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A family tree is like a roadmap of who's who in a family. Every person has 2 biological parents -- a father and a mother.
So your father has 2 parents, and your mother has 2 parents -- (your 4 grandparents). From there, each of them has 2 parents (your 8 great grandparents). Each generation after that has double the amount of people in it. A family tree shows the relationships between parents and children -- and generation 10 has over 1000 people in it!
People compile a family tree to find out who their ancestors are. Some people only trace the line for the people with their surname (see the blue arrows in the tree) but this is not the whole tree. Finding Native ancestry can happen anywhere in the tree, so it's best to not assume exactly where you think it is, but to compile the whole tree.
Visit our Do-It-Yourself WORKSHOP where you can download a basic tree to get you started on your own family tree. Just print out the 4 sections, overlap and tape them together top to bottom to make one long column, and start filling it in!
Or we can try to find your Native ancestry by compiling your tree for you. Not everyone has access to database subscriptions, but we have these subscriptions and we have access to many databases that most people don't even know exist. We also go to major genealogical libraries that have microfilms of church, civil, notary and other records from across North America. To do this yourself would cost thousands of dollars, and would need many trips to large cities -- far from where you live. Here is a sample tree with 7 generations -- so you can see what we deliver to you -- all on one large tree in 4 sections, so you can see the whole thing at once. (Actual tree is very large, and printable).
This shows half of the tree we provide. The rows separate generations in the tree. While we try to fill in the names of the couples to 7 generations, if we find surnames that likely lead to Native ancestry, we will take these backward another 7-8 generations. We also will try to conclude each ancestor in column G with a tracing of their origins, so that if they don't have native ancestry, we will indicate this in column G.
We also know where to look, since we have experience in knowing which family names are more likely to lead to Native ancestry, which migrations families participated in, which parish and other records to look in, the different places where Native families lived in various time periods, the various spellings of surnames, and we speak French and can read old French script handwriting, something that is even hard for most French people to read.
We have helped hundreds of families by compiling their family tree and in many cases finding their Native ancestry. There is no guarantee they will be found, since if events like marriage didn't happen, there won't be a record for it. But if it's out there, we usually find it!