Establishing your ancestry and finding your ancestors using Genealogy Quebec

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This guide will provide you with detailed instructions which will help you establish your ancestry and find your ancestors using the tools available on Genealogy Quebec. Examples of the challenges you may encounter while establishing your ancestry are used throughout the guide.

Defining ancestry

Your ancestry denotes all of your ancestors as far back as they are traceable, starting with your parents. With each generation, the amount of ancestors you have doubles: 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, etc.
An ancestry can be total, or can be limited to a subset of ancestors:

  • Paternal ancestry (all the ancestors on the paternal side of your ancestry) or maternal ancestry (all the ancestors on the maternal side of your ancestry)
  • Patrilineal (father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc.) or matrilineal (mother, grandmother, great grandmother, etc.) An ancestry can be unlimited, going as far back as the genealogical sources allow, or limited to a certain amount of generations. The key to establishing an ancestry is the marriage record. Most marriage records will contain the name of the spouses’ parents or the name of the previous spouse, which are necessary in order to trace back an ancestry.


Genealogy Quebec offers a multitude of complementary genealogical tools which you will need to find your ancestors.

  • The LAFRANCE, which contains, among other things, all the Catholic marriages from Quebec between 1621 and 1919. Thanks to a refined search engine, you will be able to search without worrying about the different variations of a specific name. A link to the original document is included with every record. It is through the LAFRANCE that you will establish the majority of your ancestry. You can browse the LAFRANCE here (subscription required).


  • The Men and Women series and the Kardex are marriage directories covering a period that goes up to 1940. These directories will be the bridge between your starting point and the first LAFRANCE marriage (in other words, the first pre-1920 marriage) of your ancestry. You can browse the Men and Women series here, and the Kardex at this address.(subscription required).


The initial objective

Finding your ancestors using the LAFRANCE is easy once you find a marriage that predates 1920. The real challenge is to find that marriage.

When establishing your ancestry on Genealogy Quebec, your initial objective is to find a marriage that predates 1920. You will be able to do so by using our Marriage 1926-1997Men series, Women series and Kardex tools.

The process

The ancestry of Bertrand Desjardins, born on the 24th of November 1948 in Montreal, will serve as our example throughout this guide.

First step – Gathering information

To find your ancestors using Genealogy Quebec, you must begin by establishing all the information you have on your family. It is always a good idea to ask parents, grandparents and other family members for clues and information regarding the family. The more information you start with, the easier your research will be. Make sure to have all this information readily available when starting your research.


Here is the information established by Bertrand before the start of his research.


Bertrand Desjardins, born on the 24th of November 1948 in Montreal


François-Joseph Desjardins born in 1908, died on the 1st of September 1963 and Suzanne Bertrand, born in 1919, died on December 31st 2014, married in 1943 in Montreal.


François-Joseph Desjardins’ parents: François Desjardins, died in July 1955 and Anna Jacques, died on September 1st 1975.

Suzanne Bertrand’ parents: Émile Bertrand, died on the 4th of November 1961 and Irène Michaud, died in june 1942.

Additional information:

François-Joseph is the eldest child of his family; Suzanne is the second child. François Desjardins’ father is Charles Desjardins.

Second step – Using the information to find your ancestors

It is now time to use the information we’ve gathered in the first step. First of all, we must verify whether this information allows us to track down a marriage that predates the year 1920. If that is the case, a simple search for the wife and husband’s names in the LAFRANCE should allow us to find the marriage record.

If that is not the case, we will have to turn to the complementary tools. Using your notes, try to find the earliest marriage you can get your hands on. This marriage will be your starting point.

If this marriage took place between 1920 and 1940, use the Men and Women series and the Kardex for your research.

(Unable to find the marriage you are looking for? Contact us at contact @, we will point you in the right direction!)


Let’s go back to Bertrand Desjardins’ attempt at discovering his ancestors using the Genealogy Quebec website.

