Six historical newspapers added to Genealogy Quebec

Six newspapers from the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu region have been added to the historical newspapers section available on Genealogy Quebec!

  • Écho d’Iberville (1880 to 1882 and 1919-1920)
  • La Voix du Peuple (1880)
  • L’Alliance (1893-1894)
  • L’Essor (1968 to 1970)
  • Le Protectionniste (1882-1883)
  • Le Courrier de St-Jean (1887 and 1896 to 1909)

You will find these 2891 new images in the Drouin Institute’s Miscallenaeous Collections, under the “23 – Journaux Anciens” folder. These six publications join the many newspapers already available in the section:

  • Commercial Gazette (Montréal)
  • Daily Witness (Montréal)
  • La Chronique de la Vallée du St-Maurice
  • La Minerve
  • La Semaine (Québec)
  • La Tribune Canadienne (Montréal)
  • La Vie Illustrée (Montréal)
  • L’Action Canadienne
  • L’Avant-Garde
  • L’Avenir de Quebec
  • Le Canada-Français
  • Le Carillon (Québec)
  • Le Castor (Québec)
  • Le Charivari (Québec)
  • Le National (Montréal)
  • Le Progrès du Golfe
  • Le Semeur Canadien (Montréal)
  • Le Trésor des Familles (Québec)
  • L’Obligation (Montréal)
  • L’Opinion Publique (Montréal)
  • L’Union de Woonsocket
  • L’Union des Cantons de l’Est (Arthabaskaville)
  • Midi-Presse (Montreal)
  • Paris-Canada (Montréal)
  • The Advertiser
  • The Canadian Jewish Review
  • The Dominion Illustrated News (Montréal)
  • The Inquirer (Trois-Rivières)
  • The Quebec Gazette

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Witnessing history through parish registers: The French and Indian War, Part 2

The Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) marks a turning point for New France, which changes hands. The first part of this blog article narrated, via the parish registers of the Catholic Church, the events that led to the assault of Quebec City.

We pick up the story in September 1759, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. After a successful landing at the Anse-au-Foulon (Wolfe’s Cove), west of Quebec City, the British troops reach the heights of Quebec City.

This 1797 engraving is based on a sketch made by Hervey Smyth, General Wolfe’s aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec. A view of the taking of Quebec, 13th September 1759.

The battle results in a British victory and the death of the enemy generals Montcalm and Wolfe.
The burial of Montcalm is recorded in the register of Notre-Dame-de-Québec in Quebec City, with the honours due to his rank:

was buried in the Church of the Ursulines of Quebec City high and mighty Lord Louis-Joseph Marquess of Montcalm General Lieutenant of the armies of the King, Commander of the Royal and military order of St. Louis, Chief Commandant of the land troops in North America, who passed away the same day from the wounds suffered at the battle the preceding day, comforted with the sacraments which he received with a lot of piety and Religion

Source: Record 253561, LAFRANCE,

In these registers, the titles of nobility are side by side with the most anonymous descriptions: for example, we can find this burial of an unknown soldier.

“a French soldier of whom I could not know the name nor the regiment, all that someone could tell me is that before his illness he wore the wig, and being wounded at the battle on the thirteenth of this month, we was taken on an English ship where he died in the harbour.”

Source: Record 253571, LAFRANCE,

We often tend to forget that it is not on the Plains of Abraham that is played the ultimate round of this conflict between the British and the French. While Quebec City is occupied, the French officers ask the king for reinforcements with the intent of retaking Quebec City in the spring. On April 28th, 1760, the Battle of Sainte-Foy is won by the French against a British Army diminished by the harsh winter, resulting in high casualties on both sides.

Source: Record 256530, LAFRANCE,

List of deaths recorded in the General Hospital of Quebec after the battle of Sainte-Foy. Source: LAFRANCE search,

However, the French reinforcements never arrive and the first ship to reach Quebec City after the ice melts is British. The French are forced to retreat to Montreal, where the capitulation is signed on September 8th, 1760. The Treaty of Paris of 1763, which terminates the Seven Years’ War, officializes the change of hands of New France.

However, the traces of the French and Indian War in the records are not all as morbid. The cohabitation of the military men of the British Army and the local population also results in new baptisms and marriages. The following record, dated November 21st, 1760, is the baptism of Guillaume, an “English boy whose father and mother are unknown”, a standard formula for illegitimate children.

