SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Shingwauk Residential School Centre at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie is sharing some of its research methods to help those looking into their family history.

Officials are hoping an upcoming genealogy webinar will help Indigenous families shed some light on their past.

Jenna Lemay, digital archives technician at the Shingwauk Centre, said missing records, misspelled names and name changes are just some of the obstacles Indigenous people face when researching family history.

“For Indigenous people, if they have an Indigenous name, usually the record takers don’t really understand the language, they don’t understand what the name actually is, they’re not familiar with it,” said Lemay. “So when they’re spelling it, there’s different variations in spellings all over the place.”

Shingwauk Centre director Krista McCracken said many Indigenous people begin their family research at the centre.

Teaches research tools

“We get so many visitors and people asking at the Shingwauk Residential School Centre to help with their family history,” said McCracken. “Primarily because names have been changed, or the records, they aren’t able to find them. So this webinar kind of teaches some tools and tricks to help people ease into that process of doing their own family research.”

Lemay, who is putting together the webinar, said she will go into detail on what to look for and where to look.

“How to get started, the different places that you can find records, the different types of records that will give your genealogical information and some of the challenges that people will face when carrying out this kind of research and some of the solutions that I’ve come up with as I’ve done this kind of research,” she said.

The webinar is set for May 18 at 1 p.m., and will be held via Zoom.