Well, they picked the right time of year.
Next Wednesday, the Quebec Family History Society will give locals a chance to investigate their family backgrounds at an upcoming event highlighting the huge volume of Quebecers who have some sort of Irish roots.
The event, called 'Celebrating Our Irish Roots Day,' will go next Wednesday at the Quebec Family History Society offices on Cartier Avenue in Pointe Claire, and in the days immediately following St. Patrick's Day, it's as pertinent as ever, especially given that many Quebecers have a common Irish heritage, said Kelley O'Rourke, one of the leaders of the event.
"I think there are more people (with Irish heritage) than people think," said. "The name 'Ouellet' used to be 'Sullivan,' " in many corners of the province, she said.
O'Rourke and Sheila Callaghan, who authored 'Paths of Opportunity,' a portrayal of the Irish Montreal experience of one family who arrived in Quebec in the 1840s, will co-animate the discussion, which will feature healthy doses of advice for genealogy newcomers and discussion for more seasoned family-history researchers. The experience, Callaghan said, gives researchers a better idea of how they got to this land and how their ancestors' experiences helped shape who we are today.
"It makes your ancestors more real, I would say. Genealogyt allows us to understand how we got here and how the experiences of those who came before us can help us learn more about ourselves," she said.
The Irish Roots theme is the this month's theme; each monthly seminar is themed differently. Last December, the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) created the monthly program, Celebrating Our Roots Days, to encourage new and experienced genealogists to get together in an informal setting to share their stories and research tips and browse books in the society's library. Roots Days are held the third Wednesday of each month and are open to the public. To help generate conversation, the society selects a different theme for each month, from military and Quebec ancestry to immigration and female ancestors.
"Roots Days are an opportunity for people who have a passion for learning about their family history to meet people who share their interest. Some people drop in for a quick chat; others stay for the entire afternoon. Members have shown their enthusiasm for the program by bringing in their own memorabilia, photos, and books to show others," said QFHS media-relations co-ordinator Susan Gingras Calcagni.
The event is set for March 20, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., at the QFHS offices at 173 Cartier Ave. in Pointe Claire. Admission is free. For more information, call the organization at 514-695-1502, or visit the QFHS events page at www.qfhs.ca for a complete list of Roots Days.