Postcards Update And Tens of Thousands of New Documents on Genealogy Quebec!

In this edition of our newsletter, we will go over the numerous additions that were made to’s tools and collections in the past few days.

Postcard images

The Postcards collection, which contains over 256 000 postcards sent or received in Quebec during the 20th century, has just received a major update. When this tool was first made available, only the back of the card was digitized and available for viewing.

Today, we have added the front side of most of the 256 000 postcards, allowing you to enjoy the cards in their entirety.

The postcards are indexed by the names of the sender and recipient. A search engine allows for easy browsing within the tool. This collection is available to subscribers at this address.

Newspaper obituaries

Some 13 723 new obituaries have been added to the Newspaper Obituaries section.

You will find the Newspaper Obituaries in the Obituary section, which is available to subscribers.


The St-Pierre de Shawinigan parish register (1899 to 2000) has been added to the “Registres québécois, Actes découpés” folder, which can be found in the Drouin Collection Records.

Still in the Drouin Collection Records, but this time in the “Registres divers”folder, you will now find 15 000 new images of various registers and archives from the city of Cannes, in France. These archives cover a period spanning from 1636 to 1902.

Also in the “Registres divers” folder, you will now be able to browse through most of the births from the state of Massachusetts for the years 1880 and 1909.

Genealogical charts from Planète Généalogie

2358 genealogical charts from the Planète Généalogie website, which was acquired by the Drouin Institute in 2017, have been added to

These charts were produced by the Planète Généalogie team as well as various collaborators within the past few years. They can be browsed in the “24 – Lignées généalogiques” folder, which can be found in the Drouin Institute’s miscellaneous collections tool.

Statuts de la province de Québec

In this collection, you will find a variety of legal documents pertaining to adoptions, name changes and inheritances. The documents are sorted by the subject’s family name.

The “25 – Statuts de la province de Québec” folder can be found in the Drouin Institute’s miscellaneous collections tool.

Municipal archives

Numerous books and municipal records from the cities of Victoriaville, St-Paul-de-Chester and St-Louis-de-Blandford can now be viewed in the “16 – Archives Municipales” folder, in the Drouin Institute’s miscellaneous collections tool. A total of 17 948 new images.

New articles on the Drouin Institute blog

The King’s Daughters and the PRDH database

The second part of Sandra Goodwin’s Maple Stars and Stripes podcast about the Drouin Collection Records is now available on her website.

QFHS – Expo hall

Saturday May the 19th from 9:00am to 4:30pm, as well as Sunday May the 20th from 9:00am to 3:30pm, you will have the opportunity to meet the Drouin Institute team at Roots 2018, the Quebec Family History Society‘s genealogical conference. The conference will be held at the McGill University’s New Residence Hall, 3625 Avenue du Parc, Montreal, QC, H2X 3P8. You will find more information on the QFHS’s website.
We would love to see you there!

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

The King’s Daughters and the PRDH database

On the 22nd of September 1663 arrive the first of some 1000 King’s Daughters who will eventually establish themselves in Quebec between 1663 and 1673.

Their arrival was timely considering that in 1666, the province counted 719 single males between the ages of 16 and 40, compared to only 45 single women of the same ages. This disproportion was partly due to the fact that New-France was, in its early days, a colony based on the fur trade. Thus, the majority of the population was male.

But what exactly is a King’s Daughter?

“King’s Daughters” is used to refer to the single women recruited to emigrate to New-France between 1663 and 1673. What distinguished these women was the fact that the King himself took them under his wing, paying for their travel and settlement in the colony as well as providing them with a dowry in expectation of their impending marriage.

Often orphans and of modest origins, and frequently raised in urban settings, these women were not adapted to the harsh living conditions present in New France.

King’s Daughters list

The Programme de recherche en démographie historique has identified and indexed all of the King’s Daughters who married in Quebec. The complete list can be viewed at this address.

Using PRDH-IGD to learn more about the King’s Daughters

The PRDH database, accessible to the public via subscription, contains every Catholic individual who has lived in Quebec between 1621 and 1849, including of course the King’s Daughters. Through the PRDH’s unique database structure, it is possible to explore these women’s lives in greater detail.

