my grandfather and his parents

As I work on my family history, I often wonder about the people behind the names and dates. I unearth clues and dig up bones — figuratively, of course. But the vital records, census entries, immigration and military records only build a framework for my imagination. What were these people like? What did they think about, talk about, eat, play and dance like? I took a moment and thought of a small handful of facts that could describe me as a person: I like Steely Dan I’m not a picky eater I don’t sleep much I can’t parallel park Summer is my favorite season Steely Dan wasn’t around in the 19th century, but aside from that, how the hell would I know any of that stuff about my ancestors? Some people were written about, and still others have had their journals and diaries published. Most of my ancestors were poor… read more

Dear Madeleine – Teaching my kids life lessons using family history

map of the western part of new france french canada

About fifteen years ago, I became interested in my family history and began asking relatives about where we came from. From that point I was hooked. I’d caught the genealogy bug. I’ve discovered some amazing things in those fifteen years, such as the fact that we are descendants of Vikings and pirates. Most of my blood is French – Acadian and later Franco American, but I also have Norwegian, German, Irish, and as I’ve recently discovered, possibly Mi’kmaq. I think it’s important for kids to know where their roots are, and a lot of kids find it fascinating. Genealogy for kids can be a really fun activity, and you will never run out of things to research. In addition to the names and dates of your ancestors, you will learn about history and culture, and might even inspire you to learn a new language. I’m going to introduce a new… read more