Source: Record 248004, LAFRANCE,

In another record, dated June 12th, 1761, another child is baptized with “unknown parents”.

Source: Record 248097, LAFRANCE,

However, we learn at her parents’ marriage in 1765 that little Élisabeth was born from a Swiss father serving in the British troops and a French-Canadian mother.

Source: Record 250388, LAFRANCE,

Thus, parish registers reveal the first signs of the transformations and upheavals that shake the French-Canadian population at the dawn of a new era. War certainly took the life of numerous young people, but it also brought new dwellers along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Can you also discern in your own family history the consequences of the Conquest of New France?

Marielle Côté-Gendreau

LAFRANCE update: 20,044 new records from Ontario and Acadia

The indexing of Ontario and Acadia’s parish registers continues on Genealogy Quebec!
Some 20,044 baptism, marriage and burial records were added to the LAFRANCE in early February.

Marriage record as presented on’s LAFRANCE

Here is an overview of the additions made for each parish in this update:

Parish name Type of record Date range Number of records
Baie-Ste-Marie b 1780 1799 178
Baie-Ste-Marie m 1781 1799 20
Baie-Ste-Marie d 1799 1799 2
Beaubassin b 1717 1748 747
Beaubassin m 1712 1748 208
Beaubassin d 1719 1749 28
Belle-Rivière m 1858 1861 60
Belle-Rivière d 1860 1861 32
Ecouipahaq b 1767 1768 155
Ecouipahaq m 1767 1768 28
Ecouipahaq d 1767 1768 13
Ile-Royale b 1714 1757 277
Ile-Royale m 1717 1756 69
Ile-Royale d 1726 1756 167
Louisbourg b 1722 1759 2236
Louisbourg m 1722 1759 572
Louisbourg d 1722 1758 1222
Port-Royal b 1702 1755 2509
Port-Royal m 1702 1755 540
Port-Royal d 1702 1754 421
St-Basile b 1792 1862 6167
St-Basile m 1792 1861 876
St-Basile d 1792 1862 1640
St-Charles-les-Mines b 1707 1748 1407
St-Charles-les-Mines m 1709 1748 304
St-Charles-les-Mines d 1709 1748 166

These records can now be browsed in the LAFRANCE, which also contains ALL of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1621 to 1918, ALL of Quebec’s Catholic baptisms and burials from 1621 to 1861 as well as ALL of Quebec’s Protestant marriages from 1760 to 1849.
You will find more information about the LAFRANCE on the Drouin Institute’s blog.



Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Witnessing history through parish registers: The French and Indian War, Part 1

The destiny of the French colonies in North America was forged by their conflicts with the British Empire and the American colonies. These conflicts left their mark in the parish registers, which remain a constant throughout centuries of change. This article is the first of a series aiming to illustrate the historiographical power of parish registers using‘s LAFRANCE tool as well as the database.

The French and Indian War is known as the American theater of a worldwide conflict, the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), during which the French colony of Canada is ultimately conquered by the British Empire. Despite the upheavals, priests keep recording, in the parish registers, the milestones of the lives of their parishioners. These records, which are instrumental to French-Canadian genealogy, also are a historical treasure trove as they reveal the impact of the war on the population of the St. Lawrence Valley.

Source: Wikicommons,

As soon as 1755, French military regiments are sent in America to support New France as the British threat intensifies. The presence of these military men does not go unnoticed: throughout the French and Indian War, many burials and marriages related to these events are recorded in parish registers. Some choose to settle permanently in Quebec and constitute the last group of immigrants under the French regime. The following record, on February 11th, 1759 in Charlesbourg, celebrates the marriage of “jean Schoumarcker dit prêtaboire [literal translation of the name: readytodrink !] soldier of the company of the Brenne in the regiment of Berry […] and of marie joseph richard”.

Source: Record 261291, LAFRANCE,

These soldiers are generally clearly identified in records, by their name and regiment. With a few exceptions: in February 1756, a few months after his arrival, a “young soldier of the Regiment of Languedoc” drowns in the Richelieu River. The priest omits to indicate his name but insists that his captain, the Sieur Guyon, could attest to his catholicity!