You will find a more detailed explanation of the structure of the PRDH’s database in another article, but in short, you have to know that it contains three types of files:

Record Certificate –  It is a transcription of the relevant information contained in a baptism, marriage or burial record.

Individual File – It is a file centralizing all the information available on the individual

Family File – It is a file centralizing all the information and all the individuals pertaining to a family unit (parents and children)

You can use this structure to your advantage in order to learn about the King’s Daughters and, perhaps even more importantly, find out if you’re descendent from one.

Is there a King’s Daughter in your family tree?

The PRDH-IGD database can be used to confirm – or disprove – the presence of a King’s daughter in one’s ancestry.

Since the PRDH’s data stops in 1849, it is necessary to begin by retracing an ancestor to a date prior to the year 1849.

To do so, you may want to use a genealogical research website such as, which will provide you with all the tools and resources necessary to trace back your ancestry.

The process of using the PRDH to explore your ancestry and more specifically discover if you are descendant from a King’s Daughter is rather simple. To demonstrate it, we will use Joseph Valade and Marie Lafond Lagrenade, married in montreal on the 20th of November 1820.

We begin with a search for Joseph Valade in the PRDH database, using the built in search engine.

This search allows us to find Joseph and Marie’s marriage record.

From this record, we can access to the couple’s family file.

From this point, we will go up the family tree in an attempt to find a marriage in the 1660s. If such a marriage is found, chances are it will belong to a King’s Daughter. To go back a generation,  click on the word “Family” which can be found under the husband’s parents’ names in every PRDH family file.

We finally make it to a couple married in the 1660s. Thanks to the list compiled by the PRDH, we can confirm that the bride is indeed a King’s Daughter.

Looking at her individual file only provides further confirmation, as we learn that she originates from La Rochelle, which is a common place of origin among King’s daughters.

And so, are you descendant from a King’s Daughter?

LAFRANCE Update And Original Parish Document Now Available For The 1917 Marriages

The bimonthly LAFRANCE update was released earlier in the week. The additions pertain to the 1850-1861 period for Catholic baptisms and burials.

Update figures

Catholic baptisms 1850-1861 : 9008 records added
Catholic burials 1850-1861 : 4103 records added
In addition, the corrections sent by our users over the past 2 months have been applied. You will find a list of the the parishes that have been updated here.

About the LAFRANCE

The LAFRANCE, one of 16 tools available to subscribers, is a detailed index with link to the original document of ALL Catholic marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1917, ALL Catholic baptisms and burials celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1849 as well as ALL Protestant marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1760 and 1849. Baptisms and burials of the 1850-1861 period are added gradually through our bimonthly updates.

Original document linked to the LAFRANCE‘s 1917 marriages

The 1917 Quebec Catholic marriages available on the LAFRANCE are now linked to the original parish record. You can view the original document by clicking on the image number at the top right corner of the certificate.

New articles on the Drouin Institute blog

The first French-Canadian centenarians in Quebec, by Bertrand and François Desjardins

Bertrand Desjardins is Sandra Goodwin’s guest in the latest episode of her podcast Maples Stars and Stripes, as they discuss the Drouin Collection records and the sometimes lesser-known documents it contains.
You will find this episode’s show notes on this page.
Maple Stars and Stripes is a podcast dedicated to French-Canadian genealogy.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

The first French-Canadian centenarians in Quebec

Lifespan is a topic that undoubtedly fascinates us. Cases of extreme longevity are regularly featured in the media, where individuals with extreme lifespans sometimes become symbols of national pride for their fellow citizens.

French-Canadiens are no exception. The case of Pierre Joubert, born in 1701 and erroneously believed to have lived to the ripe old age of 113 years old – as was featured in the Guinness Book of Records – was cited by Joseph-Charles Taché, a senior official in charge of Canada’s 1871 census, as an exemple of how French-Canadians formed “a population that, more than any other, perhaps, offers numerous examples of high longevity“.

Pierre Joubert’s baptism record, LAFRANCE,

The problem is this topic, in an historical context, is prone to a lot of myths and exaggerations, so much so in fact that a majority of high longevity claims end up being proven false. The ages declared at the time of burial were particularly inaccurate, especially in the case of elderly individuals. Most people being illiterate, the documentation relative to a person’s birth wasn’t necessarily available or used, and the accuracy of the deceased’s age in the burial record was not considered important, being mostly an approximation.

