The 1621-1967 Drouin Collection : Differentiating Religious and Civil Genealogy

Founded at the end of the 19th century, the Drouin Genealogical Institute was given the mission of collecting and categorizing a multitude of notarized documents of genealogical interest and making them accessible to the population. The 1621-1967 Drouin Collection is thus invaluable for tracing the history of families in Quebec. It includes a significant number of official documents, mainly marriage, baptism and burial certificates. There are also other types of notarized documents, including contracts, wills and other legal documents.Parish Registers and Civil Status

Due to its very religious past, in this province, parish registers long served to collect all official documents related to the population and its civil status. This practice was particularly suitable because all the important moments in a person’s life were noted in churches, from baptisms to weddings and funerals.

Very early in the history of the province, Quebec also began to deliver and archive documents in order to keep track of the inhabitants by collecting a copy of the parish acts registered by the Church. This is how notarized religious documents came to be housed in courthouses. For a long time, information was collected by religious institutions, which then sent it to the courthouses. The documents were thus duplicated.

Gradually, the government’s mandate of storing and preparing these documents gained more and more importance, and in 1994, the Registrar of Civil Status obtained the full mandate.

Archiving Done by the Drouin Institute

In the 1940s, the Drouin Institute made microfilms of the civil registers of the Quebec courthouses. These documents were gathered to create the Drouin Collection. These documents thus come from both religious institutions and the Government of Quebec. In some areas, the microfilming process continued until 1968, so the Drouin Collection covers the period from 1621 to 1967.

Religious Genealogy Versus Civil Genealogy

During a genealogical search, researchers often find themselves facing documents that were collected by the Church or the government. To better understand the source and nature of the documents they consult, it is important to distinguish religious genealogy and civil genealogy. In the 1621-1967 Drouin Collection, most documents come from the Church.

Religious Genealogy

Certificates from parish registers were created, validated and issued by religious institutions. Most of the documents that are in the collection came from the Catholic Church, but you can find certificates issued by other Christian denominations and other religions, including Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Protestant, Baptist, Orthodox, Methodist and Jewish. To find specific genealogical information—especially that dating back from before the 20th century—you must look at the certificates issued by these institutions. These documents contain information about the people and are often annotated with information that was considered relevant by those responsible for archiving (often parish priests).

Civil Genealogy

After the early 20th century, material gathered by the Church began to be used by the state to produce statistics about the population of Quebec. These documents produced by the State are those available in the 1926-1997 Marriages and Deaths tool. These are based on the original certificates produced by the Church and available in the Drouin Collection.

The Differences Between Documents

The copies of certain documents contain differences. The same certificate may in fact present some discrepancies when one of the two documents is incomplete or damaged, for example. This decision to establish a duplicate recording enabled Quebec to have one of the most comprehensive civil status systems in the world, to the delight of genealogy enthusiasts.

Quebec Marriage Records Search : Key to Tracing Your Genealogy

In Quebec, amateur and professional genealogists alike have access to a rich collection of documents to trace their family roots and draw family trees. Since the days of New France, documentation of birth, death and marriage certificates was advocated by the Catholic Church to keep track of the families that established in these territories.

The collection of this data has continued over time, so that today, it can be used to perform extensive genealogical research. The documents are filed among several registers and collections, including the Drouin Collection, which contains Quebec’s marriage records. The latter includes several elements of documentation about weddings that took place within the province, including copies of marriage records. These documents have been indexed and meticulously categorized by specialists. It is possible to consult them by becoming a member of Genealogy Quebec through the Drouin Collection Records or the LAFRANCE.

Search Tools for Exploring the Register of Marriages in Quebec

Given the incredible number of documents collected and indexed in the records through the years, it was important to develop sophisticated search engines to better navigate through these informations. These tools allow to search precisely and trace relationships among individuals.

The 1926-1997 marriages and deaths tool is part of the range of tools for exploring the available documents. The vast majority of marriages and deaths that occurred during those years were documented with this tool, itself equipped with a search engine. Thus, anyone who is doing genealogical research and knows that the parental relations they want to discover or confirm took place at that time will probably find useful documents.

Other research tools are suitable for other periods. Therefore, it is possible to find marriage certificates having taken place in Quebec during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by using LAFRANCE. By doing so, genealogical portraits and related research are relatively easy to implement and support with several documents. This is a richness that is not available for all, because for many centuries, Quebec was particularly disciplined in keeping these kinds of records.

