News Release – Roots Tech 2022 Registration goes LIVE!

Ready to Connect? RootsTech 2022 Registration Is Now Open!

RootsTech 2022 is free, fun, worldwide celebration of family discovery and connection. The online event is March 3-5, 2022.SALT LAKE CITY, UT–FamilySearch opened registration today for RootsTech 2022, the largest family history event in the world held online March 3–5, 2022. It offers a forum where people of all ages across the globe are inspired to discover and share their memories and make meaningful connections. Register for free at today. RootsTech 2022 will be a virtual-only experience, with some enhancements and improvements.

A new set of educational classes will be featured during 2022, along with new technologies to explore in the virtual expo hall, and inspiring stories shared by a fascinating line-up of keynote speakers.

“RootsTech 2022 is sure to be an incredible experience once again” said Jen Allen, event director for RootsTech. “Earlier this year, we organized our first-ever virtual event amid a pandemic—something we never thought would happen. But as we watched the participants come together to provide joyful learning experiences in many different languages, we knew something special was taking shape.”

Classes for the event will have a mix of on-demand, livestream, and interactive sessions that will allow attendees to learn, grow and connect to people all over the globe. Participants will also be able to connect with fellow attendees, speakers, experts, and enthusiasts. In 2022, the planners of RootsTech are looking to take that experience to the next level.

RootsTech is a place of connection. “We witnessed incredible connections [in 2021] between participants all over the world,” said Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch. “As they connected to their homelands and ultimately to their families, they then connected to each other. At FamilySearch, we choose connection, and we witness every day the ways family history transcends all walls of separation and unites us as the true story of humanity unfolds.”

While there will always be some differences between the in-person and online experiences, RootsTech will continue to expand its online experience while working towards a time when the hybrid model of both can once again be offered.

“We are busy creating innovative ways to capture and share messages of culture, unity and connection that push the boundaries of what a virtual conference can be. We can’t wait to share what we’ve got in store,” added Allen.

The event will take place March 3–5, 2022, and you can register for RootsTech right now by The conference is free and open to anyone. For updates, be sure to follow RootsTech on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Creating A Locality Guide – Wayne County Michigan

Locality Guide:  Judy Nimer Muhn

Research in Wayne County, Michigan

Historical Background:

The City of Detroit Flag (see below)

While David E. Heinman created the Flag of Detroit in 1907, it was not officially adopted by the city until 1948. The background of the flag commemorates the countries that have controlled the city over the years, and it is divided into four different sections. The lower left features the fleur-de-lis to represent France, who founded Detroit in 1701.  The upper right includes the gold lions of Great Britain, who controlled the city from 1760-1796. The upper left and the lower right sections represent the United States, the thirteen stripes and thirteen stars stand for the thirteen original colonies. 
The seal in the middle of the flag represents the fire that destroyed the city in 1805. Two women stand in the foreground while the city burns in the background.  The woman on the left weeps over the destruction, while the woman on the right consoles her by gesturing to a new city that will rise in its place.  Two Latin mottos read “Speramus Meliora” (meaning “We hope for better things) and “Resurget Cineribus” (meaning “It will rise from the ashes").
Description obtained from:

Early history of the region now known as Wayne County, Michigan reflected the changing of hands between the French, British and American – this fact being represented in the City of Detroit’s flag.

The area of Michigan that became Detroit and SE Michigan, was the home of thousands of Indigenous peoples – the Anishinabewek (Chippewa/Ojibwe), Wyandot, Sauk and Fox, Miami and more (note – these names are those of the European settlers, not those that the Indigenous people used for themselves). While the area now known as Detroit, in Wayne County, Michigan was originally settled by the French in 1701 (founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac at Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit on the north side of the Detroit River), the area was under French control until 1763.  In 1763, New France was defeated in the French and Indian War and the boundaries of the United States were expanded to include the region of Michigan within the “Old Northwest”.    From the French in 1701, transitioning after the French and Indian War to the British until the American Revolution when this region became part of the early formation of the United States of America, the area of Wayne County even reverted back to Britain briefly during the War of 1812.  From 1787 to 1800, Michigan was part of the Northwest Territory and Wayne County was created in 1796 as part of the Northwest Territory but it encompassed most of the what became the State of Michigan (a far longer history of the Michigan Territory can be found in Wikipedia at 

From 1800 to 1805, the region that was to become Wayne County and Michigan was attached to the Territory of Indiana.  Further changes occurred after the War of 1812, when the Michigan Territory came temporarily under British rule after the defeat of the Americans, but the area was later organized in 1815 as a county in the Michigan territory.  When Michigan became a state in 1837, Wayne County’s boundaries were again changed to reflect the more current configuration.

