Saturday, July 14, 2012

Early Transcribers Preserved Records Later Lost

The Irish religious Census and Quebec Tanguay records are examples of how early transcription preserved the contents of records later lost. Anyone with ancestors in Quebec or Ireland should be grateful to these 19th century genealogists who transcribed  records in these areas. 
Father Cyprien Tanguay was a Priest and Genealogist. He was born in 1819 and died 1902. He was appointed to the Dominian Statistics Department because of his interest in the records kept there. He spent many hours consulting these records and compiled  "Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes françaises depuis les origines de la colonie jusqu'à nos jours" a set books containing detailed family trees for every early settler. I am lucky he transcribed the records for St-Augustin Quebec because many of the pages are now missing from the church records. Sometime between the late 19th and recently someone removed whole sections from the church registers. When offered free access to Canadian records a couple of weeks ago I took that opportunity to collect some family records. That is when I found out the St-Augustin book was butchered. Most of my family pages were missing. When I laid out everything I had as far as connecting generations in the Martin family I recognized how indebted we should be to Fr. Tanguay. His transcription is the only way we can bridge the gap between records. I've posted all of my relationship proof records here You can see where the missing records are and Fr. Tanguay records fill the gap.
Another person I am indebted to is Tenison Groves. He copied many records which were later destroyed in the Four Courts Building fire during the Irish Civil in 1921. He was a professional genealogists whose reports now form a very important record source in Ireland. He transcribed the 1766 Religious Census of Ireland (see right) We believe that Andrew Forgey and Hugh Reynolds are our ancestors? Few original pages still survive making this an important document collection. It's one of the few surviving sources of family info during that time period; and the only source for some areas.
We are also indebted to an unknown family member who was doing Mason Family research in the early to mid twentieth century. I believe it's a she? The distant cousin who provided me with the copy of the handwritten family history didn't know who actually wrote it or when? A small example of the writing is right. Who ever wrote this did a wonderful job. Everything I've looked up is correct. This is very unusual because most of the family histories passed on to me have contained major errors. Ida Mason daughter, of Peter and Mary Mason, may have made this out but we can't be sure? We would have had a very difficult time locating the family in Quebec if this information had not been recorded. The person who put this together had first hand knowledge of the family location in Quebec.
The really Herculean efforts of these pre-computer age genealogists have provided us with valuable records, and family traditions which otherwise would have been lost.

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