Thankfully, the wonderful information compiled by the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH), publicly available on the website, allows us to mitigate the issue of inaccurate ages in burial records. By linking the birth and death dates available through baptism and burial records, it is possible to accurately determine an individual’s age at death.

The PRDH individual file allows us to determine a person’s age at death through their baptism and burial dates. Source:

Thanks to this compiled data, it is possible to establish clear trends in the shifting of the mortality rate over time, as well as track the apparition of the first centenarians in the province.

This table identifies the 10 individuals born in Quebec that have reached the age of 99 years old before 1850:

We can see that the first five French-Canadian centenarians were women. While Marie-Élisabeth Dechavigny, one of the very first inhabitants of the country, reached the age of 99 years old in 1748, it is only in 1825 that we see an individual reach the 100 year mark. Not only that, Marie-Louise Plante is believed to have lived to the very respectable age of 107 years old!

Marie Louise Plante’s burial record. Notice the inaccuracy of the age given in the record; 117 years old! LAFRANCE,

François Parent is the oldest French-Canadian male listed in the PRDH database(1621-1849), dying at the age of 99 years old in 1834; no French-Canadian man reached the age of 100 years old before 1850, and as such, the first male French-Canadian centenarian still remains to be identified!


Bertrand et François Desjardins

April 2018

Even More New Content on Genealogy Quebec!

The development of Genealogy Quebec‘s collections continues today with the addition of numerous images and files to the website’s databases. These new documents come in part from Planète Généalogie, which was acquired by the Drouin Institute a few months ago.


34 775 baptism, marriage and burial files have been added to the Kardex tool. You will find them under the 01_Fiches BMS/Familles/ folder, which you can browse with a subscription to at this address.

These files list baptism, marriage and burial records celebrated in Quebec as well as in Ontario and the United States. For now, these files are limited to a few families.

 Dictionnaire Jetté (Jetté Dictionary)

2852 files produced by René Jetté during the creation of his famous “Dictionnaire Jetté” were added.

Genealogy Quebec subscribers may browse the “Dictionnaire Jetté” as well as these files in the Drouin Miscellaneous Collections.

Registres, Actes découpés

Some 15 913 images have been added under the “Registres, Actes découpés” folder, which can be found in the Drouin Collection Records. These images contain the parish registers of Ste-Louise-de-Marillac de Montréal (1951-2016) as well as St-Barthélémy (1940-2010).

These documents can be viewed with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec in the Drouin Collection Records section.

New articles on the Drouin Institute blog

Genealogy Quebec and PRDH-IGD: the similarities, differences, and why you should subscribe to both
This article goes over the similiarities and differences between and, the Drouin Institute’s genealogical research websites. The article also explains how Genealogy Quebec subscribers benefit from 10% additional hits free of charge when purchasing a PRDH subscription.

Last names in Quebec: the influence of the pioneers, the second of a series of articles about the French pioneers in Quebec.

Obituaries – Free section

The development of our Online Obituaries section is ongoing, with around 10 000 new notices being added monthly.
This section contains over 2 million Canadian obituaries ranging from 1999 to this day. You can browse the collection, no subscription required, at this address.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Genealogy Quebec and PRDH-IGD: the similarities, differences, and why you should subscribe to both and are genealogical research websites managed by the Drouin genealogical Institute.

Genealogy Quebec

Genealogy Quebec contains all of the genealogical data, collections and tools developed and acquired by the Drouin Institute over the past 100 years. You will find on the website over 44 million images and files distributed through 16 different tools and collections.

You will find more detailed information about these 16 tools here, and about the website in general at this address.


The PRDH-IGD was created from a Université de Montréal database and is in constant evolution. You will find more information about the PRDH-IGD and its content in this article.

What are the differences between and
Period 1621 – 2018 1621 – 1849
Original documents Yes No
Family reconstructions No Yes
Type of documents BMS records, obituaries, death cards, tombstones, notarized documents, censuses, marriage repertories, parish records, postcards, city directories BMS records, Individual files, Couple files, Family files
Subscription type Time based (24h, 1 month, 1 year) Purchasable “hits”

What are the advantages of being subscribed to both websites, and how do the subscriptions interact?