When the early territory of what was to become Michigan was laid out, Wayne County encompassed a larger area as the sixth county of the Northwest Territory, including the lower peninsula of Michigan, much of the upper peninsula and portions of what became Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.[1]

Wayne County is bordered by Macomb and Oakland Counties to the north, Washtenaw County to the west, Monroe County to the south and west, with Essex, Ontario, Canada bordering the county to the east/northeast (portions of Ontario are actually south of part of Wayne County).  The county encompasses 673 square miles and, according to 2014 population data, has over 1.7 million residents.[2]

Maps of the progression of the development of the Michigan counties, including Wayne County, can be found at Maps of the US, providing an interactive way to visualize the changes over the centuries.[3]

The location of Wayne County now, in 2021.

Current map of the counties of SE Michigan, from Family Search, Research wiki:,_Michigan_Genealogy

The historic Guardian Building with exceptional architecture and a spectacular lobby.

The historic Guardian Building is the current location of the Wayne County Governmental offices.[4]

Wayne County is the most populous county in the State of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, its population was 1,820,584, making it the 19th-most populous county in the United States. The 2014 Census update listed the county’s population at 1,764,804. The county seat is Detroit, the most populous city in Michigan and 18th-most populous city in the United States. The county was founded in 1796 and organized in 1815.

Wayne County is included in the Detroit-WarrenDearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is one of several American counties named after Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne.[5]


A wealth of genealogical and historical resources is available across Wayne County and the State of Michigan.  The main repositories and their holdings are:

Obtain Detroit Birth & Death Certificates at:
Wayne County Clerk’s Office
400 Monroe Street (6th Floor)

Hours of Operation Will Be:
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Monday – Friday

For Further Assistance, Please Call:
(313) 833-2887 or (313) 833-2881 [6]

Additional researchers’ note, per the Wayne County’s website:  The Satellite Offices only have same day certificate service for a Marriage that took place from 1996 to the present. An order for a Marriage that took place before 1996 at our Westland Satellite Office can be picked up the following business day after 1:00pm or mailed. An order for a Marriage that took place before 1997 at our Northville Twp Satellite Office can either be picked up the following Thursday or mailed. Our main office in Downtown Detroit, located on 2 Woodward Ave, has same day certificate service for all years of Marriage Licenses issued by Wayne County.

One certified copy of a marriage license is $24.00 and $7.00 for each additional copy purchased at the same time. A Marriage License search for an uncertified copy is $11.50 for years 1937 to present, whether found or not, and $11.50 for before 1937 and for each 3 year interval, whether found or not. Personal checks are not accepted. Please click here for the Marriage Certificate Order Form.

Detroit Public Library, Burton Historical Collection

5201 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI  48202


Begun as a collection of the late Clarence Monroe Burton, this collection holds documents of the history of Michigan and Detroit, including Wayne County, including photographs, original manuscripts, city directories, history books, pamphlets, newspapers, atlases, personal papers, archival materials, collections from other historians or archivists, business records and extensive map collections.  Genealogical materials include microfilms of federal censuses, church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths, family histories and scrapbooks, military records, immigration and land records, Sanborn  fire insurance maps and much more.  Over the years, special collections documenting ethnic groups such as French-Canadian, Polish, Jewish and other populations have been acquired. 

Wayne County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here unless otherwise noted)

Address: 201 City-County Building, Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: 313-224-6262

Births & Deaths: 1867

Marriage Records: 1842

Address: 400 Monroe, 7th Floor, Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (313) 224-5854

Land Records: 1703

Address: 1307 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (313) 224-5706

Probate Records: 1797

Address: 421 Madison Ave., Detroit, MI 48226

Phone: (313) 224-5261

Court Records: 1818[7]

Genealogical Societies In/Around Wayne County[8]:

Canton Historical Society 

P.O. Box 87362 Canton MI 48187-0362; 734-397-0088.

Historic documents, archives, family surnames and compilations, land-tax-cemetery-church records and more.

Dearborn Genealogical Society 

P.O. Box 1112

Dearborn 48121

Cemetery records, ancestor charts; this society is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Dearborn Historical Society 

915 Brady

Dearborn 48124

Detroit Society for Genealogical Research

c/o Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library

5201 Woodward Avenue

Detroit, MI  48202

Quarterly publication includes transcriptions of documents, stories of the region and local cities ; annual indexes available for purchase or available on members-only portion of website.  Extensive list of publications for purchase includes Mt. Elliott Cemetery Burial Records, 1845-1861; Elmwood Cemetery Register 1862-1874; Wayne County Newspaper Marriage and Death Notices, 1809-1868, 1998; Passage to America 1851-1869: The Records of Richard Elliott, Passenger Agent, Detroit, MI; Cadillac’s Village or Detroit Under Cadillac, 1701-1710 (reprint of 1896 edition); Marriage Records of Ste. Anne Church Detroit 1701-1850; microfilmed Catholic church records from 1701, Protestant records from the 1820s (also at Ann Arbor’s Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan).

