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Genealogy is the research and collection of documents like marriage records, birth and death records and other records to trace ancestors in a family.


The goal is to find the names of a person's parents, including the maiden name of the mother, for each generation going backward.

See these three records? All are from the same time period, for a Louis Menard, but the parents are different. These are baptisms for three different babies all born in the same general area in 1738-39.

NOTE -- Examples on this site do not mean the people in the records are Native -- they are being used for demonstration purposes only!

So if you have in your tree a couple named Louis Menard and wife Charlotte Burel, married around 1755, then which one of these baptisms would you choose to identify him as a baby, and therefore get the names of his parents?

The answer is none of them. It's better to get marriage records to prove who your ancestors were, because you get the names of the bride, groom and both sets of parents in the same legal record all at the same event. There is no room for error.

See this marriage record for Louis Menard and Charlotte Burel? It lists parents of the bride and groom, so you can't mix people up. Notice the parents of Louis are similar to a couple above, but they are probably not the same couple. In fact, they could lead to completely different families (Francois Menard & Marie Josephte Lamoureux in the above baptism are not the same people as Charles Menard & Marie Magdeleine Lamoureux in the actual marriage of this particular Louis Menard married to Charlotte Burel).

See how easy it is for people to make mistakes in family trees online?

Look at these trees online, and the listing of who the parents were for Jeremiah Laframboise married to Euphemie Jarbeau, married in 1864 somewhere in Lanark area (near Ottawa).

It says his parents were Nicolas Devoyaut Laframboise and Marie Fauteux Bouchard.

Now have a look at the actual marriage record for Jeremiah Laframboise and Phebe (Euphemie) Gerbeau, and the listing for the parents of Jeremiah Laframboise.

It says his parents were actually Collat Laframboise and Josette Fortune!

Because the marriage lists the bride, the groom, his parents and her parents all at the same event at the same time, there is no mistaking who his real parents were. Whoever did the tree listing above probably found a baptism for a guy with the same name, listed those wrong parents, and other people copied that error into their trees.

Every entry in the online trees for this couple is WRONG! Make sure you use marriage records that list the parents' names -- if you can.

Also notice the difference in the bride's name -- Euphemie in one instance and Phebe in another -- this is common that variations of names existed. The spelling depended on which priest wrote it down. In those days, most people could not read or write, so they depended on the priests and notaries to record their information. Don't be surprised by various spellings or versions of the same name.