A new search tool searches genealogy and family history databases hosted by Canadian federal, provincial or territorial archives centres and libraries, as well as those of several commercial partners. "That's My Family," or "Voici Ma Famille," is free of charge and available in both French and English. It was launched and is maintained by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) with support from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists (CPTA) of Canada.
"That's My Family" hosts no data of its own. It is a search engine, similar to Google, that indexes data found on other sites. The difference is that "That's My Family" looks only at Canadian sites that contain genealogy information. As such, it can save you a lot of time; you do not have to search each site individually.
The databases that have been indexed include both free and for-pay sources. In the case of for-pay sites, clicking on a link in "That's My Family" may take the user to a sign-in page that asks for payment of a fee. The titles of these databases are marked with a dollar sign ($). The searches are always free, but some sites may charge a fee before displaying all the details.
I used "That's My Family" for a bit to look up some of my French-Canadian ancestors. I found two different search mechanisms, logically named "Simple Search" and "Advanced Search." The site has one-page tutorials that explain the use of each.
The Simple Search lived up to its name: I entered the surname of Dubé and was rewarded with 242 results. The instructions state that not all the databases being searched treat accented characters in the same manner; so, the user should try such searches at least twice: once with the accents and once without. I searched for Dube (without the "é") and received 1,188 results. Some of those results were the same as those found in the earlier search for Dubé.
A quick switch to the Advanced Search allowed me to narrow my search. I was able to search by combinations of surname, first name, location, and more. I was able to find quite a few of my Dubé ancestors. I was especially impressed by the speed: this search engine is lightning fast!
The search pages are available in both French and English so that you can use the language you prefer. However, the searches cover pages in both languages and the results obtained might be in either language. While I was searching in English, many of the results pointed to pages written in French. After all, I was looking for French-speaking ancestors and the majority of records they left behind were in their language.
If you wish a copy of a document, you must contact the organization responsible for the particular database where you found the information. You never contact "That's My Family" since it is a search engine that points to data stored elsewhere. To access the needed organization’s web site, you click on the Title field in the results window or go to the Sources section.
All in all, this is a great resource for anyone looking for Canadian ancestors. I suspect I will use this time and time again. If you have Canadian ancestry, you probably will do the same.
"That's My Family," or "Voici Ma Famille," is available at http://www.voicimafamille.info.
My thanks to Guy Lamarche for telling me about this valuable new resource.