Yes you read that right, if you are French Canadian or have even a little French Canadian blood you should be thanking your lucky stars. Trust me when I tell you, this is one of the easiest nationalities to research and also one of the most exciting.
Even though you probably think that you are French chances are, you have other nationalities mixed in. Quebec was as much of a melting pot as the United States and you may find that you have Swiss, Belgian, German, Irish, English, Native American, Portuguese and Polish in addition to your French routes.
I am 25 percent French Canadian but in the 25 percent, I have Swiss and English. In my Irish Canadian 25 percent, I have German, French and Native American. To say that these distort my percentages is an understatement.
The hardest thing for most Americans is getting back into Canada. Once your research has gotten back into Canada it can move quickly. You will look up your most recent Canadian ancestor by his or her last name and then you will look for the correct one by the spouse. (in the Blue Drouin) Once you find them, most of the time the records will have both sets of parents. And so it goes, in half an hour you can go three or four generations down the direct line.
Ancestry has purchased the rights to publish the Drouin records which are the records from 1621 to 1968.
Most French Canadian societies will have a set of the marriages in book form. Known as the Blue Drouin there is one set that is indexed by men and one set indexed by women. This is where most of us will start our research.
If you have no society near you then you can use Ancestry however, it is harder because you are not looking at a nice index, you are looking at the original record and it is in French with often difficult handwriting.
Knowing the town or parish of your ancestors will, of course, be a help. If you have a society near you, they most likely will have a book for the parish where your family is from. It is always easier to search in a small book rather than the very large Blue Drouin.
I will discuss French Canadian genealogy more in future posts.