How to Use Marriage Records Search Engines

One must know that certain practices can complicate searching in these databases, including the spelling of names that may have changed over time. During research, it is advisable to first search more generally, limiting oneself to a family name and a date, if they are available. Then, if necessary, it will be possible to add parameters to refine your search. This technique increases the chances of finding relevant documents.

If the results are inconclusive, the family name might have been written in other ways. The person conducting the research will then expand his or her search fields, for example using the character % as a result of the common root of the name (ex: Beau% to search for Beauregard, Beaulieu, Beaudoin, Beaudry, etc.). This form of research is broader and therefore slower, but it allows one to find documents that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Why Use a Register of Marriages for Genealogical Research?

Talk to any genealogy experts and they will tell you that registers are inexhaustible resources for tracing family ties to discover or confirm already known elements. The information found in these registers is usually very reliable. It has always been in the interest of religious and governmental authorities to collect very specific data about the province’s population. Today, genealogists continue to develop and improve these research tools, including those associated with the Quebec marriage records.

Quebec mortality rate under the French regime

In a previous article, we have shown using the family of Joseph Landry dit Penot and Marie Josèphe Coron dite Dauphinais how the PRDH family reconstructions, the centralization of all the vital events pertaining to a family, allow us to bring light to the living conditions of our ancestors. This exceptional couple, married in 1778, gave birth to an incredible 25 children, a great example of the natural fertility that prevailed in the absence of contraception and other social limitations.

Such a fertility rate would have been unsustainable due to the population increase resulting of so many births, had it not been for the mortality rate that was associated with the population of the time. Elevated mortality under the Old Regime made death an omnipresent part of our ancestors’ lives: it could happen at any age, contrarily to today, where it is mostly associated with old age. The infant mortality rate (death before the age of 1) was extremely high, and the children who did live past the age of 1 were still prone to sickness and accidents. Individuals reaching the age of 50 would be considered elderly. Men and women would die of malnutrition, work accidents, lack of proper hygiene as well as sickness, including smallpox epidemics that ravaged the population.

The information colligated by the PRDH allows us to put actual figures on these conditions. At the forefront is infant mortality rate. Between a quarter and a third of children born under the French Regime died before the age of 1, with a gradual increase over time, particularly in cities. Infant mortality rate is indeed directly linked to hygienic conditions and thus to the detrimental effects of overcrowding in cities. For example, 50% of children born in Montreal within the last few decades of the French Regime died before reaching their first birthday. Overall, less than half of the population would reach the average age of marriage, which was 20 years old for women, and 25 years old for men.

Family file sourced from the PRDH website. The children who died before the age of one are underlined in red.

Marrying at the age of 25, an average man would go on living 39 more years, to the age of 64. An average woman, marrying at 20, would also go on living 39 more years, to the age of 59. Why such a disparity? Because 1.5% of childbirths would result in the death of the mother, which meant that on average over the course of her life, a woman had a 12% chance of dying while giving birth. This had a direct impact on the average length of marriages at the time: barely half of the married couples would reach their silver wedding anniversary. This also explains the frequency of remarriages, as the presence of two parents was necessary to raise a large family.

You are now acquainted with the average living conditions and mortality rates in Quebec during the XVII and XVIII centuries. How do these rates compare to those among your ancestors? Careful! You may notice that your ancestors fared better than what is being described in this article, which is entirely logical. If you are here today to research and explore your ancestors’ history, it is through an unbroken lineage going back to them. A lineage that is a testimony to their children’s survival, as well as their own…

 

Bertrand and François Desjardins

November 2017

Relationships with Family : Calculating and Understanding the Different Degrees of Kinship

You just have to look at a family tree to see how numerous the relationships within a family are. These may even seem exponential when you search far enough back into the past. That’s why we discover common family ties between our family and an important historical figure, or between two celebrities who were born in different countries, such as Hillary Clinton and Céline Dion.

These facts may seem surprising, but if you understand genealogy and the ancestral links between different human beings, they’re quite logical, even normal. Are all humans cousins ? Technically, yes, or at least, almost. Of course, the degrees of kinship are sometimes extremely distant. It’s because of this observation that it becomes both useful and interesting to be able to calculate and better understand family relationships.

But how do you go about this seemingly colossal task ? While it’s rather simple to perform calculations with respect to your immediate family branch, as soon as you extend this, the work gets complicated. However, it’s far from being an insurmountable task.

Calculating a Family Relationship: Which Technique to Use ?

