Finding out some of my history

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Finding out some of my history
9
Sun, 08-31-2014 - 8:02am

I found out that a cousin of mine has been working on our family history.  I am a Jersey girl.  My family migrated from there in 1830, 6 yearss before we became a state.  We were some of the orginal settlers of Clinton Township.  I do not remember what it is but he has a paper signed by Andrew Jackson, president at the time.   I, as most everyone else had family in the Civil War, pointed out to my DDs that their Georgia and Lousiana family was most likely fighting on the other side.  He is stuck at the moment at New Jersey but is planning a trip there to continue the search.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Sun, 08-31-2014 - 12:50pm

Cool.. family history research is so fun and interesting. I suggest you get a subscription to ancestry.com; it is surprising what you can find on line. I've been researching my various family lines for close to 20 years, all the females lines as well as the male lines and siblings in each generation.

Several (most) of my lines go back to France, with arrival in Canada in the early to mid 1600s.My family tree is a "who's who" of Quebecois history..  A couple of my lines go further back than 1500s to 1100s  but those are difficult to prove and verify so I don't trust them.

I am also Acadian, with those lines going back to the early 1600s/late 1500s.. Some of my ancestors were  deported in 1755 to Connecticut. They were kept as indentured servants; treated terribly and not allowed to pratcice their religion.  After they were released in 1763, a group of them pooled all their money together and rented a sloop to sail them to Quebec.. I am also a descendant of a group of Acadians who overran a British man-of-war, during the deportation and sailed into French waters in Quebec only to be deciminated by a outbreak of  chloria in Quebec. Another family walked from Port Royal, to Quebec in the forest with the help of the  Mi'kmaq. (The Acadians intermarried with the Mi'kmaq; several of my female ancestors are Mi'kmaq).

Mixed in with the French is Huron, Empire Loyalists (Americans who left the US after the American Revolution) and a few captured-by- the-Hurons American settlers. The French would buy the captives from the Hurons and either return them to their homes or allow them to stay, if they became Catholics. My ancestors decided to stay. 

My one "non-Canadian" line is that of my American-born grandmother. (She remembered seeing Wyatt Earp as a child ).  Her various ancestors came over to the US in the 1830s to 1850s, from Ireland-poor potato farmers.  Her whole extended family (grandparents, parents, aunts & uncles) moved to Canada in the early 1900s.

My Irish born great-great-grandfather was drafted in the Union Army (Illinois) at the end of the war. and I think at least one of his  brothers fought in the war. I am searching to see if more of that branch of the family were in the union army (illinois and Iowa). One of my other geart-great-grandfathers from that line disappeared from the records during the civil war only to re-appear in 1865.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 09-02-2014 - 10:23pm

That's very cool that your cousin is doing that research for your family.

I know some of my family history, especially about my father's father's side. We have a branch of the family in Hawaii, originally from Scotland they went to New Zealand then on to Hawaii in the 1800s. My brother's gf is into genealogy and she is trying to learn more about the other family lines. 

The sad thing is that my father's mother did the research on all branches of the family years ago before there was Ancestry.com etc. She traveled to the UK and Hawaii and found relatives and got info from them. She had traced her family back to pre-1600. She had it all written down and had books and other documentation to support it. When she died all of this research went into my aunt's care. Aunt had a tiny home so she put a bunch of stuff from Grammie into storage at a moving company warehouse. My aunt died about 7 yrs later, and a few months afterwards some guy appeared at her house offering to sell my cousin the contents of that storage lot. I'm not sure if my cousin had stopped paying or if the storage company auctioned the lot by mistake, because my cousin refused the guy and doesn't seem to have pursued it with the storage company....so it all scattered to the four corners, as they say.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 09-03-2014 - 12:00am

It IS very interesting, as the vast interest in Ancestry.com proves.  But people have always been interested in who they "are" and where they come from.  

Dh's father's family has been investigated quite a lot, not only by a cousin of his, but by others in the original patriarchial line.  We know that his 5 times removed great-grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War, making him, our children and grandchildren, Sons and Daughters of the Revolution.  We know the names of the various women who contributed to the line, but not much else, altho I suppose these days, it would not be so hard to find.  They came from Virginia, and later, the Ohio valley, so they were almost certainly Western European.  His mother was first generation Italian.  Her family came from Calabria.

My side comes from Lithunaia, France, Germany, and old Bohemia.

