Archive for the ‘General Genealogy Tips’ Category

Otto Palfenier

June 3, 2010

I have been looking to Otto Palfenier for tips and help with my genealogy research over the years.

Here is a link to the research that he himself has done on his family.  Check out all the Loiselle’s that he has in his research!

As I was wanting to follow up with Otto on some item of reseach this week, I just learned that he passed away. Condolences to his family and friends.

Here is his obituary.

Palfenier, Otto

Otto Albert Joseph (Al) Palfenier (Brother James, Third Order of St. Francis) of Calgary passed away after a short fight with cancer on Monday, January 12, 2009 at the age of 70 years.Otto was born on November 13, 1938 in Medicine Hat, AB. Al devoted some years as Scouter “Al” with 44th Scout Group of Scouts Canada. He was owner of Al’s Flower Delivery, Al’s Courier Division, After Hours Delivery, then after 1993, transfer ownership of Al’s Courier Division, then worked with new owner until 2000, then left after a short time went to work for Monarch Messenger, working on putting incoming calls into their computer until he retired. He served in the Canadian Army with; The Black Watch, Royal Canadian Dragoons, Canadian Guards, 2 PPCLI and RCASC for a total of ten and a half years. Al has been fighting the DND, Canadian Government and DVA since 1980 for a pension. His hobby has been genealogy since age 10, and since the internet got everything he had on the internet under PALFENIER CONNECTIONS. In addition to having over 668, 338 people linked to the family trees and has been assisting people with finding their lineages. Al was predeceased by his first wife Mary Therese (nee Corneau) on May 8, 1985, uncle Leonard Bondy, and his second son Pastor Kenneth John Angus Palfenier on May 25, 2005. Kenneth left behind his wife Debra Palfenier (nee Thomas) and first wife Beth Palfenier (nee Baker). Al is survived by his son and daughter in law Michael Gerard and Michelle (nee Molner) Palfenier; grandchildren, Christopher Palfenier, Robert (Lindsey (nee Randall) Palfenier, Marc, Martin and Mac and Mary Margaret Palfenier and husband Dale Braconnier; great-grandchildren, Tianni, Luke and Kaylee Palfenier; uncle Walter Bondarenko; Leonard Bondy’s children. He also leaves close cousins Doug, Dwight and Lillian (nee Milovanovich), and Dolly Sparks of Winnipeg; All the Davis family in Detroit Lakes, MN and all the Palfenier’s from Chicago, IL through to the west coast, up and down it, and most of all, all the Palfenier relatives still in the Netherlands. Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Mass will be Celebrated at Holy Trinity Catholic Church (1525 – 45th Street S.E.) on Monday, January 19, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. Graveside Service to follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery. Forward condolences through If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Canadian Cancer Society, 200 – 325 Manning Rd. N.E., Calgary, AB T2E 2P5 Telephone: (403) 205-3966 , email In living memory of Otto Palfenier, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200
Thanks Otta for all your help over the years.  You will be missed.

Learned something new

April 28, 2010

I learned how to use Google Maps and My Maps thanks to friend, Peter. See the outcome of my efforts here.

So, I was able to make a map to trace my branch of the family and how they migrated from Montreal to St-George-de-Windsor – a whole 133 miles over 320 years, across nine generations.

St-Hyacinthe, QC

November 23, 2009

The village of Saint-Hyacinthe was established in 1849 with a population of 10,200. A year later, it was a town, and by 1857, it was a city.  The first Loiselle-dit-Sinotte was  born there in 1811.
Several branches Loiselle dit Sinotte’s settled in Saint-Hyacinthe.
The first Loiselle-dit-Sinotte family in St-Hyacinthe, appears to be that of Joseph Loiselle dit Sinotte (son of Joseph Loiselle  and Judith Gosselin) and Josephte Pinsonneault. They were married in St-Marc, QC in 1805.  They had 12 chldren, they had a child born in St-Marc, then St-Charles, then La Presentation and their first child Charles Loiselle-Sinotte was born in St-Hyacinthe, QC in 1811. 
Joseph was known as Joseph Sinotte in the 1852 Census, and they were living with Pierre Sinotte, both Joseph and Pierre were farmers.

