Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Step Back in Time

    I have not been posting much lately because I have been immersed in researching genealogy. It has given me a new appreciation for the priesthood. Part of their job description was in being a witness to all events in their parish, something that many of them took very seriously and recorded everything and protected their registers with their lives. I only wish that some of them had better handwriting or that they all had access to good ink.
     Because of those men, many of us who do not have illustrious ancestors can trace our ancestry back a few generations more than one would think possible. Somewhere back in time, my ancestors became Protestant and records may be harder to come by. They also began travelling in search of religious freedom and some records went with them, some didn't. World War II was a huge factor in the destruction of records. I suspect with the European branch of my family, I won't get back very far at all.
    My husband, with his largely Catholic French Canadian background, has been interesting to research because there is so much out there to look at. Canada has not been subjected to any devastating wars after 1814 and even that war was very local. There were some minor skirmishes here and there with Fenians and some revolutionaries but these were little more than bar brawls rather than out and out war.
His family has been here since the beginning of the 17th century so I can take his genealogy back 10 generations without working very hard at it. They were caught up in the Indian Wars, the wars between the French and the English and, since they were Acadians, they were caught up in the Great Dispersal in 1755. They arrived as refugees in Quebec City two months before that city fell to the English. they lost their homes again when the seigneurial system was changed to the English system of land grants and they were unable to buy back their own farms. In all that turmoil, the priests held on to their records. Some were destroyed but an astonishing amount survived. It tells an amazing story. I am in awe of the difficulties they faced but they carried on. We think we have it so hard today. 

1 comment:

Anachronist said...

Genealogy is a very interesting subject so I wish you a lot of fun! In the case of my family though it would be an exercise in futility. Even my poor mom doesn't know her date of birth, imagine that.