To Source or Not to Source!

  • See some of the best sources listed below.

  • To record the sources for the information researched or that others offer is one of the most important things a genealogy researcher can do. Sources are those places you research for information, a document you read or access, a census record you have found ancestors recorded on, church records, bible records, vitals any place at all where you have found information is a source. What these sources are will, in the end, tell you how accurate your information is.

    Wouldn't it be nice to know which source you have received information from? Which web site? Which other researcher? Who sent you an email with information you have taken to be your own? (All of this for the purpose of verifying your information.)

    Sourcing is the only way that you are certain you do not take for granted everything you see posted or told to you. You want to be sure that what you have comes from a an accurate and correct source. Many people write to me for help after they've taken all kinds of information from the Internet and find their formation isn't connecting and no longer makes sense. Often, information on the Internet is not well sourced and some webmasters will not even respond when you ask them to send you the source or sources for the information they display on their sites.

    The bottom line is that we should no want to take anything for granted nor do any serious researchers take for granted any and every post they see. Accepting all kinds of information can lead to disaster if it isn't properly sourced. It can mean having to delete all kinds of information later on and starting over again.... that is a researcher's worse nightmare!

    The first thing one learns in doing genealogy research - and that is repeated over and over and over again by the experienced researchers and teachers of research - is source your information if I haven't heard it once, I've heard it a million times. And this is what I teach in the workshops that I present. If information is not sourced, once all of the facts are gathered, how would we know what to keep and what to discard??? We sometimes collect information we think might be pertinent and it turns out that it might not be because of errors we later find exist in the document... once we know there are many errors coming from a particular source, a red flag should go up - and we should proceed with caution which means we then need to verify all information that comes out of that source with another source. Finally, no information is valuable unless it is correct.

    Excellent research sources besides church records, baptismal, birth, marriage or death certificates is information that can be accessed from the Dictionnaire Généalogique des Acadiens by Stephen A. White for Acadian research; the new Drouin digitized database available at the American Canadian Genealogical Society, Manchester, New Hampshire; the Jetté Dictionnaire Généalogique des familles de Québec by René Jetté; the Tanguay; the blue Drouin marriage records, the red Drouin, all Church Registers, Moncton Acadian Centre's microfilmed records of the churches of New Brunswick, [also part of the Drouin digitized database] census records and the like.

    It needs be said that the most accurate and complete information on Acadian Genealogy today is Stephen A. White's Dictionnaire just published August 1999. The first two volumes may be purchased (there is a link on my site) and more are forthcoming covering the Deportation years and post deportation settlement. All of the information is exceptionally well documented leaving the researchers no doubt as to where the information comes from. This also allows researchers to review those same documents if so desired. Bona Arsenault did a monumental work some years ago but the genealogy information he provided Acadian descendants has been found to have a great many errors. He often wrote a probably or a perhaps and the like, indicating that he was getting this information third hand and had not himself reviewed documents pertaining to such data. Janet Jehn has made many corrections to Bona's work so that if you are using his work you should have hers to double check. However, I believe that having Stephen White's books in hand negates the need for books from two different authors. Janet Jehn is also quoted in Stephen's work. (Stephen's web site may be accessed from my Links page.)

    If you are descendant of Catherine de Baillon married to Jacques Miville dit Deschênes, you will want to visit John DuLong's and his team's web site. They have done an immense work researching Catherine's lineage to Charlemagne. It is all explained on the web site and the direct lineage is posted. This site may be accessed from my Links Page. The team that worked on this project was, in addition to John who lives in Michigan, René Jetté (whose lineage to Charlemagne in his Dictionnaire was incorrect but based on the best information available to him at the time), Gail Moreau, a retired teacher and certified French translator and researcher from Michigan, Roland-Yves Gagné, a lawyer in Montréal and Joseph Dubé, a Jesuit priest in California.

    As for genealogy research on the Internet: You must pick and choose where and what information you want to access. Though there are wonderful sites, sites like Family Tree Maker, Ancestry-com and LDS (the Mormon site), are only as accurate as are their sources. Here is what I mean: did you know that information you find on those web sites has been contributed to them by people like us? Yes, people like you and me. I know that I source my information well but how would I know if the information on those sites has been well sourced or not by others? The fact is that you have absolutely no way of knowing.