Source: Record 324752, LAFRANCE,

The First Nations also play a prominent role in this war, hence the name French and Indian War. The next record, from the summer of 1758, highlights their contribution: we learn about the death of Jean-Baptiste, a “sauvage micquemaque” in Fort Saint-Jean, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, after his return from a “fight against the English” at Fort Carillon, south of Champlain Lake in what is today the State of New York.

Source: Record 325976, LAFRANCE,

The British become a major threat in New France when they sail up the St. Lawrence River with the objective of taking Quebec City. On July 31st, after two weeks of bombardments, the Battle of Montmorency (or Beauport) takes place. The French are victorious in this first fight for Quebec City.

The month of August is marked by a campaign of terror from the British, who ransack villages along the coast in hope of forcing the French Army to leave the protection of the Quebec City walls. Baie-Saint-Paul is deeply affected: the priest records the death of Charles Desmeules, “killed and the hair pulled up […] at the point of aulne by the english where they landed and burned the bottom of the st paul bay”, but also those of “several children dead when we had taken refuge in the woods” while “the English were at coudres Island and quebec city”.

Source: Record 201896, LAFRANCE,

Saint-Joachim loses its priest, “massacred by the english on the 23rd of this month leading his parish to defend it against the incursions and hostilities of the enemy”.

Source: Record 235388, LAFRANCE,

On both shores of the St. Lawrence River, parish registers show the urgency of the situation: buried in a hurry and “without ceremony because of the english”, numerous bodies are exhumed and inhumed again after the end of the war.

Source: Record 205287, LAFRANCE,

The conflict culminates in September 1759 at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City, as the British Army, the French Army, the Native warriors and the Canadian militia, composed of locals, fight for the city. This battle and subsequent events will be discussed in the second part of this article.


Marielle Côté-Gendreau

Connolly File update: 144 127 new baptism, marriage and burial records now available on Genealogy Quebec!

A significant update was applied to the Connolly File, one of 15 tools available to subscribers.

63 356 baptisms, 51 900 marriages and 32 418 burials were added through this update.

What is the Connolly File?

The Connolly File is an index of Catholic and Protestant baptisms, marriages and burials from Quebec and parts of the United States and Canada covering a period spanning from 1621 to 2019. It is developed and maintained by the Société de généalogie des Cantons-de-l’Est.
The tool contains over 6 700 000 baptism, marriage and burial files.

You may browse the Connolly File with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.

You will find more information about this collection as well as research tips and best practices in this article on the Drouin Institute blog.

Update details

Here is a list of the parishes in Quebec affected by this update, including the types and number of records added as well as the period they cover.

St-Augustin de Woburn
Bap. 1898-1940: 1147 files
Mar. 1899-1940: 189 files
Bur. 1898-1940: 319 files

St-Sauveur de Québec 
Bap. 1867-1941: 44258 files
Mar. 1867-1941: 8336 files
Bur. 1867-1913: 24671 files

St-Philémon de Stoke
Bap. 1875-1940: 2740 files
Mar. 1875-1940: 488 files
Bur. 1875-1940: 1166 files

St-Romain co Frontenac
Bap. 1865-1940: 3025 files
Mar. 1865-1940: 496 files
Bur. 1865-1940: 1150 files

Ste-Julie (Verchères) 
Bap. 1851-1998: 9224 files
Mar. 1851-1986: 1471 files
Bur. 1851-1994: 3423 files

Quebec register of civil status marriages and filiations
Mar. 2019: 4240 Civil Status files
Fil. 2019: 74 Civil Status files

St-Herménégilde, co Stanstead
Bap. 1856-2003: 4203 files
Mar. 1861-2003: 915 files
Bur. 1865-2003: 1569 files

In addition, some 34 862 records from 18 American parishes were added to the Connolly File through this update.

Subscribe to Genealogy Quebec and start using the Connolly File right now!

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Over 500 000 new images and files – A look back at 2019

2019 is drawing to a close, and it’s time to review what was a busy year for the Drouin genealogical Institute. Hundreds of thousands of new documents, many blog posts, not to mention a complete redesign of and! Here is a detailed retrospective of the year.

Please note that you can consult the details of these numerous updates in this section of the Drouin Institute blog.


