As most of you may know, besides photography and grandchildren, one of my great passions is genealogy.
This past 2 weeks, I have been contacted by 2 people who had inquiries about their own family history and how it related to mine. Somehow, they found some of my postings and asked if I could help with theirs also.
One of them was a little easier. It was concerning my husband’s side. I have access to a book on his family that goes back to their ancestor migrating to Virginia from France. Unfortunately it leaves much of the “in-laws” out as most of the information was provided by the relatives “many moons” ago. The book was a compiled genealogy that was collected by the means of letters written to anyone with the name and a fact sheet to put family information on….Then it was sorted and made into a book and copies were only made for those who paid for and ordered the book…..Now out of a print, many “new” relatives now are left scrambling trying to find people who just happen to own a copy….and even some of those who purchased the book wish they had purchased 1 for each of their children…Hind sight they say is 20/20….This young woman is searching for information on her relatives not included in the book….in-laws. Her mother is listed in the book as well as her father….but no dates and neither are his parents names listed.
The other inquiry was from a person related to an ex-husband of my great-grandmother….And that is where the tail chasing begins…. We know that at one time all the relatives on this particular branch came from Canada. They settled in Moira/Brushton/Malone New York. Some of the French names were mangled and changed to sound more “American”…LaRocque became simply Rock, Quenneville became Kenville…..and the Indian names were really varied. One has been seen as “Mannet”, “Manet”, and even “Minit”. We have heard tales of the town even banning it’s people from speaking French…
Now here lies the problem. This was a largely Catholic population. This means large families….One of these men at one time had over 150 descendants living in the same town; over half of it’s population! From what I know of Catholicism, divorces are a no-no. Marriages must be dissolved and annulled before anyone remarries. There must be records of these somewhere, probably in church records.
As I searched for something on this first marriage, I found several things to be true; 1) At one time, my great grandmother was married to a man named Thomas (from Canada) and they had a son Roy, 2)She had a brother who was married to Thomas’ sister, 3) both Thomas and my great-grandmother remarried and 4) In Thomas’ father’s obit, both he and his sister are listed but she as “Mrs. so and so” ! No grandchildren, spouses or even surviving relatives other than children are listed.
So I go to my resources….several people I have e-mail contact with. I send an e-mail to one lady and get a reply back that goes something like this…...”Hey (insert name here), you should contact Sharon at this address. she has a wealth of information on these people”…..uh, Duh! I am Sharon!! So then I get another reply, “Oops! Sorry didn’t realize it was you” ….Wasn’t my e-mail address on the e-mail I sent to you??? Then also in the e-mail; “you should try to contact (insert name) or (insert name)…..no contact information for either person…So I reply requesting their contact info….I get this reply “I gave you their e-mail address earlier”….Uh No, you didn’t here’s a copy of what you sent….. ..Or call “St. Mary’s Church at this number they should be able to help you”…. I sent several e-mails to them before I e-mailed the first person to no avail; so why not try calling them? Except there is only 1 person at the church, he has no help, and does not know if or where the records would be. He gives me the name and phone number for the woman who has the cemetery records. All I am looking for is the contact information for the town Historian!!!! I know there is one because I received some information from them years ago!
Round and round I go……Sending e-mails and getting the usual response of “Contact this person, (insert name) and no contact information!!
One of my favorite shows lately has been “Who Do You Think You Are?” , a show about famous people looking for their “roots”…..They make it look so easy…They show up at a library and who is waiting for them?? A genealogist….Well let me tell you, it’s not that easy!! I sure as hell can’t afford to drive to B.F.E. New England and hire a genealogist to find records! And I don’t speak French so going to Canada is not the answer!
Wish me luck…I will be going to our local Library and maybe even the Genealogy Center in town to at least help the young lady looking for her father’s side of the family….I may even visit a cemetery or 2.
Hugs and Love to all!!