Translating French Records: Catholic Marriage Records

Of the three types of Roman Catholic records most commonly used for genealogical purposes (baptismal, marriage, and burial), marriage records are often the most useful, and potentially the most complex. Most useful because of the sheer amount of genealogical information that can often be gleaned from a Catholic marriage record. While a baptismal record will…

Thomas Dooley (abt. 1810 – 1891)

A reader is looking for information on Thomas Dooley. Thomas Dooley was born in Ireland about 1810, possibly in Co. Kilkenny. He emigrated to Canada in the early 1830s (the 1842 census of Upper Canada records that he and his first wife had been in Canada for 10 years), where he settled on a farm…

Register of Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa: Part 1

If you’re looking for Catholic ancestors in the Bytown/Ottawa area and beyond (see below), you will probably (and by “probably” I mean “almost certainly”) want to check the parish register for Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa. The register is available online at two different sites: At FamilySearch.org, as part of their collection titled Ontario, Roman Catholic…

The hazards of early settler life

As I’ve mentioned before, 19th-century Roman Catholic burial records did not generally record a cause of death for the deceased, but there were exceptions to this general rule. In cases where a death was considered unusually tragic, dramatic, or violent, the priest might note the cause of death in the parish register. Here’s an interesting…

Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa

Coming up: some search tips for the parish register of Notre Dame Basilica, Ottawa. An unwieldy parish register (full of perils and pitfalls, and hence the need for tips and tricks), but also a very important parish register for anyone searching for Catholic ancestors in the Bytown/Ottawa area and beyond. Below: my high school graduation…