Then there is Andre Loiselle-dit-Sinotte, the nephew of Joseph Loiselle above, that came to Saint-Hyacinthe around 1839. Andre Loiselle-dit-Sinotte (son of Jean-Baptiste Loiselle-Sinotte and Marie-Chapdelaine-Beaulac) that married Celeste Roy on Oct 7, 1839.  In 1851 Census the family surname was recorded as “Sinotte”.  I don’t know much about the descendants of this branch and would love to meet more Sinotte’s.

There is a Moise Loiselle that shows in the 1851 Census. He is third cousin to Andre Sinotte above. He doesn’t come to St-Hyacinthe until 1851 and from st-Denis, QC

Both of these families are listed on the 1852 Census which is available online.
You can find the 1901 Census for the county of St-Hyacinthe at this link

The 1901 Census lists 47 Loiselle’s in the county of St-Hyacinthe including villiages of St-Hyacinthe-Le-Confesseur, Saint-Damase, Saint-Charles, La Presentation, Notre-Dame-de-St-Hyacinthe,  as well as the city of St-Hyacinthe.

There was one Sinotte family living  in , Benjamin Sinotte and his wife Louise Morin. I wasn’t ablet to find him after the 1901 Census and several of eight of the children that I was able to document, moved to the Unites states so it is possible that he went south as well.

From the 1901 Census link you can also go to the 1911 Census.

I went to visit Saint-Hyacinthe several times on the way to visiting my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Granby.  And it was my Aunt Raymonde that told me about it and first brought me there. There was such a treasure trove of information there. I spent several days there.

If you are in the neighborhood, check out Centre d’histoire de Saint-Hyacinthe.  Check out the website before you go to confirm the hours.


Sinotte as a “dit” name of Loiselle

August 21, 2009

One of the difficulties that I had in tracking my Sinotte ancestry was that Sinotte is a “dit” name of Loiselle.

This is what I know so far about Loiselle-dit-Sinotte, in particular.

The Loiselle-Sinotte dit name appears to have been first introduced for Joseph Loiselle born 1761 in St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, he married Judith Gosselin on 8 Jul 1782 in Vercheres, QC and then died 21 Jul 1795 in St-Marc-sur-Richelieu, QC at the age of 34 leaving his wife with a three year old and 11 other children.  One documentation of name was Loizelle-Synode.  There were certainly a lot of Loiselle’s in the communities around St-Hyacinthe – and their first names were all similar, like, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste, so the need to distinguish them would be high, I can imagine. The only reference that I can find as to why Joseph Loiselle may have been referred to as Sinot, might be that his Godfather was Joseph Senet (with Marguerite Lavigne as godmother).  Who knows? We will never know for sure.

I think it was his son Jean-Baptiste Loiselle-Sinotte that was born 6  Nov 1786 in St-Charles sur-Richelieu, QC that had the Sinotte dit name documented in his baptism records

I came across the “dit” name in my research well before I knew was “dit” names were so my early documentation wasn’t accurate enough.  And after the fact, as I try to sort through my research on this topic, I see that didn’t document these records well enough to know which spelling was used when, I need to go back and fix that.  When recording the research, I have learned (hind sight being 20/20!) that it is important to record the misspellings as you find them and that genealogy research should reflect data as you find it, not what you think it should be.  You can put what you think it should be in comments.

And that is what little I know about  Loiselle-dit-Sinotte scenario  — and I will update my learnings once I go back and correct the gaps in my research documentation.  There are other family lines with Loiselle dit Sinotte mentioned, and so, if anyone else has information to add, please let me know.

This is what I know about “dit” names generally.

“Dit”  is translated into English as “say” or “also known as”.

Neither Jette nor Tanguay show “Sinot/Sinotte” as a dit for Loisel, and neither show Sinot/Sinotte AT ALL.  Robert Quintin shows Sinot/Sinode as dit names for Loisel.  Drouin shows the dit name in the left margins throughout his listings.