2019 began in force, as we completed the addition of ALL of Quebec’s Catholic baptisms and burials the 1850-1861 period to the LAFRANCE.
This project, which began in 2015, represented the addition of some 652 502 baptism and burial records from 422 different parishes.

At that point, the LAFRANCE contained:

  • ALL of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1621 to 1917
  • ALL of Quebec’s Protestant marriages from 1760 to 1849
  • ALL of Quebec’s Catholic baptisms from 1621 to 1861
  • ALL of Quebec’s Catholic burials from 1621 to 1861
  • 68 401 Quebec Catholic baptisms and burials from between 1862 and 2019

For a total of 3 755 659 parish records from Quebec.

Subsequently, all of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1918 were added, over 11 000 records.

Marriage record as presented in GenealogyQuebec’s LAFRANCE tool

But that’s not all!
Some 33 138 records from Catholic parishes in Ontario and Acadia as well as Protestant parishes in Quebec were added to the LAFRANCE in 2019, and this is only just the beginning!

More information on the LAFRANCE

Browse the LAFRANCE (subscription required)

The 1741 Montreal census was added to the records and family files available on PRDH-IGD in 2019.

More information on PRDH-IGD

Subscribe to PRDH-IGD

The Obituary section

Some 30 000 memorial cards as well as 15 000 newspaper obituaries were added to the Obituary section in 2019.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of new obituaries are currently being scanned and are set to appear on Genealogy Quebec in 2020. These will join the 3.7 million obituaries, tombstones and memorial cards already available in the Obituary section.

More information on the Obituary section

Browse the Obituary section (subscription required)

The NBMDS tool

Close to 180 000 baptism, marriage and burial files were added to the NBMDS tool in 2019. These records come from the Mauricie region as well as New England and Ontario. The tool now contains more than 1.3 million files.

More information on the NBMDS tool

Use the NBMDS tool (subscription required)

Drouin Collection Records

Here are the new and redigitized images that were added to the Drouin Collection Records in the past year:

  • 14 460 parish register images from the State of New York, under the Registres divers folder
  • 1000 images from the Consulat général de France à Montréal et Québec, under the Registres divers folder
  • New York State registers from the 1890 American census, under the Registres divers folder
  • St-André parish (1945-1993), under the Registres paroissiaux du nord-ouest du Nouveau-Brunswick folder
  • 30 424 redigitized images in the Drouin Collection Records

The Drouin Collection Records contain some 5,186,434 images of various registers from Quebec, Ontario, Acadia, New Brunswick and the Northeast of the United States.

More information on the Drouin Collection Records

Browse the Drouin Collection Records (subscription required)

BMD Cards

The BMD Cards tool contains close to 2.3 million baptism, marriage and burial files. In 2019, we added around 105,000 cards from Quebec and Ontario to the collection.

More information on the BMD Cards

Browse the BMD Cards (subscription required)

Connolly File

46,444 baptism, marriage and burial files were added to the Connolly File in 2019, bringing the total number of records in the collection to over 6.5 million.

More information on the Connolly File

Browse the Connolly File (subscription required)

Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections

Some 45 000 images were added to the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections in 2019:

  • 17 434 images from historical newspapers under the 23 – Journaux anciens folder
  • 3 909 images of historical judicial documents under the 27 – Trois-Rivières (Juridiction) folder
  • 2 673 images of notarized documents from the Cornwall region in Ontario, under the 26 – Contrats notariés de l’Ontario folder
  • 2 000 images from notary Joseph Dionne’s archives, under the 18 – Autres documents folder
  • 18 190 images of historical and genealogical significance under the 14 – Fonds d’archives folder
The Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections contain a mix of images, documents, books, pictures and directories of historical and genealogical significance.

More information on the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections

Browse the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections (subscription required)

Browse these collections – and many more – by subscribing to Genealogy Quebec today!

