FAMILY GENEALOGICAL AND HISTORICAL RESEARCH
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HERITAGE CONSULTING is the Main researcher and information source on
Western Canadian Native/Fur Trade History and maintains more
information on file than any other source.
We specialize in Western Canadian Native and Historical information,
but maintain files on over 1000 tribes. Our Bulletin Board maintains
the most comprehensive on-line files on the history of Indian Tribes.
In addition, our files are expanding into broader areas of world
history and tribal peoples.
Continue to Heritage Consulting homepage
We get so many casual inquiries on an ongoing basis
that it would require a full-time specialist just to
answer these questions - at a cost of some $50,000
salary. So here are answers to some of the more
frequently asked questions; click here to find
answers pertaining to specific questions submitted
1. Where can I go to get the information on my family?
2. Can I come and look at your files to see if there
is anything I might be interested in?
Sorry, the costs of maintaining staff and public
access facilities would be much too expensive for
us. We have approached the Government of Alberta
with a proposal to have them support public
terminals for our data, but they are not
If you would like to see the government back such
a service, contact the Government of Alberta at
the following addresses:
The Premier of AlbertaDeputy PremierMinister, Community DevelopmentMinster, Aboriginal Affairs Pearl Calahison
Leader of the OppositionM.L.A.Alberta Museums Director
We are currently trying to interest a museum to
provide a host service for the files.
3. "My grandmother's name was Mary. She was from
Hoboken New York and we think she was Blackfoot.
Please tell me all about her."
You would be surprised at how many such requests we get. No doubt
there were tens of thousands of Mary/Marie/Mari-Ann/Mary Rose and
so on that would meet part of the information given - though the
odds of a Blackfoot of that name being in Hoboken is doubtful.
Without adequate information (see below) NOBODY can track down a
3. "My father's name was John DOE, my grandfather's Peter Doe and my
great grandfather's William Doe. It is said that our family was
Cree from Saskatchewan. Can you tell us something about our family?"
Better, but No. There may or may not have been a Cree by the name
of William Doe (or 25 by that name) at a point in time approximately
4 Generations ago (i.e. c 1900?). We may have information available
on a Doe family, but we can not say if they are the right family or
4. "What information do I need to research my ancestry?"
This is the basic question that you must start with. The more of
this information that you have the more likely it becomes.
It boils down to three elements: Persons, Places, Events
1. Names: comlete first, middle and last birth and married names
and aliases or alternates.
2. Who were the parents/grandparents/etc. and as complete an
information on them as possible.
3. Who were the children; as complete information as possible,
including married names.
4. Places: where were they from, locations of birth, death, etc.
Aboriginal peoples traveled a lot in this time period. Where
was the person known to have been?
5. Dates: ANY dates, even approximate for ANY KNOWN EVENT in that
person's life. Birth, death, marriage, baptism are the most
common (but often wrong in early records) but dates of any
known events help to track, place and identify that person in
the event of incomplete information.
6. Who were they known to associate with? Perhaps with other
individuals who's history is known; perhaps with a Indian band
who's history and travels can be tracked?
If you have all of this information then you most likely already have
what you are looking for. Most people only have parts of it, and would
like to gain a more complete picture.
Once you have managed to get all this together, the next step could be
either expanding the genealogy to see who you are related to and how
(we have one genealogy with 4,000 connections), or to go on to a
historical reconstruction of the family or one of the family members -
which usually offers the chance to write an article or a book.
More info guidelines
5. "Our family is of aboriginal ancestry. How do we go about getting
our Indian (or Metis) status recognized."
Not an easy undertaking. Firstly, there is no universal "Metis
Status" in Canada or the United States. Such recognition varies by
locality and group. Some have very stringent rules, some accept
a simple verbal claim. As a rule of thumb, wherever a financial
benefit is conferred by such status there is a greater demand
for proof. Such proof is constituted by evidence that the family
is descended from Indian ancestry. This usually means being able
to present the relevant birth/death/marriage documents for
generations past (which may or may not exist) or close family
kinship to someone already having such status. Since the necessary
documents are usually not available you will require a genealogy
with documentable and demonstrateable kinship ties. There is a
Statute of Limitations on being able to claim Metis Scrip, which
has long since expired.