Unlike the english “alias” there is no negative connotation of the use of a “dit” name. “Dit” names came into being for the purpose of further identification of a person or family.

The choices of the new “dit” names were as infinite as there were names. Here are some general sources of these changes.

a- Occupation / Guild
b- Place of origin
c- Physical description
d- Character description
e- Maternal identification
f- Heroic deed / accomplishment
g- Description of some object
h- Easily pronounced names
i- Seigneurial identification
j- Military

The two surnames can be interchanged at any time. Louis SINOT dit LOISELLE may appear as LOISELLE dit SINOT. Therefore Louis could be baptized Loisel , married as Loiselle dit Sinotte, found in a census as Loiselle  and buried as Sinotte dit Loiselle.

So while the church records make Quebec research easy, if your family has a “dit” name, it can make your genealogy research a little difficult. Whenever you run into any difficulty in tracing from one marriage to the next generation, be sure to check if there are “dit” names for this family. The best place to check is at the end of Volume 7 in Tanquays Dictionaire. The end of the second volume of Jette Dictionaire also has a listing of dit names. You will also find the dit names for each family at the start of that families file in Loiselle microfiche.

Apparently in the mid-1800’s the Quebec Catholic hierarchy directed that all dual-named Quebecois were to delete one of their two surnames. It appears that this occurred over the rest of the century and that most opted to retain their “dit” name and drop their original family name – the order came from the government, not the Church.

The Loiselle Index – Marriages in Quebec

August 3, 2009

One source for Quebec Marriages is what is called the Loiselle Marriage Index – two reasons to talk about it – because the guy that did was is a “cousin” but also because it is the pathway to the marriage record, which provides a great resarch source for genealogy research in Quebec.

Although I didn’t know it when I first started using the Loiselle Index in my genealogy research, it turns out that Antonin Loiselle is a “cousin” of mine – well 7th cousin twice removed actually.

Antonin Loiselle was born 4 Jan 1908 in Upton QC and died 13 Aug 1986 in Laval QC.  He was son of Raphael Loiselle and Philomene Lemay who were married in 1890 in Upton QC.  Antonin entered the seminary in 1926 in Sherbrooke and made his profession of faither in 1927. He was ordained in 1932. 

He spent his leisure time transcribing and indexing marriage records. As he worked in various parts of the province (and the index also includes some New England states), he was able to access records from many parishes. He kept a card index of many thousands of names. In all, 460 parishes’ registers are included.

Civil marriage registration in Quebec didn’t start until 1926 and  all marriages in Quebec had to be in the church until 1969 – making the Quebec churches, civil registrations too.  The marriage records are excellent resource for hobby genealogists like me because they give the name of the bride and groom, all four of their parents and the place of the wedding. These are recorded in the marriage index.

And you can find these marriages based on just the surname (either the males surname or the female’s surname) and then you can find the locations – and from locations you can pull the fiches – or go visit the church directly even – to find the original marriage certificate and perhaps birth and death records from there! Sometimes you have to sort through because the records are listed by surname, then parish, then first name.  Luckily Loiselle and Sinotte aren’t that common as a surname but many “first names” were used frequently. And the baptism names weren’t necessarily the commonly used names.

The Loiselle indexes are now available on line, through the LDS on microfilm and most genealogy libraries have this. 

The Loiselle Marriage Index is available at an LDS history centre near your home, or at local libraries, and also available on line at

I highly recommend looking at the original marriage record, to validate what was recorded on the indexes but even more so because of all the additional information that you can learn about the people that got married from where they were born, where they lived at time of marriage, their occupation at the time of marriage, who were witnesses at the marriage, and even to see written signatures (or not) of your ancestors and the other attendees at the wedding that were able to sign.

The witnesses were frequently family members and are clues to relationships that you may find later.

The Different Resources I used along the way

August 1, 2009

This is a look back at the different resources that I used ikn my Genealogy research. 