When looking at a family tree, we see several types of links. There are the traditional links – that is, parents, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. Then, when we decide to go further, the issue of degrees of kinship becomes even more relevant.

There are several ways to calculate degrees of kinship. The direct line technique involves calculating the degrees according to the generations that separate two people. The collateral line technique reaches back to the common ancestor and counts one degree per generation. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the latter:

First-degree family links are those between parents and children. Second-degree links include brothers and sisters, and grandchildren and grandparents. At the third degree, there are great-grandparents, uncles and aunts, and nieces and nephews. Finally, at the fourth degree, we find a person’s first cousins. The calculation of the degrees continues in this way, without limits as to the number.

In short, the degree of kinship represents the number of intermediaries between two people, going back to the common ancestor, then returning to them.

The Role of the Family Tree in Calculating Family Relationships

If your family tree hasn’t already been completed, you’ll have to do this in order to calculate and better understand your family ties. Indeed, this is one of the best ways to efficiently present and analyze the family relationships between different people.

Having access to a pictorial diagram helps us better understand the network of links that unite us with our ancestors. This way of presenting family relationships is very concrete and greatly simplifies the calculations.

Why Calculate our Family Relationships ?

There are several reasons why we might want to make these calculations. First, because it’s fascinating to trace the history of the different people who were among our ancestors. When we want to better understand the history of our family or – more broadly – of our country, this research can bring to light some very interesting – even useful – information.

This research can also be done purely for practical matters. For example, this analysis can be used in legal cases, such as estates.

Each person comes from a vast succession of family branches that have been divided and developed over the course of history. Whether you want to find a third or a 23rd-degree link, the tools and techniques currently in use allow us to do research quickly and rather easily. Why not take advantage of them ?

Founding Families of Québec : A History Lesson on the Origins of Our Ancestors

Each human being is a link in a vast network that represents the past and present population of the planet. If we look back to study the origins of our ancestors, we move through this complex yet fascinating network, and we discover some very interesting historical tidbits along the way. For example, it’s possible to find out who was part of the founding families of Québec and the cities and villages established throughout the province. This research makes it possible to better understand why people settled in certain places and what roles they played in the economic and strategic development of the province.

The founding families who Came to New France

The first founding families in the history of Québec are those of the settlers who remained in New France following several attempts at colonization. During the initial voyages, the settlers had been systematically repatriated due to problems such as illness or a lack of preparation for the winter. It was finally around 1608 that the founding families came to settle here permanently.

The most famous of these families is that of Louis Hébert, who settled with his wife and children in 1617. They decided to settle in Québec only a few years after this city was founded by Samuel de Champlain. Louis Hébert and his family became firmly rooted in the region, taking their crucial role as some of the first permanent inhabitants of New France seriously. In 1626, they were even entrusted with the Saint-Joseph seigneurie.

The First Villages in Québec and Their Founding Families

Other families followed, thanks to the efforts of Robert Giffard and the Company of One Hundred Associates, among others. Giffard, himself the founder of the city of Beauport, returned to France several times to convince families to follow him to the new colony. Only a few agreed, but they decided to stay, then settled in New France and contributed to the growing population.

As the number of families increased, the exploration of the land continued, along with the creation of new seigneuries. Other parishes emerged, populated and organized by the founding families. Québec City and its surroundings developed little by little, and other sectors, such as Trois-Rivières and Montréal, also welcomed new families and were officially founded in 1634 and 1642, respectively.

Discovering Our Ancestors: Better Understanding the Role of the Founding Families

During genealogical research, it’s not uncommon to learn that certain family branches were formed during the creation of a new city or village. Since one of the goals of colonization was to populate the territory, families had the advantage of obtaining land to farm and coming together with other neighbours to form a community, which was also often based on links to the church.

Many cities and municipalities in Québec still celebrate their founding families. For example, as part of the 375th anniversary of Sorel-Tracy, a big party was organized to pay tribute to these pioneering families whose names still adorn many public places in the city. Other places, such as Repentigny, make it a point of honour during the annual city festivals to commemorate those people who came to live in the New World, with all the work and ambition that that implies.

Studying the founding families allows us to better understand the evolution and history of the province of Québec, as well as that of these many municipalities. In everyday life, it’s often the toponymy of the cities that reminds us of this, forcing us to remember. Genealogical research, as well as that done with the historical societies of the regions and municipalities in the province, help us learn more about these people and the reasons that made them settle here.

Genealogy and surnames : What Your Name Says About your Family’s History?

