Is Tanguay reliable or authoritative on names

+7 votes
192 views
An example. Vol 1 p364 (accoding to Google) has Marguerite, daughter of Jean Le Duc and Marguerite Desroches, marrying Pierre Sarazin. These are Leduc-166 (not Le Duc), Desroches-207, Leduc-446 (listed as Marguerite (Leduc) Sarazin, and Sarrazin-47 (note two r's). Now, I don't want to stir up a hornets nest about revising the LNABs but I do have descendants to enter and I'd like to get some advice on which spelling to follow. I think the answer is to look at the scans of the original records (Drouin) but often I can't decipher them.
in Genealogy Help by Chris Hampson G2G6 Pilot (104k points)

4 Answers

+6 votes
I'm not going to make friends here by saying that but being too strict with the LNAB here at Wikitree can only bring a lots of issues, follow a family tree for the French genealogy in Québec and you will find out a lot of different spelling of the last name within the same family, back then most people were illeterate and the priest would write down the name that he heard using his own spelling, many times you get different spelling within the same family,

I spelled my name Emond but I have ancestors spelled Aymon, Aymond,Aimond, Hémon, Hémond, Aimon, Edmond.
by Claude Emond G2G6 Mach 1 (15.3k points)
I got a marriage record where the priest wasn't sure and spelled the surname 5 different ways for the same family!
+3 votes
Pretty much all secondary sources for French Canadian ancestry have disregarded the primary source spelling in favor of whatever spelling was the current one when these secondary sources were compiled. Since access to the primary sources requires subscription to a paysite and Tanguay is available for free many people prefer to use it, but it cannot be called authoritative in any way, not for names, and it can also not be used as the final word for relationships. There are just too many errors in it.

It is always a balancing act between being true to the original and the need for standardization to prevent duplicates.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (524k points)
I would just like to point out that you can have access to primary record on familysearch.org for free, there are not as many as on ancestry for example but they are usualy of better quality (picture wise).
+3 votes
I just took a look at the original marriage record, (I have direct access to Drouin), and the name is written ''Le duc'' in appearance, no second capital letter.  It's probably an error on the officiating priest's part, as the words when written out like that spell 'the duke', and I highly doubt he was an actual duke.  Incidentally, Jacques Sarrasin has a 'dit' name of Depelteaux.  Tanguay is useful when there are records missing, as he did his work earlier than others like Drouin or the LDS, but he does have errors.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (309k points)
Thanks for the heads up on Jean. Since posting this question I've found the reams (can you still have reams in the digital age?) of previous discussion on Quebecois names; I'm just glad I'm only working on the periphery ;)

I did know about dit Depelteaux but I didn't want to stir up that particular debate. I'm still pondering how to enter his daughter - there are multiple records with a variety of versions. Fortunately for me I'm only interested in her line and guess what? She marries a Leduc!
Just enter her as Leduc, since that is actually the name for her on her baptismal  record, 27 June 1696 for both birth and baptism, in Montreal, baptism done in Notre-Dame de Montréal basilica.

 

sure you can have reams in the digital era, just as you can have tons of data.  :D
Tanguay does have errors, doesn't mean you should dismiss it. This is part of genealogy - studying and analyzing.  Tanguay as Jette and Drouin used standard spellings, this make it easier for everyone when trying to do a match. I have found a marriage record for one of my ancestors where the priest spelled the surname 5 different ways and yes it was the same family. You can always put the spelling variations in the notes if you are transcribing records but it is best and easier to use a standard spelling.

Nothing is perfect and if say there are errors in that and don't use it, then I could not use Tanguay, Jette, PRDH, census records, vital records, obituaries, etc. because I have found errors in all of them.
+2 votes

I'm no expert on French-Canadian names, but the PRDH [Le Programme de recherche en démographie historique (The Research Program in Historical Demography)] seems to be well accepted as an authority. Surnames can be checked to determine the 'standard' name at http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/Dico/Noms

Using this standardized surname at least allows for continuity amongst researchers, and the variant used in a particular record source can still be recorded as an alternative.

There are a lot of 'Free' features at the PRDH site, and they can be very helpful.

by Bill Martin G2G3 (3.1k points)
I rather dislike 'standard' names, since they are not actually always the same from one place to another.  Drouin Institute also had some of those, which sometimes were different than PRDH.  And a 'standard' name does not necessarily reflect the name at the time, for example the 'standard' name Coutu is used on one of my ancestors, but the records back then all list him and his children as Cottu.

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