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May I Introduce to You . . . Diane Tourville

Come meet genealogy blogger Diane Tourville, author of the Genealogy On My Mind blog, in this interview by Wendy Mathias at GeneaBloggers.

I am very pleased to introduce Diane Tourville of Genealogy on My Mind, a blog covering news and discoveries about her research on the Hubou-Tourville Family. But that’s not all. Diane also maintains the Hubou-Tourville Family website, a database of family charts, historic photos, documents, vital records, cemeteries and more. This ambitious project is linked to her blog where Diane takes the reader by the hand and in a warm and conversational way tells the story of her ancestors. She includes explanations and links that will benefit anyone researching their French-Canadian ancestry.

Diane, can you tell us a little about yourself?

“I am French Canadian, born and raised in Montréal (Québec) Canada. I lived there almost all my life except for the first five years which I spent in Laval (Québec), a northern suburb of Montréal, and for the past ten years, as I am now a resident of Longueuil, a southern suburb of Montréal located just across the St. Lawrence River. I work as a translator in downtown Montréal. My past university studies include German Studies, Italian Studies, History and Translation. Not surprisingly, I love to read and travel.”

How did you get interested in doing genealogy?

“In 1978, there was a special project set up by the Government of Québec called Année du Patrimoine (Heritage Year) whereby all citizens of the province could ask for their genealogy tree to be made. My parents thus applied for it and we received it one year later. I clearly remember my father saying, ‘I remember that my father told us that our real surname was Hubou!’ As many French Canadians, our surname Tourville was actually a ‘dit’ name [an alias, or also known as]. Much later, in 1990, a few years after my father passed away, I asked my mother about our family, knowing there had been marriages between cousins. That conversation led me to the public library and to the Genealogy Section, where I found her grandmother’s marriage record and the answer to my question. I was hooked.”

What do you enjoy most about doing genealogy?

“The detective work for sure. I love a good mystery and I always enjoy knowing more about the historical context that prevailed in periods during which the people I’m investigating lived.”

What research tool or source has been particularly helpful in researching your family history?

Généalogie Québec is a great resource for finding French Canadian church records. We are lucky that this valuable collection has been preserved. Records have been indexed from the time of the early settlers until 1850 and indexing is already in progress for some parishes for the 1850-1860 era. What I appreciate the most about this site is that searches can be conducted by using the name of the parents allowing us to obtain a list of all their children’s names.

“Another database called Parchemin is a very useful tool too when one needs to find notarial contracts to which one’s ancestors were parties from the beginning of New France until 1800. It provides the notary and parties’ names as well as an abstract of the act. This database is available in some public libraries, including the Société Généalogique Canadienne-Française in Montréal, where I volunteer. Examining notarial acts is the next logical step when one wishes to go beyond the vital records.

“Also Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec has started to put online notarial index books or even acts for the 1800-1900 era on its website. Speaking of contracts, the Voyageur Contracts Database is a goldmine!”

Why did you start a genealogy blog?

“I started blogging in January 2013. As I was often receiving emails from distant cousins, I thought it would be a good idea to tell stories that could reach as many people as possible, cousins or not. But I must admit that it wasn’t until I read about Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge that I got the motivation and inspiration that prompted me to blog posts more regularly. From the outset, I made the decision to publish each post in both French and English as many of the emails I get come from Americans inquiring about our common ancestor. Hence, I try to feature a Québec ancestor one week and an American ancestor the next week.”

What is your favorite blog post?

“My favorite post has to be the one I wrote after my mother passed away in 2014: We will call her Helene.”

What interesting connections have you made through blogging?

“Very recently, I was contacted by a second cousin (we have the same great-grandparents). He kindly shared stories and wonderful pictures I didn’t know about. It was the first time I heard from such a close and unknown relative. Very rewarding!”

What kind of networking do you use to attract readers to your blog?

“I am active on social media such as Twitter as well as on my Facebook page for Famille Hubou-Tourville. I am also a member of the Geneabloggers Facebook group where I let people know about my latest posts. The presence of the genealogy community (in both the English and French languages) on these networks is a great inspiration for me.”

What future plans do you have for your blog?

“I recently started a series, The Bangle Files, for a group researching their German ancestors and I think I might do the same for some other families for which I have so much information. With this series, I hope to help people know about the variety of records that can be found in the Québec Archives.”

What other genealogy blogs inspire you?

“I must say that the Genealogy-Do-Over of Thomas MacEntee is very inspiring even if for the time being I cannot and do not plan to start all over again but I am trying to improve my genealogy skills and methods over the long term for better blogging posts.”

What is on your genealogy bucket list?

“I am planning to attend my first genealogy conference in Springfield, Illinois in August 2016. If the odds are in my favor, I would also love to take the opportunity to visit St. Louis, Missouri and Jersey County, Illinois at the same time. I am trying to find all the descendants of Mathieu Hubou who used the name Tourville. Mathieu came to New France in 1641 from France. Some of his descendants were among the people who left for St. Louis in the 1790s and later for Jersey County in Illinois. In St. Louis I want to view some documents in the French and Spanish Archives that are not available online as well as to visit churches and cemeteries.” 

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Please take a moment to visit Diane at Genealogy On My Mind and leave her a comment letting her know you stopped by. Thank-you, Diane, for letting us inside your blogging world.

© 2016, copyright Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Wendy Mathias is a retired teacher who divides her time between her home in Chesapeake, Virginia and Smith Mountain Lake.  She enjoys researching her family and digging for the story behind old family photos for her blog Jollett Etc. Are you a genealogy blogger who would like to be interviewed for the “May I Introduce To You . . .” series? If so, contact Wendy via email