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|Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step by Step
When this book was first written (1992), the Internet was in very few homes. Now (2000), the internet is being used more and more each day. It is estimated that Internet use doubles every 100 days. Over half of the U.S. population is expected to be online by 2005. Since a major feature of the internet is the sharing of information, it makes for a fantastic tool in the area of genealogy.
|In this Chapter, you will find information on:
• I've got Acadian-Cajun roots, and I just got online ... now what?
• Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History Websites
• General Genealogy Websites
• Webtools for Genealogy
• Building Your Own Genealogy Website
|I've got Acadian-Cajun roots, and I just got online ... now what?|
The first thought you might have is to look for pages on your surname. But if you enter a surname, for example Boudreaux, into one of the popular search engines, it will give you hundreds or thousands of hits ... most of them with no relation to genealogy. You can refine the search by adding key words, such as genealogy, to the search. A search for Boudreaux genealogy should give you a reasonable list of pages to look at. Also, you can go to a surname link page. There is one at <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/surnamr> that links to Acadian-Cajun surnames that specialize in a surname, or surnames. You will also want to check to see if there's a website for an family association/organization for your surname. The Fédération des Associations de Familles Acadiennes [FAFA] and the Confederation of Associations of Families Acadian Inc. [CAFA] <http://www.cafa.org/> maintain links to association websites.
If you are new to genealogy, there are a number of general genealogical resources. For material specific to Acadian-Cajun genealogy and history, it would be best to go to Acadian-Cajun.com <http://www.acadian-cajun.com>. There is are subsites specifically devoted to Acadian Genealogy and Cajun Genealogy, as well as hundreds of pages of associated material. For example, a couple of popular locations are pages with all of the extant Acadian censuses and pages with the passenger lists of the seven ships bringing Acadians to Louisiana in 1785.
To get an overview of the website, look for a site index page. The site index lists and links all of the pages included in the website. Some sites also have search engines just for that site.
|Acadian-Cajun Genealogy Websites|
| There are five basic types of Acadian-Cajun websites
that will be helpful in your work with Acadian-Cajun Genealogy. They
are:constructed genealogy pages, raw data, historical data, links,
and combination sites. Though some sites overlap two or more of
these categories, I've placed some of the major sites into their most appropriate
category as examples.
|1) The constructed genealogy page is the online version
of a paper pedigree chart. Some may be only one page long, while
others can be large (200KB+) and encompass numerous pages. Sometimes,
a GEDCOM is offered for you to download. They are often within a family
page, though there are a few sites that specialize in just pedigree charts.
A few sites offer large amounts of genealogy on numerous surnames.
The four best websites specializing in Acadian-Cajun constructed genealogy
Joe has several different databases covering thousands of Acadians. He has also worked towards correcting the material with respect to White's Dictionnaire. It's definitely worth looking at.
While not specifically Acadian-Cajun, Ancestry.com accepts pedigree files (GEDCOMs) and allows full access to the information online. It includes found thousands and thousands of Acadian-Cajun entries here, and you can download complete GEDCOMs for free. For example, a search for the Acadian surname HEBERT in early 2000 found over 8000 records!
This site, part of the Acadian Memorial, contains the basic genealogy (parents, children) for those Acadians who immigrated to Louisiana. It includes references and a good bibliography.
Steve has several databases, each concentrating on a separate surname. Steve's page includes databases on: Altofer, Arsenault, Babin, Benich, Bergeron, Blanchard, Blouin, Bourgeois, Bradley, Broussard, Brou, Doucet, Dugas, Engler, Fannaly, Fleming, Fontenot, Forest, Gaudet, Gauterot, Geisser, Hebert, Heidel/Haydel, Huber/Oubre, LeJeune, LeMire/Mire, Leroux, Mayer, Melanson/Melancon, Michael, Mount, Petitpas, Poche/Pock, Pusey, Richard, Rommel/Rome, Roussel, Schexnayder, Schneider, Schaaf/Schoff/Choffe, Steeger, Theriot, Trahan, Weidler.
A number of pages only concentrate on a single surname (though other surnames are naturally included). A list of them is kept at Acadian-Cajun Surnames & Researchers <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/surnamr.htm>. Some of these are:
|2) Raw data consists of church records, civil records,
census data, passenger lists, etc. Usually these have been transcribed
by a private individual, though some sites are official. There is
not a lot out there at the moment, but plans are underway to put more and
more data online. Here are three sites with raw data; though one
of them is actually a collection of hundreds of sites.
Chambres des Notaires du Quebec has a site about their business ... notaries. A section of the site interests genealogists, is a database of 30,000 notarial acts dating back to 1635. You will find many Acadian records. Though it is in French, you can get the basic information if you understand a few French words. Or, you can use a translation service such as Alta Vista's Babel Fish <http://babelfish.altavista.com/>.
Though this site has constructed genealogy on the Boudrot and Daigle families, it's high point is the data on the Poitou settlement, the Belle Isle en Mer settlement, and the lists of movements of Acadians into (ship lists from England) and around (the 4 convoys from Chatellerault) France ... some of it not found elsewhere online.
There are sites for every parish/county in the country. There are several special projects that involve putting raw data, such as censuses and cemetery listings, online. There is an Archives <https://sites.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/> that keeps thousands of pages of data. For Acadian-Cajun research, you should check out the Louisiana and New England area especially. There's also a WorldGenWeb <http://worldgenweb.org/>. You may want to check the sites for Canada <https://sites.rootsweb.com/~canwgw/> and/or France <http://francegenweb.org/>.
|3) Historical sites offer an insight into the history
that was going on around our ancestors. It is sometimes helpful to
know the history of their location to help determine their movements.