Members who are subscribed to both and the have access to the following exclusive features:

  • View the original document (parish register) on from any certificate

    Click on the mention circled in red to go from a certificate (left) to the original document associated with it on (right)
  • View the individual file of any individual named in a‘s LAFRANCE certificate

    Click on the mention circled in red to go from a certificate (left) to an individual file on (right)
  • 10% bonus PRDH-IGD hits free of charge on purchase for subscribers
    During the purchasing process on, you will be given the option to enter your username to receive 10% additional hits free of charge

    Note that a delay of a few days is to be expected before the reception of your bonus hits as we need to treat your demand manually.

The PRDH’s Web Address Has Changed!

The PRDH website can now be reached at
The old address,, now automatically redirects to

How does this change affect me?

This change does not affect the content or the use of the website in any way. You may even keep using the old address to reach the website as the automatic redirection will bring you to the correct domain.

Will my saved links still work?

Old links will still be functional despite the address change. For example, if you follow this link:
The automatic redirection will bring you to the same page but under the correct address, which is:

This applies to every page on the website.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Last names in Quebec: the influence of the pioneers

In a previous article, we learned that the ethnic French Canadian population is issued from a surprisingly small amount of immigrants.

The influence of this small number of immigrants can still be seen in the frequency and variation of last names in Quebec to this day.

For example, here is the list of pioneers that have the most married descendants before 1800 (this list was compiled using the PRDH database):

Name of the pioneer Amount of descendants

married before 1800

Zacharie Cloutier 10 850
Jean Guyon 9 674
Marin Boucher 8 502
Jacques Archambault 8 445
Noël Langlois 7 847
Abraham Martin 7 765
Pierre Miville 6 552
Pierre Desportes 6 515
Jean Roussin 4 730
Louis Hébert 4 592

This list does not contain some of the most common names used today, and also includes some names that are rarely seen nowadays. This is because while some of these ancestors had a lot of descendants, most of these descendants were female. Thus, their last names were not transmitted through the generations. We have compiled a second list limited to patronymic descendants of these pioneers, which in other words refers to descendants through the male side:

Name of the pioneer Number of

“patronymic” descendants

married before 1800

Jean Côté 567
Pierre Tremblay 564
Marin Boucher 482
Jean Dumais 481
Louis Houde 471
Jean Guyon 449
Jacques Archambault 423
Pierre Parent 418
Zacharie Cloutier 391
Guillaume Pelletier 389

Let’s now compare this list with the most common last names used in Quebec in 2006:

Rank Last name Percentage
1 Tremblay 1,076
2 Gagnon 0,790
3 Roy 0,753
4 Côté 0,692
5 Bouchard 0,530
6 Gauthier 0,522
7 Morin 0,498
8 Lavoie 0,459
9 Fortin 0,449
10 Gagné 0,448
11 Ouellet 0,447
12 Pelletier 0,435
13 Bélanger 0,429
14 Lévesque 0,412
15 Bergeron 0,399
16 Leblanc 0,367
17 Paquette 0,361
18 Girard 0,356
19 Simard 0,354
20 Boucher 0,341
21 Caron 0,321
22 Beaulieu 0,300
23 Cloutier 0,297
24 Dubé 0,296
25 Poirier 0,295


We find half of our previous list among the top 25 most common names in Quebec today. The impact of these few pioneers is undeniable, even to this day!

And your pioneer ancestor?

The PRDH offers a free tool that lists all the pioneers for a given last name. If you have a French Canadian name, you can enter it here and obtain a list of pioneers for that name, assuming they arrived in Quebec before 1766.

How to determine which pioneer is your ancestor

Oftentimes, a last name can be linked to several pioneers. For example, two Desjardins living in Quebec today will not necessarily share the same pioneer ancestor; one may descend from Antoine Roy dit Desjardins, who arrived in Quebec in the 1660s, and the other from Pierre Desjardins, who only arrives in Quebec in the 18th century.

The only way to determine which pioneer is your direct ancestor is to do your ascending genealogy, starting with your parents all the way back to your first ancestor on Quebec soil.

Genealogical research websites such as Genealogy Quebec and the PRDH are great tools to go up your family tree and ultimately find out the history behind your name.