Indian "Status" varies in Canada and the U.S.A. In Canada it is
a legal definition essentially defining someone who can show
male descent from someone who signed a Treaty as Indian and did
not take subsequent Metis status. On occasion a "Non-Status"
Indian can make application to obtain "Status". A Non-Status
Indian is one who's male ancestors neither signed Treaty nor took
Metis status. Both claims must be supported by documents or
demonstrateable documentable genealogies. Note that information
on who signed Treaty (i.e., the names) are confidential information
and NOT released. If you have the necessary information and can
demonstrate which First Nation your ancestry goes back to, some
First Nations might help you get back - but just as many will not.
Documentation of aboriginal ancestry, in the absence of recognized
documents (birth, death, baptism, scrip, etc.) will require family
genealogical research or verification by a reputable firm or by
a lawyer. Doing your own research can be done, but still requires
verification; doing your own research also requires historical
support for claim of descent. Firms such as ours can either
do the research, provide information, provide verification, or
provide historical supporting data - if it exists. To actually
track down documents and get copies can be time-consuming and
In lieu of having already gathered a research folder, active
membership in such organizations as the Alberta Heritage Protection
Society, working on protection of historic and aboriginal graves and
aboriginal cultural and religious sites, can provide a basis of
support in the process of establishing aboriginal ancestry.
6. "I am doing research/my class is doing research on the Cree Indians.
Please send me all the information you have on the Cree."
We have 1000 files on Cree history, each averaging 200,000 bytes of
information. That amounts to something like 500,000 printed pages.
Most of this is original research. It would be prohibitively
expensive for you.
This question is actually often asked by Consultants who want the
information for free but charge their clients hundreds of thousands
of dollars to provide them with information.
7. "You use the term Indian. Should'nt you be using Aboriginal, Native,
First Nations People or Indiginous People."
Yes we do. No we shouldn't. The politically correct terms are both
a cumbersome mouthful and less than precise. Aboriginal Peoples
(to quote from a cartoon in a Native paper "Why yes, they certainly
are Abertant and Original") is a catch-all term for the original
residents of any state - Finland, Spain, Congo and so on. No, we
are not Australian Aboriginies, Lapps, Old Prussians, Basques or
what have you!! Use of the term is a ploy to denignate the issue by
lumping Indians with other Aboriginals and then to bury Indian issues
in studies of international Aboriginal Issues.
Native? Everyone in this country who was born here is a Native of
this country by definition, regardles if they are of Indian, Euro,
Arab, African or Asian descent.
First Nations People. That's a mouthful, and there can be some
argument that it might be a correct term. The early explorers
invariably called every Indian village that they encountered a Nation
and recognized them as such.
Indiginous People. About the same as Aboriginal People. There is some
argument that this might be an appropriate name. Columbus actually
referred to the inhabitants of the new world not as Indians (the
word does not exist in Italian or Spanish) but as INDIGENS - a name
also used by the French and Portutuese. The Anglos corrupted it into
Russell Means, a leader of AIM (American Indian Movement) during it's
activist days, once said "I am an Indian, not an Aboriginal or a
Native. Our people were labled Indians from the day of our "discovery"
up to today. As Indians we were recognized ans independent peoples
and nations. As Indians we developed and practiced our cultures. As
Indians we became corrupted under the White Man's thumb and as Indians
we developed the social problems that plague us today. It is as
Indians that we will have to face these issues and, as Indians,
revitalize our people."
