What is genealogy

Genealogy is the research of one's ancestors, as well as other similar activities. These would normally include:

Ascending genealogy consists of discovering the ancestors of a person. The work method is simple: we look for a person's parents, then his grand-parents, etc. In Quebec, we generally look for the marriage record which usually lists the complete names of the parents of both spouses; and having found it, keep as source of the information the name of the parish where the marriage was celebrated as well as the date. This applies both to the Catholic parish registers of Quebec before 1900 as well as the rest of North America starting about 1900.

Outside Quebec or for Protestant marriages within Quebec before 1900, marriage records are often incomplete requiring us to search for other documents such as baptism, death or census data. Since the quality of this data varies greatly, it is essential that the researcher be aware of the array of resources available by inquiring from reference librarians as to what documents are available.

Note that the year 1900 is an approximate date. Each state or province has its own method of collating vital statistics data.

Family genealogy may also include cousins and relatives. Some researchers do the genealogy of each member of the family ( of all the brothers-in law, the sisters-in-law, aunts and uncles, etc.) and will seek out as many documents as possible on these people ( land deeds, published books, photographs, etc.). Others will simply try to discover and collect all the names of this extended family without attempting to seek other details.

Descending genealogy consists in tracing all the descendants of one person; i.e. his children, grandchildren, etc. Some researchers glean all the printed books available at their local library; while the more enthousiastic will further examine all the original registers in regions where their family name is to be found, as well as the other variations of the name (such as "dit" names) slowly expanding their research to include tens of thousands of people, in addition to the origin of their spouses and in-laws (useful in certain difficult cases and essential to do a thorough job). A few will also include the children of the feminine descendants even though the latter no longer carried the same name.

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Last update: Dec. 19th, 1995