Sunday, May 11, 2008

Births, Marriages, and Deaths

I have been working on my genealogy project again. The widow of a distant cousin asked me for a copy of it and I realized that it needed a major update. So last week I dove into one of the shelves of three-ring notebooks that contain my notes and downloads from the Internet and started entering names on the French-Canadian side of my family. Last night I entered the 3100th name into the database.

As anyone who has studied French-Canadian ancestry knows, they were excellent record keepers. The parish records of births, marriages, and deaths were not only well-kept, but each entry included the name of both parents when a baptism was recorded (including the mother's maiden name), and the names of all parents of the bride and groom when a marriage was recorded, as well as the names of witnesses and others present and their relationship to the couple, thus making it relatively easy to make connections from one generation to the next. I used to go to the LDS Family History Library here in LA and spend hours in a dark basement room peering at microfilmed copies of these parish registers. Of course, it helped to know a little French! But now the information from these records has been entered into a huge database at the Université de Montréal, put online, and for a fee, you can search for and download the information you need from the comfort of your own home. It is called Le Programme de recherche en démographie historique (The Research Program in Historical Demography), or PRDH.

My genealogy project includes stories, photos, and histories of people and places but the backbone of the project is the vital statistics, a seemingly endless list of births, marriages, and deaths without which I would not be here. So today being Mother's Day, I want to salute all mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, etc. Here's to the working moms, the stay-at-home moms, and anyone who is a caregiver for the next generation. Here's to my daughter and daughter-in-law.

I also want to wish my son and daughter-in-law a happy anniversary. Can it really have been 17 years already!

And lastly, here's to Poppa. We still miss you.


  1. That is a lot of names, I'm glad to be part of it. We miss you and cant wait to see you soon.

  2. 17 years and still going strong! I miss poppa too!!!