Where does your family name come from? What is its history? How long has it existed in this form? These are questions that many people ask themselves, because in most cases, our surname isn’t a choice, but a family legacy.Whether you come from a family with deep roots in Québec or of foreign origin, your family name says a lot about your past and that of your ancestors. Indeed, genealogy and surnames are closely linked. As a result, the study of surnames – or anthroponymy – is an interesting angle to adopt to get to know your family history in Québec.

Where do the Surnames in Québec come from?

Each family name is accompanied by a story, and traditions vary from one country to the next. In some areas, the first names of the father and mother are passed down to the children as a family name, while elsewhere, the professions and social ranks are used for this purpose.

In Québec, the etymology of these names comes from various sources, but we can identify several common roots. Of course, many names come from the settlers who arrived here from France and Great Britain. These names were sometimes kept as they were, or else underwent orthographic or structural changes. Some names come from the professions of the first ancestors, while others refer to the person’s place of origin.

Other immigrant populations have arrived in Québec over the years, bringing with them traditional names from their regions. That’s why we find surnames of Syrian, Chinese, Portuguese, Vietnamese, and Spanish origin among newcomers, but also among families who have been living in the province for several generations.

Given that no specific pattern has been adopted over time, the family names used in Québec all have an etymology that’s specific to them. It’s therefore worthwhile for everyone to take the initiative to do some research to find out where their surname comes from and what its evolution has been.

What are the Most Common Surnames in Québec?

You may have already guessed that Tremblay wins the prize for the most common name in Québec. It shares top ranks with the Gagnon, Roy, Côté, and Bouchard families. However, it’s interesting to know that, in Québec, family names are quite varied. Unlike other countries such as China and Denmark, where a large proportion of the population bears the same surname, Quebeckers have a wide variety of names with different roots.

How to Learn more about the History of a Family Name in Québec

Genealogical research allows us to find valuable information about surnames. It’s usually possible to trace the family lines, to see the changes, and to find the different names that have intersected or appeared at a specific moment.

Many tools are available online for those who want to research their ancestors themselves. Among other options, it’s possible to consult parish registers and to gain access to several official documents such as birth certificates or marriage and burial documents.

It’s also possible to rely on the services of a genealogy specialist. They can help you trace the origin of your family name, create a family tree, and do several other searches related to parentage and history.

Finally, researchers and historians have published some very interesting books about the origin of family names in Québec. The book “Votre nom et son histoire” by the linguist Roland Jacob presents anecdotes about the most common names in Québec. These works can therefore aid you in your quest to better understand your surname and its meaning.

Parish Registers : A Reliable Resource for Tracking Down Your Ancestors

The parish registers of Québec are an invaluable resource for finding information about the previous generations. Until the end of the twentieth century, these registers were used to accumulate all the information relating to the civil status of the population. This information was archived in churches as well as courthouses.Starting in the 1940s, a conservation effort was launched by the Drouin Genealogical Institute, which microfilmed the registers. They wound up with a very important database that can now be consulted by anyone seeking to track down their ancestors.

The History of the Parish Registers

It was during the period of the French Regime that the collection of information from the inhabitants of New France took the form of parish registers. This method then continued under the British authorities and following the evolution of the political regimes in Canada. It was only in 1994 that the Registrar of Civil Status of Québec received the full mandate to issue and retain the documents associated with the register.

What Information can you find in a Parish Register?

Parish registers mainly include baptismal records, marriage documents, and burial records. You can also find certain information about the registered people there, such as their place of origin, their family members, their religion, and the places where they lived.

Although the register system is rooted in the French Catholic tradition, information about people from other religions was also collected there.

What are the Reliability Guarantees of the Québec Parish Registers?

The responsibility for keeping the parish registers fell to the priests, who were the only ones authorized to issue the documents and make modifications. Other people could also be appointed by the Chancellery to act in place of the priest. However, in all cases, the person had to sign all the documents that they issued and modified in their own name. In doing so, there was no room for error.

Much more than simple genealogical documents, the parish registers were quickly considered to contain essential information about the populations of the cities and villages. The role of record keeper was therefore taken very seriously.

No one should be surprised to learn that life in Québec was long centred around the church. Because of this, all the documents relating to a person’s civil status could be found there. This practice was very logical, since this was where baptisms, weddings, and funerals were held.

Like the Register of Civil Status that exists today, parish registers were kept rigorously. The currently available archives contain scanned versions of these paper documents, and there’s often a transcript of the contents as well as an image of the original document.

