There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers!
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The Altavista translation program is limited to 5K per page so that the translation requests don't overload their machine. My data sets are between 20 to 30K each. I could break my data sets into 5K data sets but this would add more demand on my Telus server computer and I am currently limited to 15MB. I would have to offload more data to my second site. Doing this conversion is a big job and I just haven't received enough requests for this service to justify the time required.
The most common question asked is for help with their own quest for their roots. I am not a genealogy researcher, as I am too busy doing general research for this site and my own genealogy.
I do, however, provide direction as to where they can go for their own specific research if it falls within the scope of my project.
If there are researchers who want to be listed on my site, I need to know if your service is free or fee, your area of specialty, name, location and E-Mail.
The first place I started was in the library, then in book stores to get general knowledge. Then I spent 6-8 months at the Medical Research library, pulling all
relevant journals, mostly ones to do with controlled studies. Finally, armed with this knowledge, I scanned the internet. I am still very skeptical of all data sources, especially of studies funded by special interest groups.
I have archived most of my medical data as I don't have the time to keep it current.
When I began this quest in 1953 I believed it would only take a few years to complete. I now know that when I die it will not be completed. I had no idea that my quest would lead back into the seventeenth century when I first started. The visitors to my site are really driving my research, as I tend to cater to their areas of interest (Metis and Genealogy). The European section needs the most work, as its present state is one of a large data dump and it should be high graded into a belief time line. Interest, however, is not high in this area. The Indian section needs more work to eliminate the European perspective and enhance the Indian perspective, but I am not sure I can take it to that next phase, nor do I see much interest for this area. My current major efforts are towards the Metis section, as this provides the genealogy bridge between east and west. I have reworked the western Canada data and am presently working the Quebec date, 5-6 hrs a day, but I may not complete it before I die because I believe Quebec is composed of about 60% Metis.
One over riding concern is what will happen to this data upon my demise.
I guess my real concern is when books are published, they end up in libraries or used bookstore to be rediscovered until such time as they are discarded or perish into the dust. If they are noteworthy and are discovered before being lost, they are republished, thereby extending their potential shelf life. It is noteworthy that modern books have a shorter shelf life than old books. The internet overcomes the problem of the shelf life of a book but doesn't yet have the equivalent of a library or used book store. My current work has been hard copy printed to at least three public libraries to my knowledge plus numerous private libraries in hard and digital form in its various versions. I have lost count of the number of folks who advised me they had down loaded my files. This is one of the reasons I do not copy right my site, as I want folks to freely use the information I have gathered. I recently had an emergency aortic aneurysm and was within 7-10 minutes from death this year (2002) so the issue is not merely academic. My son is also computer competent so my concerns, therefore, are more generic; as after him, then who?
I recently discovered the internet equivalent of the used book store and the musty library: The Internet Archive" The Internet Archive If you haven't visited this, the largest web site in the world, it should be on your must list. You can even look up early versions of my web site.
I started out by just wanting to produce a family genealogy tree. Then, as the family stories began to unfold, decided to include a family history. As the years past and the data kept growing, I finally realized that it was becoming difficult to follow. It was then that I decided to split the data between Indian, Metis, French, and retain Alberta history as the melting pot from my family perspective. This split made me realize I was tracking two fundamentally differing cultures (Indian and European) and one in transition (Metis). As I attempted to edit out European distinctions of an Indian culture or a Metis culture, I became intrigued with the differing principles, beliefs and values between the two major cultures. The question now became why are there these fundamental differences? Thus began my European section to attempt to track the evolution of these principles, beliefs and values that are incorporated in our very cultures.
I started a novel based on some of my research but decided this was too flighty and really not my forte. I thought about producing a chronicle historical genealogy but decided few would buy it and it would be fairly dry. Putting the data on the internet would allow a wider viewing public, easier access to relevant data for the reader, minimal cost for the viewer and folks could value add. As readers point out errors or additions, I can make corrections, and I can still continue to type in my research notes. These things you can't do with a set of books. In short- its a living history. It has been brought to my attention that some of my work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and now Chinese. Love the internet.
I always suggest folks begin with themselves, their family and all living ancestors. The important thing is to record everything they say without challenging them. They are usually amazingly accurate. They some times mix up generations, locations and times, but its your job to sort it out. Try to obtain family documents, photos, obituary clippings and any material that may assist your quest. Photos are great, as they trigger memory, and it is wise to re-review them over a period of time with your living ancestors. The important thing is to do it now, before your ancestors pass on and, with them, the first hand knowledge of your history.
The hard part is getting back to the nineteenth century where the census records are readily available. Use newspaper obituaries, people finders, credit directories, land titles records, and why not join a historical or genealogy club or society.
Census records, church records and thousands of on-line sites are devoted to genealogy research. Depending on your discoveries, you then focus into specific areas such as Indian, Metis, Scottish, German, French or English etc., as they have their own rich sources of information. Small towns usually publish their own books- on the area pioneers for example. Anyway, happy hunting.