I refer you to Adrian C. Louis' novel SKINS."He'd never met a "Native
American" before. He'd met Indians, skins, dog eaters, sheep
f******s, rabbit-chokers, Apaches, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Crows,
Shoshones, Comanches, and several tough son of a bitch Paiutes, but
he'd never met a skin who called himself a 'Native American'."
Our family calls itself Indian and is proud of the ancestry. We are
NOT aboriginal, indiginous, or what have you.
There was no single collective name used by the many Indian nations
to describe them all. In their own language each nation tended to
call themselves "The People" - a courtesey not always extended to
In the Cree language the term is INEW, which is a collective term for
all People. It is essentially the same term used by the INUIT (Eskimo)
for themselves. This term is also used by the majority of the
Algonkian speaking peoples, which makes it the most widely-used term
in North America, taking in over half the continent. On the basis of
this distribution the term would seem to have some claim to having
the right to be used as a collective term in lieu of Indian. No doubt,
however, the Apache, Siouans, Blackfoot, Iroquoians, Caddo, Cherokee,
Miami, Seminole and others would not approve.
So back to square one. Indian is still the best term.
8. "What is the Indian word for -----?"
There is no "Indian" word for whatever you want to know. It is like
asking 'What is the Eurasian word for ----?" The question itself
makes no sense. There were over 2,500 Indian languages in North and
South America - most of them mutually unitelligible. Each language
had it's own word for whatever.
The most widespread language in North America was Cree. The Cree
language was spoken from the Atlantic to British Columbia and in
parts of Canada's northern territories. In the United States it was
spoken in all the border States west of the Great Lakes and at one
time was very common in Oregon, Nebraska, Wyoming and Oklahoma, as
well as all along the Missouri, upper Mississippi and lower Ohio.
Furthermore, the Cree language is mutually intelligible with most
other Algonkian languages. It differs little from Chippewa, Ojibway,
Ottawa, Pottawattomi, Kickapoo, Sauk and Fox or that of the various
New England Algonkian peoples. It is still almost intellegibe to the
Cheyenne, who the Cree call "Cree Speakers".
Next would be the Denean (Athabascan) languages, spoke across
northern Canada from Hudson Bay to the Pacific, as well as by the
Apache, Navaho, and a few small groups scattered as far afield as
According to Cree legendry, Cree is the ancestral Indian language
from which others developed.
Cree and Blackfoot share common roots, but you would have to go
into the archaic forms of those languages to make them easily
Some 16,000 years ago Algonkian and Athabascan (Denean) diverged.
The kinship can still be found when comparing it with High
(archaic) Cree. High Cree also shows kinship with Indo-European.
9. Are there Native American listservs I can subscribe to?
Yes, there are mailing lists to which you might have access: AISESNET,
NATIVEPROFS, and NATIVELIT, NATIVE-L, NATCHAT, NAT-1492, NAT-EDU,
NAT-HLTH, NAT-LANG, TRIBALLAW and others. Note that these listservers
tend to come and go. Old ones disappear and new ones show up.
AISESnet: Distributed by the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana;
Moderator/Listowner: Borries Demeler (email@example.com); List
for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society
AISESnet is an informal distribution list providing communication
between and information for AISES chapters, high school students,
and members of industry. The list's topics include AISES issues,
Native American issues, engineering and science issues, public
opinion, position openings, AISES events, and chapter newsletters,
scholarship information, conference information and discussion.
AISESnet membership is open to all, including non - AISES members.
There is no subscription fee. The list is divided into three sub-
groups, 'general', 'discussion', and 'alcohol & drug'. To subscribe,
send an informal subscription request to: firstname.lastname@example.orgFor
more information, mail to the listowner.
NATIVEPROFS-L is a listserv for and about the American Indian and
Alaska Native Professoriate. This listserv was created in response to
a need for continual communication among native professors, expressed
at the annual conference for the American Indian and Alaska Native
Professoriate in 1993 (sponsored by Arizona State University). Persons
using this listserv will be members of this organization or who will
eventually be members of this organization. This listserv is not
intended for use by the general public. If you have any questions
about NATIVEPROFS-L, please contact Mike Wilson.