When I first started my genealogy research (early 1990s),  I of course interviewed my parents and then later my aunts and uncles to find out what they remembered.  Sadly, my grandparents Sinotte had both passed away long before I became interested in my family history.

I started with a known location of my grandparents according to the stories that my dad told me and I was manually through the church registry index to find a posting (birth, death or marriage of any Sinotte  at that location – and later added Loiselle’s once I learned of that connection).   It was really hard at the beginning and for some reason, even after years of trying, I couldn’t even find my great grandfather.   But it turned out I was looking in the wrong places – which was a significant lesson learned about how unreliable oral histories can be. 

The biggest breakthrough that I had was when my uncle Vic  remembered having a copy of the Will of a his great-uncle George.  It was this document that provided clarification of some of the oral histories that I had been working from previously.  That allowed me to refine  my research and from there I was able to find ancesters and cousins much easier and was finally able to find documentation on my great grandfather!

Initially I did most of my genealogy research at the local library (I was in Toronto at that time using North York Genealogy Library), using such tools as the Loiselle Index.

Later, I also have some great memories of road trips through the Eastern Townships – my favourite road trip was with my aunt Ray  –  visiting local churches directly.  Both poring through the original church registers but also walking through the cemeteries and reading the headstones. You really get a sense of the community of my ancesters might have been like – maybe the others in the cemetery were some of my ancesters friends and neighbors. 

Probably my first on-line resource that I used was which is an online tool by LDS.   It includes researcher postings (which aren’t always accurate), census data and Marriage indexes among other sources.  I loved the 1880/1881 Census data that it had. The census gave a snap shot of a family unit at that point in time which really helped to speed up research.

Then years later, the 1901 Census images were available on-line – then even later, the 1901 and 1911 Census index became available at   It was first the 1901 Census was posted without an index so I was poring through the pages looking for names, but one the index was available, it was even better.  And then they posted the 1911 census.    The original images are really helpful because I was able to learn more about person, when they were married, how many children they had. When I started researching some of the Sinotte’s and Loiselle’s in the US,  the census data provided additional information depending on the years from 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census – I was able to learn about their family, where they were born, when they were married, their occupation, their street address, the value of their home, their annual income, depending on the census year and the questions asked that year.
And then just recently provides online access to Drouin church registries.  I can look up almost anything that I might want to right from home. 

The internet is really making genealogy research sources totally accessible to everyone.

The internet has also been a great enabler for genealogist like myself because the internet has allowed me to meet other genealogist enthusiasts from far and wide that share the same interests and offer Randomm Acts of Genealogy Kindness (RAOGK) to help me look something up, look at a tough problem differently and perhaps find and recommend new sources.  And when I have the chance to return the favor for someone else, it feels great. 

Through the internet, I have meet many Sinotte/Loiselle  cousins as well.  Originally through message boards – there is even a message board  for Loiselle Surname which is where I met Donna, a Loiselle cousin in the states, who is an extraordinary researcher from what she shared with me. And it was starting in 2003 that I came across Mailing lists and in particular the Q-R list where I  met Best Bill – he isn’t related to Loiselle’s that I know of, but is just one of the amazingly helpful people that I met through this list and others.

… and then, very recently, Facebook and other social networking tools make it even easier to connect with cousins. Facebook even has a “So your name is Loiselle, Too” group set up!

So that is a bit about the progression of my research process… I will likely recall more over time. I should have kept better notes!

Surname variations include Loisel Loiselle Sinotte Wisell and Venet

August 1, 2009

Updated as at Oct 2013:

My French Canadian genealogy research focuses around the surname Loisel. I am trying to identify all the current day descendants of my ancester Louis Loisel.

The challenge came up when I discovered that there were 4 or 5 different “Loisel” that settled in Canada in those early years – well the 1600 and 1700’s. To try to sort out who was related or not, I started documenting the descendants of all of these “original Loisel” ancesters.
And so, after almost 30 years of keeping an eye out for new descendants of Louis Loisel, my research file has
– 41,010  individuals
– 15,047 marriages
– 7016  different surnames

The longest Loisel/Sinotte branch of the family tree goes back 19 generations.


[I have not yet come across any Louis Loisel descendants with the Cloisel, Choisy, Loiseau, Loiselet, Lorsil, Lisotte or Cambell connections]

In my own research, I have come across these spelling variations: Loisel, Loiselle, Loyselle, Loyzelle, Sinot, Sinotte, Sinnett, Synott, Louiselle, Louisell, and Wisell. I also have Venet, but they are definately not related to my Louis Loisel ancester.

…  in Jan 2011, thanks to connecting with a “cousin” Elizabeth Davis have confirmed that there are some Wiswell and Sinnett’s in the Loiselle dit Sinotte family tree!  See her notes here.  And you can check out all her research on

… in Jun 2012, found records that verified that the surname deLoiselle is also a “dit” Sinotte variation, although haven’t “met” any deLoiselle cousins year.

… in Jul 2013, Angela Rupert has confirmed the Synott connection!

… in Oct 2013, I am pretty sure that there is a Sinette family in Chippewa WI area since 1880s that are descendants of Louis Loisel, by way of Vermont and some of the Loiselle’s that stayed in Vermont, became known by the surname Sinot and Sinor.


Here are a few examples of the variations of the Loisel name that I know of.

My surname Sinotte was introduced as a “dit name” for Loiselle at about 1752 – at the 3rd generation descendant of Louis Loisel. In 1752, Toussaint Loiselle-Sinot was born to Toussant Loiselle and Marie Anne Hogue and baptised as dit Sinot.  The father Toussaint Loiselle was buried in 1772 as Tousaint Loisel Sinot.   The youngest son of Toussaint Loiselle and Marie-Anne Hougue was also also baptised dit Loiselle.  Joseph Loiselle-Sinot and his wife Judith Gosselin who were married in 1782 in Vercheres Quebec and at about the time that they moved to St-Dominique, QC, were there are records that referred to him as Joseph Loizelle-Synode.

There are a few examples of the Wisell surname.

Wisell was introduced one branch of the Louis Loisel family tree in the 5th generation descendants. Specifically it was the family of Pierre Loiselle and Marie Demers who were married in 1814 and moved with their growing family to Vermont USA – and by1850 he and several of his 16 children were documented in census, marriage and birth documnets with surname “Wisell”. When you say “Loiselle” in english, is does sound like “Wisell”.

It also appears about the same time, when Constant Loiselle who married Marie-Catherine Marsil in 1828 in Marieville, QC. Constant Loiselle was 6th generation descendant of “my Louis Loisel”. Constant Loiselle and Marie-Catherine Marsil immigrated to Michigan USA and at least as early as 1840, in documentation Constant Loiselle was also known as Constant Loiselle/John Loiselle/John Wisell/John Wezell.

Venet surname is fron Rene Venet who came to Canada about 1750 and Venet dit Loisel being introduced in Rene Venet’s 2nd/3rd generation descendants.

I look forward to sharing more in future posts. And I look forward to meeting more Loisel/Sinotte descendants? Are you related?

How I got Started

August 1, 2009

It was maybe back in 1990 that that I started researching my family tree. I was looking for my Canadian identity. Back then I didn’t know it … but now I know that I am 13th generation french canadian and 5th generation Ukrainian Canadian. You can’t get any more “Canadian” than that.

It probably took me 10 years to figure out that Sinotte was a “dit” name for Loiselle and that that made me at 13 generation descendant of Louis Loisel who arrived in Montreal in Aug 1647, was a locksmith by trade and he married Marguerite Charlot on 13 January 1648 at Notre Dame in Montreal. The community in Montreal at that time was quite small. Attending their wedding were Seigneur Paul de Domedey de Maissonneuve (see biography), Gilbert Barbier, Charles le Moyne. The wedding was at the house of “la Bienheureuse Marie du Mont-Royal”. (Jeanne Mance). This began the Loisel Canadian family tree.

I look forward to sharing my genealogy journey and stories of the Loiselle and Sinotte “cousins” that I have met along the way. I look forward to meeting many more.