It also adds color to the basic lineage. For example, knowing how,
why, and under what conditions your ancestors sailed across the sea is
much more interesting than just stating that they did so.
There is a short history of the Acadians, along with a few graphics. It gives you the story in less than 2 dozen pages.
No graphics, but lots of great information on the people and history of Acadia, as well as New France.
This site contains a variety of pages on Acadian history.
Mr. Landry maintains a well-documented and detailed history of Acadia. He also has biographies of all major persons in the history of Acadia and Nova Scotia.
Robert's site is the best graphical presentation of the Acadian saga. The details are few, and it is in French; but you owe it to yourself to take a look. He also has a good section on old maps.
|4) Some sites primarily consist of links to other sites.
The links may be on one area, or many. They often contain some pages
of data, but the focus of the site is to provide links to related areas.
Sponsored by the producers of the "In Search of Acadian Roots" CD, this site started as a group of Acadian and genealogical links. One of the first Acadian websites, it has expanded to include a number of other pages (ie. chat page). There are over 1000 external links (with about 1/3 somehow related to Acadian-Cajun sites), and almost 100 pages at the site itself.
The GenWeb project is spreading around the world. It is designed to get every country, state, province, county, etc. online. Though most of the sites are based on geographical boundaries, the Canadian GenWeb graciously allowed for a special site to be set up for Acadians. There are almost 400 external links and several dozen pages at the site itself.
|5) Most sites (including some already listed) are actually a
of the above types. These sites will have each of the types
of information already listed and more. A good example of this is:
Lucie started simply but has added a number of items. As with any good site, she continues to add new information regularly.
The most comprehensive website on the subject, consisting of over 500 pages and continually growing. This website was contructed by and is maintained by the author of this book. Some of the major sections of the site include:
|General Genealogy Websites|
There are literally thousands of websites related to genealogy. Even though a website doesn't specialize in Acadian-Cajun material, you will usually find information that you can use. You may have a number of lines that aren't Acadian-Cajun. There are websites that cover just about any area of genealogy you can think of. Also, there are sites that specialize in certain locations. You'll want to check out those sites that cover the areas of your ancestors. And there are general sites, such as census information, that will be of help no matter what type of ancestry you have. Here are some of the best general genealogy websites.
|Webtools for Genealogy|
Search engines visit websites and index them. When you enter a word (or words), it will tell you which pages contain that information. They are not foolproof. Some sites may not be in their database. Sometimes the genealogy site you want is number 9998 out of 10000 hits.
Most search engines look through their entire database for information. So if you enter a name, looking for genealogical information, you may get thousands of other hits from sites that have nothing to do with genealogy.
If you use one of the major search engines, remember to include other words with the surname, such as "genealogy", a specific location, etc. Some of the major search engines are Alta Vista, Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek, and Lycos.
One of the latest types of search engine specializes in searching only genealogy-related pages. It eliminates a lot of undesired "hits" that you get on a general search engine. If you are looking for Landry information, it will not give you Landry's Grocery, Jim Landry-architect, etc.
You can submit a search which will go through all of the Ancestry online products. It will give you the number of hits in each database. Since there are some free databases, you may be able to find some material even if you don't subscribe to ancestry.com's library (see below). The best part of this is that it searches the free Ancestry World Tree.
This is a program ($24.97), and not a subscription service (though there are annual updates). It is available as a download or on disk. It has a number of features to help you in your online quest of genealogy.
This service, by Family Tree Maker, gives you the hits in their own products, as well as other webpages online.
You may also want to 'connect' with other people online. The first step would be to look at forums or bulletin boards. People have posted questions and answers on all sorts of things, including genealogy. There is a general Acadian-Cajun forum <http://cgi.rootsweb.com/~genbbs/genbbs.cgi/USA/La/Acadian-Cajun> at Rootsweb. Genweb has forums for thousands of surnames <http://genforum.genealogy.com/surnames/>. You can search the site, or just replace the *** in the following URL <http://genforum.genealogy.com/***> with the surname you are interested in to see if the name has a forum. If it doesn't you can always ask them to start one. You can see if there's anything that might be of interest to you, and can leave any questions you have to see if someone else may be able to answer. Rootsweb has a much more detailed surname section <http://resources.rootsweb.com/surnames/>. It allows you to search for a surname in numerous ways. There are separate surname forums for queries, Bible records, bios, deeds, obituaries, pensions, and wills. Links to the Acadian-Cajun surname forums at Genweb and Rootsweb can be found at the Surnames & Researchers page <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/surnamr.htm> at Acadian-Cajun.com.
Ancestry started this concept by offering online access to hundreds of publications. You can subscribe for $19.95 a quarter or $59.95 a year [2000 prices].
FamilyTreeMaker also has an online genealogy library over over 2000 databases (with 3 new ones added each day). You can subscribe for $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year [2000 prices].
|Building Your Own Genealogy Website|
Where to Start
There are also a number of websites that offer assistance in setting up a website. One good place to start is at Cyndi's Genealogy Homepage Construction Kit <http://www.CyndisList.com/construc.htm>. There is also a webpage with helpful information on starting your own family page at <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/online.htm/> that you may want to consult if this is new to you.
Creating Web Pages with Genealogy
Turning GEDCOMs into Web Pages
What Do I Want at the Website
If you would like a traditional printed resource, you might want to get Publishing Your Family History on the Internet <http://www.compuology.com/book2.htm> by Richard S. Wilson [$19.95 + 3.50 s/h].