NativeNet - INFORMATION: The NativeNet lists are all oriented toward
providing channels of communication for exchanging information and
ideas about the indigenous peoples of the world. Though many of the
subscribers to the lists are themselves members of indigenous
(aboriginal/Native) societies, NativeNet exists to promote dialogue
between Native and non-Native peoples, so it does not pretend to be
"of by and for" indigenous peoples. Since late 1989, the NativeNet
lists have served to promote communication and understanding among
people all over the planet relative to the First Peoples of the world
and their many cultures. The NATIVE-L list is for posting informational
articles and questions. It should not be used for carrying on discussions,
since the NATCHAT list has been established specifically for that
purpose. NAT-LANG is for information and discussion of the languages
of aboriginal peoples, NAT-EDU is for educational matters, NAT-HLTH
is for health issues, and NAT-1492 (now largely dormant) is for
articles pertaining to the 500th anniversary of the "voyage of
discovery" of Christopher Columbus (from the perspective of aboriginal
peoples). Articles from NATIVE-L are automatically forwarded to the
"alt.native" and "soc.culture.native" newsgroups, so if you want to
continue reading either of these newsgroups, you would be best
advised *not* to subscribe to NATIVE-L, since you will have access to
all of the traffic on that list via Usenet. All of the NativeNet
lists are "moderated" in the Usenet sense, meaning that all articles
are reviewed by a moderator prior to being relayed to the lists to
which they have been sent. The moderator checks each article for its
relevance to the topic of the list, and ensures that a modicum of
good taste is maintained (relative to his or her own subjective
judgement, of course), and deals with misdirected articles
(containing clearly personal correspondence, intended for the author
of a previous article [see below] or an administrative query).
To subscribe to any of the NativeNet lists, go to the NativeNet Web
where you will find an electronic form you can fill out, or send
email to the listserv address. In the body of your message, put:
subscribe "listname" your_full_name where "listname" is replaced by
the name of one of the lists - for example: subscribe nat-edu Jane
Doe At least a first and last name, separated by a space, are
required. You can include any number of "subscribe" lines within a
single message. There are archives for all but the NATCHAT mailing
list. Articles can be retrieved from these archives via full-text
Boolean search expressions.
For more details on this feature, send a message to "email@example.com"
containing: get nn-intro archives native-l. Some archives are also
available via the NativeNet Web site (see above).
TRIBALLAW is an open forum that will enable interaction by native
people and others interested in the laws and policy that effect
Native Americans on the North American continent. Students, teachers
and professionals, as well as anyone else interested in the subject
matter, may post and discuss legal and policy issues regarding recent
tribal, state and federal court decisions, Indian public policy,
social services and the legal history of Native Americans within the
United States and Canada. It is our hope that through this forum
people may become better informed and will also be able to use the
list for research and discussion as well as for posting their tribe's
recent tribal court decisions for discussion and analysis. Please
feel free to post and respond as you see fit. We ask only that
everyone be respectful to others in your replies. Although this is
an unmoderated list, the listowners reserve the right to terminate
any membership if we find that they are abusing other members and
their rights to speak openly on this list. Below are instructions for
subscribing and unsubscribing, as well as how to access the archives and
other commands. If you have any questions about Tribal Law, or have
any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact one or both of the
list owners. To subscribe to the triballaw mailing list send email.
In the body of the mail (not the subject line, which can be left
blank) write the following: subscribe triballaw your_name
AZTLAN - Precolumbian Mesoamerican studies -- send message "subscribe aztlan
your-first-name your-last-name" to
IROQUOIS language -- send message "subscribe iroquois your-first-name
NAGPRA-L - Discussion of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation
Act -- send message "subscribe nagpra-l" to firstname.lastname@example.org
NAT-WORK - Native American work issues -- send message "subscribe
nat-work your-first-name your-last-name" to email@example.com
NATFOOD-L - Native American Foods -- send message "subscribe natfood-l
your-first-name your-last-name" to firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Are there gopher holes I can go to pertaining to Native Issues?
