Canadians "Out West"

by E.B. Lapointe

From November, 1849 to May, 1850, a ship called the Mary Jane made its way (via Cape Horn) from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to San Francisco, California, filled with building materials for houses and sheds, and carrying nineteen young men caught up in the excitement over the California Gold Rush.

On the ship was Ebenezer HALEY, the father of Caleb Scott HALEY, who married my great-great aunt, Annie Louisa BARCLAY from Nova Scotia, and settled in Alameda County, California.

Although the HALEY family never panned any gold in the state, they set up a farm and dairy operation in the county and became known as one of the pioneer families of the state.

Among the better Internet resources on California include a listing of California Historical and Genealogical Societies at <http://hs.obitlinkspage.com/ca.htm> and the California USGenWeb Project Page at <http://www.cagenweb.com>. Both websites have listings of resources, societies, databases, and land grants of California.

Another great website to visit is that of Jim Faulkinbury’s Great Register of California in which are listed Foreign-Born Voters of 1872. Mr. Faulkinbury can also access (a small fee is charged) the full naturalization database record and locate information on your ancestor in California. The foreign born voters are listed at <http://feefhs.org/fbvca/fbv-63.html>.

Both RootsWeb.com <http://www.RootsWeb.com>, a free website with WorldConnect (an excellent finding tool for the person being researched), and Ancestry.com <http://www.Ancestry.com> (a fee based website, although one can try it free first), are a very good way to research the U.S. National Census, which has been indexed from 1790 to 1930. Familysearch.org <http://www.FamilySearch.org> also has the International Genealogical Index (IGI) of people listed in their database.

It was the lumber, fur trading, and mining in the near states of Michigan and Minnesota that drew Canadians in large numbers in the middle 1700s to the 1800s. Lumberjacks from both Ontario and Quebec went to these states to “work in the woods”, and in doing so, helped lay the foundation for statehood.

In Michigan is a statue of Antoine Lamothe-Cadillac in Hart Square in downtown Detroit, commemorating his passage there in 1701. Michiganders are reminded of the influence of French-Canadians in their state. The French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan has different branches throughout the state. Their website can be found at <http://fchsm.habitant.org/index.htm>.

In Minnesota, the French/Canadian/Métis SIG (Special Interest Group) holds four workshops a year and has a listed of surnames being researched on the Minnesota Genealogical Society website at <http://mngs.org>.

The National Archives and Record Administration facility in Chicago, Illinois, which covers the Great Lakes Region states of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois <http://www.archives.gov/facilities/il/chicago.html> and the facility at San Francisco, which covers the Pacific Region at <http://www.archives.gov/facilities/ca/san_francisco.html> both contain records of immigration from Canada and naturalization, censuses up to 1930, and a general leaflet on their holdings which can be downloaded and read by freely-available Adobe Acrobat software.

Because Canada and the United were born of the same geographical area, and have shared a border for many years, the two countries have been very close in the exchange of their peoples. American and Canadian cousins have been united by blood and ancestry and a history that is not easy to undo.

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    "A former newspaper reporter in Canada's capital, Ottawa, I became interested in writing about genealogy when researching my own ancestor, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist from Boston, Massachusetts, early in 1990. Quickly, my interest spread beyond my own family, and by 1994, I was editing a genealogy newsletter and by 1997, I was editing the Sourcing Canada series of books. Since then, I have gone on to write "My Ancestor Was French Canadian" and a series of booklets on Canadian genealogy. I love to travel the Canadian and American countryside looking for interesting people and places to photograph and to write about." - E.B. Lapointe

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