Paternal ancestry

It is now time for Bertrand to put the information gathered during the previous step of his research to use. The first thing Bertrand notices is that his father, François-Joseph Desjardins, was born in 1908. This signifies that François-Joseph’s parents, François Desjardins and Anna Jacques, were married in 1908 at the latest; children born out of wedlock were a rarity at the time. A simple search for their names in the LAFRANCE should lead to their marriage.

Search for the marriage of a Desjardins with a Jacques in the LAFRANCE.
Results from the previous search. The result we’re interested in is the last in the list.

Within minutes, Bertrand was able to find the first LAFRANCE mariage of his paternal ancestry.

François-Eugène Desjardins and Anna Jacques’ marriage sourced from the LAFRANCE

The marriage record indicates that François Desjardins’ parents are Charles Eugène Desjardins and Marie Malvina Fortin. A search in the LAFRANCE should allow us to find their marriage.

Search for Charles Desjardins and Marie Malvina Fortin’s marriage in the LAFRANCE
Search results from the previous search. The first result is the one we are interested in.
Charles Desjardins and Marie Malvina Fortin’s marriage sourced from the LAFRANCE

The marriage record tells us that Charles Eugène Desjardins’ parents are Alexandre Roy Desjardins and Léocadie Gagnon.

From this point on, it is simply about repeating the process of searching for the parents’ marriage until we reach the first immigrant of the lineage. In Bertrand’s case, the first immigrant is Alexandre Roy dit Desjardins, who married Marie Major on the 11th of September 1668 in Québec city.

Antoine Roy dit Desjardins and Marie Major’s marriage sourced from the LAFRANCE

Bertrand Desjardins’ paternal ancestry is completed within minutes thanks to the LAFRANCE. All that is left now is the presentation of this work.

There are several templates available on the internet to organize and present your ancestry.

Bertrand Desjardins’ paternal ancestry completed using

Maternal ancestry

His paternal ancestry completed, Bertrand decides to tackle the maternal side of his family. This time, there is no way to know if Bertrand’s grandparents’ marriage was celebrated before 1920. A LAFRANCE search for Émile Bertrand and Irène Michaud yields no results. Bertrand must now turn to the Drouin Great Collections; the Men and Women series and the Kardex.

To use the Men and Women series, head over to the Drouin Institute’s Great Collections category and click on “Search by family in the Great collections”.

The search is done by family name.

Search for the Bertrand family name in the Drouin Institute Great Collections

The results are separated by tools and are ordered in alphabetical order of the subject’s first name. As a result, an Albert would be found on the first few pages in the results. A Zenophile would be on the last page.

Results from the previous search

Note that it is possible for an individual to be sorted by his secondary first name. Émile could be sorted under Joseph Émile, since there is no distinction between the primary and the secondary first name. Similarly, a woman could be sorted under Marie despite usually being known under a different name.

The format used in the Men and Women series isn’t the most intuitive. This image should help you understand the layout:

Schema explaining the layout of the Men and Women series

Searches for the surnames Bertrand in the Men Series and Michaud in the Women Series produced no relevant results. The Kardex is next.

The Kardex must be navigated manually, as it doesn’t come with a built in search engine.

The files are sorted by letter and by the name of the husband.

Navigating the Kardex down to the folder susceptible to contain Emile Bertrand’s marriage file

Since we are looking for Émile Bertrand’s marriage, we have opened the BertrandEdouard – BertrandHypolite folder. The first file will contain the marriage of an Edouard Bertrand. Seeing as the files are ordered in alphabetical order of the husband’s first name, Émile Bertrand’s file should be among the first ones.

Unfortunately, the file isn’t in this folder.

As mentioned earlier, it is possible that Émile could be identified as Joseph Émile in his marriage file. To verify this possibility, we must look into the BertrandJoseph folder.

Note that the files are first sorted by the man’s first forename, and then by the woman’s surname. The marriage file of a Joseph Émile and a Michaud will be found at Michaud and not at Émile.

