The following is a “review” published in Volume XV, Number 2, August, 1995 issue of “Le Raconteur” Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane P.O. Box 44370, Capitol Station, BATON ROUGE, Louisiana 70804 Article by: Bob Shumway Article entitled “Two Acadian CD-ROM Reviews”
CD-ROM – “In Search of Our Acadian Roots” – A Genealogy CD-ROM containing over half million Acadian/French Canadian names.
“As technology progresses, new and better tools to help the genealogist slowly emerge. Genealogy, by its very nature, is a time consuming and never ending search for more proofs and better and more reliable documentation.
The emergence of the genealogy CD-ROM’s has been a giant step in the needed direction of identification, proof and documentation. But there has been a missing element. The majority of genealogy CD-ROM’s have been used for the publication of databases that were, in themselves, already available to the researcher in another form and at a higher cost in money, time and effort. This is not a failure on their part. Currently available CD-ROM’s provide tremendous savings in time and money as well as huge libraries of knowledge, that we would not otherwise possess.
The CD-ROM “In Search of Our Acadian Roots”, is representative of a new breed of genealogy tools and a sample of a new direction of electronic research, that we will eventually see more and more of, as the need is recognized.
To provide a little background on this disc, Yvon L. Cyr of Ontario, Canada, accepted his retirement from a major manufacturing firm in Canada due to a life threatening physical condition. This occurred in 1990. By the year 1994 he was becoming discouraged with the slowness of merging collected and exchanged family history data into his own database. The physical merging of files was simple, while choosing which proof and documentation to accept when a discrepancy arose, was a major problem that most computer genealogists can relate with, easily.
Mr. Cyr read of a proposed Acadian database for the Acadian ’94 Congres and was very much in favor. He received a message that a group of 22 people in Louisiana was undertaking a similar project and he offered his assistance. He learned that a number of universities were involved and they already had collected 100,000 names. By April 27, 1994, having heard nothing more about progress on the two Acadian projects currently being worked on, Mr. Cyr decided to proceed with his own non-profit project. This CD-ROM, “In Search of Our Acadian Roots”, is the result of that decision.
Several Internet members provided suggestions as to the form the CD-ROM should take. John Smith of Mission Viejo, California, offered to provide search/seek software, gratis. Slowly, through the remainder of 1994, GEDCOMS and tiny tafels (TT’s) started arriving. With a snowball affect, they came faster and faster. By November, Mr. Cyr had received his 500,00th name and was already receiving deposits for the purchase of a CD-ROM that had not even been produced yet.
As the CD-ROM would have unused space, Mr. Cyr started collecting shareware programs to include. Mr. Mike St. Clair sent about 14 megs of PAF utilities and his PAF REVUE program. Denis Beauregard offered to translate some of the CD documents. Peter Berlo provided copies of his Acadian History Series compiled by himself for the S*A*D (Society of Acadian Descendants) and which he had been posting one at a time on the FIDONET BBS network.
The is a large collection of miscellany on this disk that can be quite valuable, as well as simply fascinating, to read. Previously unknown tid-bits of information are tucked into directory after directory. Items include, at the very least, 11 censuses ranging from 1671 to 1777, including a military census; a list of Acadian place names; a list of Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia; several useful address lists; several BBS lists and many “very personably written” family histories, brief but containing useful information for those working with those families. In my own case, it is common for me to bring up the CD-ROM to accomplish some work, and find myself sidetracked into reading something interesting, rather than working.
For all of the usefulness of its many many extras, this disc is most useful for the purpose for which it was intended. There has existed a TT matching system on the BBS’ for quite some time. While very useful, the matches must be followed up by contacting the author of the TT and comparing detailed notes to insure that you are indeed working on the same person. This often requires much messenging or letter writing and the consumption of considerable time. The “In Search of Our Acadian Roots” CD-ROM by its very nature is working with a limited number of subjects. These subjects share a common interest–Acadians. This CD-ROM primarily provides matches with the GEDCOMs it contains, against your GEDCOM or any GEDCOM that you wish to use. Should matches be found, then this disc contains all the additional information needed. Linked databases, source documentation and names and addresses of the submitters are there waiting for your use, without further delay.
Mr. Cyr has requested of each contributor, besides a GEDCOM, that they supply a TT. He has checked each and every one to insure that they are compatible with the supplied software. Mr. Cyr has compared TT’s and GEDCOMs for matches and has printed a directory of these matches, that is one of the more useful features of this “In Search of Our Acadian Roots” CD-ROM. This can best be described by a simple illustration. The following is a screen from the “Match” directory, of the matches made against my own GEDCOM/TT.
