Digging in! 

On Wednesday afternoon after a long day at work, I rushed home to check the mail for my package that contained this!

Unfortunately, when I received it, it was very damaged with the front and back cover almost completely off the book ūüė¶ I contacted Amazon and they sent me a new copy out the very next day. I received my new copy on Friday and had plans to dig into it this weekend!
I was not able to get to it until this evening as my sisters’ turned 16 yesterday and we spent the day celebrating!

I went through this book with post-its to mark the citations that will help with Canadian records (as that is where I primarily research).

This book is huge and it is a gold mine of information! Even if you do not aspire to be a professional genealogist this book will still serve you well for your personal genealogy as well!

I will be watching DearMyrtle’s study group on Youtube based on the first two chapters of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained.

I am very excited to delve deeper into this book and start keeping proper source citations for all the records and information I find and have found in the past. My tree is a mess and I am putting everything aside and “starting over”.

I just received this book, but from what I have read of it so far and from the reviews of others, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book to add to your genealogy resources!

Have a Great Day!



Genealogy Day!

Browsing through today’s “Genealogy Blogging Beat” over at GeneaBloggers, I noticed that today is Genealogy Day!

Genealogy Day has only been around since 2013 when the Christ Church, United Presbyterian and Methodist in Limerick, Ireland got together to celebrate the church’s 200th anniversary.

There are quite a few things you can do to celebrate Genealogy Day:

  1. Start your own family tree.
  2. Volunteer to index records.
  3. Join a genealogical society.
  4. Watch webinars to gain more knowledge in the field of genealogy (see my post about My Top Ten Favourite Legacy Family Tree Webinars).
  5. Teach someone else how to get started tracing their family tree.
  6. Spend time with family telling them what you have discovered.
  7. Spend a day in your PJs with a nice cup of tea, coffee (or a stiff drink, if your ancestors are giving you problems!) and break down a brick wall or start a new line. Do whatever part of your family research that gets you excited!

As for me, I will be spending half of my day doing #7 while having a webinar playing in the background (So many to choose from) and then I will be celebrating my mom’s birthday with our family!

Sounds like a perfect way to enjoy Genealogy Day!

Have a great day!


I Found a Gem!

Although it doesn’t hold very much information in regards to children and spouse(s). It does add some interesting information to a lady that has been a mystery to me.

This morning as I was signing up for my yearly membership at the Gatineau Valley Historical Society, I came across a database called the “Text Bank”. Just as I usually do when I come across a new database, I type in the surname “MERCIER” and see what it pulls up. This time when I tried that, I hit gold!

I found the obituary for my husband’s aunt! I know, it is not that far back in the past and that we should have living relatives that remember her and that can tell us things about her, but in our family that is not the case. Sure, her two sisters are still with us and her daughter and grandchildren, nieces and nephews etc. are still alive who remember her, but all the stories I have heard have not put her in the best light.

I will not get into details regarding what I have heard about her as a person as I may have family that read this blog and I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

So back to the obituary that I found this morning. I have not been able to find a birth or baptism record for her as the parish records that I have access to on Ancestry.ca only go up to 1941. I will be making a research trip to the area to research various people in the summer though!

The pieces of information that I have pulled from this obituary that I find interesting are as follows:

  1. She passed away on her nephew’s (my husband) birthday.
  2. She was a friend of St. Joseph’s Women’s Center (which further research has shown was a women’s homeless shelter).
  3. She was buried in Oak Cemetery (I have always been told that she was buried in a different cemetery in common ground).
  4. Her middle name provides a bit more evidence into a family rumour that her father was not really the husband of her mother, but of another man that her mother was seeing while her husband was away in the Second World War.


MERCIER, Cecile Pauline Obituary

I have many more questions than I did before and alot more research to do. Hopefully this summer I will be able to put the rumor to rest by finding her birth/baptism record with her date of birth and analyzing her mother’s husband’s (the man who should be her father) war records to find out if he was “on leave” at or around the time of conception. Who knows what the birth/baptism record will state. Also I would like to know why she was at a women’s homeless shelter as well as where exactly she was buried in Oak Cemetery and who paid for the obituary and burial.

The joy of genealogy research!

Have a great day!




My Top Ten Favourite Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Legacy Family Tree Webinars state that they have 477 classes and 662 hours of instruction. For a small monthly fee (if that is what you prefer) or a yearly fee, you can have access to all of these classes and their handouts.

I can say that having a membership is well worth it! You can learn so much from the leaders in Genealogical Research and I am grateful to them for taking the time to teach what they have learned and offer those lectures to us.

It was VERY difficult to narrow the lectures that I have watched down to my top ten!

I listen to these webinars when I am at my day-job and it is quiet, but for the most part these webinars get me through the long commute home (much to the chagrin of my data plan!)

Here is my top ten list in no particular order (that wouldn’t be fair, would it?):

10) Writing Up Your Research – Michael J. Leclerc, CG.

9) The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments into the Genealogical Narrative – Jeanne Bloom, CG.

8) Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Genealogy Puzzles With Clues You Already Have – James M. Baker, PhD, CG.

7) Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation – Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL.

6) Proof Arguments – How to Write Them and Why They Matter – Warren Bittner, CG.

5) Complex Evidence – What Is It? How Does It Work? And Why Does It Matter? – Warren Bittner, CG.

4) Expanding Your Research From A Single Fact – Marian Pierre-Louis

3) Ten Genealogical Lessons I Learned The Hard Way – Warren Bittner, CG.

2) Problem Solving With FANS – Beth Foulk

1) Pointing Fingers at Ancestors’ Siblings – Breaking Down Brick Walls with Collateral Research – Marian Pierre-Louis

I have not dove into DNA yet, but I plan to do that in the coming months. I am sure the webinars on DNA will teach me alot and I am looking forward to branching out!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!






