From My Family Tree


What does that ring have to do with my family tree?

Well.  Almost nothing.

But I could make a case that it is in fact related to all things genealogy.

My brother made it.  Out of wood (which comes from trees).  Family.  Tree.  ;)

Or that in my family tree I have loggers.  The ring could be symbolically honoring those men.

Or I could just tell you that my brother made me that beautiful ring and has just launched his website.  Check it out.  He makes some amazing rings.  And if you’re in a liking mood, ‘like’ his Facebook page.  There’s a link at the bottom of his website.

Maybe you need a ring made from the national or state tree from the birth country of a favorite ancestor?  His rings are all custom made.  He would be happy to help you create a family treasure.

Shameless plug now over – have a happy genealogy day!



Free Obituary Service

CORNWELL, Goldie, 11 May 1976 Obit 2 CORNWELL, Goldie, 11 May 1976 obit

I got the coolest email yesterday!

It all started five days ago.  I was working on tying up some loose ends on a cousin, Eva F Evans.  She died at just 25 years of age.  She had at least 5 children – 4 were living at the time of her death.  I was trying to sort out one of her daughters, Goldia – Golden – Goldie (you pick, every record so far has been different).  I came across something.  I don’t remember what.  That something led me to a free Obituary Service offered by the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.  I gave it a try and four day – FOUR DAYS – later I had the two images shown above.  Super cool!

The email I received contained this info:

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library does not charge for copies of obituaries.  Your obituary is attached to this email.  Please continue to limit your requests to a maximum of three obits at a time.

If you wish to ask for more obituaries, please go to this link to search for and request them:

If you wish assistance with genealogical questions other than obituaries, please email your request to

I was so impressed with their quick turn around time!  So, if you need an obit for the Toledo, Ohio area, give this a shot.  And if you ask about assistance with other genealogical questions, let me know how it goes.  Wouldn’t it be so great if every library had the resources to offer this kind of service?


A Marrying Mess

Whiteley - Hyde

I’ve been failing at my goal to post each week.  I think it’s been about a month since my last post so I thought I’d try to make up for that with a bit of genealogical entertainment straight from my tree.  Welcome to the Whiteley and Hyde families Marrying Mess, complete with hand drawn flow chart – a good use of coloring time with my 3 year old.

Henry Hyde and Ann Whiteley are my 3rd great grandparents.  They married in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in 1873 and moved to Canada.  Eleven years later, Ann died leaving Henry with two (possibly three) young girls to care for.  Ann died in November and Henry returned to England and married Ann’s sister Alice Whiteley in January.  He left his infant daughter Rosey with his parents and took his daughter Alice, his new bride Alice, and moved to Alaska.

Henry and Alice spent 22 years together before his death in 1907 in Alaska.  About two years after his demise, Alice married Henry’s brother Arthur.  Alice and Arthur spent about 10 years together before his death in 1919.

All of this I knew.  And I had known it for sometime.  But just last week I made some new discoveries that make this story even more interesting – and matrimonially messy.

After Arthur died, Alice lived with his brother Robert.  I’m not sure how long they lived together or what the nature of their relationship was, but in the 1920 census they are living together in Brush Prarie, Clark, Washington.

Sometime between the 1920 census and Robert’s death in 1928, it appears he may have married his niece Rosey Hyde – his first known marriage and her second of three.  Hmmmmm.  That is a story worthy of its own post.

Meanwhile back in England, Ann and Alice’s mother Eliza died leaving their father George Whiteley a widower.  George married Martha Marsden, his sons-in-law’s mother’s sister – his second marriage, her third.

And for just a dash of extra spice, Arthur was married in England with four children prior to his arrival in Alaska.  I don’t know what happened to his wife, but his children are alive and well and living with neighbors after he leaves England.  I have a theory about this.  But that is also a story for another day.

And there you have it – the Whiteley and Hyde families Marrying Mess – and what a beautiful mess it is!

Do you have any families in your tree that had multiple matrimonial connections?


Photograph Showcase: Fixing the Sink

Grandpa Duval & Uncle Craig

Grandpa Duval & Uncle Craig

This is my great grandfather, Frank Duval and his grandson, my Uncle Craig.  My great grandfather was a hard worker and an excellent do-it-yourselfer.  I imagine there were lots of moments like this one with Grandpa Duval inviting his children or grandchildren to help him with a project.  His descendants include quite a few do-it-yourselfers – I don’t think that is a coincidence.

I wonder where this bathroom was…?


In Memorium

DUVAL, Francis Cyprien, headstone

Frank Duval is my 2nd great grandfather.

This photo of his headstone is quite old.  I imagine it was taken sometime between 1919 and 1921.

When Frank died, his wife was two months shy of turning 39.  His oldest child was 19 years old and his youngest child was just 2 1/2 – there were five of them in all.

That monument up there looks pretty expensive.  Especially for the widowed mother of five.

As the 2nd great granddaughter of Frank and Alice, I’m especially glad to see that chose to memorialize him as “My Loving Husband”.

I imagine it was hard for her to leave Canada after his death.

I wonder if his monument is still standing?  One day, I’d like to go pay my respects and find out.


My Quebec Resources – A Growing List

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City.  Image found here and used under the Creative Commons License.

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City. Image found here and used under the Creative Commons License.