The National Indian Policy Center
The George Washington University
2136 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
Voice: (202) 676-4401
Fax: (202) 676-4405
NIPC@gwuvm.gwu.edu The National Indian Policy Center has been providing an
information clearinghouse service on a wide range of policy issues to the
500 U.S. Native American tribes since 1990. Through its affiliation with the
George Washington University computer center, the NIPC has made its research
reports available on the Internet system of electronic mail and bulletin
board services. In 1992, NIPC's report on the costs and benefits of tax
incentives proposed by the Navajo Nation to attract private enterprise to
reservations was introduced in floor debate in the U.S. Senate and reprinted
in the Congressional Record. Its 1993 reports on federal impact aid to local
school districts having Native American students and on the economic impact
of gaming have also been in much demand. All research reports are
incorporated into an annotated bibliography that is mailed at no cost to the
public. An order form is attached to the bibliography, which makes it easy
for individuals or organizations to request copies of specific reports
either by mail, fax transmission or by sending a request to
Orna@gwis.circ.gwu.edu. Upon request, these reports are then photocopied and
mailed to the interested party. Effective Nov. 1, 1993, the clearinghouse
service can be accessed through The George Washington University GWIS gopher
on Internet. Besides direct-telephone call, the one other way to connect to
GWIS is to set up an account on a local network and pay for rent of time and
data storage. At present, available on-line are copies of NIPC reports,
minutes of its task force meetings and 1990 general census data. Throughout
1994, NIPC will be issuing new reports and developing a database that will
contain magazine and newspaper clippings of interest to Native Americans and
specialized state and tribal census data.
Native American Net Server (Michael Wilson)
Native American Net Server Information
This is all pretty old, out-dated stuff. You might
find some things of use here, but you'll probably
find it all in a much nicer HTML form somewhere on
11. Where can I get Native American music?
The main recording firm for Native American
Music of course was FOLKWAYS, with an extensive
catalogue of recordings. Many of these are now
out of print. Some are available from
Heritage Consulting Antiques
Also consider the following sources:
Eric Brunner, email@example.com
A new publication is also avaliable, and highly
A Guide to native American Music Recordings
Greg Gombert, 1994
From the back cover blurb:
1,300 recordings, 90 record companies and 30
distributors are listed in a through and easy
to use format with a comprehensive index.
Crossover styles such as blues, AAA, country,
new age, rock and rap are covered as completeley as traditional and
Indian House, P.O. Box 472, Taos, NM
87571, If you write to this address and ask for a catalog
(be sure to include your address!) they will send one
promptly. Everything is $10 and everything is available on a
cassette but no cd's. The recording are mostly live so no
point in cd really. They are VERY quick. The formats are
usually collections of types of music, e.g., Lakota love
songs by Kevin Locke, or the Red Earth Singers Live at
Bismark or Crow grass dance and owl dance songs. Usually you
get 10 or more gourd songs or peyote songs, that sort of thing.
12. My great-grandmother was an Indian princess....
You should consider the following statement by Vine Deloria: "It
doesn't take much insight into racial attitudes to understand the
real meaning of the Indian-grandmother complex that plagues certain
whites. A male ancestor has too much of the aura of the savage
warrior, the unknown primitive, the instinctive animal, to make him
a respectable member of the family tree. But a young Indian princess?
Ah, there was royalty for the taking. Somehow the white was linked
with a noble house of gentility and culture if his grandmother was
an Indian princess who ran away with an intrepid pioneer. And royalty
has always been an unconscious but all-consuming goal of the European
immigrant" (Custer Died for Your Sins).