Possible match(es) for:
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 141, GUYON, Marie M., B550, 1580, r-shumway
BONHOMME, N., 1135, GAYON, Marie, B550, c-tutic
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 885, GAYON, Marie, B550, 1578, t-ledoux
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 238, GAYON, Marie, B550, 2 Sep 1640, c-leonar
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 4332, GAYON, Marie, B550, c-cline
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 1105, GAYON, Marie, B550, r-casava
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 2437, GAYON, Marie, B550, r-dube
BONHOMME, Nicolas, 2900, GAYON, Marie, B550, c-gaulin
The matching software has shown only seven others who have this couple in their records. I obtained the birth date (1580) of Nicholas from his tenth great-grandson. Five of the other working on that family, have no dates. t-ledoux (Tom Ledoux, Columbia, MD) has a birth date he attributes to Jette’s Dictionary, page 126, and c-leonar (Charles Leonard of Sherbrooke, Quebec), has a death date of before 2 Sep 1640 he attributes to the same source and page in Jette. While there are errors in Jette, at least I have a published starting place for additional research.
In looking up this example, I looked into the text directory attributed to Tom Ledoux and found that he has also provided a ten-generation Ahnentafel chart for his family, an article giving the ancestors of Charlemagne, along with an acknowledgment to three people who provided assistance in preparing the article and bibliographic references to his source material, a list of the “Kings Daughters” and their husbands, a multi-page document of commonly used French words, and a list of all of the present French departments, including addresses to their various archives.
The above example was one of the simpler ones. Some GEDCOMs give documentation attributed to family bibles, parish records and other difficult-to-locate source material. Some matches show multiple marriages that you might not be aware of, or “dit” names that provide a new line of search within a family.
Mr. Cyr has provided a method whereby you simply put a complete GEDCOM of your family in a directory in your computer. The program will do a match/search of his whole CD-ROM and generate a “match file” unique to your GEDCOM. Another usage of this CD-ROM, is that you can use a text search feature to examine special index files and locate a single person and that person’s spouse. The submitter is listed and you can go at once to the submitter’s TT or the GEDCOM, and determine dates, sources, etc., without spending the time creating a GEDCOM and waiting for the matching process.
Despite Mr. Cyr’s constant exhortations during his progress reports, I believe that had more people understood what he was planning, he would have received many more commitments to participate in his project. I know that I am happy that I have done so and am vastly pleased with the results. I feel certain that each of the 134 submitters has found that Mr. Cyr did exactly as he promised and delivered a product that he can be proud of, at a fair and more than reasonable price.
The original plans called for only the number of discs to be pressed, that had been prepaid. Mr. Cyr did not wish to become a selling, stocking dealer for the disc. The promise was made so far as the original submitters were concerned, this would be a non-profit project. The final product included submissions by 134 people, who sent in their GEDCOMs and TT’s as well as a large number of additional text files and the many, many shareware titles.
Mr. Cyr made an arrangement with the supplier of the finished product, for an “overrun, on consignment” which has allowed him to continue to ship out discs, even after the original prepaid orders were filled. The positive response received on this disc, has prompted Mr. Cyr to enter into a legal agreement with the supplier, wherein he has passed to them the complete/total rights to the manufacturer (less copyright limitations, as listed on the disc). In return, they will continue to make copies available for a length of time, determined by demand. Mr. Cyr retains control over the pricing of the discs and the packaging and handling of all sales.
The manufacturer also has sponsored a World Wide Web “home page” on the Internet, that provides complete information on the product. For those with access to the Internet and the WWW, the address of this page is:
email: [email protected]
“Footnote: The announcement of the release of a new Acadian CD-ROM by Family Archives (formerly Automated Archives) and the BBS discussions by Mr. Cyr of Canada of his own “In Search of Our Acadian Roots” CD-ROM, served to confuse many people. Many times a message was posted on one of the major BBS’ or communication networks that, having seen the advertisement for the Family Archives disc, they were certain that they were one and the same; that Family Archives was simply going to publish and sell Mr. Cyr’s disc. The Family Archives disc, is not in any way similar to Mr. Cyr’s “In Search of Our Acadian Roots” CD-ROM disc.”
More about “Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane”
The Society is very pleased with the growth of membership, which now stands at 425 (1995). Membership has grown steadily every year since 1984. “Le Comité” has members all over the USA and in foreign countries as well. In addition, the Society has exchanges with 27 other Societies in the USA. Annual membership fee is only $17.00. To reserve a seat for their annual meeting on September 23, 1995, send your Name, Address, City, State and Zip Code to the Society at P.O. Box 44370, Capital Station, Baton Rouge, LA 70804. New members are welcome, but must included their $17. (annual) membership dues, with their reservation.