Genealogy Alphabet Challenge – “D is for Details”


From the color of our eyes and the kind of music we listen to, to our morning routines and quirky habits, our lives are full of details, big and small. All these details make us who we are and of course, made our ancestors who they were.

Genealogy isn’t just about collecting names, growing your tree and following the family lines as far back as you can go. Genealogy is about discovering your ancestors; where and how they lived, what they looked like (if you are lucky!) and the experiences that shaped them.

These details are (to me) what makes the “hunt” exciting! You can find details, big or small in every document you read.

In land records you may discover family members, neighbours, plot numbers, acreage etc.

Church records can shine light on other family members, residence, birth, marriage and death dates, parent’s names, occupations etc.

Military records may show where your ancestor enlisted, who their next of kin is, where they lived, their previous work experience, medical histories as well as physical descriptions.

Books that were written in the time period your ancestor lived or about the place your ancestor lived in may not necessarily mention your ancestor but they can put your ancestor’s life into perspective. Social history books can tell the history of the area, major events that happened and important people in the community. These books can discuss customs, religion, occupations etc.

Newspapers, city directories, tax lists, immigration records, passenger records, border crossings, pension files are just a few of the records available that can contain details into your ancestor’s lives.

The most important thing is to not overlook a record group just because your ancestor isn’t mentioned directly. Clues can be found in many places that can lead to details about your ancestor’s lives.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Digging!



**Image is from***


Genealogy Alphabet Challenge – “C is for Church Records”

Church records are one of the most important resources when searching for our French- Canadian ancestors. The churches recorded everything from births and baptisms to communions, marriages, deaths and burials. The information in these church records are fantastic.

Birth and baptism records include the date that the child was born as well as the date that they were baptised. Parents of the child are listed as well as godparents and sometimes their relationship to the child. On occasion, the occupation of the father is listed, although this is more common in marriage records.

Marriage records include the date of marriage as well as the whether marriage bans were dispensed. Both the bride and groom are listed as well as each of their parents names, whether they were alive or deceased and the parish to which they belong. These records will tell if any of the subjects are widowed, whether they are minors and if there were any relationship between the bride and the groom (the degrees of cosanguinity. Witnesses to the marriage are also listed.

Communions records for me, have been harder to find as they are usually just a list of individuals and there is no specific date that they were done on.

Death and burial records include the name of the deceased, the date of death and the date of burial. They also list their spouse and whether or not they were widowed. The age at death is also listed as well as any witnesses to the burial.


Since the parents are listed (the women keep their maiden names), it is a lot easier to trace family lines further into the past.

I have included an example of a birth and baptism record as well as a death and burial record of my husband’s great-grandfather.



Paroisse St-Michel (St-Michel, Yamaska, Quebec), Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968, Francois Brouillard, B, folio quarante deuxième [penned]; digital images,, Ancestry ( : accessed 22 Apr 2017)


[Left Margin]

Le vingt deux Septembre mil huit cent trente
Par nous Prêtre ____ de cette paroisse soussigne a été bap
tise François ne aujourd·hui du lègitime marriage de Fran
çois Brouillard cultivateur du lieu et de Thérése Alexan
dre; parrain Louis Pépin, marraine Marie Alexandre
qui n’ont ___ signer : le père absent.
A _ [C?]. ______[Leclerc?] ____ [Ptre?]




Paroisse de l’Assomption (Maniwaki, Quebec, Canada),  Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968, Francois Brouillard, S.51, folio twenty-seven & twenty-eight [penned]; digital images,, Ancestry ( : accessed 23 APR 2017).


S. 51 [Left Margin]
Francois Brouillard [Left Margin]

Le vingt-huit août mil neuf cent onze [dark smudge]
a été inhumé dans le cimetiere de cette paroisse
le corps de François Brouillard, veuf de
Agnes Vanasse décédé ___ cette paroisse la v [veille?] [dark smudge]

[Next page]

à l’àge de quatre-vingt huit ans. Etaient
présents Joseph Dupuis et Michael Ryan
tous deux de cetter paroisse, qui not [n’ont?] declaré
ne savoir signer. Lectûre faite.
G. Bellemare ptre [superscript] ____


Thanks for reading!

