Charbonneau breakthrough: Hooked on family history

Letter C: Third of twenty-six posts in the April 2016 Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Wish me luck and please join me on the journey!

If every journey begins with a single step, then mine was entering an archive in Montréal, Québec, Canada seeking information about my paternal great, great grandfather Laurent Charles Charbonneau.

By: Blok 70
Street scene in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Discovering the baptismal record of my paternal gg grandfather Laurent Charles Charbonneau in a Montréal archive got me hooked on family history research. By: Blok 70

My brother Jeff was already researching our Charbonneau ancestors and had narrowed down where I should look.

So on a vacation in August 1991, I stepped to the archive’s information desk and — in rusty, high school French — managed to explain what I was looking for.

“Très bien,” said the archivist and led me to a cabinet filled with cards listing family names and birth dates. I needed the year 1832, so she looked it up and said to check all names on the card — they might be relatives. Amazingly, I understood her French, but like a young child I could only nod in return.

The card led to microfilm, and soon I was in a darkened room viewing undecipherable cursive records — from what I later learned was Québec’s Drouin Collection of vital and church records (1621-1968). I wanted to cry. I had come all this way and couldn’t read any of it!

Hooked on genealogy

But as I scrolled along I started to recognize months, then surnames, then I remembered I was looking for my own surname. And when I reached October, there he was — my paternal great, great grandfather Laurent Charles Charbonneau. Well, how exciting was that!

I ran to get the archivist. She printed and embossed a certified copy and patiently wrote out what the document said (since I still could not read it). And with that Charbonneau breakthrough, I was hooked on family history research!

Have you ever wondered about your ancestors? Or considered researching them? If not, you should give it a try! You might get hooked, too — just like my Dempsey cousins, who you will meet in the next post.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Charbonneau breakthrough: Hooked on family history”

  1. It is amazing how we become hooked on Genealogy after a successful find. Once I started looking and found some information I wanted to know more…had to know more! Great post. Looking forward to reading some more.

    1. Thanks, Shannon. Seems that all family historians have that aha moment that gets them going. Hopefully our A to Z Challenge posts will inspire others to get hooked.

  2. Appreciate your visit, LInda, and I was equally pleased to find your site. With so many different types of blogs in this year’s A to Z Challenge, it’s nice to find and connect with fellow family historians, including those like you who have incorporated memoir.

  3. I’m so glad to find your blog as family research is my on again off again hobby. Maybe I will move from memoirs this year to further back in time for the 2017 A to Z.

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