Ever since I was a teenager in the ’60s but especially after I had travelled far from home in the ’70s and ’80s, I’ve always been fascinated by history and curious about my own family’s origins. I knew that my mother and father’s families had been French-speaking Catholics from New Brunswick and that they’d migrated to Quebec in the 1940s, but I had a lot of questions. How did they get to New Brunswick in the first place? How long had we been in Canada? And what was I to make of the stories of an “Indian Princess” in our maternal line?
Over the past thirty years I’ve done a lot of digging – and family history and genealogy have become a passion for me. I began by by rifling through family papers and interviewing relatives, then by researching in small regional libraries and photographing headstones in cemeteries across Quebec and New Brunswick. Once personal computers came on the scene I collaborated online with dozens of family history researchers like myself, as well as professional genealogists. This was the first heady period of exchanging information in forums such as Rootsweb and Genforum, as well as on personal websites as they began to appear. Finally, in the past few years there’s been an online explosion of genealogical and historical primary documents.
Almost all of that research is online at my A Canadian Family site, but there is one little problem. My research journey took me on many little side trips along the way so that site now includes thousands of pages of information on different often unrelated topics (e.g. Six Nations genealogy, vintage postcards, genealogies of other people) and our own family history has been swamped in the mix!
With new generations arriving I’ve decided that the best way to preserve this mountain of information for future generations is to publish all the basic family data in one place (One Canadian Family) and then to write a series of Letters to my grandchildren, to put it all into perspective.
Hopefully this is the first of many to come.
Evelyn Yvonne Theriault
January 17th, 2015