Happy Digging!


1880 – 1885 Smallpox Outbreak, Maniwaki Indians – Page 1

While searching through the LAC-BAC catalogue for information relating to Maniwaki, I discovered a series of letters that were written by the Indian Agent, Charles Logue, about the smallpox outbreak that broke out in Maniwaki, Quebec between 1880 and 1885. Previously while researching, I found out that my husband’s great grandfather had 4 children that died between this time period, sometimes within the same month at varying ages. I believe that is could be what contributed to their deaths.

I have transcribed (to the best of my ability) the first letter that was sent to the Department of Indian Affairs. This collection has 55 items that I will be posting as I transcribe them.



[Top Right]


Maniwaki 10 Aug 80


[Circular Stamp]

Department of Indian Affairs

August 13 1880



[Diagonally written]



I beg to inform you that

The small pox has broken

out amongst the Indians of

my agency.  Ten or twelve have

already died. There were three

interments yesterday and one

today. The Tete de Boule’s and

many of the River Desert Indians

became terror stricken and cleared

off to the woods. The epidemic

is not spreading very fast and

if I can get the Indians to

exercise even ordinary cautions

which is very difficult. I think

the disease will soon be checked.

The greater number of those

who died were Tete de Boule’s.

No application has yet been

made to me for medical aid.

Several white families have

also caught the disease but very

few deaths has yet occured

amongst them. _______ is become more

alarming I will repost to you,

I have the honour

To be Sir

Your obedient Servant

Chas Logue

Ind Agent

The Honourable

The ________ General

Of Indian affairs



[Written sideways along left margin] [Ripped and torn]

______ _______ receipt ________ ask Mr. Logue when

reporting _______ [further?] on this matter (_____)

in the event of the spread of the disease

to be good enough to suggest to the Dept the

_______ _______ in his judgement, it will be

_______ to take _______ the _______ of _______



1880-1885 Smallpox Outbreak - Maniwaki - Page 2


Charles Logue (Maniwaki, Quebec) to Department of Indian Affairs, Letter, 10 Aug 1880; digital images, Government of Canada, “Red Series – Maniwaki Reserve – Outbreak of Smallpox,” Library and Archives Canada ( : accessed 21 MAY 2017)


Thanks for reading!

Happy Digging!


Genealogy Alphabet Challenge – “B is for BCG, The Board for Certification of Genealogists”

When I first started researching my family history, I did not know that this hobby of mine could actually be a profession for others. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered that there were actual ethics, guidelines and standards that had been set for genealogical research. The BCG or the Board for the Certification of Genealogists, I would say, are at the forefront of professional genealogist accreditations, and have been since 1964.

There is a wealth of information on their website including application information, work samples and a blog called “Springboard” that is updated on a regular basis.

A lot of genealogists will begin their portfolio requirements before they are officially “on the clock”, although their are some requirements to the portfolio which require information from the BCG that cannot be done until you have officially applied.

A great webinar that I have watched a couple times is on the Family Tree Webinars website. It is called “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation” presented by Judy G. Russell

Other webinars that are worth a look in regards to certification are:

“Thinking About Becoming a Board-certified Genealogist?” presented by Elissa Scalise Powell

“Educational Preparation for Certification: Many Paths to the Same Goal” presented by Angela Packer McGhie

Jill Morelli’s “Genealogy Certification: My Personal Journey” is a blog I recommend if you are interested at all in pursuing a certification in genealogy. Although Jill Morelli is now “off” the clock and has achieved her credential, her blog is full of her experiences as she prepared to submit her BCG portfolio.

Come back on Monday for the next letter in the Genealogy Alphabet Challenge. I will be writing a post on “C is for Church Records”.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Happy Digging!






