abstraction of original records, donated to NEHGS by Harold T. Dougherty. “Westfield Birth and Death Records as Obtained from the Files at City Hall, Westfield,” donated 1937) (accessed Jan. 19, 2013)
- 19. William A. Cooper, “The James Bagg Family of Lanesborough, Mass” Conshohooken, Pa.: unpublished, 1918. p. 10
- Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook). (accessed Jan. 20, 2013)
- Ancestry.com. 1790 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Original data: First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.Year: 1790; Census Place: Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts; Series: M637; Roll: 4; Page: 483; Image: 526; Family History Library Film: 0568144. (accessed Jan. 14, 2013)
23. Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.) Original manuscript: Direct tax list of 1798 for Massachusetts and Maine, 1798. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA. (accessed Jan 14, 2013)
24. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1998. Original data: Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution. Vol. I-XVII. Boston, MA, USA: Wright and Potter Printing Co., 1896. (accessed Jan. 12, 2013)
25. Ibid. (accessed Jan. 12, 2013)
26. William A. Cooper, “The James Bagg Family of Lanesborough, Mass” Conshohooken, Pa.: unpublished, 1918.
27. Jay Mack Holbrook, Massachusetts vital records to 1850: Pittsfield, 1761-1899 [microform]. Oxford, Mass: Holbrook Research Institute, 1983.
28. Records of the First Church, Pittsfield, Mass. Rollin H. Cooke Collection. Berkshire County, Mass. Reel #2, vols 26 and 27.
29. Land records, Middle District, 1761-1925 Berkshire County [microform] Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1771, 1991.
30. Ancestry.com. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin. (accessed Jan. 14 2013)
31. William Franklin Langworthy, compiler, The Langworthy Family. Some descendants of Andrew and Rachel (Hubbard) Langworthy, who were married at Newport, Rhode Island November 3, 1658. Published by William F. and Orthello S. Langworthy, Charles St. Hamilton, N.Y.
32. Ancestry.com. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin. (accessed Jan. 14, 2013)
33. Labadie, Joseph-Augustin. 14278. 18 Mai 1856. Testament de Dame Sophia Bagg veuve de l’Honorable Gabriel Roy.
Have you ever wondered what mind mapping is all about? Members of the Quebec Family History Society Brick Walls Special Interest Group now know the basics, thanks to a presentation by one of their members, Cindy Kelly, at the SIG’s regular monthly meeting in February.
Cindy described a mind map as a diagram used to visually outline information. To make a mind map, you place a singe word or text in the middle of your page or screen and place associated words and concepts around it. You can link branches representing other words to each main branch. Using a different colour for each main branch will help you organize your thoughts.
SIG member Claire Lindell, a former teacher, commented that organizing material visually helps many people learn effectively. Mind mapping can also be used to help organize any kind of research problem.
Cindy listed a number of different websites that offer mind mapping tools, then went into detail about how to use one such site, www.Popplet.com.
Janice Hamilton showed how she is using Popplet to help with one of her genealogical brick walls. She put a photo of Henry Mulholland (born Ireland, 1809, died Montreal, 1887) at the center of the Popplet screen, then grouped questions she has about various aspects of his life around that photo: his unknown origins in Ireland, his addresses in Montreal over the years, his marriage and children, business ventures in the hardware field and banking, and reminders to look for cemetery records, an obituary and a will. She is using this mind map to generate new questions and ideas, and to keep track of her results.
Following the meeting, member Wendy Doran sent an e-mail to thank Cindy for the presentation. She wrote, “It has motivated me to get going already!”