Detroit Historical Society 

5401 Woodward

Detroit 48202

Founded in 1921, the Museum was opened in 1928 with holdings including the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.  Thousands of artifacts, exhibits and documentation of the history of the region and events are exhibited and rotated through the two facilities.  Educational programs.

Downriver Genealogical Society 

P.O. Box 476

Lincoln Park 48146

Materials on 17 “downriver” communities including cemetery records, family charts, death records, research materials and local high school yearbooks.

Flat Rock Historical Society 

P.O. Box 337

Flat Rock MI 48134; (734) 782-1269

Collection includes historical buildings, archives and papers of the area.

Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society 

c/o Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library

 5201 Woodward Avenue Detroit MI 48202

The first genealogical society in the State of Michigan dedicated to the research and preservation of African-American history.  Newsletters, educational programs, publications and SIG (special interest groups) are part of this active society.

French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan

P.O. Box 1900, Royal Oak, MI 48068-1900

This society was founded to promote awareness, research, educational and social connections for those of French-Canadian descent.  The Society’s website includes extensive resources, original research, historical information and photographs and detailed information about Acadians, French-Canadians, Native/First Nations, Fille du Roi and Carignan Regiment surnames and stories, and more.  Extensive research focused on historical Detroit, and nearby communities.  Monthly educational programs, books and more. 

Irish Genealogical Society of Michigan

Gaelic League of Detroit

2068 Michigan Avenue

Detroit, MI 48216

Assistance, educational information and resources supporting Irish genealogical research.

Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan

The Gayle Sweetwine Saini Memorial Library of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan is located inside the library of the Holocaust Memorial Center. The materials are non-circulating and a catalog is available for download from the website (below).

Holocaust Memorial Center
2nd Floor
28123 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3738
(248) 553-2400 ext. 16

Lincoln Park Historical Society 

P.O. Box 476

Lincoln Park 48146

Collections and artifacts of early French and German settlements; documents include articles about old families, historic photographs and more.

Northville Genealogical Society 

P.O. Box 932

Northville MI 48167

Meeting at the Northville District Library, the group includes neighboring cities and the collection includes obituaries, indexes, cemetery records, historical and church publications.

Plymouth Historical Society 

155 S. Main St.

Plymouth 48170; (734) 455-8940

Census data, information about old Plymouth families, manuscripts, old photographs and an anthology of Abraham Lincoln (unusual!).

Polish Genealogical Society Of Michigan 

5201 Woodward Ave.

Detroit 48202-4007

Public and members-only databases; books, past publications/newsletters, surname lists and more.

Romulus Historical Society 

11121 Wayne Rd.

Romulus 48174

Redford Township Historical and Genealogical Society 

P.O. Box 401175

Redford Michigan 48240-9175

No updates since 2009/2010 so it is not clear if they are still active.

St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit “Charles S. Low Memorial Library”

Kilgour Scottish Centre

2363 Rochester Road

Troy, MI  48083


Scottish books, artifacts, culture and information about clans & tartans, history, biographies and genealogies submitted by members for membership and more. 

West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society 

3245 Junction Street

Detroit MI. 48210

Oral interviews and articles about people, history and culture are featured on the website.

Wayne County Irish Society 

31975 Cowan

Westland 48185

Western Wayne County Genealogical Society

 P.O. Box 530063

Livonia 48153-0063

Meeting at the Livonia Civic Park Senior Center, the website offers surname research list, cemetery research and the Society sells publications that are compilations of cemetery and other records.

Wyandotte Historical Society 

2624 Biddle Avenue

Wyandotte Michigan 48192; 734-324-7299

Genealogy, historic buildings and businesses can be researched at the Burns House; must schedule an appointment.

Michigan History Center/ State Archives of Michigan

702 W Kalamazoo St, P.O. Box 30738

Lansing, MI 48909-8238; (517) 373-1408,4726,7-282-61083—,00.html  (website wasn’t working when checked)

1870 Michigan Census Index and Images, Michigan Cemetery Sources, Michigan Naturalization Records, Vital Records, State and Local, Public Land Grants and Private Claims, Circuit Court Records, Michigan Local Histories and Biographies, and more.

Library of Michigan

702 W. Kalamazoo St,

Lansing, MI 48909

Newspapers, law library, rare books, genealogical materials and online databases, family histories, county indexes and directories, and more.

Historical Society of Michigan

1305 Abbott Rd,

East Lansing, MI 48823; (517) 324-1828

Hosts history conferences and education events; tours; support to county/regional historical societies.

Record Losses/Extant Records:

There are no known record losses in Wayne County.