For the past few years I have been researching my Quebec roots.  I have relied almost completely on the Drouin Collection found on  I have supplemented that resource with the Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 browse collection found on  These two collections contain baptism, marriage, and burial records.  They are in French, and often difficult to decipher because of poor quality scans.  It has been an awesome adventure to learn how to read French records and piece my family tree together using these collections.

I got to the point that I needed to understand the other relevant collections for this area and how to use them and so began a journey that is still going on.  Below is a list of my Quebec Resources so far.

The Drouin Collection on contains baptism, marriage and burial records.  Most of it is indexed but the index is terribly inaccurate.  Rather than spend time searching the index, I page through the parish books and search the handwritten indexes found at the back of each year.  When I find a hit in the handwritten index I click through to the record.  Some years don’t have this handwritten index and require a record by record search of the book.  My family tended to live in small parishes so the books are typically 13-30 pages long.  Occasionally I’ll find a year that is more like 60 pages long.  The tricky thing about working this way is that when my family moves to a different parish, I can’t always pick them up in the ancestry index and I have some families in my tree with obvious gaps between children.  The images in this collection are often poor quality and difficult to read.

The Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 browse collection found on is part of a larger collection that contains a small portion of indexed records.  The majority of the records are not indexed and can be browsed like a microfilm, one page at a time.  The images are different from the images on ancestry.  The familysearch images are the original parish records and the Drouin Collection are the civil copies created each year for the courts, read more about this here.  Because the two collections contain the same records but different copies of the records it’s important to know how to use both collections so if you come across a record that is not legible you can try the other collection.  The familysearch collection is broken into much larger groups of years and takes a lot longer to search through.  In my experience though the images are so much better that it’s worth the time spent.

The Census collections found on ancestry and familysearch are great.

The PRDH.  This website has so much available and I’m only just beginning to understand how much.  So far these items on their website have been helpful for me:

  • The map of parishes.
  • This article on names.  Which, among other things, helps explain the “dit” names found in so many records.
  • This search box to check for “dit” names.
  • The free record search.  I have not yet paid for any records but I have used this record search to help me identify potential records and then I’ve found those records in the Drouin collection or the familysearch collection.
  • The Pioneer Page.  I have not yet identified my pioneers – the ancestors who traveled from France to Quebec – but eventually I’ll get there.  When the time comes, I look forward to using this search page.

This “dit” name list found on rootsweb.

The Facebook group Genealogy Translations has been essential for help translating certain records.  For the most part I can do it with the help of google translate, my french speaking friends and family, and various other online helps, but some records are just so crucial that I seek a translation from someone with more experience.

I recently joined the Facebook group Quebec Genealogy.  It has already been a big help.  Among other things, I have begun going through a list of online resources that is posted on the files page.  I look forward to finding more record collections and websites from this list.  I’m also looking forward to the help that will come from a community of people researching in the same area.

Maple Stars and Stripes is something I have just stumbled upon.  I can tell it is a gem of a website and have just signed up for their emails.

The last resource is not a Quebec resource but has helped me with my descendancy research on my Quebec lines.  This online collection of Ontario obituaries has been very helpful as several of my lines moved from Quebec to Ontario in the early 1900s.

I look forward to adding to this list.  I am fascinated by this part of my tree.  I actually have three different branches of my tree that go back to the early French settlers in Quebec.  I hope to eventually get back to France and understand why my family chose to come to Quebec.  In order to do that I want to make sure I know about the record collections and websites that might help me.

Do you have any Quebec ancestors?  What resources do you like?



My Great Grandmother the Genealogist

Estelle Maffit Duval

Estelle Duval, my great grandmother

I was born 14 months before my great grandmother lost her battle with cancer.  At the time of her death, I was her only great grandchild.  I have no memory her, and yet her impact on my life has been significant.  Among other things, she was a genealogist.

Long before the days of personal computers, genealogy programs, and the internet, my Grandma Duval worked to preserve her family history through her amazing photography and through several different typed records.

Grandma Duval had two children, my grandmother and a son.  For each of her children she created a lovely little book about their family history.  I say lovely, but the reality is that they are just a handful of typed sheets taped together at the top.  Each book is about 12 pages and includes information for just a few generations.  What makes them lovely is the information she included and the handwritten notes in various colors that she added over the years.

I ended up with both books in the collection of items my grandmother gave me.  The last few weeks I have been corresponding with my cousin, a child of my grandmother’s brother, and am about to mail her the book created for her dad.  Before sending it, I scanned each page.

As I scanned this sweet little book, I was once again overcome with emotion.  I felt so much gratitude and love for my Grandma Duval.  I am particularly grateful for her genealogical work.  It’s from her records that I have found so many clues that have helped me understand the additional records I find.  It’s from her notes and photos that I find that extra special something that helps me know my ancestors more personally.  It’s because of the records she left that I knew where to look at all when I got started.  I can’t wait to give her a big hug one day and say thank you for the treasures she left for me to find!


I have included just a few pages of the book my Grandma Duval made for her son.  I blurred or removed the personal details about my great uncle to protect his privacy as he is still living.

Francis Duane Duval Book Cover018

Francis Duane Duval Book, page one019 copy

Francis Duane Duval Book, page two020

Francis Duane Duval Book, page four022



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