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Quebec Research

Catholic Research            Protestant Research

Congratulations on having family in Quebec. It is an interesting and rewarding place to do research if your family is of Catholic origin. If it is not, there is less information available, but there is still a great deal to learn about your family. I do my research primarily in the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake which has an excellent collection of records for Quebec and in on-line resources including the Drouin collection of parish records available at  www.ancestry.ca

Types of Records Available

Census Records

There are census records available similar to those in the U.S. for 1851-1921.  The 1901 census contains exact birthdates. There are some very early (1600's) census records that name every family member. Extracted information from them is available in several formats. Some localities have additional head-of-household censuses.  For further information about these census records, see Census Records on my Ontario page.

I have prepared an index to the 1851 census of Missisquoi County, Quebec which can be accessed Here.   Be sure to read the introduction before searching the census index.

Finding Aids

There is a publication called The French Canadians which uses some sources not at the library, such as city directories for the 1800's, which might help find a location to start looking for an ancestor. This information is also available in electronic format on a CD called "Canadian Genealogical Index, 1600-1900".

Church Records

The most important records for Quebec are church records. As in all genealogical research, some records are missing or illegible, but as a whole, Quebec church records are excellent. All parishes were required to make two copies of their baptisms, marriages, and burials and give the 2nd copy to the civil authorities to serve as vital records. It is essential when doing Quebec research to know if a family was Catholic or Protestant so that the proper records can be search. The exact Protestant denomination is less important, though useful. Canadian census records list church affiliation.

Languages

Most Quebec records are written in French. Exceptions to this are Protestant parish records, some Irish (or other non-French) Catholic parish records, and records of most kinds that deal with the Eastern Townships. The Eastern Townships is an area just north of the U.S. border which was settled primarily by English-speaking Protestants following the British conquest of Quebec. I provide English complete translations or genealogical extracts, whichever you prefer, with photocopies of the original French-language parish records if you want them.

CATHOLIC RESEARCH

Parish Records

Microfilm copies of the Quebec Catholic parish records from the beginning of record keeping in the 1600's until about 1900 are available at the Family History Library. These records have been digitized but are not yet indexed.  The images are available at Family Search. The Drouin Institute also microfilmed parish records and their copies have been digitized and are now available at www.ancestry.ca. I subscribe to this web site and can now search the parish records from my home computer. The Drouin copies include records well into the 20th century Most parish records list the parents of the child being christened or married, including the mother's maiden name. Marriage records often given the relationship to the bride or groom of the witnesses to the wedding. They also list the residence of the couple and of their parents. Adult burials are less helpful, but they may list parents of a child or an unmarried adult, usually list the husband of a woman who dies (even if she was a widow) and occasionally list the wife of a man who dies.

Compiled Sources and Indexes

Basic printed sources used for Quebec research include Cyprien Tanguay's Dictionnaire Généalogique Des Familles Canadiennes, which lists marriage and many (but not all) christenings and deaths from parish records to about 1780 (but these volumes are known to contain errors, so original records should also be consulted) and Rene Jette's Dictionnaire genealogique des familles du Quebec, an excellent book published in 1983 which lists marriages, births and deaths to 1730 using parish records, census records, notarial records, and others. Jette sometimes lists several generations of a family back in France, also.

Many parishes have printed extracts of their marriage records. Often these have been compiled by county. Some parishes also have printed extracts of baptism and burial records. 

The Loiselle marriage index and its supplement, available on microfilm, list marriages into the mid 1900's and cover about 75% of the Catholic marriages prior to 1900. There are some smaller indexes also available. There are some parishes that are not covered by any of these indexes, however.   The Family History Library has recently acquired microfiche copies of the Drouin indexes to brides and to grooms, which index Quebec marriages  from 1760 to 1935.  Some of the marriages not listed in other indexes may appear in Drouin.

The University of Montreal has created the  PRDH data base from parish and other records prior to 1800. It recently has added many burial  through 1850 for individuals born prior to about 1775.  This is a pay for use site, but there is a free index which gives names, years, and parishes and  is a useful tool for searching the actual parish records.  It  has standardized the spelling of the surnames and covers the 30+ years that are not available in book form. Jette's book is based on this data base, but only covers the time period prior to 1730. There is a large set of printed volumes that cover the time period to 1765 available at the Family History Library. There is no overall index, but there are indexes for various time periods. The indexes list the names exactly as they are spelled in the original records.

PROTESTANT RESEARCH

Parish Records

Protestant records do not begin until after the conquest of Quebec in 1760. Though Protestant clergymen were required to make duplicate records, many records are still missing. Records begin later and are generally less well indexed and more difficult to search, and usually lack the information on parents found in Catholic marriage records. In spite of these drawbacks, there are still many church records available on Protestant families.  Many of the Protestant records are included in the Drouin Institute records available at www.ancestry.ca

Compiled Sources and Indexes

A few printed extracts of Protestant records are available. These are mainly for the Eastern Townships area of Quebec.  New compilations appear regularly either in book form or on the internet, though there is much less information available on the internet for Quebec than for the U.S.  

There are indexes of Protestant church records available for Montreal and surrounding parishes, Quebec City and surrounding parishes, and for the St. Francois judicial district (the eastern part of the Eastern Townships area of Quebec). There is a marriage index available for the Bedford judicial district (the western part of the Eastern Townships area of Quebec).   

BEGINNING RESEARCH

Since the Loiselle  and the Drouin marriage indexes to Catholic marriages are the only indexes to all of Quebec, it is usually necessary to know the name of a Catholic couple who were married in Quebec or to know a location where your ancestors lived to begin research. I am willing to search U.S. records which might lead to a location in Quebec for your immigrant ancestor or the name of his or her parents (marriage records, death records, county histories, naturalization records, etc.) if you have not already done so. It is usually best to glean all possible information from U.S. records before attempting to make the jump over the border into Quebec. 

If you would like me to begin researching your family, be sure to SEND ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION (including information on their parents and children) on the persons you want researched, including anything that would give a place or date that they lived in Quebec. Pedigree charts, family group sheets, and photocopies of census records, family histories, vital records, etc. from the U.S. are all helpful.    

 

beth@daviesgenealogy.com    Copyright© 2014 by Beth Davies. All rights reserved.