Blog de l’Institut Drouin

Une nouvelle collaboratrice s’est jointe à l’équipe Drouin cette année! Marielle Côté-Gendreau, étudiante et passionnée d’histoire et de généalogie, compose des articles de blog vulgarisant des concepts linguistiques, généalogiques ou historiques et participe aux activités de rédaction de l’équipe.
Vous pouvez consulter ses excellent articles sur le blog de l’Institut Drouin :

Une nouvelle version du guide d’utilisation de Généalogie Québec a aussi été publiée cette année :

Et voici les autres articles publiés sur le blog de l’Institut Drouin en 2019 :

Pour conclure, l’équipe Drouin aimerait profiter de cette infolettre rétrospective pour vous souhaiter santé, bonheur et trouvailles généalogiques pour l’année 2020!

L’équipe Drouin

LAFRANCE update: 28 442 new records from Ontario, Acadia and Quebec

28 442 baptism, marriage and burial records have been added to the LAFRANCE, one of 15 tools available to subscribers.

Now that the indexing of Quebec’s pre-1862 Catholic parish registers has been completed, the focus of our indexing efforts turns to the parish registers of Ontario and Acadia available in the Drouin Collection Records, as well as Quebec’s Protestant baptisms from 1760 to 1861.

Marriage record as presented on‘s LAFRANCE.

Here is the list of parishes affected by this update and the number of records added for each.

Parish name Type of record Date range Number of records
Alexandria m 1836 1861 388
Baie-Ste-Marie b 1780 1801 270
Baie-Ste-Marie d 1799 1815 13
Beaubassin b 1717 1748 747
Beaubassin d 1719 1749 28
Ecouipahaq b 1767 1768 155
Ecouipahaq d 1767 1768 13
Embrun m 1858 1861 16
Lafontaine b 1856 1861 33
Lafontaine d 1857 1857 10
Lafontaine m 1857 1857 5
LaPasse m 1851 1861 55
Louisbourg b 1722 1759 2236
Louisbourg d 1722 1758 1222
Louisbourg m 1722 1759 572
Matane b 1832 1841 134
Matane d 1832 1929 59
Montréal (Anglican, Christ Church Cathedral) b 1766 1807 1474
Montréal (Anglican, Christ Church Cathedral) d 1801 1807 5
Orléans b 1860 1861 108
Orléans m 1860 1861 23
Orléans d 1860 1861 4
Ottawa (Notre-Dame) m 1829 1855 1729
Ottawa (St-Joseph) b 1858 1861 258
Ottawa (St-Joseph) d 1858 1861 77
Ottawa (St-Joseph) m 1858 1861 37
Paincourt b 1855 1861 411
Paincourt d 1855 1861 128
Paincourt m 1852 1861 70
Port-Royal b 1702 1755 2509
Port-Royal d 1702 1754 421
Québec (Metropolitan Church) b 1768 1794 1005
Québec (Metropolitan Church) d 1768 1794 484
Québec (Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian) b 1770 1800 425
Québec (Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian) d 1770 1794 20
South March b 1861 1861 9
St-Charles-les-Mines b 1707 1748 1407
St-Charles-les-Mines d 1709 1748 166
Tecumseh b 1859 1861 110
Tecumseh d 1861 1861 18
Tecumseh m 1859 1861 17
Williamstown b 1854 1861 590
Williamstown d 1854 1861 161
Williamstown m 1854 1861 87

b=baptism m=marriage d=burial

All these records may now be browsed in the LAFRANCE, which also contains ALL of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1621 to 1918, ALL of Quebec’s Catholic baptisms and burials from 1621 to 1861 as well as ALL of Quebec’s Protestant marriages from 1760 to 1849.
You will find more information about the LAFRANCE on the Drouin Institute’s blog.



To conclude, the Drouin team would like to wish a great holiday season to our fellow genealogy enthusiasts and designated family historians.
The holiday season is a great opportunity to share the results of your research with your loved ones and to ensure that your family history is preserved from generation to generation.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

15,409 newspaper obituaries added and 30,424 Drouin Collection images re-digitized on Genealogy Quebec!

15,409 newspaper obituaries were added to Genealogy Quebec‘s obituary section this week. In addition to these new death notices, some 30,424 images from the Drouin Collection Records have been re-digitized to improve their readability.

Newspaper obituaries

15,409 obituaries, mainly from the Montreal and Quebec City regions, are now available in Genealogy Quebec’s Obituary section under the Newspaper obituaries category. Most of these death notices were published within the last 2 years.