For those of you not familiar with Indian cultures: There is no Such
Thing as an Indian Princess (or Prince, King, Queen). It simply a
transposition of Euro concepts onto Indian Culture. Many people
think that the daughter of a Chief is actually a Princess.
Interestingly, the most common choices of Indian Grandmothers are
Cherokee, Cree and Blackfoot. Actually, for the Cree there may be
some justification: almost everyone in northern Canada has a Cree
grandmodther. 'course, the Cree weren't too fussy about who they
married. Oh yeah, I have a Cree grandmother & my wife is a Cree
13. What's the story on New Agers and Shamanism?
Essentially it is a pile of B.S., as was clearly demonstrated by
the Casetenada fraud. The word "shamanism" comes to the world from
anthropological work done in East Siberia. It entered the anthropological
literature as a general term in about the early 1900's as a
"shorthand" for a wide variety of spiritual and social practices.
Modernly it refers to several different types of "shamanism", see
newsgroup soc.religion.shamanism, particularly its FAQ for more.
Shamanism - an occupational specialist - did not exist in most of
The word "new age" is a recent pan-Euro-American creation, it doesn't
appear to have any core tenets as a belief system, except glibly
imitating predominantly Lakota-stolen external forms of faith express
ion, and other trinketized objects, such as (Anishabe) dreamcatchers
and so forth. There is a "Lakota Declaration of War" of recent date
which, IMO, speaks to the central issues of cultural appropriation by
the current batch of "new agers". Personally, I think it worth
knowing that these post-60's air-heads are simply a new twist on the
turn of the century American Primativists. Now the targets are Lakota,
then they were Eastern Tribes, and I see them in the context of
European Primitivist Movements, of which Blye's drum banging is
simply the most recent incantation. Again, a better answer may be
For a critique of some of the supposed New Age/Shamanism interpretations
for our northern tribes see critique of Joseph's B.S. book SACRED
SITES OF THE WEST.
14. Where can I get a list of all university Native American Programs in
the United States and/or Canada? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There is work in progress on this question, by Amy Davidson and Robert
Nelson ASAIL Editorial Assistant and Professor of English, resp. at the
University of Richmond. A gathering of University/College programs from some
years ago is available. The bibliographical entry for that is: Ballinger,
Franchot, ed. "A Guide to Native American Studies Programs in the United
States." SAIL [Studies in American Indian Literatures] 5.supplement
Franchot's info is based on responses to a 1992
questionnaire he sent out. Only 30 schools provided
responses, though. Amy and Robert are busy rooting
out more info including Canadian coverage. If you
know of any programs other than the ones listed below,
please contact Amy or Robert directly, their email
Here is a Partial List:
De Anza College
Five College consortium (Smith, Amherst, U Mass,
Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke)
Humboldt State University
Iowa State University
Pembroke State University
Portage College, Lac La Biche, Alberta, Canada
Saskatchewan Indian Federated Colleges (Rather
limited if you are not a Cree from Saskatchewan)
SUNY - Oswego
University of Arizona
University of Calgary
Department of Archaeology (Indians of The
Plains, etc. survey courses; Arky
predominately concentrates on Early Man,
Arky techniques & Arky of Mesoamerica;
pretty limited for Cultural/Social theory
& application, and otherwise; a veritable
inept failure when it comes to knowing
anything about aboriginal culture, beliefs
of history; has not yet grasped the
fact that archaeology of Indians has
any connection with real live peoples).
Department of Education Aboriginal Teachers program
University of Iowa
University of Lethbridge (Rather limited if you are not Blackfoot)
University of Washington
University of Wyoming
15. I want to read some Native American Literature. Which books should I
There are many, many wonderful American Indian writers today. A
good starting list may be this list put together by the members of
the NativeLit-L mailing list for Native literature.
17. Wasn't there a Native American rock band in the early seventies?
Yes, there were several:
Redbone, based out of L.A.; top-40 hit was called "Come and Get Your Love."