“What is Social History and Why Should a Genealogist Care?”

I attended a webinar last night from the Minnesota Genealogical Society that was FANTASTIC!

Annette Lyttle presented “What is Social History and Why Should a Genealogist Care? Her presentation was chock full of interesting information and websites that we can utilize to learn more about our ancestors’ daily lives.

We all research the big life events such as wars and immigration, but the case studies that Annette used last night were interesting in that they examined our ancestors’ lives without using what is called “presentism”. It is important that we put their lives in the context of their “present” and not our “present”, if that makes any sense.

Once of the websites she recommended was Envision the Past. I was a bit hesitant in the fact that this website focusses on the Great Lake States and with my research being mainly based in French Quebec, I didn’t think the website would really offer me much.

I was happily surprised that the above website lead me to a book that was first  published in 1852 titled “Roughing it in the Bush” by Susanna Moodie. This is an account of her life as she immigrated and settled into life in her new home in Upper Canada during the 1830’s.

I read quite a few pages before bed last night and I can’t wait to go home and read some more. I think this book will give quite a bit of insight into the trials, tribulations and hopefully successes that my ancestors had while living in the bush.

I believe the webinar is now only available to members, but check out the above website and see if maybe you can find something that can help you put the lives of your ancestors into historical context.

Thanks for reading and happy digging!




Genealogy Alphabet Challenge – “A is for Archives”

Today begins the “Genealogy Alphabet Challenge” and I am going to start with “A is for Archives”.

Although the internet is chock full of amazing information on our ancestors and new things are being added everyday, nothing beats the records you can find after hours of scouring the documents contained in the archives!

I live in Ottawa, Ontario and I am lucky enough to live just minutes from the Library and Archives Canada on Wellington Street! I also live about 20 minutes away from the BanQ in Gatineau, Quebec. Since my research primarily deals with the French Canadians in Quebec I have been able to find ALOT of information by going to these archives.

I first visited LAC in 2008 (before I became interested in genealogy) when I was researching War Brides for a research paper I was doing for a women’s studies course in University. The library has 3 floors which consist of reference rooms, a genealogy and family history room, a restricted documents, textual documents and microform consultation room as well as a special collections consultation room. The staff are incredibly helpful, although busy at certain times of the day.  I love the fact that as long a you pre-order your materials, you are able to consult the documents until 11:00pm. This is really great for those of that are working throughout the day but dream all day about the next time we can research!


There are 12 BanQ locations, but the one I frequent is the Gatineau location.  This archive has been a gold mine of information for my French-Canadian ancestors. I would love to go to the main location in Montreal and one day I will. If you ever have the opportunity to visit any of the locations, I would take it! If you go online and find a document that you need but that are too far to visit yourself, they have amazing archivists that will find the document for you and email you a PDF version for a small fee.

Right now all of the material from the archives in Montcerf-Lytton have been moved to the Gatineau location while they are undergoing renovations. This is great for me  as Montcerf-Lytton is 2.5 hours from me and they have all the records I am interested in at this point in my research.

Don’t forget that archives are a very important tool that will have a wealth of information that you cannot find online!

Please come back on Thursday for the next letter in the Genealogy Alphabet Challenge. I will be writing a post on “B is for the Board for Certification of Genealogists”.

Happy Digging!


Genealogy Alphabet Challenge Begins Monday! *Updated*




Thanks for reading!


Happy April 1st!

I will be honest and say that I have been having problems finding things to write about on my blog that haven’t been done time and time again.

I was searching through Instagram and came across a fun idea that MadamAncestry was using. She calls it the “ABC Genealogy Challenge”. I thought that this would be a fun way to jumpstart some ideas for my blog, so I asked her if I could use her idea on my blog and she was kind enough to accept!

I thought that I would post every Monday and Friday and leave the rest of the week for other ideas that might come to mind that I would like to write about.

So starting on Monday, April 3, 2017 I will start with “A is for Archives”.

Please check back and play along if you would like!

Have a great day!