Mme. Catherine Brouillard – My Longest, Most Frustrating “Brick Wall”

I am definitely still considered a “baby” in genealogical research compared to the Greats (Warren Bittner, Thomas W. Jones, Elizabeth Shown Mills etc.) so I know that brick walls can be unbreakable for many more years than mine.

Catherine Brouillard is my husband’s 2nd great grandmother and also a woman that I have been captivated by since the beginning of my family history journey. I am not sure why this woman has stuck out in my mind for so long. I have researched many, many family members but I keep coming back to her!

Catherine Brouillard was born on August 4, 1865 in Maniwaki, Quebec, Canada to parents Francois Brouillard and Mary Agnes Vanasse. She was baptised on August 5, 1865 and was the couple’s fifth child. Her godparents were Antoine Pakinawatik and his wife, Genevieve. ¬†Antoine Pakinawatik was the first Chief of the River Desert Reserve in Maniwaki. Further research has shown that during his time as Chief (between 1854 and 1874) he was the godfather to only 10 children (8 boys and 2 girls). 7 of these children had parents of Native descent. I have been unable to find any evidence that explains what ties Catherine’s family had with the Algonquin band.


7 more children were born to Catherine’s parents between 1865 and 1882.

All twelve children born to Francois Brouillard and Marie Agnes Vanasse are as follows:


The family all stayed pretty close to Maniwaki, only moving to surrounding areas such as Egan and Kensington, even to the River Desert Reserve.

Catherine was married on April 14, 1886 to Aime Alphonse Mercier who lived in Maniwaki as well but was originally from St. Michel de Bellechasse, Quebec.

Marriage Record - Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collectio(2)

Their marriage bore 6 children as follows:


In March 1906, Catherine’s husband, Aime Alphonse Mercier dies. In September of 1906 she married Frank Commandant.

Once she marries her second husband is when I lose her and her 2 youngest children. I have not been able to track the 4 of them into the 1911 Census of Canada. I tried to use the FAN method. I thought that I would try to track her second husband’s children from his first marriage with the assumption that he would stick close to his children. That did not work as all of his children (8 I believe) all died young,with his first wife dying months after their last child.

Catherine, Frank and her two youngest children show back up in the 1921 Census on the Reserve in Maniwaki.

They are then lost again and I have not been able to track down her death or Frank’s death.

My husband’s mother was born in 1937 and remembers as a very young child, visiting her grandmother on the Reserve and eating bear. This means that she must have been living into the 1940’s. I am hoping the 1930’s census will be able to shed some more light, but until then, she will continue to hide from me and I will keep searching.

I am sure I am missing something. I would appreciate any feedback or comments that you have!

Have a great day!



How I Have Been Using Evernote For My Genealogy Research

When I first started researching my family history, I quickly started to collect mounds of papers and documents and I was getting overwhelmed with how fast everything was piling up. I looked to the internet for information on how to get started and the best ways to organize all the information that I was starting to hoard! There were SO many different systems that I read about, but none of them quite fit what I was looking for. I tried filing by the 4 colors, but I would always get confused as to what color went with which surname and where to move the folders when a person got married etc. I tried binders and filing by document (birth/baptism, marriage, death/burial, census records, land records etc) but I found that while working on one ancestor, I needed ALOT of room to spread out the binders so that I could reference each one as I was working. I would start to take pages out and they would never make it back to their proper spaces at the end of the session and I ended up with a mismatched pile anyways! What was the point of being organized?

About a year and a half ago I found Colleen Greene’s website at http://www.colleengreene.com. Once I read through her posts on “Evernote for Genealogy” I started to get excited about organizing again! Her system was one that I could work with and tweek to my liking. A system that clicked for me!

And so it began. Several years of research had to be imported while some documents still needed digitization. I got to work and this is what I came up with.

I took the templates from Colleen Greene’s website and modified them a bit to work for me.





Each person in my family has their own “Person Notes”. It starts with their name followed by birth year and death year (if confirmed). Underneath that are two links. One that takes me to their research log (in excel) and the other to their family groups sheets (also in excel) that includes a timeline in chronological order.

I tag each person with their surname, MRIN number, RIN number and whether they are a direct ancestor or a collateral ancestor.

On the same page underneath this chart, I include a “Question” section with checkboxes for all the questions that I think of as I am researching. Once they are answered I check, it off and continue on my way.

Underneath that I have each record that I have found for the individual transcribed or abstracted. Since most of my records are in French, I also include my English translation of each record.

I will also add maps where I have pinpointed each location and what happened in each location.maniwaki-and-surrounding-areas-map

Next, if you are still with me (which I hope you are!) each record that provides evidence of an event or detail is notelinked (in green) beside the event or detail in the “Person Notes”.

You can click on a notelink and it will take you to that record.


I include a complete source citation as well as a tag for record type, location, surname and RIN. I will then include a tag that states what still needs to be done to the record.

Transcriptions, abstracts or translations are also copied and pasted below their record.

All my documents are notelinked back to the “Person Notes” and all “Person Notes” have a link to the records.

The “Master Genealogy Index” brings me to a list of everyone that I have in Evernote. When I am in the index I can just click on an individual and I am brought to their “Person Notes”.


I have stacks in my Evernote for my Genealogy files, History files (this includes all information I have found on certain locations or events that may have impacted my ancestors) and Resources (this includes extra information on each record type).

My system is always evolving, but I hope that if you have been stuck trying to figure out an organization system that works for you, you can come away from this post with some ideas!

Thanks for sticking with this very long post and I hope you come and visit again!

Have a great day!