All The 1917 Quebec Catholic Marriages Are Now Available on Genealogy Quebec!

Today, we are happy to announce the addition of all 1917 Quebec Catholic marriages to Genealogy Quebec. These marriages are now available on the LAFRANCE.

LAFRANCE update figures

Catholic Marriages 1917: 15 369 records added
Catholic baptisms 1850-1861 : 17 397 records added
Catholic burials 1850-1861 : 6 576 records added

In addition, the corrections sent by our users over the past 2 months have been applied.

About the LAFRANCE

The LAFRANCE, one of 16 tools available to subscribers, is a detailed index with link to the original document of ALL Catholic marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1917, ALL Catholic baptisms and burials celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1849 as well as ALL Protestant marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1760 and 1849. Baptisms and burials of the 1850-1861 period are added gradually through our bimonthly updates.

Original document for the 1917 marriages

While the certificates for the 1917 marriages are now available on the LAFRANCE, they are not yet linked to the original parish document. These links will be added with the release of our first spring update.
Until then, the original documents can be viewed in the Drouin Collection Records. Here is an example illustrating the process of finding the original document for a 1917 marriage.

We are looking for the original document associated with the marriage certificate of Joseph Desjardins and Marie Eva Levesque.

To find the original document, we will use the Drouin Collection Records tool. Once there, we will open the Québec folder.

We must then find the folder named after the parish in which the marriage was celebrated. In our case, the parish is St-Pacôme and will be found under “St”.

By opening the 1917 folder, we obtain the list of images of St-Pacôme’s register for that year. The images are sorted in chronological order; the first images will contain the January records, while the last few images will contain the December records. Since the marriage we are looking for was celebrated on January 30th, we know that it will be found on one of the first images.

And with that, we have found the original document pertaining to Joseph Desjardins and Marie Eva Levesque’s marriage.

New articles on the Drouin Institute blog

Immigration from Old to New France, the first of a series of articles about the first French settlers.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Immigration from Old to New France

France under the Old Régime did not supply a great number of emigrants to its colonies across the Atlantic.

In fact, just 15 000 Frenchmen and Frenchwomen sailed for Canada in the seventeenth century, and two-thirds of them stayed in the colony for a short period and either returned to France or died in Canada without getting married. This was a very low number: the British Isles, with a population just over one-third of France’s, sent almost 380,000 immigrants to the New World over the same period.

In fact, France was at the time showing various symptoms of social discontent that should have justified a larger number of refugees fleeing to Canada, whose abundance of resources contrasted with the famine and unemployment among the poorest classes. Although France wasn’t really overpopulated, conditions there were favorable to emigration; these conditions, had they coincided with a real attraction of Canada, would have encouraged the departure of large contingents of settlers for the New World.

But few French people migrated, as Canada, a distant, wild, and dangerous country, had a poor reputation. On top of this, the authorities believed that the French population was not growing as quickly as it should be – and, in fact, that it was shrinking due to wars, plagues, and general misery.

In response to Intendant Talon, who had asked him to find the means to form a “grand and powerful state” in Canada, which would involve a massive wave of immigrants, Colbert said, in a sentence that was to mark the future of the country: “It would not be prudent [of the king] to depopulate his kingdom as he would have to do to populate Canada.”

And yet, even had departures been multiplied tenfold, the effects of emigration on the most populous country in Europe would have been imperceptible – and the fate of North America would probably have been quite different. Notwithstanding, reacting to the slow growth of the population, the King had women recruited between 1663 à 1673 to come to Canada. These women became known as «Les Filles du Roi» (the King’s daughters) and they can be found in virtually every family tree of French Canadians today.

In any case, the result of this small founding population was that the French-Canadian stock grew from a relatively small number of people, about 10,000 immigrants. If we consider the male immigrants, from whom family names were transmitted through the generations, the number is reduced to about 4,500 – the total number of immigrants who had at least one son who married.

These numbers were compiled from the PRDH database, which contains every single Catholic individual who lived in Quebec between 1621 and 1849. You will find more information on the PRDH in this article.

In our next article, we will explore the influence that this small number of immigrants had on the current French Canadian name diversity in Quebec.