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 (http://www.nosorigines.qc.ca).   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

Questions...

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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

OK - Strap Yourself In - This Gets Complicated

So:  once upon a time there were two people in love:  Michel Lebeuf (c1710-c1764) and my 7th great-grand aunt Madeleine Tessier (1720-1798).   They married in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade in 1739 and had 12 children.  Three died at birth, and 8 of the remaining 9 children married.

The youngest six of them have the most complicated inter-married relationships I have discovered thus far.


(Click to enlarge.)



Madeleine's father, Pierre Tessier (7th great-grandfather, 1698-1727) was a third-generation Québecois.  Three of Madeleine's cousins (of uncle René) among them had 4 children (all second cousins to each other) who each married one of Madeleine's children.

First, Angélique marries second cousin Jean-Baptiste Morand (son of Madeleine's cousin Marie) in 1777.   Just over a year later, younger sister Marie-Joseph marries Pierre Tessier, son of Madeleine's cousin Pierre-René (who is cousin Marie-Joseph's older brother).  Next Alexis marries Madeleine Vallée whose mother is Madeleine's cousin Marguerite, younger sister of Pierre-René and twin sister to Marie-Joseph!  (I find myself VERY curious if they were fraternal or identical twins...).  Finally, youngest daughter Madeleine (1757-1846) marries Basile (son of Pierre-René) in 1782.

So all of them have the common ancestor Édouard Tessier (1677-1750, 8th great-grandfather) in common.

But it gets even more complicated when you add Édouard's father Mathurin Tessier (1630-1703) into the mix.

Édouard has a sister Marie-Jeanne (b. 1685) who is an 9th great-grand aunt.   She marries Jean-Baptiste Gervais in 1700 (at age 14!) and has a son Pierre in 1701 (who is a 1st cousin 9x removed).   He marries Elisabeth Vallée (b. 1703) and through two of their children: Françoise — born 1737 — and Louis-Joachim we reach the two other children of Madeleine Tessier, but in slightly different ways.   Joachim marries Geneviève Lebeuf in 1771, which makes them 2nd cousins 1x removed.  Joachim's sister Françoise marries Louis Maillot (1739-) and it's their daughter Françoise (1762-) who marries Pierre(her 3rd cousin) in 1780.

Fortunately the eldest two sons, Michel and Joseph didn't marry into this web (that I can tell), and daughter Marie-Joseph (#1, for some reason they named two of their daughters Marie-Joseph) either died young (before Marie-Joseph #2 was born; the recycling of names is common, and to me a very strange custom), or was an old maid.

Nonetheless, if you happen to see this and lean that Madeleine is a direct ancestor of yours, you just might want to do some DNA screening...  Just sayin'.    I have no idea what inter-marrying happens in the NEXT generation (I probably won't get to the second-cousins N times removed until late 2017 at the earliest), but I think I'd be a little "concerned" if history repeats itself.




Friday, March 4, 2016

More marriage weirdness - Noël Barabé (c1669-1747)

As I'm going through the family tree, I'm frequently surprised by the intricate circumstances of marital relationships I encounter.   We're continually fed this idea that live was MUCH simpler in days gone by, and that the norm was that one man married one woman for life, in comparison to the norms of today where people marry, divorce, raise families outside of marriage, etc.

But while cultural norms change over time, the idea that we've moved from some simplistic "ideal" to a more-complicated set of domestic arrangements is somewhat misleading.   In reality - as I continue to discover - sometimes circumstances could be just as abnormal then as now.   I suppose it's yet another example of the conditions in early Québec - the comparative isolation of communities, combined with what probably was a pragmatic response to circumstances of availability, e.g., the programs set up by France to increase the population of women in Québec in the mid-1600s: the "Filles à Marier" and the "Filles du Roi". 

The harsh conditions of life and care meant that many people died young: men in the course of work, women from complications of child birth, not to mention disease, and also through violence from attacks by the native population (as well as battles with the British).   Providing continued care for families - many with young children meant re-marriages were extremely common;  it was an early-on revelation to me that the time frame from the death of a spouse to a re-marriage seemed EXTREMELY short - frequently only a few months.   But while all of this happened, some of the specific re-organizing of families (and their respective family trees) can sometimes appear to be rather "un-conventional".

