Darryl R. J. Leroux is an Associate Professor, Department of Social Justice and Community Studies, at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He obviously is also an expert genealogist and historian. He recently published an article concerning the claims of indigenous ancestry in eastern Canada in the 1600s as made by thousands of today’s genealogists. He points out that many of these claims simply are not true and he backs up his claims with solid research.
The article is a brief summary of Leroux’s book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity. Leroux described his 12 years of research, including reading thousands of messages on various online genealogy forums. One of his most surprising findings was how numerous French women were transformed into Indigenous women on different forums in both French and English. This practice is called aspirational descent. It involves changing an ancestor’s identity to fit one’s current desire to shift away from a white identity. He points out that “one simply repeats false family stories passed down over the generations, ignoring the voices of Indigenous peoples along the way.”