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Updated 24 March 2010

Xenia Stanford
Biography & Links to Published Work

Xenia Stanford's genealogy bug bit her while listening to stories and ancestors from her paternal grandmother. Sitting beside her grandmother's rocking chair beside the kitchen stove, she heard about her grandmother's life growing up in Austria and coming to Canada as a young woman with her husband, her first son (Xenia's father) and her unmarried sister. Her grandmother made the transition from reluctant pioneer to successful homesteader. Since Xenia did not grow up with her mother, she did not find out until she was an adult that her other half (her mother's side) was Ukrainian.

So why is a half Austrian, half Ukrainian an expert in French Canadian and Acadian research? There is an explanation. Her children's ancestry includes Irish, French Canadian, Acadian and English roots from Quebec and back to their countries of origin. Xenia has been researching her children's ancestry actively for at least 30 years.

In that time she has also helped many individuals or families trace their roots in French North America, Canada, upper northeast United States, France, the United Kingdom and other areas of the world. Her articles have appeared in such publications as Family Chronicle, Chinook, Michigan's Habitant Heritage, and Family Chronicle. She also writes a web column called Nos Racines Francaises for Global Gazette. She has given many talks to Alberta Family Histories Society and other groups. Her topics include Black Sheep in Your Family Tree, Ukrainian and East European Research, Lost in the Canadas (sorting out the confusion caused by Canada's changing boundaries and names from 1534 to the present), Preservation of Family Heirlooms and Mementos, Métis Research Across Canada including Scrip Records, Workplace Records, Old Occupations (Medieval, French, English), Write Your Family History Right, Evaluating and Documenting Internet and Other Sources, Cite it Right (How to Correctly Identify Your Sources) and several others.

Why Métis? Two of her brothers married Métis women and Xenia has helped them and other Métis descendants to find and prove their roots back to the original aboriginal ancestor.
Currently Xenia serves Alberta Family Histories Society as Editor of Chinook and as coordinator for the Ukrainian SIG (Special Interest Group) and the Métis SIG.

In her other life outside of genealogy, Xenia has been a teacher, librarian, records manager, change leader and knowledge expert. She has her own magazine KnowMap: The Knowledge Management, Auditing and Mapping Magazine at and currently makes her living as a professional genealogist, freelance writer (she won an international writing award), journalist, editor and book author.

You may reach her at

Global Gazette articles authored by Xenia Stanford
  • 1916 Canadian Census Column Headings
    By Xenia Stanford
    One of the ways to find the country of origin and year of immigration for your ancestors is through census records. It is often difficult to read the headings on the microfilm or on online images of microfiled census. I haven't been able to find a list of headings for the 1916 census so I have compiled one for you.

  • Addendum to "Little Victoria and Gigantic Drouin Finally Spell Success"
    By: Xenia Stanford. When I presented the article "Little Victoria and Gigantic Drouin Finally Spell Success" (May 22, 2008 issue of The Global Gazette) I reported a problem with using the online Drouin Collection. I was contacted by a representative of who had read my article. She told me how to find the missing information.

