(The first article of this series can be found here.)
My name is Claude Crégheur, and in this second article of my series on the German presence in Quebec, I will focus on Germanic migration during the New France era.
The first marriage of a German found in the registers of Notre-Dame de Québec is that of Hans Bernhardt and Marie de Bure, widow of Gilles Enart, on December 27, 1666.
The marriage is under the name Jean Bernard, a surname which will survive him. The record indicates that he was from “the parish of Ste-Croix de Thionville, diocese of Trèves in Germany”; Thionville is in Lorraine, which is now French territory.
In 1666, the Duchy of Lorraine was also French. Indeed, France had annexed it to its territory in 1648, as well as Alsace, following the Thirty Years’ War. In 1860, Berlin demanded the return of the two provinces according to the principles of nationalities defined by language. Germany got its wish through the Treaty of Frankfurt on May 10, 1871, after the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. This political entity then took the name of Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen.
Among the contemporaries of Hans Bernhardt, we have Georg Stems married to Marie Perodeau on September 16, 1669 at Notre-Dame de Québec. Georg, a stonemason, was from the city of Luzern in Switzerland.
We then have Peter Mahler married to Jeanne Gueneville on November 3, 1671, also at Notre-Dame de Québec. He is said to have originated from Escalis in Germany. As this city does not exist, it was surely a bad reading or transcription of what Henri de Bernières, the celebrant, heard.
We should also mention Léonard Créquy, who signs Lenart Kreickeldt, originally from the bishopric of Cologne in Germany. He married Catherine Trefflé dit Rotot on May 22, 1680 at Notre-Dame de Québec and was a carpenter, master cabinetmaker and sculptor.
Here we have the sailor Jean D’Eyme, or rather Johann Deigme, patriarch of the Daigle dit Lallemand families. In his marriage certificate on November 5, 1685 in Charlesbourg with Marie-Anne Proteau, he is said to be from Vienna in “Lower Germany”. Could it be Vienna in Austria? It is quite possible, but we cannot confirm it for the moment.
And finally, we have shoemaker André Spénard, who signs Andre Spennert, originally from Lorraine according to his marriage certificate recorded on April 5, 1690 at Notre-Dame de Québec with Marie Charlotte Thérèse Arnaud. Interestingly, Leonard Créquy, mentioned earlier in this article, is present at the wedding and signs Lennart Creigie (and not Lenart Kreickeldt as he did at his own wedding).
We also sometimes deal with more mysterious cases, such as that of the marriage of Denis Lagneau and Marie Anne de Kierk/Decker on September 15, 1718 at Notre-Dame de Québec. Marie Anne is said to be from Saxony in Germany. How did an unmarried German woman end up in Quebec? A mystery! After 1723, we lose track of the couple.
As we can see, these German immigrants were mostly tradesmen, as was the case for the first French settlers in New France. It would be very interesting to know how they got wind of this opportunity, especially considering the geographical distance separating them from the French west coast.
It is also important to mention that the Catholic religion did not seem to be an obstacle to the integration of German immigrants into Quebec society, as would be the case a century later.
Germanic surnames are likely to have irritated the ears of New France’s priests and notaries who, despite their level of education, mistreated them or simply Frenchified them as in the case of Vogel in Loiseau, or Schneider in Tailleur.
In my next article, I will focus on German immigration around the Seven Years’ War.
Around to 2.6 million individuals have been added to the index of the Marriages 1926-1997 collection, one of the 15 tools available to Genealogy Quebec subscribers.
These individuals are the parents of the spouses, who were not included in the index until today.
This collection includes the majority of marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1926 and 1997, which represents nearly 2.5 million records. The original document can be viewed in addition to the index.
In 1975, the government started including the spouses’ parents in these marriage forms, doing so until 1993. The parents are also mentioned in the 1926 version of the form. It is these individuals that were added to the collection’s index today.
You can consult the Marriages 1926-1997 collection with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.
Trace your ancestors and discover your family’s history using more than 50 million images and historical documents by subscribing to Genealogy Quebec today!
My name is Claude Crégheur and I have been interested in German history for several years. This interest was born from the discovery of my German origins following genealogical research carried out from the end of the 1960s.
I will not hide from you that it was still quite taboo, at that time, to talk about my German roots; the end of the Second World War was not so far away and Germany had very bad press. However, my curiosity got the better of me!
This is the introduction to a series of articles in which I will attempt to draw as complete a portrait as possible of the history of German immigration to Quebec territory, from New France to today.
In general, the discovery of German ancestors in one’s family tree brings its share of surprises and frustrations. The greatest difficulty lies in the spellings of surnames which have evolved over time, some having simply been translated into French.