    Please note that you cannot become a good researcher by never opening a book, by never going to look through vitals, by never sending for a birth/baptismal, marriage or death certificate, by never looking at census records, etc. Granted, certificates are not needed for every person but you should have some of these to include in your genealogy information that will be handed down to the next generation. One Christmas, I prepared a 300-400 page genealogy book for my children, nieces and nephews. Included were copies of the birth/baptismal, marriage records, enlistment and discharge papers and the like including photos of my mother and father (their grandparents) when they were 19 years old. What a treasure trove they received and they knew it.

    I've never visited so many cemeteries as I have since I do genealogy! I have amassed an enormous amount of photos of gravestones and the reason is simple: they list the names of the people buried there as well as dates of birth and death. I have found information about my great grandparents that I would not have found otherwise. I had no idea that my grandfather's parents were not buried together. Turns out that because they were poor, my great grandfather is buried in a pauper's plot with about a dozen other people that one of the undertaker's owned and would bury those who couldn't afford a burial in this plot. My great grandmother who lived a good many more years after her husband is buried in another son's plot with his whole family. I found names I didn't know existed and the dates to go with them. I used to drive by cemeteries thinking how very many people were buried there - now I drive by and wonder if I know anybody there!

    Another point to remember is that "Aunt Emma's" information isn't necessarily the most accurate! As proof of this, I recall an incident that happened about some time ago at the American Canadian Genealogical Society of which I am a member. A lady came in with a long list of names and dates that an aunt, who was always painstakingly "correct" (according to this lady) had handed down to her. She didn't want to verify this list as she was so sure of it but wanted to go on from there. After a long discussion, I convinced her that it might be wise to verify both the names and dates of that lineage. As soon as I looked at her list I knew she was in trouble. I recognized the very familiar Haché-Gallant line.

    Thinking I would be verifying and helping her research ancestors in Québec I was surprised but pleased to see the very familiar Acadian name of Gallant ancestors. I immediately pulled out a book on the Haché-Gallant families and bingo, there was her whole family. Her aunt had many incorrect names as well as dates and she had the wrong people married to one another. A little more conversation revealed that her aunt had written all of these from memory and from hearing the names mentioned when she was a little girl. Had this lady simply followed the information on her list, she would have been the so called 6th great granddaugther of who was in reality her great uncle!

    This woman learned a lot that day but had I not persisted in the conversation about checking everything and "sourcing", she would be no further than she was when she arrived by the end of that day. Even with the Haché-Gallant book in front of her she was determined her aunt was correct and the book wasn't - finally, as we checked the names one by one she realized that the book was correct and the aunt's memory was not quite so accurate.

    I think this is another example of why sourcing is so very very important as well as checking and verifying all information that we get. Since this topic has come up so often on the List, I now have a page on my web site dedicated to this subject listing some of the most reliable sources available today.

    Many more such stories could be shared but I think that for what its worth, it's what I teach and nobody has ever gone wrong doing this yet and a I have never had to make corrections to my genealogy information except for typos .

    NOTE: I mention sites that may be accessed from my links page so that you can read this page through without having to continuously hit the back button to return here.

    Here are some sources for research in general as well as specific parishes through microfilm at a Mormon center. As you all know LDS stands for Latter Day Saints which is the Mormon Church. The Mormons copied all of the records for Quebec several years ago and those are also available to search. You have to order the microfilm for the cost of just a few dollars. They hold the film for 30 days and you can renew it if you are not finished with it.

    Dictionnaire Genealogique Des Familles Acadiennes (Stephen A. White, Centre d'Etudes Acadiennes - Universite de Moncton)

    Acadians in Exile (Rev. Donald J. Hebert, Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    The Acadian Exiles in Saint Malo 1758-1785 (Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    The Acadian Exiles in Nantes 1775-1785 (Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    The Acadian Exiles in Chattellerault 1773-1785 (Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    Acadian Families in Exile 1785 (Rev. Donald J. Hebert, Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    Louisiana Census and Militia Lists 1770-1789 (Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    Colonial Settlers along Bayou Lafourche 1770-1798 (Albert J. Robichaux, Jr., Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records (Diocese of Baton Rouge, Department of Archives, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

    Sacramental Records of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans (Archives of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana)

    South Louisiana Records (Rev. Donald J. Hebert, Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    Southwest Louisiana Records (Rev. Donald J. Hebert, Hebert Publications, Louisiana)

