Famille Baril Family

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Introduction by Peter-Pierre-Pedro BARIL.

Over the last two years, the Internet has allowed several of us who had previously been working independently on the genealogy of Jean Baril, (c.1646-49), to become aware of each other’s work and to share our findings.

While this group includes career people like Thérèse Rocheleau-Baril who has devoted over 40 years to full time research, and trained palaeographers and notaries like Julien MacKay in Montréal and Alain Moreau in La Rochelle who have launched a comprehensive program to computerise the entire documentary history of New France, the fact remains that the bulk of the ‘Baril’ work is being done by the  ‘rest of us’: obsessive genealogical hobbyists who simply love this stuff and continually crave one more piece of reliable data.

The purpose of this text is to suggest that we are much closer to pulling the whole thing together than was the case two years ago and it may be time to combine our individual lines of research into the big picture. For several years I have felt somewhat envious of families like the  ‘Vigneaults’, for example, who plan a mass gathering of the clans every five years and who had over 4,000 people at the last gathering in 1995.

While many people travel to such meetings for the sheer social joy of the occasion and to see relatives they’ve missed since childhood, just as many arrive for the first time hoping they can find out who they are and where their roots begin.

I suspect the  ‘Barils’ have not been ready for such demands until now, but the time may be coming when we will be able to put it all together. If the sheer volume of material Thérèse has collected by way of land purchase contracts, inventories of belongings prior to marriage contracts, wills and testaments etc. was ever combined with Ron's immense gedcom file on all the branches of the family tree, we would probably have the makings of a reliable skeleton onto which the rest of us could graft our little local contributions.

Given a concerted effort to find the hundreds of closet family historians who have been jotting down notes for years without knowing what to do with them, we could likely flesh out, fill in and bullet proof the overall  ‘Baril’ tree within the next five years or so.

Suzanne Baril has offered to manage a central location to store the material if that would be helpful, and perhaps even to develop a customised database that could concatenate all our data without duplicating entries.

I would certainly be happy to act as a go-between from French to English and back since I know most of the little  ‘Baril’ towns pretty well, both here and in France. There is also another  ‘cousin’ who is a translator at the House of Commons in Ottawa who is keen to help write it all up in both languages when we’re ready.

What Next?

Sometime in 1992, I tried to chunk the remaining gaps in the overall ‘Baril’ tree into geographic areas that seemed to share the same branches of the family. As I mentioned in an e-mail message to some of you, they broke down into:

  1. SHORES OF THE ST. LAURENT: (Batiscan, Ste Anne, Gentilly, St. Pierre, etc.)
  2. BOIS FRANCS: Ste. Sophie, Norbertville, Arthabaska, Warwick, etc.
  7. The U.S.A.
  8. THE BIG CITIES: Trois Rivières & Montréal etc.

I have tried my best in each area, (except the States), but always with that frustrating feeling of assembling several huge chunks of a jigsaw puzzle, but remaining unable to find the intermediate links to tie them all together.

Now suddenly, as our Baril  ‘virtual community’ emerges on the Internet, it’s beginning to look as if:

Picture all those materials coming together and you will at least discover a base to work from.

What remains is to develop a strategy for drawing out all those tiny private pockets of genealogical enthusiasm buried in individual families. I may have subconsciously anticipated a moment like this was at hand in 1994 when I printed out the entire Minitel catalogue of phone numbers and addresses for all the Barils alive in France and did the same with the CD-ROM phone listings for North America. Also, the Département d’Onomastique in the National Archives in Paris helped assemble a list of  ‘Baril’ place names in France and to trace modern day locations for communities that have disappeared since 1665.

Another ever-urgent task is to record the memories of people like 92 year old Alcyde Fleury, official historian of Arthabaska who still walks to Mass every single morning and who tramped through the reeds with me to locate the remnants of Antoine and Eustache’s saw mill; or 91 year old Antoinette Paradis-Baril whose husband Albert and his father, also Albert, both served as Mayor of Warwick; or 92 year old Mme Eglantine Baril of Saumur in France who treated me to so much of the history of her husband Robert Baril’s family in Correze.

While I’ve spent as much time as possible recording these extraordinary elders, how many others are disappearing each year because we can’t bring ourselves to knock on their door?

Finally, we need to engage in a healthy debate about how much we can reasonably accomplish and in what time frame. Do we persist in trying to maintain a ‘complete descendancy’ listing as most of us have been doing until now, or do we start concentrating only on the  ‘Barils’ per se, meaning only the offspring of male branches.


These are some of the questions I can’t or won’t answer alone. Time is precious, of course, but we’re also closer to being able to answer them than we’ve ever been before.

I look forward to your comments, your criticisms and, most of all, your suggestions on where to go from here.

Peter Baril

How This Web Site Began

On July 6th, 1996 an event took place that will forever change how the Baril family is seen on planet earth. We have begun the process of piecing together groups of information about the lineage of the family that was until today scattered from Lansing, Michigan, USA to Baffin Island near Greenland, to Victoria, BC, Canada

It all started with the following e-mail letter received by Suzanne Baril of Victoria BC on Friday the 5th of July 1996 at 22:46:03:

A number of subsequent e-mail messages back and forth resulted in Suzanne receiving the following letter the next day:

Suzanne enthusiastically responded to both letters with attached copies of her current gedcon file:

The following is the reaction received by Ron and Pierre:

On Sunday July 7th, 1996, Pierre, Ron and Suzanne are at work updating their files, creating web pages, cross referencing data and all in all having fun. The following pages will include the compilation of all that data. It will be updated as new information becomes available.

If you have any information about the Baril family, please forward it to Ronald J. Baril Sr. - JSNF02A@PRODIGY.COM or Pierre Baril - pbaril@nunanet.com or Suzanne Baril - suzanne@tnd.com

Famille Baril Family

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Copyright © 1996 Suzanne J. Baril, Pierre Baril, Ronald J. Baril Sr.