How to Consult a Parish Register in Québec

Faced with this rich collection of documents to which we have access, several organizations and genealogical societies have created tools and platforms where it’s possible to do research. There’s no centralized tool presented by the government, but the information is quite easy to find.

The Genealogy Quebec site itself contains several resources where different registers are collected. The LAFRANCE directory, the Drouin Collection records, the Little BMDs, and the Connolly File all contain information from the registers, including baptismal and burial records as well as marriage documents. To access this, just register on the site and choose the tool that suits you the best.

It’s also possible to perform research with the genealogical societies in your area. Genealogy specialists there can guide people through their process to find information about their ancestors.

Finally, Library and Archives Canada makes certain documents related to the registers available through its website.

Is It Possible to Find Your Ancestors as an Adopted Child?

The quest for origins is a need felt by many human beings. It’s quite healthy to want to understand where you come from. In the case of an adopted person, this inclination is even stronger. Because even when you’ve been adopted by a loving family, you still have to track down several pieces of the puzzle to learn who you are and where you come from.

The genealogy of an adopted person can help them understand their history better, but also know their genetic predispositions. There are therefore several reasons why they might want to find the ancestors from their biological family.

How to find your ancestors as an adopted person

We’ve all seen shows and documentaries about reunions where an adopted person finds information about their biological family. These portraits depict rather complicated journeys that generally wind up paying off in the end. Most adopted people have access to a few basic documents that were given to their adoptive family. These papers may be useful to them, but often, this is only the basis of the information needed to go further.

You should also be aware that each case is different. Some adopted people stay in contact with their biological parents, while others don’t even know their names. Obviously, the more information and links that remain, the easier the search will be.

In addition, it’s important to make a distinction between adopted people in Québec and those who come from a foreign country. Indeed, the steps are quite different for those who were born here than for those who arrived from another country.

Finding your ancestors when you were adopted in Québec

Due to proximity, it can be easier to trace the genealogy of an adopted person’s biological family when they were born in Québec. However, there are major downsides to this assertion, since, for a long time, the associations and orphanages involved in adoptions issued very little specific information that would make it possible to identify the parents.

Biological parents also have the right to sign a refusal to meet and reconnect with the children they put up for adoption. These two issues can therefore be major hurdles for people in this situation who want to reconnect with their origins.

However, laws are changing to make it easier for adopted people to contact their biological parents, so you should stay on the lookout for these modifications to know the steps to follow during the initial contact. Generally speaking, it’s all about consent and openness on both sides. The Youth Centre of the region where the adoption took place can help in the search for information and guide the person in their quest.

Once the person has access to more information, or if that was already the case at the start, it’s possible to consult the records available online. These records make it possible to construct a family tree by consulting marriage, birth, and death certificates. Regional historical societies can also be very useful places when it comes to finding archives containing information of this nature.

Finally, those who prefer to entrust this work to someone else can call on a genealogy specialist, who will draw on documents and who will know exactly where and how to do the research.

Finding your ancestors when you were adopted abroad

For any adoption from another country, you should check out the Secrétariat à l’adoption internationale (SAI). This organization also offers services for people adopted in Québec – for example, requesting a summary of the sociobiological history, which contains some information such as the date of birth, the circumstances of the adoption, and some basic information regarding the parents. However, this organization may prove particularly useful for procedures carried out abroad.

SAI employees are able to establish contacts with foreign authorities to see if it’s possible to access information on the genealogy of the adopted child. From there, they present the information to the person who requested it. However, this request may sometimes yield no results, since some countries have laws that prohibit reunions, don’t keep records, or are unable to provide the desired information. Once again, it’s case by case, and you should know how to manage your expectations.

How to Explain a Family Tree to Your Child

Genealogy and family history are concepts that may seem both intimidating and fascinating for kids. How can they understand that people they’ve never met have contributed to their presence on earth? How do you describe the links that unite each family member, whether they’re alive or distant ancestors?

We often share family stories with our little ones, and to illustrate these, a family tree for kids may prove quite useful.

Here are some tips for explaining the family tree to a child

There are several types of family trees, including the descending tree and the ascending tree. Since the ascending tree is more common, we’ll use this one in the examples. The difference between the two is that the ascending tree starts from one person and traces their ancestors, while the descending tree takes shape by starting from the ancestor and illustrating the lineages of their descendants.

For a child, the ascending tree is also easier to understand, since they can quickly make connections between people by starting with the ones they already know.

