Yes, we are all connected with our trees, and the web makes it so you can get lost as one page connects to the next and to the next… We genealogists are so curious, we can lose entire days brousing. But sometimes at the end of a treck, you hit what you didn’t know you were looking for but needed anyways.
Fumbling around Facebook today, I found lots I wasn’t looking for. On the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan Facebook Page, I discovered Katherine R Willson’s social media genealogy page as I was following a lead historical and genealogical Facebook pages. YES! Browse throught the list and you may mingle with the right crowd gen-buffs on Facebook: the ones that can help you, the ones where cousins may be hiding, and the ones to keep on getting lost through genealogical maze on the web. You may download the Facebook list but please keep the credits on each page.
Want to know more about genealogy, art and military family support? Those are KATHERINE R. WILLSON’s favorite topics and she is writing a book about the use of Facebook as a genealogical research tool. Member of many historical and genealogical societies, she is also a mixed media artist. To know more about talks she gives, go to her social media genealogy page .
Facebook nous permet de rejoindre bien des gens, mais Katherine R. Willson nous aide a trouver ceux qu’on cherche: ceux qui peuvent nous aider ou des cousin. Vous pouvez rencontrer cette conférencière sur sa page social media genealogy page . La généalogie, le support de familles militaires et les arts sont ses sujets préférés.
You may approach genealogical research like you would fishing — and just to bring it back to French-Canadians — ICE-fishing (OK I wrote the ICE word, but it’s going to warm up today!). Instead of fishing with one rod, you set up as many lines as you can. The limit is how many you can check at a time… and how many holes you can dig before you are so hot you strip down to your t-shirt.
This is just what a cousin did:
2001, Welland, Ontario: she sends on RootsWeb * a querry about my great-aunt Simone Viau-McDuff. And waits.
2011, Laval, Québec: I’m poking around the web, put in Simone’s name into Google and find her message. Wow! For sure it’s the same person, but… the message is 10 years old! No one keeps their e-mail address for that long. Too bad!
Still, I send my line to the water and reply. Next day, I get a reply.
Geraldine, daughter of my grandfather’s cousin, was jumping up and down in her living room when she got my message (just like I was when I got hers).
Like many Quebecers during the 20th century, her grandfather Philias Viau , had moved from Lachine to work in the Niagara region around 1904. He was my great-grandfather J. Francis Viau’s brother. They lost their French, but there are still some Wellanders that don’t speak English. The Welland canal was of great importance as a link between Lakes Erie and Ontario. Many industries flourished along the canal, like The Electro Metallurgical Company unit of Union Carbide where Philias worked.
I went to visit Geraldine by train, learned about the region, met some great people. Among them, Renée Tetrault, a founding member of the Welland Branch of the Franco Ontarien Society of History and Genealogy now known as the Réseau du patrimoine franco-ontarien. Renée has served for more than thirty years as the expert who assists researchers at their Centre for Research in the Welland Public Library. She will describe the extensive holdings of their library in and offer suggestions for researching in Quebec.
Which leads me to introduce this French-Canadian resource: there are six regional centers in Ontario. Three times a year they publish Le Chainon (paper or digital). They have quite a few online resources (Ontario and other provinces including Quebec, and even American parishes) available to members, among which transcribed notarial records, BMS, cemetaries, family histories, cities and towns, census, archive guides, and a lot more.
Two things to remember:
When part of a family moves away, news and pictures are exchanged to keep in touch. Geraldine had pictures of my Montreal family that I had never seen and letters writen by my direct ancestors. The jewel: a cash book kept when Philias’ father Onesime Viau died in Lachine, where all spendings (lots of prayers in church) and income (rents) were described along with after-death inventory and each child’s share of inheritance. The two of us were able to piece together family stories that individually we couldn’t figure out and dentify people on each other’s pictures. Finding cousins will help you go up your tree in surprising ways.
The other, send a lot of lines out, keep a log, follow up, but be patient. Be courteous, some will never bite, some are not interested. But dream big, don’t be stopped by logic and expect anything…fish come in many shapes and sizes, and even as messages in bottles.
* Rootsweb was one of the first online free cooperative genealogical resources. Ancestry has picked it up, but we can still go into archives or free.
At the Quebec Family History Society’s (QFHS) Brick Wall Solutions special interest group meeting last night, member Geneviève Rosseel led the meeting and made a terrific presentation about how to use newspapers to search for ancestors. Geneviève’s presentation included a handout she had put together that listed webinars, books, magazines, preservation techniques, Society resources, and 12 pages of newspaper websites.
The Brick Wall Solutions group, also known as the Brickers, is one of four special interest groups that QFHS members have formed where like-minded people get together to share ideas and solutions. The Brickers group is the largest and an excellent example of how genealogists work together to learn from each other. Each month, a member volunteers to lead a meeting and talk on one topic. Topics range from creating a research log to genealogical proof standards to mind mapping.
The Society’s other special interest groups are Family History Writing, the French Connection, and Newfoundland and Labrador Research Interest. More information is available on the Society’s website.
Here are some of Geneviève’s favourite websites:
1. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec for Quebec newspapers –