Frog RootsWeb's Guide to
Tracing Family Trees

 

Guide No. 24

Chalkboafd

Canadian
 French-Canadian
Acadian
French

 

 

 

Flag
Canada GenWeb Project
Projet GenWeb du Canada

 

 

Ship

Pier 21 Society

 

 

American-French Genealogical Society

 

Ontario GenWeb Projects

 

 

Index to
Huguenots & Walloons

 

North
American
French

(French Canadians, Acadians, Crιoles, French Mιtis)
by John P. DuLong

 

 

Projet GenWeb
du Quιbec

 

 

Acadian GenWeb

 

Acadian-Cajun

 

 

Index to Ontario Loyalists

 

 

Maritime History of the Great Lakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyndi's List

Canada

Canada 411
White pages

Canada's
ROOTS-L Resources

 

FlagFrance
All things
French-connected

 

 

Acadian, Cajun & Creole

Printer Friendly Version

 

 

Canadian | French-Canadian |Acadian | French

FlagOh, Canada!

It is said that the past is a foreign country and they do things differently there. Genealogists soon discover not only were things done different in the past, but familiar words had other meanings and place-name hazards abound. For researchers wading into Canadian waters in search of ancestors, be careful. For like the apocryphal "Here be Dragons!" warnings on old maps, trouble may lurk in many areas.

If great-grandmother said she was born in "Upper Canada" — where that was? In 1791 the British split the colony in two called Lower Canada and Upper Canada. Each had its own legislature and its own (quite different) civil law codes and rules of land tenure. The Province of Canada existed from 10 Feb. 1841 to 30 June 1867. It joined Upper and Lower Canada but these two regions were referred to as Canada East and Canada West — and sometimes simply as The Canadas.

Then in 1867 the Canadas again became separate provinces, Quebec and Ontario. Also that year the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick agreed to join together and on 1 July 1867 the Dominion of Canada came into being. These dates are important to family historians because references to Upper and Lower Canada indicate a date before 1841; references to Canada West and Canada East means sometime between 1841 and 1867, and any reference to Ontario implies a time after 1867. When someone born before 1867 told an American census taker that they were "born in Canada" they usually meant Ontario, but might mean Quebec. 

If geographical and political boundary changes were not enough, Canadian researchers must deal with the use of alias, dit and nicknames. An alias or nickname can be a wonderful identifier of individuals, especially when it gives some place association or physical attribute.

In Scottish settlements one finds these aliases or nicknames attached to the given name, so you might find your ancestor identified as "Black" Donald McDonald, but if you are really lucky, your immigrant Donald McDonald might be called Donald McDonald (Greenfield) — that being the place he came from in Scotland.

In French Canada some identifying names became surnames. In France, de or d'  implies land ownership (though often tiny areas) so you may find your ancestor wound up with the name of a locality in France for a surname that has been handed down. French soldiers often had nicknames or noms de guerre, which were passed down to descendants. Settlers sometimes were identified by their French province of origin or some personal trait. The term usually found in Quebec is dit — meaning "called." Sometimes alias is used instead of dit. Dit names can complicate your research, but sometimes can help you identify your ancestors.

Flag For a guide to research in Canadian sources, obtain a copy of the Family History Library's Canada Research Outline
Flag Canada GenWeb Project  (English)  / Projet GenWeb du Canada (Francais)
Flag Canada's Geographical Names
Flag Canadian History Directory: Metis Nation: A Complete History, 1600-1900; New France History, 1398-1900; and more
Flag Library and Archives Canada
Flag Canadian Military Heritage Project
Flag Canadian Immigration
Flag Early Canadiana Online
(Notre Mιmoire en ligne)

Flag French Connections.

If you have French roots, you may be able to trace your family back many generations, for this country has excellent genealogical records. The French have a system that maintains a permanent record of an individual during her or life. In the registers of birth, marriage and death records, kept in the local town halls (called mairies) are wide margins — used for notes to be added later about the individual. However, there is a 100 years law governing information that can be given to an inquirer. To obtain a birth certificate, for example, you will have to prove you are the person named on the certificate, or descend from that person. If the record you want is more than 100 years old, you can write for it.

Flag  FranceGenWeb 

FlagFrench civil registration records start in 1792. The records are located in the town or village of origin, with a copy, since about 1870, also in the Archives Departementales (regional branches, similar to U.S. counties). Both repositories have yearly and 10-year indexes to vital records. Church registers are in the Archives Departementales up to 1792 and since that date in the individual churches. Many have been indexed. In these records you will find baptisms, marriages, burials, confirmations and banns. Protestant registers — the Lutheran ones date back to 1525 and the Calvinists from 1559 — are similar to the Catholic ones. However, the location of these registers is scattered. Some are still in local church, some in mairies (town halls), some in Archives Departementales, and some in the Library of the Protestant Historical Society (Societe d'Histoire du Protestantisme Francais) in Paris.