The file was in fact in the BertrandJoseph folder, sorted by Michaud.

Kardex file
  1. Bertrand, Joseph Alfred Émile – Husband
  2. (Bertrand), Antoine Wilfrid – Husband’s father
  3. St-Aubin, Rose Anna – Husband’s mother
  4. Michaud, Marie Lise Irène – Wife
  5. (Michaud), Joseph Adolphe – Wife’s father
  6. Bernard, Marie Lise Elisa – Wife’s mother
  7. St Louis de France de Montréal – Parish
  8. 12 juin 1915 – 12th of june 1915, marriage date

(Please note that this guide was made when the period covered by the LAFRANCE ended in 1914. Today, we would’ve been able to find the Bertrand / Michaud marriage with a simple search in the LAFRANCE, as the period it covers extends to 1920, and the marriage was celebrated in 1915.)

We now know that Émile’s parents are named Antoine Wilfrid Bertrand and Rose Anne St-Aubin. We should be able to find their marriage in the LAFRANCE.

Search for the marriage of Antoine Wilfrid Bertrand and Rose Anna St-Aubin in the LAFRANCE
Search results
Antoine Wilfrid Bertrand and Rose Anna St-Aubin’s marriage sourced from the LAFRANCE

The next step is to find Antoine Wilfrid Bertrand’s parents’ marriage in the LAFRANCE, and to follow the paternal lineage all the way up to the first immigrant.

This first immigrant is Jean Bertrand, who married Marie Charlotte Brar on the 23rd of September 1697 in Montreal.

Jean Bertrand and Marie Charlotte Brar’s marriage sourced from the LAFRANCE

Bertrand’s maternal ancestry is completed.

Bertrand Desjardins’ maternal ancestry

Complicated cases

In the world of genealogical research, it is often necessary to call upon one’s inner detective. Sometimes, the usual procedure doesn’t lead to the desired results. In those cases, a certain amount of creativity and initiative is necessary to pull through.

For a good example of that, let’s go back to Bertrand Desjardins’ paternal ancestry. Bertrand had no difficulty finding his grand-father’s marriage in the LAFRANCE thanks to the information established at the start of his research.

Let’s now imagine a scenario where Bertrand’s initial gathering of information did not allow him to find his grand-parents’ names. Essentially, Bertrand’s starting point is now his own parents and the only information available to him is his parents’ marriage date, their dates of birth and the date of death of his father.

François-Joseph Desjardins born in 1908, died on the 1st of September 1963 and Suzanne Bertrand, born in 1919, died on December 31st 2014, married in 1943 in Montreal.

Since marriages don’t go past 1919 in the LAFRANCE and 1940 in the Great Collections, Bertrand has to turn to the Marriages and Deaths 1926-1997 tool.

A search for a Desjardins and Bertrand couple in the Marriage 1926-1997 section allows us to find their marriage:

François Joseph Desjardins and Suzanne Bertrand’s marriage sourced from the Marriages 1926-1997 tool

While this document provides us with tons of interesting information, it doesn’t help us find Bertrand’s grand-parents’ marriage, as they aren’t mentioned in the record.

This is when some initiative and creativity is required to push the research further.

We know François Joseph Desjardins died on the 1st of September 1963.

Still in the Marriage and Deaths 1926-1997 tool, but this time in the Death 1926-1997 section, let’s attempt to find François Joseph’s death record.

François Joseph Desjardins’ death certificate sourced from the Death 1926-1997 tool

We are able to find his death record. Luckily, the file indicates that the mother’s name is JACQUES, A. and that the father’s name is DESJARDINS, F. A search for a Desjardins/Jacques couple in the LAFRANCE will allow us to find their marriage, and to trace back Bertrand’s paternal ancestry.


The instructions and examples given in this guide will cover most of the situations you will encounter when establishing your ancestry on Genealogy Quebec.

Do not hesitate to contact us at contact @ if you have any questions regarding this guide or the process of retracing your ancestors.