Sunday, March 18, 2018

Phase 1 1/2: The Acadiens

So, I've got about 25-30 Acadien familes (from generations 8 to 15) to do.

Not sure how successful this will be because there isn't quite the comprehensive indexing that there is for the Québec familes: some of them are in the PRDH, but typically not in Lafrance, although many are also in the GQAF.

The canonical material is from S.A. White published in 1999 but out of print.  A revised 10-volume set is in preparation but with no projected date of release. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

So - was my estimate right?

Way back when (May 2015), I estimated the number of great-aunts/uncles and 1st cousins N times removed there'd be in the tree based upon a calculated average of 5.8 children per family.

What I came up with was 1,673 aunts/uncles (when I started the project).   It ended up being 2,184.

Why the difference?   Some thoughts:

  1. The estimate was based on my mother's side of the family only.  Now while my father's branch of the family tree is meager in comparison, it does add a few dozen people.
  2. The estimate was based only on generations 3 through 10.   I actually ended up working out to generation 13 (although far from complete). 
So - now that I've done the 1st cousins N times removed (8,245 of them) - that ends up being short of the expected 9,760.   Why is that?

Two things, I think.   First in the estimate going from direct ancestors to aunts/uncles, we KNOW that each of them were married (they're grandparents, after all) whereas there's no guarantee that every child who is an aunt/uncle will also have children (some die early, others never marry, etc.).   Another effect is that single-marriage families might have children over a period of 20 years or more, multiple marriage families have a shorter window, which means fewer children per family.

Without looking at every aunt/uncle and removing all the cases where there are no children (code which I could write I suppose), getting an accurate measurement from the aunts/uncles to 1st cousins to estimate the family size for 2nd cousins would be difficult.

In any case, the ratio of 1st cousins to aunt/uncles is 3.8 instead of 5.8 which is essentially an "effective" family size (i.e., counting non-married people in as a family size of zero).

So - I suppose to zeroth-order, the estimate number of 2nd cousins (the C:X,3's on the tree) should be about 31,000 people.  Given that I seem to be able to add about 10K people/year,  I guess we should expect the next report on this to happen in Spring 2021.   :-)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Ancestry DNA kit was sent off 2/26.   Should come back in about 3-4 weeks.

My guess - based on what I have on the tree:

  1. About 50% English
  2. About 25% French
  3. About 25% Irish
Depending on how far back it gets, I expect to see some Viking, some Native Canadian, and some other central Europe (Germany, Spain, Italy).

What would be VERY interesting would be if this in any way helps me crack some of the dead-ends.

I guess we'll see.

Well, I've reached a milestone...

I've just finished cataloging every Québec ancestor, their children, and their grandchildren from my 4th great-grandparents (generation 6) all the way to the original settlers (generation 12 or 13, depending).

That's taken about 2 years. 

The tree now has 55,182 people on it.

It's quite complete.   The only major missing piece of the puzzle the long-standing question of who Céline Boulé/Laliberté's (generation 4) parents are. 

Now what?

I can start on the Acadiens.

Or I can start cataloging the great-grandchildren of ancestors (I estimate there are about 50,000 of them).

But I think first I'll do some analysis and statistics!

Friday, January 13, 2017

A New Resource (and it's FREE!)

Somehow (I forget what I was doing at the time) I stumbled upon the Généalogie du Québec et d'Amérique française website (   It appears to be a community-driven site to compile a single family tree of Québec ancestors.

I'm finding it extremely helpful!   For example:

  1. It shows birth/baptism and death/burial dates and locations;
  2. It shows parents and children;
  3. It has FAR better direct information for the immigrant generation and THEIR parents (and sometimes their grandparents) which neither the PRDH and esp. Tanguay do!  Some records even have links to images for 16th/17th French baptismal records!
  4. Most entries list their sources which makes it easier to confirm conflicting data.
But - as always - there are caveats:

  1. I've found mistakes - at the very least discrepancies with the PRDH; most of the time it appears to be people mixing up siblings.   However in one case it correctly identified a HUGE mistake I had made thinking that a 8th GGF was really two separate people (him and his son).   As always, it's best to be careful!
  2. It's completion is spotty, esp at that awkward era post-1780 when Tanguay's data evaporates, and you're at the edge of what the PRDH has complete.   
  3. It splits up the children for each couple into "married" and "not-married" for some reason.   I've found cases where a child was put into the latter category when I know they were actually married (this typically happens when the marriage is post-1800 - again that fringe of where the other archives are also less complete).
  4. Because this is community-driven - unless the references are on the record, it's not always certain whether the data are correct.   One of the areas that I'm mostly concerned about are place names.   I regularly find discrepancies - but I don't know if this is a case where a person was born in place X but the baptism record was registered in place Y (this is rather common), or if the person entering the record just has it wrong, or something else.  
In any case, it's speeding up the process of checking spouses to see if they're blood relatives, and I'm saving $$$ not having to hit the PRDH quite as often.

(In case there's anyone on the planet keeping track - which I doubt - I'm on family #95 of ~220 on the "get all of the Nth great-uncle/aunt families completely mapped".   I should post my workflow.)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Milestone Reached:  Person #40,000

Charles Prévost (1705-1743), a first cousin 10x removed {C:12,2}.

So it's taking about 1 year to get each 10,000 people.   Most of the ones added in the last year aren't actually blood relatives: they're ancestors of in-laws of relatives that I have to look up to determine whether or not someone along the way is a distant cousin.

But I trudge on, still working out all of the 1st cousins N times removed.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through that project.   Currently I'm on great-grandparent set #79 our of ~205.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


There are some odd things, etc. that I have run across in Tanguay, Drouin, and the PRDH.

  1. Sometimes, there are footnotes in Tanguay in death or burial entries "dans l'église".   I can't figure out the context of this:  does it mean they literally died in the church, or that they were buried within the church, or something else?   The burial records frequently say "buried in the cemetery of this parish" which stands to reason, but since Tanguay seemed to go out of his way to note this, it probably isn't something that should otherwise be obvious.
  2. Drouin records usually mentions consanguineous relationships, and sometimes there's an insert with the record of an actual document of dispensation (I suppose that's when one of the spouses is from a different parish than where the marriage is taking place) that are in Latin.

    However, I've run across situations where there is most-certainly a close relation between the husband and wife (e.g., second or third cousins) but there is NO mention of their relationship in the marriage record.  

    Was this just negligence on the part of either the church to do due diligence, or of the families to not inform the church of the relationship (and I suppose in some cases they didn't know, I suppose)? 

    I've also found dispensation documents that do NOT appear to bring up consanguinity, but my Latin is poor enough that I can't coax out what the underlying issue might've been.
  3. Drouin records will note the residence of parties, but not consistently.   I frequently find that while MOST of the children in a family are born in a single place (or there's an obvious relocation at some point), there's one or two children baptized in another place.   I know that sometimes this is because the local priest was not available immediately after the birth, and that families would go to a nearby church to have the child baptized.   But sometimes the location is NOT just "the next town over".   It seems weird to think there would be much traveling going on in the 1700's (or earlier) of women in late-term pregnancies, but I suppose it could be the case.
  4. What's the deal with Drouin records getting ages at death SO wrong SO often?   I've found situations where the baptism record is available (and sometimes in the same parish) but the age at death is 5 or more years off.   Strangely, marriage records tend to be closer to the mark - 1 or 2 years off at worst.
  5. Why do some people have a shift in given name?   I've seen several cases where someone named - say - "Marie-Marguerite" on their baptism record and marriage record(s) is listed as "Marie-Louise" on the burial record, even though it's clear from the record that I have the right person.
At some point I should try to sort these out.