FlagAmong the most valuable sources in France are the notarial archives (Les Archives des Notaires). Some notarial documents date back to the 12th century, but most to the mid-16th century. These notarial records contain marriage settlements or contracts, inventories after death, and the inheritances of land and property. The latter give full details of the heirs and descendants. Your ancestor may appear in emigration records (Registres d'Emigres). These date from about 1788 to the present and list all those granted permission to emigrate. Records give place and date of birth, address, occupation, physical description, and name of family members traveling with the person listed. The intended destination is also included.

Flag The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City has more than 100,000 reels of microfilm pertaining to France. The vast majority of this collection consists of primary genealogical sources — civil and church registers, and some court or notarial records. Almost all the records are in French, of course. The early Catholic church records are in Latin. If your ancestors left from the Alsace region between 1817 and 1866 be sure to check the emigration records available at the FHL. A card index to these records has been microfilmed. 

Flag France Research Outline with letter-writing guide and French genealogical word list.


 Canadian | French-Canadian |Acadian | French

Fleur de LisFrench-Canadian Ancestors
If you are a second- or third-generation descendant of French-Canadian ancestors locate all living members of your family and obtain as much oral history as possible. It is from these relatives that you will discover the information that will aid your successful search in  in American and Canadian records, which will lead you back to France.

Immigration into America by French-speaking Canadians began as early as the 17th century. However, it was not until 1871 that the large migration began. Between 1871 and 1901 approximately two million are believed to have come to the U.S. from French Canada, mostly from Quebec. There were French-Canadian settlements in the Midwest, particularly in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, but the majority of French-Canadian immigrants went to New England. 

If you trace your family back to Quebec, the marriage records, which are for the most part Catholic church records, will give you the name of the parents of both the bride and bridegroom.

Father Cyprian Tanguay published several volumes of the genealogies of early French-Canadian families.  Consult his seven-volume work entitled Dictionnaire Genealogique de Families Canadiennes. Rene Jette revised Tanguay Dictionary.

Dictionnaire Genealogique des Families du Quebec Des Origines a 1730 is a genealogical dictionary of the families of Quebec from the beginning of the colony to the year 1730. It was published by Les Presses de l'universite de Montreal.

Ball French-Canadian Quebec Genealogy

 

Flag The Acadians were French settlers of eastern Canada who were exiled from their land in the 1750s. The Cajuns are their descendants who settled in Louisiana. 

Ball Acadian-Cajun with more than 500 pages at this website includes separate sections on Acadian and Cajun genealogy. See below for the Acadian-Cajun Mailing List.


RootsWeb's Incredible Mailing Lists 

 

How to Subscribe and Unsubscribe

It's easy — just click on the list you want. When the "mail-to" window pops up, write just the single word "subscribe" (without the quotes) in the body of the message. That's all. Turn off any automatic signature or html/MIME/stationery coding.

If you want to unsubscribe from a list, click on it and write just the single word "unsubscribe" (without the quotes) in the body of the message. That's all. Turn off any automatic signature lines or html/MIME/stationery coding.

 Canadian | French-Canadian |Acadian | French

Flag Canada

  • UPPER-CANADA-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Upper Canada, the region split from the Province of Quebec after the American Revolution, including its history and settlement by Loyalists and British and German soldiers, up to and including the year 1867. Upper Canada is now the Province of Ontario.

  • SURNAMES-CANADA-M — Gatewayed with the soc.genealogy.surnames.canada newsgroup for surname queries related to Canada.

  • CAN-PCGHS-L — A mailing list for the members of the Pictou County Genealogical & Historical Society (PCGHS), Nova Scotia, Canada, to discuss Society activities and assist Society members in their research efforts. Individuals interested in joining the Society should visit the PCGHS webpage at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nspcghs/

  • CANADA-CENSUS-CAMPAIGN-L — A mailing list for the discussion of efforts to have post-1901 Census information in Canada released to the Public. This list will not be used for Census lookups or related inquiries.

  • GEN-FF-L — Gatewayed with the fr.rec.genealogie newsgroup for the discussion of Francophone genealogy — the genealogy of French-speaking people (traffic probably mainly in French).

  • ACADIAN-CAJUN-L — A mailing list for anyone with Acadian-Cajun ancestry worldwide.

  • CAN-ORANGE-L — A mailing list for persons interested in the genealogy, culture, and history of persons who came to Canada as members of the Orange Association and their descendants and followers. 

  • IRISH-CANADIAN-L — A mailing list for anyone interested in the genealogy, culture, and historical contribution of people who immigrated from Ireland to Canada. 

  • QC-ETANGLO-L — A mailing list for anyone researching Anglo-Protestant roots within any of the 11 Quebec, Canada counties that make up the Eastern Townships (i.e., Arthabaska, Brome, Compton, Drummond, Megantic, Missisquoi, Richmond, Shefford, Sherbrooke, Stanstead, Wolfe).

  • CANADIAN-ULSTER-SCOTS-L — A mailing list for the exchange and discussion of the genealogy, culture and history of Canada's Ulster Scots, those persons who came to Canada from the North of Ireland whose ancestors were from Scotland. 