The most well-known trope is cousin marriages, and consanguinity does appear all over the population, mostly among second cousins (or more distant relations), though first-cousin marriage definitely take place (though it's not quite AS frequent as I expected).   What's more common than I had expected are situations where siblings marry people who are also siblings (i.e., all the in-laws are shared).   Where it gets strange (at least to me) is where there are marriages involving someone with an in-law of one of their children: for example, a daughter (say Marie) in family X marrying a son (say François) in family Y.  Marie's mother dies (or has died) and her father re-marries a woman who is either the François' mother  (making Marie and François step-siblings à la Greg and Marsha Brady), or even weirder/creepier François' sister (making Jan both Greg's sister-in-law AND step-mother)!

Today I came across another strange situation, that of 7th great-grandfather Noël Barabé and his relations with the Tousignant family (Pierre Tousignant dit LaPointe and Marie-Madeleine Philippe[1]). 

He first marries eldest daughter Marie-Marguerite in 1687.   They have a son Jean-Baptiste in c. 1689.   They might also have a daughter, Marie-Renée out of wedlock (we know that Noël is her father, but her mother is not mentioned).   There's no other mention of other children, but Marguerite dies before 1697 because Noël marries Marguerite's sister Michelle (who is my 7th great grandmother) around 1697.

I enjoy trying to sort out what to call the familial relationships:  Noël and Michelle have 10 children who are Jean-Baptiste's first cousins AND step-siblings.   He grows up with "aunt Michelle" who becomes "step mom Michelle".  I have to wonder how families adjusted when the labels of relationships change - did the adopt the new nomenclature, or stay with the old?

(I'm also curious as to what Marie-Renée's life was like - there's no information about her life other than her birth date.   Illegitimacy was more commonplace than the record (or the church) would suggest: genome analysis of the Québec population reveals that the church records on parentage could be off as much as 10%!)



[1] Marie-Madeleine Philippe was a Fille du Roi.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why doesn't Ancestry do better quality control (or let us do it)?


One thing that disturbs me is that I keep finding errors in the great-grandparents in terms of who their parents are.   Specifically, Isaac Tousignant (a 4th great-grandfather) had the wrong parents, which meant that designations up the tree (and then down again) were all wrong.

That took some time to clear up.

Apparently in my early over-eager efforts, I made some huge mistakes.   I'm not surprised, and this leads to a complaint I have about ancestry.com:  there's NOTHING in the service that allows anyone to tag people or data with any type of "quality" flag.   Why? 

What I'd like to see, however, is a flag placed on specific people: a "completely verified" badge that would let people know that when they encounter a person on someone else's tree, that blindly including that person in your tree is "safe" (and helpful).   I've been burned by bad data (as mentioned above), and I think that one of the nastier problems with the service is that newbies can - in their over-eager quest for checking out "leaves" start compiling (and thereby propagating) bad data.

Wouldn't it be better to offer something that gives confidence in tree building?  Not only that, but it would allow aggregation of different sources of data that could be mapped into an "official" tree.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Linking 6th great-grandfather Pierre-Marie Lambert into the tree!

The Drouin Institute site is down, and has been almost all weekend, making it very difficult to move forward on the "great aunt/uncle" project (which I'm nearing 10% done).

So, I've been poking around the "lower branches" of the tree, following up on hints, when I came across a PRDH record that seems to connect "dead end" 6th great-grandfather  Pierre-Marie Lambert (bef 1714-1789) to his parents (who were already on the tree):  Michel Lambert dit Champagne (1680-1733) and Louise Grenier. 



 Louise was already a known blood relative (7th great-grand aunt) because her brother Joseph was a 7th-great grandfather.   But now she's a 7th great-grandmother too!

So this brings in eleven more multi-great-grandparents (which means I have to process them so that I can add the great-aunts/uncles to the current project), and brings the number of identified Canadian direct ancestors to just over 400.

The "evidence" comes from the "Programme de recherche en démographie historique" (generally just PRDH, or The Research Program in Historical Demography), which is a reconstruction of the population of Québec from the Drouin records into a large database;  in fact this is the base of the "LaFrance" service (which has extended the PRDH).


If the PRDH record is correct, the one of the few "holes" in the Québec family tree has been plugged.

But I'm still not 100% convinced since I can't (yet) follow HOW this association was made.   It SEEMS correct; the only other Lamberts having children around Lotbinière in the early 1700s are pretty much accounted for; any other Pierres seem to have married other people and there's documentation for those marriages.    I can't quite figure out where the "before" birth years come from; I've noticed this on other PRDH records compared to Tanguay who just leaves the birth year blank where there's no baptismal record known, or - sometimes - will estimate it from the age given at marriage or death (though I've found that those can be off by 5 years or more!).

Since the PRDH is hosted at the same site as the LaFrance, BOTH are down, and so finding out more about the PRDH will have to wait.   If the data are good (or good enough) it would definitely help with other families in the "Lotbinière gap".