Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CCGS researchers visit the American-French Genealogical Society

[Article submitted by CCGS member Ellen Geanacopoulos]

For anyone claiming Canadian ancestors, the American-French Genealogical Society (AFGS) in Woonsocket, RI is the place to track them down.

Three members of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society – Marti Day, Bonnie Cormier, and I - traveled to the AFGS research library on Monday, March 21, 2011.

L-R: Bonnie Cormier, Marti Day, Ellen Geanacopoulos

We were met at the door by AFGS webmaster Bill Pommenville, who gave us a tour of the Society's invaluable resources, which include:
  • Over 10,000 volumes of vital records from Canada and the New England states
  • The fabulous Drouin collection of marriages dating back to the 1600’s
  • Birth, death and marriage records on microfilm
  • Online access to Ancestry (World Edition), NEHGS, or Family History Library databases.
  • Access to the PRDH (Research Program in Historical Demography) database, where you enter a name and get all Canadian family members, going back to the 1600’s.
Because we had phoned ahead, experienced researchers were available to us for one-on-one attention the full time we were there. Bonnie and I had brought documents in French that needed translation, and the volunteers are patient and fluent in translating.

Once I confirmed that one of my ancestors had really married a woman with the same first and last name as his mother, not that uncommon in small French villages, I was able to trace this line back from 1806 to 1665, with the invaluable help of my volunteer who kept bringing me books referencing my family.

AFGS is open three days a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. Click for specific hours and to plan your visit, or call  401-765-6141 for more information. Non-members pay a $5 fee for the day. There is a lunch room with snacks and drinks available as well as a secure locker area (no fee).

There is a lot more information waiting for me at the American-French Genealogical Society. I can’t wait to go back!

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