If your family came from Prescott, Ontario, or around there, and to Northern NY, i.e. St. Lawrence County, Jefferson, Franklin, Clinton, Essex Counties, where my family came from, then your name of Santimaw was originally St. Amand. This is common knowledge among Northern NY French Canadian researchers. The name St. Amand sounds like Santimaw when pronounced, and most changed their names when coming from Quebec/Ontario to NY, Vermont, Michigan, etc. People wanted to Americanize their names and the census takers were not allowed to ask people how to spell their last names; it was illegal, so census spellings will vary AS will tombstones and SOME of the Santimaws did go back to the original spelling of St. Amand, but more kept a variant with Santimaw being common. Some wanted to differentiate themselves from their brothers or cousins living nearby so they either used a different spelling or used their "dit" name. Many of the French Canadians in the 1800's could not read and write and many many records have corrupted spellings that stuck.
I am from the St.Onge family of Beauharnois Quebec, to Prescott, Ontario, and finally to St. Lawrence Co. NY (and some to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Connecticut.) However, very few of my ancestors kept that name St. Onge or went back to that spelling by the 1920's......most went on to use Santo, Santos, Santois, Santaw, and Santaus, which is the name used by my family now. Believe me, I grew up knowing my grandmother as Bertha Ann Santaus of Ogdensburg, NY, not as Bertha Ann St. Onge and it took a long time of investigating and learning to speak French and understand immigration patterns and genealogy to understand how Santaus came from St. Onge.
I cannot say for certain that you are related to every Santimaw on here, but most likely you are related to the ones from the same vicinity. Some changed the name to Santimo and Santamaugh. If you go to the main search page and put in "Sant*" just like that with an asterisk, you are going to find a whole slew of French Canadians in NY, Mich, Wisconsin, Vermont, Connecticut, and even some down south whose names come from St. Amand (Santimaw) and St. Onge (Santo).
I would say look carefully at first every Santimaw, then every Santimo, and then Santamaugh and finally St. Amand. Once you get all of the variations into a database you can start connecting people and it will all come together. It took me almost two years to get from one Bertha Ann Santaus in Ogdensburg to her grandparents Antoine St. Onge and Catherine LeBoeuf of Beauharnois Quebec, and the "dit" names will throw you off along the way.
Most of the people on here have the same goal and I have found their advice to be extremely rewarding. I started knowing nothing about dit names a few years ago. I am not an expert by any means but I am a degreed researcher by occupation and genealogy is my only hobby. There is not a day of the week that goes by that I do not work on my French Canadians even if I am only thinking about the mysteries and trying to draw conclusions!
Beth and Gary, I hope this helped a little :-) HAVE FUN!!! Genealogy is a wonderful and cherished hobby that your descendants will thank you for!!!
Teresa in NY