One of my hobbies is genealogy and I have put together family histories of my wife's and my own ancestral surnames, as well as those of my children's spouses. Hopefully, someone someday will happen upon my efforts some years, or generations from now, and experience the wonderful delight of finding a treasure trove of already researched data.
My BELANGER ancestors are from Canada and settled in Saint Aubert, L'Islet County, PQ. My maternal GAGNON line is from the north side of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec near Lac St. Jean.
My wife's JOSEPH BLANCHARD line started in Massachusetts, moved to Barre, Vermont, went west on the Oregon Trail, and returned to Massachusetts following World War I. In 1851, JOSHUA PETTINGILL BLANCHARD and his bride REBECCA JANE RACE made the trek across the plains with Captain NOLAND as their leader. They left from Peoria on 1 April and arrived in Old Oregon City (Canemah) in the middle of September. Other of my wife's lines are from Virginia: SMITH of Fauquier and Madison Counties and SEAL of Madison County and West Virgina.
I have published a book on the overland trek of that year. It's called ON THE OREGON TRAIL IN 1851 - CANARIES, BUFFALO-CHIPS, AND ELEPHANTS and can be ordered from many bookstores on-line, including AMAZON.COM .
Here's what some respected folks have written about the book:
1) ROBERT CLARK, editor of Overland Journal, Quarterly Journal of the Oregon-California Trails Association:
"In this new work, the author has provided anyone fascinated by the Oregon Trail an invaluable reference work containing vivid accounts of overland travel. ON THE OREGON TRAIL IN 1851:CANARIES, BUFFALO-CHIPS, AND ELEPHANTS offers a window into the world of western travelers as found in their journals, letters, and reminiscences. It is a must for every trail library."
2) SUSAN SNYDER - Head, Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley:
“I've now read your book. It was wonderful how it brought the trail to life. The level of detail made the fun, struggles, travails and fears palpable. Many of the entries are in a narrative form so that one really gets a sense of the continuity of the trail progression. ”
3)STEPHENIE FLORA - Recognized Oregon Trail historian, host of the much viewed Web Page where she has posted an incredible amount of her research: http://www.oregonpioneers.com/ortrail.htm and repipient of the coveted Distinguished Service Award presented by the Oregon – California Trail Association (OCTA) in 2005 and of the 1998 American Local History Network Award:
"a valuable addition to trail history in general and the 1851 emigration in particular. . . What an outstanding job you have done to make it readable for all levels of trail expertise.”
4) OCTA's National Frontier Trails Museum (NFTM) newsletter, THE TRAIL SCOUT - March 2011:
"The volume is an impressive and interesting collection of excerpts from trail diaries and recollections, arranged largely in geographical order so the reader can 'travel along' with the [emigrants.] The first person accounts are skillfully linked together with only brief narratives by Belanger, wisely letting
the emigrants tell their own stories without too much extraneous text.. . .It is a truly monumental work and contribution to trail scholarship."
5) DR. JAMES "OREGON JIM" TOMPKINS - Clackamas Community College Adult Education Instructor; former Professor at Portland(OR)State University; recipient of the coveted Merrill Mattes Award for his article in the OVERLAND JOURNAL, Quarterly of the Oregon-California Trails Association; editor of IMAGES OF AMERICA - OREGON CITY, Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
“On the Oregon Trail in 1851 is the most complete collection of actual emigrant words I have seen in one place for a single year. It is organized by topic, Trail segment, and type of utterance and is truly a labor of love as wel
- MASTER LIST OF 1851 O.T. EMIGRANTS - 13 July 2011 (4467 KB)
This is my updated list of some 5400+ emigrants who were on the Oregon Trail in 1851. Along with the name, I've included my sources.
- ABBREVIATION KEY - 15 July 2011 (433 KB)
This is a key to all the abreviations I've used in my research, mostly the sources for names and publications.
- INDEX of the Contents of Trail Journals of 1851 (6300 KB)
Here you will find every mention of geographic locations, accidents, deaths, Indian encounters, graves passed, unusual incidents and every name mentioned…..along with the date and page in the document where it is recorded. At the end, there are two lists: 1) every name arranged by document wherein mentioned; 2) a complete alphabetical list of all names in the INDEX.
- FORT LARAMIE TREATY COUNCIL- updated 25 July 2011 (539 KB)
This file contains references in my Trail documents, 1851 newspapers, and several books to this ground-breaking Indian Council, including the final text and names of all signers.