Before going any further, I want to focus on the definition of the word German. A German is defined as a person living in the country called Germany. This country, as we know it and to which we refer today, has changed a lot over the past centuries. Its borders have shifted with wars and political treaties. As a Nation-State, Germany only exists since its proclamation on January 18, 1871. Before this date, there existed a Germanic world made up of several small States, Principalities, Duchies and even Free Cities.
Its history is complex and must consider the geographical and political limits as well as the ethnogenesis of the German people.
For example, it is common to find in the parish registers of Quebec the words “German by nation”, even if the person came from Alsace or Lorraine, territories that have changed hands between Germany and France on numerous occasions. The majority of “German” ancestors who settled in Quebec came during the 17th and 18th centuries, before Germany as we know it today. The more we go back in time, the more we get lost in the ethnic subtleties which are ultimately only labels. The great invasions into Europe in the first millennium created a mixture of Scandinavian, Saxon and Frankish origins across the continent.
New France was populated and developed by sustained French immigration until the Conquest of 1759. Following the conquest, other waves of immigration from Europe to Canada took place, this time including Europeans of various origins. If we want to talk about Germanic immigration, we must take into account these waves of immigration.
It must first be understood that there are two types of immigration here: the first type, and probably the most important for Quebec, was military immigration. The various conflicts that opposed Germany and England and then England and its American colonies contributed to the greatest wave of immigration to Quebec. In most cases, these soldiers integrated so well into their new culture, including religion, that many Quebecers are unaware that they are of German descent.
The second type of immigration is more random and developed through wars, famines and political tensions that affected European countries between the 17th and 20th centuries. It is categorized by the fact that the emigrant left his native land of his own accord. These emigrants arrived mainly in the second half of the 19th century and formed more closed communities, sometimes even isolated, with their own churches and schools, and often retaining their Lutheran language and religion.
The first half of the 20th century, characterized by the two great wars, also contributed to Quebec society with the arrival of a new group of immigrants.
In the next article in this series, I will take a more in depth look at German immigration from the New France period until the Seven Years’ War.
Quebec death records and burials have been kept by the church and later by the government for now over 400 years. Thanks to the efforts of many organizations, it is now possible to consult the majority of these documents online. In this article, you will find a list of the best sources of Quebec death records available on the internet.
For an article about obituaries published in newspapers and online, head over to this page.
The LAFRANCE on Genealogy Quebec (Quebec death records from 1621 to today)
The LAFRANCE is a tool equipped with a search engine containing Ontario, Acadia and Quebec birth, marriage and death records. In addition to millions of marriages and baptisms, the tool contains EVERY Catholic burial recorded by the Church in Quebec from the beginnings of the colony to 1861, as well as tens of thousands of death records dating from 1862 to today.
Marriages and deaths 1926-1997 on Genealogy Quebec
The Marriages and Deaths 1926-1997 collection contains most of the marriages and deaths recorded by the Government of Quebec during this period. The tool is equipped with a search engine allowing you to search by the name of the deceased person as well as their spouse or parents.
Connolly File and NBMDS tool on Genealogy Quebec (Quebec death records from 1621 to today)
The Connolly File and the NBMDS tool are databases equipped with search engines containing Quebec death, marriage and birth records. More specifically, they contain over 1,400,000 Quebec death records dating from the beginnings of the colony to the present day.
The civil registration of Quebec collection is made up of parish registers produced in Quebec between 1621 and the 1940s. Although these registers are digitized, the records they contain are not individually indexed; you will have to browse the register manually to find the death you are looking for.
A second copy of Quebec’s parish registers was kept in the churches themselves and differs slightly from the other copy. It is also available online and is partially indexed. This copy covers up to 1979 for Catholic parishes, and 1967 for Protestant parishes.
The PRDH-IGD contains all the Catholic vital events recorded in Quebec from the founding of the colony until 1849. In addition to these records, the PRDH-IGD contains files used to reconstruct the lives of individuals and families who lived in Quebec during this period. These files are interconnected and form a massive genealogical tree of the entirety of the French-Canadian population of Quebec up to the middle of the 19th century. With this tree, entire genealogical lines can be traced in minutes.
NosOrigines is a free resource containing files pertaining to Quebec and Acadian individuals and families. The source of these files is often the parish records (baptisms, marriages and burials) themselves, and a link to the original document from which the file is sourced is sometimes included.
BMS2000 is a genealogical search site offering more than 16 million Quebec death, birth and marriage records. Navigation within the records is done using a search engine, and a link to the original document to which a record refers is often included.
Thanks to the efforts of the religious authorities and eventually the government, Quebec birth records have been documented for more than 400 years. Nowadays, most of these records can be consulted online easily. In this article, you will find a list of the best sources of Quebec birth records and baptisms available on the internet.
