Genealogy, hockey, politics, Acadia and New France

In anticipation of last night’s first game of the hockey season between longtime rivals the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto  Maple Leafs, the planets were so strangely aligned that hockey and genealogy merged. To add to the mix, there was also a family history story connecting three Canadian political leaders.

Canadien’s new captain descended from Acadians
Montreal’s Journal de Montréal newspaper was out of the gate first with a story about the family history of the Canadien’s new captain Max Pacioretty. On his paternal grandmother’s side, he can trace his roots to Acadians François Savoie and Catherine Lejeune who married in Port-Royal in about 1651 and deported by the British between 1755 and 1763. His great-grandfather Joseph Pacioretty was born in Bergma, Italy and emigrated to California in 1902.

Although the article is written in French, the family tree at the end is easy to follow even if you don’t understand the language.

Coach and hockey legend descended from same family in New France issued a short story about Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock’s family tie to Toronto’s last Stanley Cup winning team. According to Ancestry, the coach is a distant cousin to hockey legend and 1967 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Dave Keon.

Both Babock and Keon are descended from Louis Houde, who was born about 1617 in Manou, Perche, France, and his wife Madeleine Boucher.

And the story gets even better, my husband — a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan — is also descended from Louis Houde. I wonder if this will be enough to interest him in his family history…

Political party leaders related
To continue connecting all the distant cousins, yesterday issued a news release about three of the country’s political party leaders who are preparing for the Canadian federal election on October 19: It’s All in the Family: Thomas Mulcair Related to Justin Trudeau and Gilles Duceppe.

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All-day workshop about Atlantic Canada genealogy research

If you have ancestors who lived in Atlantic Canada, you will want to attend the Ontario Genealogical Society Toronto Branch’s all-day workshop on Saturday, October 17.

Topics include migration to Atlantic Canada, Acadians, United Empire Loyalists, and genealogical resources.

The Branch says, “There will be an emphasis on understanding the patterns and sources of immigration into the provinces over the past four hundred years as well as how and where people then moved from Atlantic Canada to other parts of Canada and to the United States.”

The speakers are Terrence M. Punch, who will deliver three presentations, Roberta Clark, and Terri Raymond.

The fee is $60 for OGS Members and $65 for non-members.

For more information, location, and online registration, visit the Toronto Branch website.

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Chronicling America posts 10 millionth newspaper page

Chronicling America, a free, online searchable database of historic US newspapers, has posted its 10 millionth page.

Launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007, Chronicling America provides enhanced and permanent access to historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. It is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a joint effort between the two agencies and partners in 40 states and territories.

“Chronicling America is one of the great online treasures, a remarkable window into our history and a testament to the power of collaborative efforts among cultural institutions nationwide. The Library of Congress is proud to work alongside NEH and all our partner institutions to make this vision a growing reality,” said Mark Sweeney, Associate Librarian for Library Services. “In the coming years, we look forward to adding newspapers from the remaining states and territories as new partners join the program.”

The site now features more than 10 million pages – 74 terabytes of total data – from more than 1,900 newspapers in 38 states and territories and the District of Columbia.

Read the entire news release issues yesterday on the Library of Congress website.

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UBC professor wins top writing award for book about French Canadians in BC

Book French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous WomenUniversity of British Columbia professor Jean Barman was named the winner of the 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research for her book, French Canadians, Furs and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest, published by UBC Press.

The award is Canada’s top prize for academic history writing.

In her book, Professor Barman rewrites the history of the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of French Canadians involved in the fur economy, the indigenous women whose presence in their lives encouraged them to stay, and their descendants.

While researching the book, she learned that French Canadians “played a significant role in the history of the Pacific Northwest and were responsible for ensuring today’s British Columbia didn’t end up as part of the United States.”

According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, “Barman said although the Hudson Bay Company was a London-based company its workforce was primarily French Canadians since the company found it difficult to get others to work ‘hard jobs in the middle of nowhere.’ She said the French Canadians were usually young men, between the ages of 18 and 20, who were often the children of farmers living along the St. Lawrence. They came west looking for jobs and most got three year contracts, but stayed on after marrying indigenous women.”

Thanks to Vicky Lapointe for sharing the story on Facebook.

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French Colonial Historical Society issues call for papers

The French Colonial Historical Society (FCHS) has issued a call for papers for its 42nd annual meeting in Ottawa, May 18 to 21, 2016, that will be hosted by the University of Ottawa.

