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American-French Genealogical Society

Starting your Genealogy Research

American-French Genealogical Society location is in the AFGS Building
The American French Genealogical Society
is located at 78 Earle Street, Woonsocket, RI 02895,
in the lower level of the AFGS building.
Our Phone Number is 401-765-6141 (Voice during library hours).
FAX 401 597 6290
Entrance is from the rear Parking Lot of the AFGS Building
. The entrance door is located on the lower left side.
The American French Genealogical Society - AFGS Building
Classes and Workshops
How to Genealogy Videos
Starting Genealogy Research - Family Tree - Tracing your Roots or Ancestors
AFGS would like to help you get started on your genealogy and prepare you for your first visit to the AFGS library where you will find an abundance of material to assist you in your quest. Or if your just starting Genealogy research you should find this information helpful.
Most of our collection is dedicated to Acadian, French-Canadian and Franco-American resources but the collection can also help you with other nationalities.
If you are Beginning Genealogy research and even if you can not visit the AFGS Library at this time, you should still find this information helpful.
1. First gather together all the information you already have such as papers, photos, documents, obituaries, and the like. Don’t forget to check with your relatives to see if they have any information they would be willing to share with you. Remember to ask if there is already a family history that has been completed. This could be a big help.
2. Visit with family members, especially older members. Ask about the family. Record family stories. Take note of where the family came from, where they lived, relatives they may remember, such as the names of their parents or grandparents and where they are buried. Be sure to take pictures. Keep copies of everything you find in your search. It may not seem important now, but it probably will be in the future.
3. Organize your notes. Make sure you write the source and date on each paper you have.
4. Even though you will be collecting information on many family members, try to focus on one individual when you begin. You can trace other lines at a later date. Staying focused will keep you on track.
5. If you do not have five generation charts, you will be given some when you visit AFGS.In the meantime, you will want to record and organize as much of the following data as possible for each person you plan to research:
a. name
b. date and place of birth
c. date and place of baptism
d. date and place of marriage
e. date and place of death
f. date and place of burial
When you first visit AFGS for research if possible please fill out a 5 generation chart in advance to accompany your notes and information. By having the information in this format it is clearer for our staff to review as it can suggest where we could look next, to help you with your research. But if you would prefer not to fill out the chart in advance then still come as we are accustomed to having assorted notes of information.
Clicking on the link above will show you a 5 generation chart and also explain how to fill it in. Also you can print the chart and add your information to bring with you to the AFGS library.
NOTE: It is not necessary to number the charts for your visit to AFGS, as the information on numbering is provided as a help in starting your research and to explain how your information can be tracked.
If you decide to put your information into a genealogy program then that will number the charts for you as well as keep your sources and help you organize your research.
A number of Genealogy programs are available from Free on up. We have a link on our home page as well as a link below for Legacy software which you can try at no cost. It is a very fine program and I have used it for years. (Bill Pommenville AFGS Webmaster)
Legacy Family Tree Software Free Download
Also has a very fine Genealogy program which is free. The information is on the lower right side of their web page and says "Free PAF Family History Software".
Remember the more information you are able to record, the easier it will be to help you progress. However, these are guide lines only. AFGS has experienced researchers who will help you fill in the blanks and teach you how to proceed.

Help full Genealogy information for French Canadian research
Terms ~ Phrases ~ Translations ~ Abbreviations ~ Reference Répertoires etc. ~ Kinship & Descent ~ Quips (Genealogy Humor)
Given or first name abbreviation Used in Books by Drouin and Others.
Kinship & Descent ~All societies have a kinship system. This is a universal behavior. 
Myths and Legends ~ We have a Cherokee princess in our ancestors, Our family always spelled the name this way, etc.
Translations & Numbers ~ French birth and death records often include these words, numbers, and the exact time of day when the event occurred.
Quips (Genealogy Humor

Genealogy Videos by
Below are the Individual 5 minute videos (on youtube)

Below are additional videos from (on youtube)

Myths - Legends and Name Spelling Variations

AFGS Library Information
Important in the AFGS Library: Please Pencils only no pens or markers. If you forget we have Pencils. Food or Beverages including bottle water are not allowed in the library, we have a lunch area available. Briefcases, bags pocket books and Computer case are not allowed in the library.
See the complete list below
Free Wi-Fi available - Laptops and Notebooks can be brought into the library. You may not be able to plug in your laptop. Limited electical connections
Hours: NOTE:
Monday 11:00am to 4:00pm (Open) (Saturdays openings are from September to June and August to December)
Tuesday 1:00pm to 9:00pm (Open) Closed Holidays -
Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm (Open) (Sat. Closed July ) Closed  Christmas to New Years - See Calendar for dates.
Visitors to our library are welcome, you do not have to be a member to use the facilities. Non members are required to pay $5.00 per day for use of the library. Non members may use our research material.
Personal Belongings
Coats, sweaters etc. not being worn must be placed in the designated area. Briefcases, bags, computer case, and pocket books are not allowed in the library.
Food or beverages including bottle water are not allowed in the library area. A lunch area is adjacent to the library.
Badges - Pencils - Cameras
A Badge must be worn at all times, for visitors it is a visitors badge. If your a new member you will be issued a temporary badge. Pencils only in the library no pens. Cameras are allowed but no flash.
Floor Plan
Identification of areas in the  AFGS library 
Copy machine is available to make copies. Only books with a specified binding or designation may be copied.
Classes - American French Genealogical Society - AFGS offers free classes at our library, on Genealogy and related subjects. See our Calendar for Class dates and time. Calendar
Suggested Reading
Reference and Guide Book for the Genealogist by Armand Letourneau
It is an excellent book for both beginner and experienced researchers in the quest for Genealogical information. Full explanation of the book

What's New
What Is AFGS?
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Membership Application
Research Policy
Genealogy Links
Je Me Souviens 
Acadian Heritage Section
Terms - Phrases
French Accents
Surname Variations
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About Us
Site List

Updated 7 August, 2011

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