I am looking to trace my family back as far as possible. So far on my mother's side (Salerni, Lapila, Mezzio, D'Addario) I can trace back to my great-grandparents who arrived from Italy via Ellis Island. That's not too bad, but I would like to trace it back to the old world.
On my father's side (Melanson, Boyer), however, I have little info and have hit a dead end. The problem is that my grandmother (Boyer), was an orphan from a young age and grew up in a convent, so we don't know any of that family. On my grandfather's side (Melanson), there are two major issues.
First, there is a good chance that the surname was spelled differently at one time since there are many variations.
Second, there is debate about our heritage. Everywhere I check, I find that the Melanson family is from France and emmigrated to Acadia in Nova Scotia (Canada). My father claims that his father's ancestors are from Sweden and we are of no relation to the French Melansons. He has, however no proof of this. My grandfather WAS born in Maine, which makes it seem likely that our family is indeed from Nova Scotia. That's not to say that we still can't have Swedish in us, which he is afraid of losing if we find that we are from the Acadians.