The Newspaper obituaries section contains around 678,000 obituaries from various newspapers in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. The notices date from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

You may browse the Obituary section with a Genealogy Quebec subscription at this address, and you will find more information about this section on the Drouin Institute’s blog.

Drouin Collection re-digitization

In addition to our frequent content updates, the Drouin Institute is actively working on improving the quality of the collections already available on Genealogy Quebec.

With this in mind, we are currently re-digitizing many Drouin Collection parishes that were poorly digitized in the past. Some 30,424 images have been re-digitized in this update.

Old image

Re-digitzed image from the Drouin Collection

Here is a list of the parishes that have been re-digitized:

Montréal-Sud (St-Georges) Montréal (St-Georges) Montréal (Ste-Clotilde)
Montréal (St-Dominic) Montréal (St-Étienne) St-Michel (St-Bernardin-de-Sienne)
Longueuil (co-cathédrale St-Antoine-de-Pade) LeMoyne (St-Josaphat) Montréal (St-Jean-Baptiste-de-la-Salle)
Montréal (Très-St-Rédempteur) La Prairie (Notre-Dame-de-LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine) Montréal (St-Henri)
Caughnawaga (St-François-Xavier-du-Sault-St-Louis) Montréal (St-Charles) Montréal (Saint Anthony of Padua)
Montréal (Notre-Dame-des-Victoires) Montréal (St-Thomas-Aquinas) Outremont (Ste-Madeleine)
Montréal (La Nativité-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie) Montréal (St-Irénée) Montréal (St-Joseph-de-Bordeaux)
Rivière-Beaudette St-Grégoire (Nicolet) St-Ignace-du-Lac
St-Joseph-de-Mékinac Hull (cathédrale Très-St-Rédempteur) Aylmer (St-Paul)
Buckingham Deschênes Fassett
Gatineau Hull (Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes) Hull (Servantes de Jésus-Marie)
Hull (Ste-Bernadette-Soubirous) Lac-Ste-Marie Papineauville
Pointe-Gatineau Amos (Ste-Thérèse) Campbell’s Bay
Fugèreville Guérin Guigues (St-Bruno)
Lac-Cayamant Nédelec Otter Lake (St-Charles-Borromée)
Taschereau Lac-St-Paul Montcerf
Notre-Dame-de-Laus Ste-Famille-d’Aumond Grande-Rivière
Grande-Vallée Chandler (St-Coeur-de-Marie)  

The Drouin Collection Records contain all of the parish registers (baptisms, marriages, burials) available on Genealogy Quebec, which represents over 5 million images.

Sherbrooke parish register image from the Drouin Collection Record available on

This collection is home to all of Quebec’s parish registers from 1621 to the 1940s, as well as numerous parish registers from Ontario, New Brunswick, the United States and Acadia.

You may browse the Drouin Collection Records with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

New archival fonds available on Genealogy Quebec! 8,190 historical photos

A new archival fonds is now available in the Drouin Miscellaneous Collections, one of the 15 tools offered to subscribers.

Roland-Maynard Fonds – Archives and historical photos

The Roland-Maynard Fonds is an archive containing some 8,190 photos and documents of historical and genealogical significance.

It can be browsed in the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections tool at this address (subscription required), under the “14 – Fonds d’archives/” folder.

The Drouin Miscellaneous Collections tool is also home to a variety of historical documents and archives such as old newspapers, judicial and municipal archives, digitized photos, and more! A true goldmine for those with a passion for history.

Drouin Institute blog

In case you missed it, here is Marielle Côté-Gendreau’s most recent article, which deals with the the impact of the calendar on the first names of your ancestors: From Pascal to Noël: The impact of the calendar on your ancestors’ names

Genealogy and history fans should find plenty to read on the Drouin Institute’s blog. Here are some of our best articles:

The Drouin Institute’s blog is also home to many tutorials and guides pertaining to and, which are must-reads if you are to make the most of the websites.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

From Pascal to Noël: The impact of the calendar on your ancestors’ names

In French Canada, the religious calendar punctuates daily life until the 20th century. This influence is also conspicuous in the first names given to children.

The baptisms recorded in Quebec between 1621 and 1849, available on PRDH-IGD, account for this phenomenon. Christmas babies named NoëlNoëlla or Marie-Noëlle are the best-known example. This blog post will track religious and other seasonal events in French Canada via baptismal records.