Lewis And Clark Expedition; best on LP: Crazy Horse's speech
Also Burton Cummings (Guess Who, BTO, etc.) came out with a Roots album.
18. Is there a list of Native American BBSes?
The absolute latest version of this list is also always
available on the BDPA BAC BBS(1-707-552-3314) and on the
Data Bits Online BBS(1-213-295-6094) in the following file:
NATIVBBS.MSG = BBS List
(c)1993 Arthur R. McGee & The Indigenous Peoples of North America
Heritage Databank has now ceased operations due to lack of response,
and expects to go to an internet format in the next year.
19. Are there any American Indian World Wide Web site available?
There are many, many Web sites available. Rather than try to list
them all in the FAQ, we refer you to our listings and home pages
A note of warning, however. Such websites are generally short-
lived and are gone after about a year.
Furthermore, few Indian Nations, Bands, Tribes or organizations
see to want to be bothered by puting up or maintaining websites.
In our area, none of the First Nations are interested - unless
someone were to pay them to put one up.
20. How can I get Indigenous (Americas) language learning materials?
To: Mailing List: NAT-LANG (email@example.com)
To whom it may concern: if you are looking for teaching materials and tapes
for American Indian languages, The Newsletter of the Society for the Study
of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (aka SSILA News- letter) has a
column entitled LEARNING AIDS, which provides information about published
and "semi-published" teaching materials and tapes. The Newsletter is
published quarterly. If interested contact the editor: Victor Golla,
Department of Ethnic Studies, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521
Family Genealogies on file; alphabeticFamily Genealogies on file; by tribe
Where can I go to get the information on my family?
Noplace. Period. There is no single universal site on Internet or elsewhere
that tracks your family or keeps your family records for you.
Those of you who have delved into your family history will know that it can
be a laborious and time-consuming undertaking.
Each record for each person has to be tracked down seperately. Depending on
where you are looking, these records may or may not exist. In eastern Canada
and the U.S.A. there are fairly complete government and church record centers
that go back several hundred years and are usually well indexed.
In the interior of the continent this simply does not exist. Reasonably
reliable records here do not begin until after 1880 - and even these need to
be questioned. In the Canadian interior reliable records do not start until
To find anything before that means finding and searching the primary
documents or journals, which often entails road trips and many hours of
searching documents, often in French. Needless to say, these documents are
not indexed. Nor are they all in one place. You are on your own.
And this is just to find out the genealogical ties.
To find out family history and history of individuals will require hundreds,
usually thousands, of hours in researching existing documents and publicatons
and then knowing enough history to be able to interpret it. Not infrequently
home-made histories are substantially wrong or incomplete because the
researcher did not know their history well enough.
In total, you will spend thousands of hours in doing the research. If you
value your time at even $1.00 per hour, this soon accrues a value of Thousands
of dollars. In addition, you will find considerable other costs involved in
accessing the information.
An alternative is to go to a researcher to undertake the quest.
Some people have hired lawyers, others hire researchers or detectives.
This, too, can get expensive. For example, to track down copies of documents
(birth/death/marriage) before 1900 in western Canada we require a minimum
retainer fee of $2000. In return we will undertake to find the document and
provide an accounting of expenses - yet CAN NOT GUARANTEE that we will be
able to find the document. Search for such documents can take days of travel,
hotels, and going through old documents.
Another alternative is to go to a reseacher that maintains their own
records databank from their own research, such as that maintained by
HERITAGE CONSULTING. Here for a nominal sum you can get whatever information
the researcher may have ON FILE for the family or individuals.
Such researchers can provide a short synopsis for as little as $30.00 (we
will give out basic consultation via e-mail for $10.00). If the information
is available, you might get considerable comprehensive information on the
genealogical links and documented history for under $200.00. For many
famlies such files are comprehensive enough to for the basis for a book.
A sample of costs for such files are given below. When available they are
considerably cheaper than trying to do it yourself.