  • Little Victoria and Gigantic Drouin Finally Spell Success
    If you remember my column regarding the mystery of Victoria Stanford, Lost and Found: 103-Year-Old Baby Laid to Rest; 154-Year-Old Still Missing, you will recall the only record of her that I could find was on the 1851 Canada Census in St. Roch Ward, Quebec City. A new online resource has finally brought success to the decades-old search for "little Victoria".
  • Lost and Found: 103-Year-Old Baby Laid to Rest; 154-Year-Old Still Missing
    The story of five-month-old Margaret Everett McNeil, whose remains were unearthed and reburied 103 years after her birth, reminds me of my own search for Victoria Stanford, five years old on her last known record of existence 149 years ago. Could anything in the story of baby Margaret help me find missing child Victoria?
  • Salle Gagnon: An Almost Hidden Treasure
    One of my favourite places to conduct research in Montreal had been renovated since previous visits. Many new improvements have been made but the old reliable sources are still there. I am talking about Salle Gagnon nestled within Le Bibliothèque Centrale de Montréal.
    Those searching for French roots in modern Quebec or other areas of North America are often confused by the names used for various political divisions of the French inhabited regions of Canada and the United States.
  • Vital Records in the Province of Quebec - Part I - French Influences
    The records of New France, early Canada or Quebec were influenced by its French beginnings. This is why even today Quebec records may be mysterious to many. It is not just the language but also the carry-over of French practices and customs that makes the records of the Province of Quebec different from those of other Canadian jurisdictions.
  • Vital Records in the Province of Quebec - Part II - Laws, Customs and Practices
    One of the reasons it is difficult for those who are not familiar with Quebec to find relevant records is that the laws of this province are different from those of other provinces and other English based systems. This is not surprising before the English conquest or even before the Confederation of Canada. However, to this day Quebec has had separate and unique laws affecting the handling of vital and other records.
  • Vital Records in the Province of Quebec - Part III - How to Obtain Quebec Records For Vital Events After 1900
    The answer to the question of how and where to obtain vital records of the past one hundred years in North America is usually a fairly easy one.
  • Charlemagne - Father Of Feudalism And Founder Of The County System
    Charlemagne's first occupation was as a warrior, unlike that of his ancestors who seemed to choose the more studious life and became "Mayors of the Palace". Long before he became king he was known as Charles the Great for his great physical appearance and his military prowess. His name Magnus or Great also applies to the significant impact he had on history, social structure, politics, culture and learning.
  • Charlemagne - The Man Of Justice And Letters
    Charlemagne should not be remembered just as a great warrior and conqueror. His contribution to society and history included judicial and cultural reforms. He transformed the great nation he ruled and influenced the great democratic nations that evolved much later.
    Although a Christian should take only one wife even then, Charlemagne had four. He may have been married to only one at a time. However, he also kept five known mistresses throughout his marriages.
    The size of the empire built up by Charlemagne made it difficult to control. Even during Charlemagne's time the threat to the borders of the vast kingdom was ever-present and only prevented due to the personal agreements between King Charles the Great and those who owed him or feared him. After his death in 814 AD some of this loyalty was passed to his first successor but the internal conflicts caused more harm than the external threats.
  • Did You Know That Florida Was Once Part Of Canada?
    I like to shock people with this revelation. Perhaps I have said it too many times for it to be still a surprise. However, the misunderstanding of the old boundaries has caused much puzzlement to genealogists looking for their ancestors in North America.
  • Was Charlemagne Really The True King Arthur?
    Many accomplishments credited to King Arthur of England were either borrowed from the pre-existing habits of the tribes of Gaul or did not happen until centuries after his lifetime. Although a real King Arthur is believed to have lived in the British Isles and died in 537 AD, not many documents or histories were written at the time and none that proved he had knights, a round table or even an unfaithful wife named Guinevere.
  • The Last Of The Merovingians
    The Merovingian line ruled from 409 when Pharamond, the great grandfather of Clovis I, was chief of the Salian tribes to 752 when the last of them was deposed. Even if we count from the beginning of the Frankish empire in 486 when Clovis chased out the Romans, it is the longest reign of any family line in the history of France and possibly of any other nation.
  • The Dawn Of Medieval Fuedal France
    Historians often disagree about what to regard as the beginning of The Middle Ages. Some see it starting with the fifth century overthrow of the Romans and others as the ninth century when Charlemagne became the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Were The Dark Ages Really Dark? Part I
    The Pre-Medieval period, that is from the collapse of Rome in the fifth century AD to about 800 AD has been called the "Dark Ages". Now scholars are discovering new evidence and are less inclined to categorically assume that this age was as steeped in ignorance and barbary as once thought. Certainly the Frankish empire now appears to be one of the least mired in murkiness during those four centuries.
  • Were The Dark Ages Really Dark? Part II
    Other reasons scholars and historians referred to the Pre-Medieval period (from about 400 - 800 AD) as the "Dark Ages" were the lack of writing and a code of law. If these were part of the criteria used, then "dark" certainly does not apply to the Franks of this period. Language and writing...
  • Life And Records In Pre-Medieval France
    As promised in the last issue, I will review the history of France as it pertains to record keeping and ancestor finding. This issue will deal with the pre-Medieval period.
    I just returned from an interesting trip to Minneapolis where I discussed genealogy with a long-time friend from France and a newly found cousin to my children.
    Most people understand that not everyone in the world today follows the same calendar. For example, we know Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on January 7th while most of the Christian world observes the December 25th date.
    THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR BRINGS NEW CONFUSION. Like Julius Caesar had many centuries earlier, Pope Gregory XIII decided that the calendar needed correcting since the year once again was out of alignment with the "heavens". Again, as had Caesar, the Pope summoned the best minds of the day to Rome to begin the reform of the calendar.
    The French Republican or Revolutionary Calendar is an unusual one to us since the names of its months, such as vendémiaire, brumaire, floréal, thermidor and fructidor, are so different from the Gregorian and Julian calendars which were based on ancient Roman systems. In fact, this was a deliberate move on the part of the Jacobins (the most radical of the French revolutionaries) to resolve the problems of the former calendars, such as the naming of the months and days after ancient pagan gods or festivals.
    Feast days, festivals and holidays, if set by date, do not fall on the same day of the week each year (e.g. New Year's Day can be any day from Monday to Sunday). If set to the same day of week each year (e.g. a Sunday or Monday), then it does not always fall on the same date. It is difficult to calculate moveable feasts like Easter each year.
    At the December meeting of the Alberta Family Histories Society in Calgary, I was one of four asked to speak about our greatest genealogical mistakes. The program coordinator thought it would be comforting to those less experienced to know that even seasoned veterans could err.
    In Part I, I explained how I found Marie was the fifth daughter of Joseph Stanford and Adelaide Marticotte as listed on the 1851 St. Roch Ward, Quebec City census record. The mother and the other children on this and the 1861 census were all listed as Roman Catholics while the father and Marie were listed as Protestant.
    This is the final act in the series of "Les Actes de Baptême, Mariage et Sépulture" which are the equivalent of the vital statistics of births, marriages and deaths. It is also the final church act on behalf of a parishioner.
    The topics covered in Part I were clues for establishing other vital dates, such as the living or deceased status of parents of the couple at the time of the marriage and whether the groom and bride were of the age of majority or minority. As hinted in the previous issue, we may also find relationships of the witnesses to the couple.
    "Is "fille de feu" a girl of fire?" asked a non-French speaking researcher in a message to a newsgroup. The meaning of this phrase is much more mundane than the image conjured up by this word for word translation.
    As a volunteer at our local Family History Centre, I helped a gentleman find his Pierre Jolivet in a baptism index in a Quebec parish register.
  • L'institut Drouin/Drouin Institute Assets Move South
    On July 31, 1998 the American French Genealogical Society located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, USA purchased some of the archives as well as the current assets of the former L'Institut Drouin of Montreal.

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
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The Merivale Cemeteries
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