LDS Family History Centers

The following family history centers in Michigan offer the most comprehensive genealogy resources, including census records, death records, family history records, obituaries, marriage records, vital records, court records, and various other public records.:

Closest to Wayne County, Michigan are:

Ann Arbor Michigan 
914 Hill St
Ann Arbor, Michigan (734) 995-0211   Bloomfield Hills Michigan
425 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (248) 647-5671
  published sources/ Online resources and databases/ digital collections: Census records for Wayne county, from 1820 as well as regional and state census from 1799 to 1894.  1906 to 1957 immigration arrival records in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) record group 85.  Many other Wayne County records found by typing “Wayne County, Michigan” in Ancestry’s search box.   Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library A special commemorative brochure was compiled in honor of the collection’s 100th anniversary: An extensive digital photo collection can be searched and copies ordered from the website. The Detroit Death Index (1920 to 2009) includes records from the Detroit Health Department but is not entirely searchable online.   Cemeteries, Death Records, Obituaries See “Seeking Michigan” for Library of Michigan indexes.  Most Detroit and Wayne County churches and cemeteries have compiled their own indexes and burial records. And the following website has links for indexes, cemeteries and obituaries.   Jewish Beth-El Archives The oldest synagogue in Detroit has shared it’s records online – of those of Blessed memory are recorded with birth date and death date in the synagogue’s cemetery.    Newspapers The oldest paper in Wayne county is the Detroit Free Press.  Previous newspapers include the Detroit Tribune, Detroit Times, Detroit News, Detroit Journal and there are several historically ethnic newspapers.  The Detroit Public Library has clippings on file or microfilm and DPL staff will do look ups for a fee ($15-25; call for information).   Seeking Michigan Provides access to nearly a million death records, indexes, military records, Michigan census and maps, cemetery indexes and more.  Immigration and naturalization records are now being indexed with the help of thousands of volunteers.       

[1] Wayne County, Michigan.  Wikipedia History at,_Michigan

[2] Ibid.

[3] Maps of the US.

[4] By Funnyhat at English Wikipedia – Self-madeTransferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Werewombat., Public Domain,



[7] Website – Genealogy Inc.

[8] Crediting Genealogy Inc. at for this list of genealogical and historical societies.

National Genealogical Society 2021 Family History Conference – Virtual Event!

Focus On Societies: Join me for the session – Society Management: Volunteer Motivations – Recruiting & Retaining Volunteers for your Society!

The National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference is coming! Hope you registered early to get the discount, but register TODAY here: and join one of the most interesting, educational and important conferences of each year.

This year – new – is the fact that the Federation of Genealogical Societies merged with NGS and there is a “Focus on Societies” section, offering help, resources and information to genealogical societies to help them to thrive, grow and engage with their communities and interested researchers. That’s where my session – Society Management: Volunteer Motivations: Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers – appears. Join me?

NGS 2021 LIVE!
 is 19─20 May and continues with NGS 2021 On-Demand! on 15 June. Additional events throughout the week include the Delegate Council Workshop on Monday and the SLAM! Idea Showcase on Tuesday.

#NGS2021LIVE, #NGS2021OnDemand, and #NGSFocusOnSocieties.

Happy birthday to my 2nd Great-Grandfather, Norbert Albert Villeneuve

Here’s Norbert Albert Villeneuve and wife Adele Paquet and their family probably around 1902 in Ishpeming, Michigan (colorized thanks to MyHeritage!).

When Norbert Albert Villeneuve was born on March 3, 1840, in Quebec, Canada, his father, Joseph, was 31 and his mother, Julie, was 33. He married Adele Adelaide Paquet on November 7, 1865, in Maskinongé, Quebec, Canada. They had 11 children in 21 years. He died on May 13, 1914, in Ishpeming, Michigan, at the age of 74.

That doesn’t say a lot about Albert or Al as he was known. He was likely a farmer in Quebec as many in the community of Maskinongé were but we also know from family stories that he made furniture, very solid, functional furniture that was nice looking too. He became a miner in the iron ore mines in and around Ishpeming area. He was a carpenter and worked in and around the mines constructing joists and structures to hold up the rock for the miners, hoping to keep them safer. According to the 1910 census, he was still working for the mining company even at the age of 71. When he died just 4 years later, his obituary stated that he was one of the “early pioneers” and had cut trees to help construct the main road in Ishpeming. The family must have been a bit musical as family stories that I heard over the years about Albert, Adele and the kids included a great deal of music and dancing. And on his death, the inventory of his belongings included a piano that my Great Grandmother Louise Villeneuve Elliot took for her large family. My Grandmother Elsie Elliot Sutinen told me that this family, back in Quebec, were well known formal dancers – participating in waltz and ballroom dancing competitions, often winning. So maybe the family piano helped in teaching the children?!

