Fifteen years ago, I started my journey researching my French ancestry, and a painstaking and frustrating journey it was. Brick wall, after brick wall. Ancestors who didn't write anything down (later I found most couldn't read or write), didn't pass on family history, never spoke about the 'old country' or relatives. I became so frustrated, I wanted to dig them all up, well, at least the ones I knew about, and shake them! Uuugh. By the time I was 20, every French relative known and unknown had died. My dad passed away in 1999, taking whatever he knew to the grave.
At that time, Ancestry.com was a fledgling company, French Department archives were not online and my 1 year high school French was about as dead as my ancestors. I searched and ordered every kind of record and information I could find on the ones I knew about; grandmother, great-grandparents, in the USA; death, probate, marriage, birth, ships lists, schools, newspaper clippings hoping I would find the towns in France. Each piece took me a step further to finding them. It wasn't until I came across a naturalization record in the US, and a death record in Québec, that I finally got the big break.
Today, French records and databases are available and accessible online. Some are free, some come with a subscription. My website and tutorials will help train you to research, find, read, and gather the important genealogical information from parish and civil records and how to network through French Gen sites, in the hope it will help you succeed in your French, Belgian, and French Canadian genealogical search. Please visit my blog site at a la French Genealogy Blog for updates.
Ready? Let's get started --->
Sincerest Thanks Emmaunel Hamel, Guy Brunet, Hubert Barnich, Jean-Jacques Myette, Didier Jourdan, Virginie Colboc, André Bodart and to the numerous people from the YahooGroups- Cousins-14, Genea-Orne, Geneloiret45, GeneaBEL, wallonia-asbl who have helped me with ancestry charts, documents, translations, and research. To them, I'm forever grateful.