Sparking children’s interest in their family history

The first challenge is to awaken the curiosity of your children, if this isn’t something that they’ve already developed. By telling them stories featuring their ancestors, they’ll feel a pride and a fascination towards this family affiliation. In many cases, this will result in them wanting to learn more. To make things clear, we suggest starting with people they already know, like their grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts. Then, we move up the line by presenting the ancestors that came before them. Being able to associate stories and facts with different family members will help the family tree come to life before their eyes.

Explaining the family ties

A child understands very quickly that they live in a family unit. They know their parents, their brothers and sisters, and all the other family members they see regularly. As this concept is absorbed by the child, it will be rather simple to make them understand the family ties of the people who make up the other sections of the family tree.

Indeed, in the beginning, we recommend looking at each part of the tree separately, so the child can absorb the information at their own pace. From the start, we can look at the whole tree and make a general presentation, but when the time comes to explain more in detail, it’s better to do it little by little.

Introducing the concept of generations and fraternity

Young people tend to live in the present moment. Although they understand the fact that their parents and grandparents are older, they don’t always make the connection that there are different generations of people. On a family tree, the vertical line makes it possible to separate the generations of a family. The horizontal line, for its part, designates the concept of fraternity. By looking at these lines, the child can therefore quickly understand the difference and become better equipped to grasp the idea of the past and the fact that everyone comes from a family unit.

Ask questions and make them play detective

To see if your child has fully understood, it’s helpful to follow up by asking them what – in their opinion – family trees are used for. Their response will let you know if they’ve grasped the concept. To expand their knowledge, you can also turn exploring the family tree into a game. The child then becomes a detective whose mission is to discover the connections and trace the family histories. Ask them to tell you who this person is in relation to them or in relation to another family member.

Even for the youngest children, this type of interaction with the family tree can help make things clearer and easier to understand.

Ancestry family tree: Differences Between Ascending and Descending Genealogy

Curious to know more about the history of their close family and their ancestors, many people decide to do research to discover their family genealogy. This investigative work is often performed by a specialist who has mastered the tools and techniques to find the desired information. Some people also make this a personal project, deciding to carry out their research themselves. With the masses of information available on the internet, it’s relatively easy to find platforms and databases to consult archival documents and discover your ancestry and family trees that may prove useful.

There are two main distinct tactics for going back through the genealogy of a person and/or a family: ascending genealogy and descending genealogy. In order to properly trace the family line, you must therefore choose between these two strategies before starting your research.

The difference between ancestry and descent

Given that these words are often used interchangeably, and that this is a mistake, it’s important first and foremost to review the definitions of the two words. The word “ancestry” is used to describe a movement from the bottom to the top, while the term “descent,” for its part, is derived from the word “descend,” which refers to the act of going from top to bottom. In a genealogical context, this word is synonymous with posterity and thus designates the generations that follow an individual (their descendants).

When you decide to draw a portrait of your ancestors, there are two main ways of going about it to achieve clear results. You can start from yourself and your family to discover your ancestry, or you can start the work by trying to distinguish the links starting from a known ancestor and their descendants.

Ascending genealogy

This technique is the most common of the two presented above, since the research is much easier to do. In addition, the person who wants to trace their lineage generally already has some information, which can greatly simplify the process. Then, by using a mixture of resources, it’s possible to reach very far back into the past to discover the ancestors that make up the family genealogy.

Descending genealogy

Descending genealogical research involves finding the descendants of a specific person. In the case of a family, we could talk about a great-great-great-grandfather and all the descendants belonging to his lineage. When you start with an ancestor whose existence goes back very far, this strategy can be somewhat complex, in addition to resulting in higher costs than those incurred for ascending genealogical research. However, it’s often considered more effective at tracking down cousins and other distant ancestors.

Should you choose ascending or descending genealogy?

To find an answer to this question, it’s important to define what your exact expectations are regarding the investigation. Are you specifically looking to identify and find your ancestors? If that’s the case, you’ll have the most success with an ascending search.

Otherwise, if, instead, you’re aiming to clarify certain aspects of your family genealogy by studying the descendants of your ancestors, a search based on descending genealogy may yield more specific information that meets your expectations.

Of course, if the investigations are completed by a genealogist, it will be necessary to specify what the purpose of the research is and what type of result is expected. Genealogists have tools at their disposal that make it possible to use both strategies, and they know how to study and analyze the documents they find over the course of their investigations to paint a portrait of your family genealogy.