Geyh, Patricia Keeney, et al. French-Canadian Sources: A Guide for Genealogists.

Orem, UT: Ancestry, 2002. 329p., hardcover. Index, illus, maps. $39.95. ISBN 1-931279-01-2.

Any guide to family history research in French Canada is automatically of interest to Louisiana genealogists not only because of the historical similarity between the French colonial systems in Quebec and Louisiana, but also because a large fraction of those expelled by the English from Acadia made their way to Quebec.

To produce such a volume, the publication committee of the French-Canadian/Acadian Genealogists of Wisconsin first considered republishing a collection of articles from its Quarterly, but soon realized that too many of them required major revision and that a number of other topics had not been addressed at all. This book then became a six-year project and the quality of the results of their labors is generally quite high; the researcher is likely to come back to it again and again, not only for ready reference, but for instruction in wringing the most out of the key primary and secondary sources.

The introductory section summarizes the history of French Canada, provides a detailed timeline, explains Québécois naming patterns, and describes the seigneurial system under which New France operated. The section on primary materials gives details on obtaining and using French-Canadian church records, the place of civil registration in Quebec, and the use of notarial records (a record type with which South Louisiana researchers should already be familiar). An extended discussion of the dozen or so most important secondary sources accounts for about one-third of the volume, and includes Tanguay’s Dictionnaire Généalogique, Leboeuf’s Complement to Tanguay, the Loiselle Quebec Marriage Index, Jetté’s Dictionnaire Généalogique of families to 1730, the Repetoire des actes, and the Programme de researche en demographie historique (the PRDH), among others. Each of these chapters moves from an overview to a detailed discussion of what sort of information is included and how to make the best use of it. There are numerous examples and illustrations. A further section of specialized topics includes a very good article on the filles du roi and others on Canadian military records and the special problems of researching fur-trading ancestors. (A very brief outline of genealogy on the Internet, however, would have been better omitted, not even counting the inevitable fact of its being dated.) A series of appendices provide relevant maps, essential French vocabulary, how dates are written in French, the details of Canadian census records and census substitutes, and a lengthy list of addresses of libraries, archives, and organizations in French Canada. The quality of the writing throughout is high and in an extended perusal I was able to detect no glaring errors or omissions. If you have any interest in French-Canadian family research, I can recommend this one for your primary reference shelf.

Published in: on 18 March 2013 at 6:35 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: