A-Z Challenge Surnames O


Oh Oh! No O’s!!!



With over 1,000 people in my family tree I have NO “O” surnames!!

So on that note….I’ve decided to talk about something that starts with O that is very important for any family historian or genealogist.



When I say a clue, I mean ANYTHING. I’ve found critical information on a missing link or a brick wall in my research because I’ve thought outside the box and didn’t overlook even the most insignificant tidbit of information.

I will give you an example:

Yesterday I was working on a client’s report. I was stymied because the last name was KELLY and they were French Canadian. I know a LOT of Irish settled in Quebec during the period I was researching (1800-1860s) but I could not find the parents of the person I was hired to find in the village they were living. Then I found a death record that said the husband died in 1867 and was “around 100 years old” (in French of course). This made me search outside the area that they had lived and a lot further back then I would have had I not had this information. I knew that he most likely was NOT 100 years old but he was older than I thought.

I did a “wildcard” search of entries in the birth, marriages and deaths recorded in the Drouin Collection which is an amazing resource of records dating back to 1621 for both Catholic and Protestant records in Quebec. I also made sure I included ALL of Quebec this time.

The last name being KELLY should be easy right? Well NO. Remember, these are French speaking people recording family events in their parish records and they are not familiar with Irish or English names. They also spelled them phonetically. So I entered Ke* in the search box and got ALL KINDS of responses that directed me to the people I need to find!!

Who would have thought that KELLY would be written in the records as KELLEY, KELIQUE, KELLIE, KILLIG and finally the actual REAL SURNAME which was KILLICK!!!!

Somehow, John ALGEO married MARIANNE KILLICK in 1810 in Quebec City (which was not too far from the town they moved to) and then by the time they had moved, the surname had morphed into Jean Auldjoe and Marie Kelly! I confirmed that this was the right couple by the fact that the parents of John Algeo and Marianne Killick were the same as Jean Auldjo (or OLDJOE lol) and Marie Kelly.

If I had not thought OUTSIDE the box and I would not have found this couple.

It also led me to the discovery that this man was a Voligeur which was the name given to volunteer Militia who fought in the war of 1812 and he was stationed at the village they ended up living in for the rest of their lives. I found so much more information than I would have “had I not thought outside the box”.

I love the detective work and the thrill of finding the information that a client has been searching for… for years! The genealogical proof standard of “exhaustive search” never fails to deliver for me.



About tiesthatbindsite

I'm a genealogist with a passion for Scottish and English ancestry. I'm trilingual so I can also do research in French Canadian records and Italian records. My love for family history began 35 years ago and continues to grow every day. My family is very important to me and I hope to instill in them a love for "where they came from" so that they can better understand who they are. I also want to share my love of family history with anyone who understands how important it is to not lose site of their ancestors. They all have a story to tell.
This entry was posted in April 2016- A-Z Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A-Z Challenge Surnames O

  1. doreeweller says:

    Interesting stuff! It never occurred to me that names would change so much in records, but it makes total sense. Even with computers, people still can’t spell my name correctly or consistently.
    @DoreeWeller from
    Doree Weller’s Blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! My surname is Moffatt and it’s been spelled Moffat, Moffitt, Moffett and pronounced Mo-Fat! I “thought” it was a pretty straight forward name lol.
      So many people 200 years ago could not read or write. They didn’t even know how to spell their own names. When it was recorded, it was written by whoever took the information and even they had trouble sometimes, especially if English wasn’t their first language.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. timsbrannan says:

    What an awesome A to Z theme! It would take me forever to find all this information out on my family.

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Adventure!


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