This theme of the meeting will be Forgotten francophonies, however, proposals on all aspects of overseas France will be considered.

Information about the call for papers is on the bilingual FCHS website.

The FCHS encourages interest in the scholarly study of all French colonizing activity and in the history of all French colonies.

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Webinar — Engaging the next generation

Tonight, October 7,. the Minnesota Genealogical Society hosts a free webinar, Engaging the Next Generation. It will be delivered by Shannon Combs Bennett, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The youth are our future is stated many times through different organizations. Genealogy is no different. Today there are children and young adults you know who want to learn more. Most people, however, do not know how to engage them. In this presentation I will go through ways to engage, interact, and teach the youth in your life about family history. Not all of them may grow up to be professionals but through education they will develop an appreciation for what their ancestors did and where research can take them.

Register here.

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FamilySearch’s new BC death registrations database is easy to search

FamilySearch logoFamilySearch has added British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993, containing more than one million images.

Free access to this database is not new. It has been available on the BC Archives website for about three years. That’s why at first I was not too excited about the FamilySearch version. Both websites provide access to the original image, so I could see little value of a second place to access the same records.

Then I conducted a search and discovered that the way FamilySearch produces the results makes it easier to find what I need than on the BC Archives website.

FamilySearch vs BC Archives
On FamilySearch, I found it easy to scan through the results of a full name search, such as George William Smith. All the George William Smiths appeared at the top of the list of results. I could easily pick and choose the ones that seemed that most relevant.

The same search — I tried basic and advanced — on the BC Archives website was tedious. (Yes, online searching has made me less patient.) At the top of the list of results for George William Smith was George William B. Abbott. What? Then I figured it out. His wife’s name was Smith, which is how he ended up at the top. To find all the George William Smiths, I had to click from page to page.

There is perhaps a better way to sort the results differently on the BC site, but I couldn’t figure it out. Since I have no ancestors who died in BC, I didn’t test it further.

I also like the citation example FamilySearch provides under the transcribed details of each person. BC Archives provides none.

Bottom line: I guess it’s nice to have two free places to search for the same records, but I prefer FamilySearch.

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Presentation in Vermont about Loyalists in the Eastern Townships

This Saturday, October 10, Montreal genealogist Jacques Gagné will speak about Loyalists in Quebec’s Eastern Townships at the Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society.

During and after the American Revolution, thousands of loyalists fled to Canada when their lands were confiscated in the US. A large number settled just north of Vermont in the ‘Eastern Townships’ often forming the first towns in that part of Quebec. Eventually, many of these families made their way into Vermont. Jacques Gagné has been working with Canadian researchers for years to identify records listing these and other settlers of the Eastern Townships.

In this talk he will identify links to hundreds of sources about loyalists in southern Quebec and to other settlers of this important region.

The presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Vermont Genealogy Library, 377 Hegeman Ave., Fort Ethan Allen, Colchester. Admission is $5. Registration is not required.

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Quebec family heritage show and family name associations

The Fédération des associations de familles du Québec (Quebec Federation of Family Associations) is holding a family heritage show next weekend in Trois-Rivières.

The family heritage show includes a few lectures about topics, such as the Régiment Carignan-Salières, beginning genealogy, and how to find your ancestors’ land records. More than 20 family associations will also be there to staff tables.

Dozens of family associations
If you are researching a French Canadian family, you may want to look at the list of family associations that are members of the federation. Until I looked at the federation’s website, I had no idea so many family associations existed. I counted more than 100 by the time I reached the surnames starting with G.

You will see on the above link that most of the family associations have a website. Several of the websites are bilingual. If you are unable to read and write French, but still want to learn more about a family, I would contact the appropriate family association. It is possible a member will be able to understand your enquiry and respond in English.

The family heritage show takes place October 16 to 18 at the Centre Les Rivières. Details are available in the program.

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Hastings County Historical Society moves archives to public library

The Hastings County Historical Society and the city of Belleville, Ontario are relocating their archives to the public library.

The project was negotiated and is run by five groups – the historical society, which was in charge of the archives before the project, the Belleville Library Board, the archives advisory committee, the city of Belleville, and Hastings County.

Chief executive officer of the Belleville Public Library Trevor Pross said if the construction is completed before the holiday season, the library will hold an opening ceremony in December. However, if it runs close to the holiday season, the grand opening will put off until January.

Read more in the QNet News report, Belleville Public Library makes room for archives.

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