I seldom will open e-mail attachments unless they are from well known sources. I answer all e-mails within a day or two, except some with attachments. I use Norton to monitor all incoming e-mail and maintain it in an up-to-date position at all times. Virus definitions are updated automatically as soon as they are issued. I run Norton against my entire system on a weekly basis. Out going e-mail is also checked by Norton and my server, Telus, also scans for some viruses. I never down load web pages from my web server(s) just incase a virus etc. has been implanted on the server. I only up load to the server which should over-lay any possible virus, etc. I now use a high speed service so I have installed a Norton firewall to reduces my exposure to hackers and therefore, risk. I perform routine and random scans for Trojan Horses and Worms and in all my years of using computers, have only discovered 3 cases (two of which were from a known source attempting to gather marketing information) that bypassed Norton and these were detected within 24 hours and removed. Because I receive a lot of e-mail from students of educational institutes, I receive a very high number of viruses, etc. Some of these viruses access the students e-mail address book and forward new viruses to those on the list and use my e-mail address as the sender. The same is true of non-profit organizations. When I am notified of such incidents, I run an additional Norton scan to ensure my system is clean and review the recent transactions to ensure that I am not the source. I have received e-mail's of apology from educational institutes where their systems have been compromised. This has been and continues to be a serious problem. I have no intention to stop receiving e-mails nor to use pseudo e-mail accounts, as I want the users of my web site to have direct access to myself. I have no intention of blocking e-mail from high risk sites, as these students and researchers are the very reason for my web site. Many are working from low level computer systems that likely can't support expensive virus checking software. Our starving students are our future. I apologize if you sent me an attachment and I did not respond. Please use copy and paste, as this reduces the risk. If attachments are too big, an explanation in the e-mail also reduces the risk. If I fail to answer your e-mail within a few days, please resend with a different title as you may have been blocked by my server spam blocker or my spam blocker. Thanks for your understanding.
The Glenbow Archives will do a basic search of Metis genealogy sources for a fee. They specialize only on Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta Canada, with some parts of the Northwest Territories and northern United States.
The FreeFind search engine is located on my directory page. A number of visitors have asked for a search engine to help find relevant information. This is a free search engine and it resides on a different computer. They spider my web site once a month so it will not cover recent changes which are normally made on a daily basis. Depending on need I may increase the frequency of updating. It may take me a while to refine the options offered and it will evolve over time. Each data set as the date last updated so if you can't find what your looking for look again next month.
There is a golden rule in genealogy, 'triple check your own family tree genealogy'. Doing my own genealogy I like to find three sources. My web site should be considered as a guide to helping you locate records in completing your own research. I try to make it as accurate as possible but it is common knowledge that errors due occur. Even Tanguay who I consider as one of the best sources contains errors and he had birth, marriage and death records to work with. Sometimes the people giving information or recording source data are not always truthful for various reasons. Some records are very hard to read. I record all 'b-1789' as birth 1789 but it could also refer to baptism 1789 so be careful. Early marriage dates maybe marriage contract dates not the actual marriage and the parties might have backed out before the actual marriage takes place. Always assume plus or minus a year on and dates. If no marriage date is listed I assume first born minus one year. Tanguay also used this rule. Happy hunting!
The current trend is for large web sites to provide a CD copy of their sites. Some have even closed their free access and only provide pay-per-view or pay for a CD copy.
The intent of my web site is to provide information free for educational purposes or for the benefit of friends or family. Other web sites have also copied sections of my work for educational purposes with a link back to my site and that's ok. Others have made hard copies to place in public and private libraries and that is also OK. Others have made copies for their own libraries or for their friends and family and that's cool.
A few have requested if it is Ok to burn CD's of my web site for the above noted reasons and that's OK with me. I have been asked if its OK for those who do not have a CD burner to employ the services of a professional to make them a CD, again for the same reasons as above and that's also OK with me.
Why don't I provide CD's or use pay-per-view strategies? I have built my web site on the work of thousands of others in their journals, books, records and feedback over the past 50 some years. The least I can do is offer the fruits of my labor back to the next generation, free for their educational benefit. It is noteworthy that some photos could be copyrighted and for profit use should be reviewed with the copyright holder.
Family names, hereditary names, in Europe didn't start until about 1,000 AD
and were not wide spread until 1500 A.D., especially in the north. These
ancestral or family names were created by occupation (guild), description
of something (Seignorial identification) (deed or accomplishment) (some object)
(character) (ancestor first name), geographical identification (place of
origin) (town, city, county, region, etc.), and then adding of suffixes and
prefixes added to the confusion.
AKA = Also Known As (aka) and dit also means the same but a little more specific in special uses. Nom de Guerre were military names adopted like modern day serial numbers and often used first digit like 'D' or 'B' etc. to designate different companies. Some used campaign names. However in some circumstances like in marriage contracts the dit name represented the real ancestral family name rather than an alias. Dit names were only used in France, New France and Scotland, thank god. In New France by 1750 it was estimated that 5,000 dit names were in use. To complicate matters children may or may not inherit a dit name. Dit names may or may not become family names. There doesn't appear to be any rules around naming convention, especially among the early French Canadians. Et (et) usually represent different spellings or different forms of sir names.
French women always kept their maiden names; could inherit titles and pass them to their own children, and if those titles were higher than their husband's; the children would often adopt her last name.
Coureur des bois were a special problem that didn't have the influence of the priests to maintain some order. They were free to change their names at will and some did. Metis also had the same problem. This is very evident in the issuing of travel and trading permits. Some used a different name every trip.
Historians like to say French dit names or aka names are not used to hide something. The French could change their names without using 'dit'. To hid a marriage, to hide an origin, to hid a race eg. savage vs French vs. German, vs. Dutch or English, etc., to hid religion as non Catholics were not welcome in New France. It's just human nature.