A recent trip this summer to Ishpeming included driving around the area where the Villeneuve family lived, even finding their home address using the census records. Such a small home for a family of 11 children and 2 adults!

350 South 1st Street, Ishpeming – the Albert and Adele Villeneuve home in 1910.

One Man, Two Names, Two Countries

The Life story of Norbert Albert Amiot dit Villeneuve or Albert Villeneuve

The Villeneuve/Paquet family of Maskinonge, Quebec – after immigration to Ishpeming, Michigan

Why would a person, born with one name, change that name or use another?  Certainly, there are people who are hiding from the law and change their name.  There are people who change their name because their birth name is mispronounced.  A person may also change their name to avoid discrimination because their surname represents a hated minority group, like our immigrant Polish and German ancestors did in the period of the two world wars.[1]

The Amiot dit Villeneuve family however may have changed their name for entirely other reasons.  The parents and seven known children are followed to determine the correct name for one member of the family – Norbert Albert Amiot dit Villeneuve or Albert Villeneuve. 


In the French-Canadian communities of North America, particularly in the province of Quebec, from the 1700s into the late 1800s, the naming practice called dit names was utilized.  The word dit has come to mean alias or “so called” and is believed to derive from the French verb dire, meaning “to speak, say”[2].  In this narrative’s example, the surname from France was Amyot[3].  At some undetermined point, the family in question attached the “dit” name Villeneuve, so that the surname appears in records in New France[4] or Quebec as “Amiot dit Villeneuve”.  Sometimes these additional names represent a move to new land, a colonial leadership title, or a physical characteristic that distinguishes one man from another within a soldier group.

The research into the seven known children of Joseph Amiot dit Villeneuve and Julie Gregoire[5] may help to determine whether Norbert Albert Amiot dit Villeneuve born I 1840 in Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada is the same man as Albert Villeneuve of Ishpeming, Marquette, Michigan buried in 1914. 


Norbert Amiot dit Villeneuve was born on 3 March and baptized on 4 March 1840 in Maskinonge[6], Quebec[7] to Joseph Amiot dit Villeneuve[8] and Julie Gregoire.  He was the fourth of seven children.  His siblings were Antoine, Joseph, Adeline, Olivier, Pierre and Peter.  Each were identified with variants of the Amiot dit Villeneuve name on baptismal, marriage and burial records[9]:

First nameBaptismal nameMarriage nameName at death
AntoineAmiot dit Villeneuve Villeneuve
JosephAmiot Villeneuve
AdelineAmiot dit VilleneuveVilleneuveVilleneuve
NorbertAmiot dit VilleneuveAlbert VilleneuveVilleneuve
OlivierVilleneuve Vinlove
PierreVilleneuve Villeneuve

Antoine and Adeline were noted in baptismal records with their father’s surname as “Amiot dit Villeneuve” while Joseph is listed with his father Joseph’s surname as “Amiot”, and all other siblings’ baptismal records noted the father’s name as “Villeneuve”.  The earliest census record found with some of these siblings was the 1851 Canadian census[10] and all are listed as “Villeneuve”.  All children born to this marriage after 1851 show the name “Villeneuve” uniformly.

By contrast, Norbert Albert’s aunts and uncles, just one generation earlier, consistently included the “dit” name although with the expected spelling variations.  For example, his sister Adeline’s baptism record notes her father’s name as Joseph Amiot dit Villeneuve[11] (like Joseph’s) but Joseph’s brother Amable’s surname was given as Amiot dit Vilneuve and sister Marie Domitilde’s was noted as Amiot dit Vilnoeuve[12]


Norbert Villeneuve married Adele Paquette on 7 November 1865 in St. Justin de Maskinonge, Quebec[13], Albert Villeneuve died on 13 May 1914, listing his father as Joseph Villeneuve and mother as Sophie Carpentiere[14] and the informant being Joseph Villeneuve, his son[15].  While an obituary in Marquette County has not yet been found, a notice appeared in The Calumet News, noting “Mrs. Ed. Elliott[16] of Laurium yesterday received word of the death of her father, Albert Villeneuve …”.

The census information for the 1880[17] and 1881[18] censuses have both men with a wife Adele/Adel, and children Florence/Flore, Louise/Louisa and Noah/Noe and many of the ages aren’t consistent.  These two censuses are during the time that the family is known to be moving back and forth between Michigan and Canada (according to family stories), but the 1910 U.S. census indicates that Albert reported immigrating in 1878.  From family stories, the family coped with the moving and a large family (there were a total of 11 children in all) by splitting up for times with the mother with some of the children and father with others.

