Monday, 22 October 2018

French Canadians in the United States

Between 1840 and 1930 approximately 900,000 French Canadians migrated to the New England states looking for work in cities growing due to the industrial revolution. It is said that about half returned to Canada, but those who stayed organized themselves into French communities.

The Drouin Collection at Généalogie Québec has registers for some towns in the US where French Canadians lived. If you don't have a subscription, you can get one for a month for just $13 cdn, or 24 hour access for $5 when you have time to search. 

Relevant Links

Le Guide Français de la Nouvelle-Angleterre 1887

The French Canadian in Quebec and New England 1893


Monday, 1 October 2018

Researching in Scotland - was it a bust?

I am finally caught up on life stuff after getting back from my Scotland trip, and now it's time to tell you all about it. 

For research we went to Aberdeen where my mother's paternal family was from. This was the purpose of the trip as I am stuck in my research at my 3rd and 4th Mavor great grandfathers. I have the marriage record of my 3rd ggf John Mavor to Elizabeth Ledingham in Ellon in 1827. On John's death certificate it states his parents were John Mavor, butcher and 4th ggf, and Mary Sangster of Peterhead. I had found a brother George Mavor by seeing the same parents on his death certificate. Possibly a sister also, where George and his mother were living as paupers with her family.  

I spent two full days at the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society (most people call it the Family History Shop) where everyone, including their in-house expert, was so kind and tried everything to help me. 

I browsed through all the church records and did not find any marriage for John Mavor and Mary Sangster. No births of children for John and Mary. Lastly, although I have a marriage record for John and Elizabeth there are no birth records for any of their children either (found only by the census).

We did find one odd record that may not be mine but worth noting as no one had seen anything like it before...

"1805, 20th Jan after sermon, sess[ion] met and being constituted appeared John Mavor mason in Balnakedle (Balnakettle in place name book) acknowledged to clandestine marriage with __ he was rebuked & fined 10/ for his penalty."  

The date is of the penalty record, not of the marriage which could have been any time before. Also no name of the wife, so I guess it was a big secret! Intriguing!

We went down to the basement and looked through member family histories that had Mavor people... the few could not connect to mine. We looked through poll books, old censuses, directories, MI books for all the cemeteries, testaments, poor relief, local history, etc - nothing. 

What I did learn is that not everyone recorded their marriages and births in the registers as it was not mandatory and also you had to pay.  I was told that one prominent man recorded his daughter's birth but he never paid up so they crossed it out... hahaha.  

So was it a bust?  Definitely not!  I am never satisfied unless I can see for myself, and now I know that there are just no records for what I was looking for. Another case where a negative is progress. 

Although I didn't find what I was originally looking for - I DID find the marriage of Elizabeth Ledingham's parents and a whole genealogy for that family! I found some records for my Bruce family in Fyvie. I also wrote out a pedigree with what I know of the Mavors and left it there to put in their binders for other searchers to find. 

The second part of the trip was touring around Inverness with a cousin I had only met online and doing research together these past years - that was a fun and adventurous filled few days. 

The last part of the trip was in Edinburgh, walking around where my Tait ancestors lived and worked. Just that was worth everything to me!!  

I am thankful for daughters who came along and helped me get around. 💛 💖

Relevant Links

Celtic Place Names in Aberdeenshire   

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