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AfriGeneas Canada Research Forum

"Don't Delay Research"

Don't delay research on your family tree
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What should we call this column? Probably, we should call it the fiscal year in review. Researching your family tree continues to be an extremely popular hobby or, in some cases an obsession.

French-Canadian research continues to hold the No. 1 position here in the Pioneer Valley. I think the reason for that is explained by that saying, "Nothing succeeds like success."

French-Canadian (Catholic) marriage records list the names of parents of both the groom and the bride. The French-Canadian collection at the Genealogy Library at the Quadrangle is one of the most extensive in New England. Holdings include the Loiselle Index of French-Canadian Catholic marriages, more than 500 individual parish marriage records, as well as Jette and Drouin, two popular sources for Canadian research.

I have set up a small exhibit on French-Canadian materials here at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. Stop in on Saturday, the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the province of Quebec, and receive a maple leaf pin (while supplies last).

Irish, Italian and Polish research continues to increase. Of course, most prominent Yankee families have been researched. Here at the museum we have an extensive collection of published family histories. Most of them should be treated as secondary sources and should be checked against primary sources, such as birth, marriage, death and census records.

The advent of the computer has added a new dimension to genealogical research. Such sites as, and have made research easier. We have also added the New England Historic Genealogical Society's databases to our offerings. But remember these sites are tools only.

We are continuing our popular hall exhibits. In the past we have featured Irish, Polish, German, Vietnamese, Puerto Rican and Jewish exhibits. The current exhibit features the life and death of Lucien Lacroix, a gunner on Patrol Craft 564, who was killed in action in the closing days of World War II.

A good part of the research was done here by Paul Chenevert, Lucien's grandson. The exhibit, "A Seabag of Memories: A Grandson Discovers His Grandfather's Past," will continue until the end of July.

Several months ago in a column I asked for volunteers to work on a project to computerize the deaths records of Springfield from 1901 through 1910. Thanks to an overwhelming response this project is nearing completion. We also have local history projects which require computer literate volunteers, so please contact us if you are interested.

Of course, so I don't get bored, next week we will start digitally photographing the tombstones in St. Matthew and St. Benedict cemeteries. St. Matthew Cemetery is located on the Chicopee/Springfield line. St. Benedict cemetery is on Liberty Street at the Armory Street rotary.

I thank all who have responded to this column in any form. Question: Why is St. Matthew's Cemetery so called? The first person to reply to this question at jpoconnor@spring will be entitled to free admission to the next Introduction to Genealogy Class.

According to Jeanne Fontaine, head of the Museums Education Department, we have held 11 genealogy classes during the past year. For further information on course schedules, contact Jeanne at (413) 263-6800, Ext. 382.

Don't put off your search. The best time to begin is now. Next month's column will discuss the valuable information from death records, especially that elusive maiden name of mother and place of burial. John P. O'Connor is a family historian at Connecticut Valley Historical Museum Genealogy Library at the Quadrangle in Springfield. Readers are invited to send questions to

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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