My SIL's have brought even more ethnic backrounds to the mix, so my grandchildren are truly American

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Wed, 09-03-2014 - 11:03am

Here, even before Ancestry.com, it was not hard. There are various books published in the 1800s and early 1900s with complete family trees  in Quebec back to the orginal immigrant. The priests were into writing books on parish history. LOL!  And since women did not change their last names when they married, it makes it easier ti trace the female lines. Copies of these books are available at libraries in Quebec and to purchase.  My uncles, who started the family research about 40 years ago, based their research on a book written by a sibling of one our ancestors.

U of Montreal has a center which researchs demographs etc.. in Quebec. They have posted on line family records up to 1799 (for a fee) . Digitalized copies of all the church records up to the 1940s have also be available to buy (or at the libaries) for years and years. Ancestry now has those records on-line too.

There isn't that much information on the Acadians; the records were destroyed during the Deportation but several university researchers are trying to figure out the family trees prior to 1755.

I use Ancestry mostly for DH's family (he is Scotish & English) and my US family tree. Like anything else, you have to be careful about the data posted on Ancestry.  I use it mostly for the US and British census records and a gate way into records such as military records and border crossings.

In Quebec, family research is more than just wanting to know where you come from. We already know that. It is about genetics.  French Canadians are basically decendants of about 3000 people;there was a great deal of intermarriage so the relationships are very complicated.  (My parents were distant cousins, many times over). The family trees are being used to trace genetic diseases. For example, last year I helped a friend with an uncommon genetic disease provide family tree information (back 4 generations) to  a research group in the Quebec Ministry of Health.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Mon, 09-08-2014 - 11:00pm

That's cool that all of us were/are able to research our family histories.  My sister and mother did the research for my family.  Breifly, my parents were born & raised in France and Jewish.  My father's Dad died in WWI and his Mother died in WWII.  When my parents married, my Dad had no parents at their wedding.  Since my father died in 1957, my sister researched and we found the extended family living in Calif. (near San Diego).  I wanted to see the elderly relative but he's 94 & nearly blind so I'm being told not to visit (by my mother).  The good news is I received by email pictures of my father's family.  The resemblance from my grandmother, my father, me & my son - we all look exactly alike.  As for my mother's side - 1/2 of her family died in WWII (concentration camps).  My mother was saved by her sister in law who was blonde & Catholic.  There is a book "Sarah's Key" that details the life of a Jewish girl and her family before, during & after WWII.  My mother said the book is exactly what happened to all French Jews during the war.  Also my Mom said she lived in an apartment building not far from the building depicted in the book.  Considering my Mom was 16 at the start of the war, she said the girl in the book is my Mom (at least it's close enough)

Kathy

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 09-09-2014 - 12:39am

Kathy, why does your mother say you should not visit the 94yo relative? Just wondering.

I saw the movie Sarah's Key about a year ago...what a chilling story that was. How fortunate for your mother that she had that SIL. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Tue, 09-09-2014 - 9:15pm

Elc - My Mom is 90 & at that age she doesn't want me bothering some relative I've never met who is mostly blind and frail.  So I have to respect her wishes.  It's sad but not much I can do.  As for her sister in law (now deceased), her brother & his wife (sister in law) had a baby & toddler during the war.  She was able to work F/T so she had my Mom (16 yrs.) babysit her kids while she worked.  Obviously, my Mom never took the kids outside and they could only go out at night with the mother.  My Mom stayed 1 - 2 yrs. then she was forced to move out & hide in southern France & the Alps. My Mom explained the Nazis were only interested in Paris and the surrounding area because that's where all the Jews lived.  The Nazis never entered the Mediterranean coast or the Alps.  Fortunately, the museums took notice of that and hid all the famous paintings, sculptures, etc. with families in the Alps.  At the time, the population outside of Paris was sparse (mostly farms), so it didn't pay for the Nazis to occupy areas outside of Paris.

Kathy

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 09-09-2014 - 9:36pm

Kathy, I guess my wondering is more along the lines of why your mom gets to decide that the relative doesn't want to be bothered, isn't that a decision for the relative or their caretaker? Maybe the 94yo would like to meet a "young" relative and have somebody different to talk to for an hour, share some old stories, etc. Whatever, that's nice that you choose to honor your mother's wishes.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 09-10-2014 - 8:50am

Not sure how to start on mine. My older cousins (all that's left) have no clue, all the parents are gone.  We're all 2nd generation. I know both of my parents' parents came here from Poland in the early 1900s but that's about it.  My mom said one of her mom's sisters moved to France vs. the US; another 2 came here.  I don't believe they all came via Ellis Island so not sure how to go further.