  • ALBERTA-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in the Province of Alberta, Canada.

  • LUNEN-LINKS-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in Lunenberg County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  • QBC-MONTREAL-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. While no translations will be provided, subscribers are encouraged to correspond in the language of their choice.

  • NEWBRUNSWICK-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick.

  • NB-GRANDMANAN-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada.

  • NFLD-ROOTS-L — A mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding genealogy, culture, history and folklore for the Province of Newfoundland Canada.

  • NFLD-LAB-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical and local history interest in the Canadian Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • NOVA-SCOTIA-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in Nova Scotia, Canada.

  • NS-CAPE-BRETON-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. See also: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nscpbret/cbgenwb.html.

  • CAN-NS-PICTOU-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  • ONTARIO-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in Provence of Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-ALGOMA-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Algoma District, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-BRANT-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Brant County, Ontario, Canada.

  • DUFFERIN-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Dufferin County, Ontario, Canada. See also:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onduffer/dufferin.html.

  • ONDURHAM-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Durham County, Ontario, Canada. 

  • CAN-ONT-ESSEX-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Essex County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-GREY-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Grey County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-HALDIMAND-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Haldimand County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-HALTON-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Halton County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-HURON-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Huron County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-KENT-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Kent County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-LAMBTON-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Lambton County, Ontario, Canada.

  • ONT-LEEDS-GRENVILLE-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the "united counties" of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-WENTWORTH-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the region of Hamilton-Wentworth, Ontario, Canada (formerly known as Wentworth County).

  • CAN-ONT-MIDDLESEX-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada.

  • NIAGARA-ONT-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-NORFOLK-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada.

  • ONT-STORMONT-DUNDAS-GLENGARRY-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in the "united counties" of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry in eastern Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-WATERLOO-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-WELLINGTON-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Wellington County, Ontario, Canada.

  • CAN-ONT-YORK-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in York County, Ontario, Canada.

  • PEI-ROOTS-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

  • PEI-GREENWICH-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in and around the neighborhood villages of Greenwich, Cablehead, Morell and St Peter's, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

  • QUEBEC-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Canadian Province of Quebec, not limited to French settlers but including all other contributing immigrants from Europe and other countries and, in particular, the influx of Loyalists and Hessian soldiers during and after the American Revolution. Postings can be in English or French.

  • CAN-SASKATCHEWAN-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

  • CAN-MB-WINNIPEG-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Winnipeg District, Province of Manitoba, Canada.

  • ACADIAN-CAJUN-L — A mailing list for anyone with Acadian-Cajun ancestry worldwide.

  • AFGS-AFGNEWS-L — A read-only mailing list for members of the American-French Genealogical Society (AFGS) or anyone interested in AFGS activities who would like an electronic version of the AFGnewS that is sent bi-monthly by postal mail to members. The AFGS is a genealogical and historical organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the French-Canadian culture. See also:  http://www.afgs.org.

  • GERMAN-CANADIAN-L — A mailing list for the discussion of issues concerning the settlement of German speaking immigrants coming from anywhere to Canada. The list is a forum for historical and genealogical questions, and sharing of information regarding Germans in Canada and their descendants.

GRDB-L — A mailing list for the discussion of genealogy databases containing German-Russians and their descendants, being developed by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russian (AHSGR), and the village research coordinators that work with AHSG.


Canadian | French-Canadian |Acadian | French

FlagFrance

  • GEN-FF-L — Gatewayed with the fr.rec.genealogie newsgroup for the discussion of Francophone genealogy — the genealogy of French-speaking people (traffic mainly in French).

  • GEN-FR-L — Gatewayed with the soc.genealogy.french newsgroup for the discussion of Francophone genealogy — the genealogy of French-speaking people.

  • ALSACE-LORRAINE-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in Alsace-Lorraine.

  • KESKASTEL-ALSACE-BOSSUE-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Keskastel, Bas-Rhin region region of France and its inhabitants since the 1600s.

  • HUGUENOT-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the Huguenots. The Huguenots were French Protestants from the 16th and 17th centuries, many of whom migrated to other countries due to religious persecution.

  • HUGUENOTS-WALLOONS-EUROPE-L — A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in the research of Huguenots and/or Walloons in Europe. For the purposes of this list, Europe includes all of continental Europe as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  • METIS-L — A mailing list for Metis descendants, those who have mixed Native American and European (principally French) ancestry.

  •  

Canadian | French-Canadian |Acadian | French

 

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Books Suggested Reading
& References

Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your Canadian Roots. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3rd edition, 1999.

Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your European Roots. (Second Edition). Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1994.

Douglas, Althea, M.A., CG. Here be Dragons! Navigating the Hazards found in Canadian Family Research. Toronto: The Ontario Genealogical Society, 1996.  New England Historic Genealogical Society.

 

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Dot RootsWeb Guides to Tracing Family Trees are written & compiled by professional genealogists Julia M. Case, Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG & Rhonda McClure

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