    The Parish of St. James in the Province of Louisiana Abstracts from the Spanish Census of 1777 (Winston De Ville, Ville Platte, Louisiana)

    Acadian Censuses

    1752 Census of Ile St. Jean

    1798 Census of Rustico, Prince Edward Island

    Various 19th & 20th Century Louisiana Censuses

    Various 19th Century Canadian Censuses

    Pleudihen, France Parish Registers 1779-1792 (LDS film #2082743)

    PEI baptism record cards (before 1886; Peters and Pitre) (LDS film #1487765)

    Rustico, PEI (St. Augustine) parish register 1812-1854 (LDS film #862434) & 1854-1900 (LDS film #862435)

    PEI burial record cards (before 1906; Peters and Pitre) (LDS film #1487744)

    Drouin Books/Blue: Male and Red: Female

    Jette Dictionnaire

    Nicolet, Quebec (Cathedrale St. Jean Baptiste) parish registers: 1718-1772 (LDS film #1018146); 1773-1809 (LDS film #1018147); 1810-1832 (LDS film #1018148); 1833-1855 (LDS film #1018149)

    Tignish, PEI (St. Simon & St. Jude) parish registers 1831-1872 (LDS film #862445)

    Chateauguay, Quebec baptism/marriage/burial index cards (1736-1978) (LDS films #1266514, #1266517, #1266519)Egmont Bay, PEI (St. James) parish registers 1821-1901 (LDS film #862441)

    Miscouche, PEI (St. John Baptist) parish registers (LDS film #862450)

    Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick (St. Polycarpe) parish registers 1824-1889 (LDS film #859885), & 1890-1920 (LDS film #859886)

    Bathurst, New Brunswick (Ste. Famille) parish registers 1798-1846 (LDS film #859849), 1846-1884 (LDS film #859850), & 1885-1920 (LDS film #859851)

    Rollo Bay, PEI (St. Alexis) parish registers 1847-1900 (LDS film #862433)

    Bloomfield, PEI (St. Anthonys) parish registers 1839-1900 (LDS film #862448)

    Summerside, PEI (St. Pauls) parish registers 1854-1900 (LDS film #862444)

    Caraquet, New Brunswick (St. Pierre aux Liens): 1768-1853 (LDS film #859880) & 1853-1883 (LDS film #859881)

    Bonaventure, Quebec (Paroisse de Saint Bonaventure) 1791-1816 (LDS film #1029852)

    1871 New Brunswick Census - selected areas (LDS film #493580)

    1881 New Brunswick Census - selected areas (LDS film #1375822)

    1851 Beauharnois, Quebec Census (LDS film #517439, #517440, & #517441)

    Belledune, New Brunswick (St. John the Evangelist) parish registers 1834-1920 (LDS film #859852)

    St. Anicet, Quebec parish registers 1836-1874 (LDS film #1031637)

    Cap Santé, Quebec (Ste. Famille) parish registers 1761-1812 (LDS film #1289952), 1812-1837 (LDS film #1289953), 1837-1857 (LDS film #1289954)

    Palmer Road, PEI (Immaculate Conception) parish registers 1878-1899 (LDS film #862430)

    Charlottetown PEI (St. Dunstan's Basilica) parish registers 1820-1876 (LDS film #862437)

    1861 Gloucester County, New Brunswick Census (transcription Provincial Archives, Fredericton, NB)

    1891 Gloucester County, New Brunswick Census (transcription Provincial Archives, Fredericton, NB)

    Bathurst, Gloucester, New Brunswick (Sacre Coeur) parish registers 1881-1904 (LDS film #859847)

    Embrun, Prescott, Russell, Ontario (St. Jacques) parish registers 1855-1876 (LDS film #1301956) & 1877-1891 (LDS film #1301957)

    Souris, PEI (St. Mary) parish registers 1864-1900 (LDS film #862431)

    1861 PEI (Kings) census (LDS film #899943)

    Three Rivers, PEI (St. Georges - formerly St. Michaels) parish registers 1836-1900 (LDS film #862451)

    Brae, PEI (St. Marys) (LDS film #862451)

    1891 PEI census (LDS film #1465806 Kings; #1465807 Kings/Prince; #1465808 Prince/Queens)

    © Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
    Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
    1998 - Present

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