The LAFRANCE on Genealogy Quebec (Quebec birth records from 1621 to today)
The LAFRANCE is a database equipped with a search engine containing Ontario, Acadia and Quebec birth, marriage and death records. In addition to millions of marriage and burial records, the LAFRANCE contains ALL Catholic baptisms recorded in the province from the beginnings of the colony to 1861, as well as tens of thousands of baptisms dating from 1862 to the present day.
Connolly File and NBMDS tool on Genealogy Quebec (Quebec birth records from 1621 to today)
The Connolly File and the NBMDS tool are databases equipped with a search engine containing Quebec birth, marriage and death records. Notably, it contains nearly 3 million Quebec birth records dating from the beginnings of the colony to the present day.
Quebec Civil Registration (Quebec birth records from 1621 to the 1940s)
The civil registration of Quebec available to the public consists of parish registers recorded between 1621 and the 1940s. This is a digitized version of the registers, but it should be noted that the various events are not individually indexed; you will have to browse the registers manually to find a specific event.
Quebec Parish Registres (Quebec birth records from 1621 to 1979)
A second copy of Quebec’s civil registration exists, which was kept within the churches. This copy is available online with a partial index and stops in 1979 for Catholic records, and 1967 for Protestant records.
The PRDH-IGD contains all of Quebec’s Catholic baptism, marriage and burial records from 1621 to 1849. These records are presented on the site in the form of a certificate, but are also used to reconstruct the life of an individual or a family via detailed files. This process is called “family reconstruction” and results in an extremely detailed and accurate family tree of the entire French-Canadian population of Quebec up to 1849. This tree can be used to trace an entire lineage in the span of minutes.
NosOrigines is a free site containing files pertaining to individuals and families of Quebec and Acadia. These files are based on vital events which mainly come from the parish registers. A link to the original document from which the information was sourced is sometimes included.
The Fichier Origine is made up of individual files compiled from parish and notarial records. These files pertain to the first immigrants of families who settled on Quebec soil, from the origins of the colony until 1865. These individual files list, among other things, the place and date of birth of these pioneers.
In genealogy, the marriage record is the key to tracing one’s ancestors. We are fortunate in Quebec to have access to the majority of marriages recorded in the province from the beginnings of the colony until today, thanks to the archives kept by the church and the government. In this article, you will find a list of the best free and paid sources of Quebec marriages available on the internet.
The LAFRANCE on Genealogy Quebec (Quebec Marriages 1621 to today)
The LAFRANCE is a database equipped with a search engine containing birth, death and marriage records from Quebec as well as from Ontario and Acadia. In addition to millions of baptisms and burials, it contains the following records:
ALL of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1621 to 1918
ALL of Quebec’s Protestant marriages from 1760 to 1849
1,450,000 Quebec Catholic marriages from 1919 to today
80,000 Quebec civil marriages from 1969 to today
140,000 Ontario marriages from 1850 to today
38,000 marriages from the United States
3,000 Quebec Protestant marriages from 1850 to 1941
17,000 miscellaneous Quebec marriages from 2018 and 2019
The civil registration of Quebec is a collection comprising almost all the parish registers recorded in Quebec between 1621 and the 1940s. This collection includes a digitized version of every register, but the individual records they contain are not indexed; you will have to go through the register manually, year by year, to find the record you are looking for.
A second copy of Quebec’s civil registration exists. This one was kept within the churches themselves. This collection is available with a partial index up to 1979 for Catholic parishes, and 1967 for Protestant parishes.
The PRDH-IGD is a directory of ALL vital events recorded by the Catholic church in Quebec from 1621 to 1849, which represents over 2.5 million records.
Every individual mentioned in one of these records gets their own “individual file” in which the information available on the individual is centralized. Links to all records where the individual is mentioned are also included in the file.
In addition, every married couple from the database is assigned a “family file” which fulfills a similar role as the individual file, but in relation to an entire family. It lists all the couple’s children with redirections to their individual files and their vital records. The family file also contains additional information pertaining to the married couple.
To put it more simply, the PRDH-IGD database is a exhaustive family tree of the entire French Canadian population from the early days of the colony to 1849.
NosOrigines is a free website with hundreds of thousands of files pertaining to Quebec families. These files usually refer to vital events from Quebec’s parish registers. A link to the original document available on Family Search is sometimes included.
BMS2000 is a research website containing over 16 million Quebec marriages, baptisms and burials. A search engine allows for easy browsing of the database. A link to the original document available on Family Search is sometimes included.
The Fichier Origine contains individual files based on civil and notarial records relating to the first immigrants of families who settled on Quebec soil from the beginnings of the colony until 1865. These individual files contain information about the marriage of these pioneers, whether it took place in Quebec or in the country of origin.