The obituary in Marquette County for Albert Villeneuve[19] names children Joseph, Florence (Mrs. Adelord Morin), Louise (Mrs. Ed Elliot), Clara (Mrs. Alphonse Lesage), Rose (a widow of Mr. Clement), Alphosine and Adel (Mrs. Will Kaiser), confirming those listed with him in census records.  Will/Probate records[20] name children Eva, Alphonsine, Flora, Clara, Louise, Rosana, Joseph, Noe (with the daughters named with both their maiden and married names), again confirming census records.

Records still to be found:

Naturalization records – Immigration is noted in the 1910 census as happening in 1878

Potential additional city directories for more years

Land or tax records if they name children

Military service or employment records


As the names of the children consistently match in census records, newspaper articles, as well as the will and probate records, the variations can be explained as the likely variations that are due to the multiple names (baptismal, given names, middle names) that are common in French-Canadian families. 

The only time that the name “Norbert” has been used is in the baptismal record and the 1881 Canadian census; it is likely that Norbert may have been a first name with Albert as a middle name and it could have been dropped in favor of Albert especially after moving to the United States.  Similarly, the change from Amiot dit Villeneuve to simply “Villeneuve” may reflect a desire for a shorter, simpler name and reflect the move also to the United States.  This family still lived within a primarily French-Canadian community for some time, but the ease of pronunciation may have created the adoption of the shorter name. Thus, in the end, the use of Albert Villeneuve for the bulk of this ancestor’s life does not negate the fact that his name was likely Norbert Albert Amiot dit Villeneuve when he was born.

[1] Robert Siegel and Art Silverman, “During World War I, U.S. Government Propaganda Erased German Culture”, All Things Considered, April 7, 2017, 6 p.m.; typed transcript from recording, NPR (National Public Radio), Washington, D.C., All Things Considered  (; accessed on July 25, 2018).

[2] The most direct explanation of this comes from Wikipedia ( viewed July 19, 2018) although the author’s own French language and research knowledge is extensive in this area.

[3] The immigrant ancestor from Soissons, Departement de l’Aisne, Picardie, France was born in 1628 and first appears in “New France” in 1636 (the descendants of Matthew Amyot are documented from his Ancestry tree down to the subject of this work at ).

[4] Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, “New France: French Colonies North America”, Encyclopedia Britannica, HTML edition (; accessed July 24, 2018). New France was used initially in the 16th century when France was establishing colonies and trade relationships in North America.

[5] Women in French Canada retain the use of their maiden or nee names throughout their life and are documented with these names in French Catholic church records, marriage contracts and land records.

[6] For this narrative, the French words that use accent marks when written in French will be omitted as they add nothing to the narrative other than in any official titles (see next note) for records.

[7] St. Joseph de Maskinonge (Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada), chronological records in Actes d’état civil et registres d’église du Québec 1621 à 1967 (Collection Drouin, Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada); Baptismal record, Norbert Amiot dit Villeneuve, 4 March 1840; digital image, Ancestry (; accessed on January 20, 2013, reviewed July 21, 2018).

[8] St. Joseph de Maskinonge, Marriage Record, Joseph Amiot dit Villeneuve and Julie Gregoire, 3 August 1830; digital image, Ancestry (; accessed on July 21, 2018).

[9] Sacramental records (baptism, marriage, burial) for St. Joseph de Maskinonge, Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada were researched for seven siblings; with death records also in Kansas for Oliver (Villeneuve) Vinlove, and Norbert and Pierre Villeneuve in Michigan.  Citations for all of these records can be provided.

[10] 1851 Canadian Census, St Joseph de Maskinongé, St. Maurice County, Canada East (Quebec); Schedule: A; Roll: C_1141; Page: 121; Line: 15; digital image, Ancestry (; accessed November 12, 2017)

[11] Baptism for Adeline; St. Joseph de Maskinonge, Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada. Actes d’état civil et registres d’église du Québec (Collection Drouin), 1621 à 1967. Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin, digital image, Ancestry (; accessed on July 7, 2018).

[12] Baptism records for siblings Amable and Marie Domitilde are found at: St. Joseph de Maskinonge, Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada.  Actes d’état civil et registres d’église du Québec (Collection Drouin), 1621 à 1967. Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.  Amable: (; accessed on July 23, 2018); and Marie Domitilde: Ancestry ( ; accessed on July 7, 2018).

[13] St. Justin de Maskinonge, (Maskinonge, Quebec, Canada); chronological records in Actes d’état civil et registres d’église du Québec 1621 à 1967, (Collection Drouin), May 13,1865, Norbert Villeneuve and Adele Paquette.

[14] Sophie Carpentiere is actually his mother-in-law, mother of his wife Adele Paquette.

[15] Michigan Department of State, Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate, registered no. 50, stamped “Jun 5 1914”, Albert Villeneuve; Seeking Michigan (; accessed May 12, 2018).

