Monday, August 5, 2013

An adventure!

It's hard to believe it was two years ago this month that I was in England. Researching your roots takes on a whole new meaning when you are actually standing where your ancestors once stood. If I had an endless budget it would be my preferred method of searching all the time but sadly I am limited by time and distance and finances to doing the bulk of my research online. And I am very grateful that so much of the information I need access to is available online, and that is ever increasing as more and more databases are digitized and uploaded.

Still there is something to be said for having the opportunity to view records first hand. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend a week in Ottawa at Library and ArchivesCanada and it was like genealogy  heaven! The LAC holds the documentary history of Canada and the number of collections and databases is staggering.Best of all it's free for anyone to access! The Selkirk Papers which were my primary interest on this trip contain over 20,000 files alone, all available on microfilm. The staff at the LAC are wonderful and you can make appointments for assistance with researchers in various departments. There also an entire section devoted just to genealogy, with access to records, books, maps and computers with free access to many online sources as well. One of the resources that I was previously unaware of is BMS2000 , a paid site that offers access to mainly French Catholic Quebec records but also has some records from nearby areas, including  the US. The records have been collected by parish and are searchable by name so there is some overlap with what's available on Ancestry via the Drouin Collection but one advantage it has over Ancestry is the ability to search by godparent's names. I found a record for a baptism for a cousin of Lizzie McVicar that I was previously unaware of - Lizzie's parents Archibald McVicar and Anna Lemay dit Delorme were named as parrain et marrain!

This week I am off on another search, this time in the area of Quebec that my mother's family settled in. I hope to take in a day at  Le Musée régional d'Argenteuil  to research old maps of the area. Archibald McVicar at one time owned property near St Andre est and if I can trace the whereabouts of the land, there maybe details like wills or bill of sale of attached to the land records held at the Bureau de la publicité des droits d'Argenteuil in Lachute. I am using information found on the 1852 agricultural census and a mention in Cyrus Thomas's book The History of Argenteuil, Que and Prescott Ont. and following the advice given by Brenda Dougall Merriman on her blog here and here.

I've also compiled a list of cemeteries in the area as well as churches to visit. And on Saturday there's a Hébert reunion at Lac Louisa, a small one this year for just the first cousins- all 54 of them! It's lining up to a be a genealogist's dream vacation!


  1. I just came back Friday from a week visit at my son's place in front of Lake Carling...I didn't go anywhere thow because I was with my brother.

    Good luck in your research and pass a good time with your relatives.

    You are giving me clues to help in the research if I decide, one day, to do my family tree on my mother's side.

  2. It's too bad we missed each other! I had a nice visit but not much luck in the search. So I guess I will have to make another trip sometime soon!