For more help in knowing "Where To Start" there are several websites dedicated to educating "newbies" as well as numerous books (In Search Of Your Canadian Roots by Angus Baxter, and Searching for your Ancestors by Doane & Bell are two excellent books every genealogist should check out). OntarioGenWeb also offers A Beginner's Guide.
Tuesday, April 1, 2003
I don't have enough information to know how to start my search. I know the family surname, my ancestor's first name, his mother's first name, that they were probably farmers and that my ancestor was born in 1861 and was fluent in both French and English. He emigrated to western New York state. I believe he used the passage following the great ridge in western NY. Where would be a good place to start my search in Canada?
You do have enough information! You have his name, birth year, name of spouse and where he ended up... much more than most have to start a search. Before you start searching in Canada you should finish your research with New York State - it could give you clues or an exact location. For instance, when did he migrate to NY? Did he go with anyone? Siblings? Have you found their obituaries? Do you have your ancestor's obit? Do you have his naturalization/citizenship records? Canada is huge. Unless you have an approximate location it will be like searching for a needle in a mile-high haystack.