[16] “Father Dies in Marquette”, The Calumet News (Calumet, Michigan), page 5, 15 May 1914; Mrs. Ed. Elliott is Louise Villeneuve, daughter of Albert, noted in census records cited.

[17] 1880 U.S. census, Marquette, Michigan, population schedule, Ishpeming, p. 349D, dwelling 230, family 283, Albert Villeneuve; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed 23 July 2018), citing Family History Film 1254954.

[18] 1881 Census of Canada, Maskinonge, Quebec, for District Maskinonge, Subdistrict St. Justin, p. 13, family 64, Norbert Villeneuve; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed 23 July 2018), citing Library and Archives Canada, Record Group 31 C-1, microfilm C-13162 to C-13286.

[19] “Death of Albert Villeneuve: Pioneer French Resident Passed Away Yesterday Afternoon”, Daily Mining Journal (Marquette, Michigan), page 6, column 3, 14 May 1914; Marquette County Historical Society, J. M. Longyear Research Library, Marquette, Michigan.

[20] County of Marquette, Michigan, Last Will & Testament, Albert Villeneuve, will dated 13 May 1911; probate case files beginning 20 May 1914; Probate Court Clerk’s Office, Marquette County, Michigan.

RootsTech Connect 2021 was AMAZING!!!!

Look at how many cousins I had a RootsTech!!! I couldn’t look at all of them but I DID look at so many!!

To say how incredible this year’s RootsTech Connect was would be hard to explain. I had moments of seriously deep emotions as I watched some of the Keynote sessions – I must say that Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s part of the Heritage Highlight Block 5 – sponsored by Ancestry was the one that got my tears flowing the most, while there were others. The group discussion and music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo was powerful and … well, should I list ALL of the sessions, keynotes and educational content, the Expo Hall, exploring the Innovators area …. it was a busy time. AND I am truly glad that we have a year to watch all of the remaining content because, honestly, it was truly overwhelming and I wouldn’t have been able to do it all.

So I hope you will got to and add sessions to your “My Playlist” for viewing this year. I hope you got to the Expo Hall as I understand that is closing down (just like any conference) but if you saw a vendor that you wanted to check out, look for their website and visit them even after the conference as they could use your support!

And while “it’s a wrap” is perhaps in your mind, there is more to do – study, listen, learn, reach out, continue building your tree, connecting with cousins and share what you know to help others make the break-throughs that you made! And stay in touch! Contact me at

SOOO Much Going On at RootsTech Connect 2021

Have you been attending RootsTech Connect 2021? It is SOOO fun! There are the cousin connections – finding your cousins among the over 500,000 people attending the event – and figuring out how you are connect to them. Could be a breakthrough on a line that you have had a brick wall! On Wednesday night, I had 4350 cousins, Thursday 5700, and then today – OVER 10,000!!! Oh my … I’m digging in on each of them, as I’ve been working a long time on finding the original surname of my Polish ancestral family (we have at least six spelling variations – Nimer, Niemiec, Nemshak, Nimiec, Niemczyk, Niemczky… gads!). Hoping to find some cousins that connect in this line and maybe know more than I.

And I’ve been listening to sessions! LOTS of sessions! You can save presentations on your “MyPlaylist” and the recordings are available to you for a YEAR! Wow! So I’m making a list of everything I want to hear. There are presentations too in other languages, so as I’m working to improve my French language skills, I’m marking some of the French sessions to listen to!

The Expo Hall is amazing too – you can check out special deals, talk with people 1:1 and purchase things at special RootsTech prices. Really nice! I miss being able to physically see people, browse at the booths and actually touch the jewelry, books and materials but this the safest for right now it and it’s really good!

Another day of fun tomorrow – I’m hoping to be able to be there more as I’m “other” job took my time the last few days, but I’m OFF tomorrow to check out sessions and talk with more people. I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the Chat rooms for the sessions. I’ve met some great, knowledgeable people and I’m arranging to “meet up” (via phone or Zoom) later so that I can learn from them. We’ve been chatting about the content of my session, of course, but also we have a group for all of us as speakers, bloggers, and more. The Chat rooms are really fun if you haven’t joined in yet. Please do!

See you there? Join your 500,000+ potential cousins at – you won’t regret it!

IT’S LIVE – RootsTech Connect 2021 has begun!!!

Find cousins, check out the Expo Hall vendors, take classes and see Keynotes!

IT’S LIVE – IT’S FREE and it’s going to be awesome!!! There are over 500,000 (YES, you read that right!) from all over the world – 226 countries and counting! There are well over 11 languages for presentations but there are people representing WAY more languages in the world that are participating.

