Friday, January 18, 2013

Tackling the Québec Drouin Collection for English Speakers - Part 2

This is a continuation of a series of "how-to" for English speakers to more easily decipher the Québec Drouin Collection records (although it may help you in other French records as well).  Part 1 of the series can be read here.

Through this series of posts, I will cover determining the type of event, the dates of the events recorded (baptism, marriage burial), the dates of birth and death for baptism and burial records, the individual's name, the individual's marital status, the individual's spouse or parents' names, and where the event occurred, among other facts.

If you have any questions (in general or specific to your research), corrections, additions, or anything else, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly!

Determining the Type of Record

There are three types of records in the Québec Drouin Collection -- baptisms, marriages, and burials.  From the baptism and burial records, you can usually determine the individuals' birth and death dates, but not always.  What type of other information is available in a record will also depend on the type of record it is.

The left-hand margin on a church record in the Drouin collection, or an underlined title,  will usually indicate the type of record you're looking at, abbreviated, followed by the individual's (or individuals') name(s).  B. indicates a baptism record, M. indicates a marriage record (also, the names of two people, the bride and groom, will be in the margin), and S. indicates a burial record.  "B. François Gosselin" tells you, for example, that you're looking at François Gosselin's baptism record.

The record itself will have some key words or phrases after the date that starts the record and before the name of the person whose record it is.  If, after the starting date, you read "a été baptisé" (meaning baptised) followed by a name, this is a baptism record for that named individual.  If you find "inhumé" (meaning buried) and "le corps de" (the body of) followed by a name, you are reading a burial record.

Marriage records tend to be much longer than baptism or burial records in length, sometimes taking up a full page.  I honestly don't know what most of the information immediately after the date says; in general there tend to be other dates on which the couple gave each of their marriage banns (a practice in the Catholic Church where an announcement of the upcoming marriage is published three times).  If you scan for key phrases or words and find "après la publication de trois bans de mariage," then later "entre" followed by a male's name, you're reading a marriage record.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Year, New Genealogy

Happy New Year! (Better late than never?) The holidays afforded me a great opportunity to catch up on some genealogy work, think about the kinds of things I want to do this coming year, and find entirely new paths to explore.  So here is my genealogy "To Do" list for this winter:

  • Visit the Connecticut State Archives (again).  I never got around to visiting them last fall, but I did just after the new year.  Unfortunately, it was incredibly busy, and I was fumbling around with the microfilm a bit.  The last time I ever used any was probably when I was about 10 years old.  Now I have a much better sense of what kinds of records are of present use to me in the library, how to find them, and how to best navigate (and print) them.  I'd very much like to go again, this time more prepared.
  • Research Hurons and their records.  Growing up, I was told there is Huron ancestry on my Québec side.  Just a few weeks ago, I uncovered a source that I believe documents an ancestor's membership in the Huron community near Charlesbourg.  I'd like to look into this further so that I fully understand the meaning of the records and try to find more.
  • Read more history books relevant to what my ancestors may have lived through. I'm still working on the book The American Invasion of Canada: The War of 1812's First Year, and after I finish it, I would like to continue on to Pierre Berton's other book, Flames Across the Border: 1813-1814.  I'm still hoping to find information on the battle of Fort George in particular, in which one of my ancestors fought for the British.
  • Communicate with more people researching common ancestors.  I started reaching out to individuals lately who are researching common ancestors, particularly those who seem to reach different conclusions than me.  I think it's important to do this using family trees, and not just DNA.  It's really enlightening to exchange thought processes with others looking at the same information you have; sometimes someone has a great idea you didn't think of!  Also, it's a great way to get help in your research while hopefully helping others along the way.
  • Trace one ancestor back in Europe.  I believe my third great-grandmother's marriage certificate for her second husband is on its way to me from England.  Also, I am talking to someone with a common (but unknown) ancestor in Ireland, and I have an extensive resource book from the New England Historic Genealogical Society called Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (4th Ed.) by John Grenham that should help me find at least one relative back in Ireland.  This will probably be my most difficult task for the spring, but I think it's doable.
Additionally, I plan to get back to blogging regularly now that the holidays are past.  Keep looking for updates on some of my "series" posts in particular!