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"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.  For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?"  Marcus Tullius Cirero (106 BC to 43 BC)


assume that your local library has all of the local histories for your area.  Each library has different holdings so try to visit all of the ones in the neighbouring towns and villages.

Talk to People

Other researchers are the greatest asset available to you.  When Art finds a record online of an Indian he sends an email to the website host and asks about other Indians they may be aware of.  Art just added several thousand Metis names to his database by doing this – all descendants of one of his Indian ancestors who lived in the 1600s. 

Don’t guard your research like a treasure, share it with others.  Occasionally you will run into someone who only wants to take what you have and give nothing in return.  It doesn’t take long to recognize these people.  The vast majority of the time you will gain information that you didn’t have, and might never have found.

Talk to everyone in your family.  Start with the older people but don’t forget your brothers, sisters and cousins.  You will be surprised by things your relatives know that you don’t.  Ask about family bibles, old deeds, wills, and birth, marriage and death certificates.  Old letters and postcards sometimes contain valuable information.  There seems to always be one person in every family who collects family papers and pictures.  One tiny fact can lead you to huge amounts of information.


When you find a record online for someone you are searching for, don’t be afraid to contact the person who put that record online.  Provide them with enough details of how you are connected to that person and they will almost always be willing to share other information with you.

Record all the family stories and traditions with notes on where and when you got them.

DNA Testing

While DNA testing might prove your aboriginal heritage, there are costs and restrictions.

For a man, it could show your aboriginal ancestry, but only if the aboriginal was your father, his father, his father, and so on. For a woman, the aboriginal would have to have been her mother, her mother’s mother, etc. Previously, we had some incorrect information here. Bryan Gidley was kind enough to send us a correction: “Males carry their mother’s mitocondrial DNA and can be tested for their maternal line. The ambiguity is that only the mother can pass the mitochondrial DNA to her children. The opposite is true, that a female must have a male sibling or a male in her father’s line test for Y-DNA.” Mr. Gidley has an excellent website at www.Searchmytree.com if you would like to learn more on the subject of DNA. To check all of your ancestors, it would require testing of many family members, and in many cases there just aren’t living relatives willing or available to test all of your ancestral lines.

Negative results don’t necessarily mean you don’t have an aboriginal ancestor. Most, but not all, aboriginals carry a particular gene that is recognized as aboriginal. The results are not legally acceptable because a ‘chain of custody’ isn’t maintained. If you have watched the CSI programs on TV you’ll know what this means. A court wouldn’t accept the results because there is no legally acceptable proof that the results are in fact from your DNA.

Having said all of this, it is something you might consider. It’s quite fascinating to see where your maternal and paternal ancestors were in the world over the centuries.

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