This is EPIC!! While RootsTech has been the largest genealogical conference in the world when we could meet in person at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, going virtual and FREE means that anyone/everyone, in whatever timezone or location – as long as they can register (FREE – here) and have internet access – can listen to classes, Keynote speakers, find cousins and so much more.

Here are some recommendations:

First – check out the Home page ( where there is a video presentation to help you figure out what to do at RootsTech Connect – where classes are, the schedule of Keynote Speakers, how to find relatives and more.

Second – Look at the course offerings and save them in your own list, called “My Playlist” – and …. wait for it …. the HUNDREDS of pre-recorded sessions are available now … FOR A YEAR!!!! Yes! Fill your Playlist with everything that you want to learn and take you time looking at them. However, for those of us who are speakers, if you want to use the Chat feature to reach out to us, you MUST do that during the event – today through Saturday! Then that feature closes. However, all of us (at least as far as I know) have attached PDF handouts to our talks and those have our website and email information. Please reach out as we are happy to help!

Third – Look for cousins! I have over 5,000 cousins and growing, now that it’s open and live! It’s called “Relatives at RootsTech” – and you MUST have a FamilySearch tree to participate. But look at all of the cousins who are registered that you can connect with! Save a copy of how they connect to you to use perhaps to break through that brick wall you’ve been working on. You can “friend” them and then maybe meet up during RootsTech to talk about family, records and more!

Fourth – Have fun! The Expo Hall is FULL of vendors wanting to connect with you, join Chat rooms to learn more or connect with speakers, ask questions. When you are on the RootsTech site there are people there to help you too! In the lower right corner of your screen is a button CONNECT (white with red) that will get you to someone live who can help you if you get lost.

Wow – take advantage of the whole thing!!! There is much to do, many to connect with, lots to learn and it’s just day one!!! Have fun!

Exciting Content at RootsTech Connect 2021!!!

LOOK at some of the Keynote Speakers coming to RootsTech Connect 2021! There will be these “live” segments and then HUNDREDS of classes, workshop series and more! An Expo Hall with vendors that you can connect with and the always wonderful Relative Connections that happen when you link your FamilySearch tree with your registration. There are well over 100,000 people registered from all over the world at this point and with FREE registration, there will be more. You could find a breakthrough in your genealogy because there’s a cousin out there in Poland or Brazil or Australia or Sierra Leone who knows something you don’t!

Can you tell that I’m excited? Gads, am I! And please find your way to my presentations – three of them. The virtual setting of this year’s event made us think about what is reasonable for people sitting in on virtual technology – so sessions are about 20 minutes long. So my sessions – The Big Five: Researching the Largest Tribes – is broken into three parts: Part 1 is an overview of Native research generally, and how to think about your families and where the hints may lie. Part 2 is about the Cherokee and Choctaw. Part 3 is about the Chippewa, Sioux and Navaho. Watch one, watch all! And there’s a PDF handout there to give you some resources. And please feel welcome to use the Chat feature that will be with each of these, to connect, ask questions or just meet other family historians who are doing similar work.

Click on the pictures above to register and join the fun! Or click here to register – it’s FREE!

Happy Birthday, Grandma! Because she was, I am ….

Mary Elsie Cecelia Elliot Sutinen – My grandmother: Because she was, I am.

Remembering my grandma on her birthday….

Today is Grandma’s birthday – Mary Elsie Cecelia Elliot Sutinen – she was of French-Canadian, Acadian, Scottish and First Nations descent. Born in Ishpeming, Michigan to immigrant parents who came from Maskinonge, Quebec. She had five children – my mother was the youngest girl and the fourth child. Her life was not easy … hard work, poverty, difficult circumstances and more. But my memories of her are of a loving, doting, beloved woman who gave us kids sugar-free (she was diabetic) Jello with whipped cream, the BEST snuggles, learning from her about tatting, needlework, hearing occasional Quebecois words from her, her sisters, and the wonderful smells of a grandma’s home. A devout Catholic, she endured a lot and relied on her faith to get her through – AND was happy, smiling, welcoming, gentle and very obviously loving me and my brother, my cousins. Missing her now when I would like to ask SO many questions. Bonne Fete with our ancestors, Grandma!!

And thank you! You birthed my mother, who birthed me … and you loved and cared for all of us in your family, and the HUGE family of your birth (she was one of 16; 14 lived to adulthood). She connects me to my matrilineal ancestors, my distant past, going all the way back to Benouville, Rouen, Normandie, France where my 10th great-grandmother Guillemette Rolleville was born in 1625 and any paper trail further seems to end (for now … ). From Guillemette to her daughter Marie-Catherine and on and on, for generations, it comes to me and my only female first cousin in this line, Karen … Neither Karen or I had children, so this part of the lineage ends with us. Feels sad … but there are others who descend from her in the mitochondrial lines so the DNA continues. Merci, Grand-mere …. je me souviens!