The year begins with a very appropriate name: unsurprisingly, half of baby boys named Janvier between 1621 and 1849 are baptized in January. The Three Kings’ Day, or Epiphany, also leaves its mark as 22% of children named Épiphane or Épiphanie are baptized within two days of January 6th.

A search for Épiphane / Épiphanie on, with the early January baptisms highlighted. 

Lent, which spans from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, and Eastertide, which lasts until Pentecost, are of great importance in the catholic calendar. As a result, 43% of Pascals are born in March or April. It is customary that marriages are not allowed during Lent. “Dispensations from the prohibited time” have to be delivered by the bishop.

The analysis of French-Canadian baptisms highlights a few changes in the catholic calendar. For example, Saint Benedict’s Day is celebrated on July 11th since the Second Vatican Council. However, it is on March 21st that Benedict of Nursia is commemorated in French Canada, and 21% of Benoîts (French form of Benedict) are baptized within two days of this date.

The effect is also perceptible for very common names, like Jean-Baptiste, inherited from John the Baptist, who is the patron saint of French Canadians since 1908. However, the celebrations of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Saint John’s Day, which coincide with the summer solstice, date way further back. The Jesuit Relations report a ‘Saint John’s fire’ in Quebec as early as the night of June 23rd, 1636. This feast bears a political meaning in Quebec since at least the 19th century. On June 24th, 1834, the patriotic song Ô Canada! Mon pays, mes amours (‘O Canada! my country, my loves’) is performed for the first time. It should not be confused with current Canadian anthem O Canada, although it was also composed for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day as a French-Canadian patriotic song a few decades later, in 1880. Jean-Baptiste is a common first name all year long, but a peak is observed in the days surrounding June 24th.

A more surprising finding is the concentration of Augustins in the month of August. This phenomenon, which is not of religious origin, rather arises from the etymological link between the month of August (août in French) and Augustin, which both derive from latin augustus. 12% of Augustins are born during that month. This proportion reaches 22% in the French-Canadian elite, such as seigneurs, lawyers, notaries, doctors as well as merchants, for example. The father’s profession can be found on most baptismal records. When provided, this information is generally indicated on the record certificates available on PRDH-IGD (What is PRDH-IGD?).

PRDH-IGD baptism certificate of an Augustin born in August. Note that the father is a judge.

All Saints’ Day, celebrated on November 1st, also yields a French name, Toussaint (literally ‘All saints’). The five-day period around this date groups one third of all 4279 Toussaints born in Quebec between 1621 and 1849. The influence of the religious calendar on first names is not specific to French Canada: it is also visible among French pioneers. For example, Toussaint Giroux, from whom most Giroux descend, was baptized on November 2nd, 1633 in Réveillon, in the Perche region.

Toussaint Giroux’s individual file on

All Saints’ Day paves the way for several major feasts during the months of November and December, which mark the end of the agricultural activities.

Martin is another fairly common first name that draws a large proportion of baptisms to its feast: 21%. Saint Martin’s Day, celebrated on November 11th, is indeed an important day in the religious as well as the agricultural calendar. Lionel Groulx, an important priest and historian, reports in Chez nos ancêtres (‘In our ancestors’ homes’, 1920) a custom that would take place on Saint Martin’s day in many seigneuries. As the harvest is over, land tenants must visit the seigneur in his manor house and pay their annual dues. The event is also described in Philippe Aubert de Gaspé’s Les anciens canadiens, known as one of the first novels of Quebec.

Just like Jean-BaptisteCatherine is a very popular first name influenced by the feast day of its patron saint: over 5% of baptisms are concentrated in a five-day period around November 25th, an important religious and cultural celebration since the time of New France. The famous St. Catherine’s Taffy, which is attributed to saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, a prominent figure in the early development of Montreal, is prepared on that day. This French-Canadian culinary tradition still persists today.

Noël and its derivatives are the archetype of calendar names: almost 40% of 3395 baptisms are celebrated within two days of Christmas. The year comes to an end with Saint Sylvester’s Day, or New Year’s Eve, which sees the birth of 43% of Sylvestres of the time.

Proportion of baptisms in the vicinity of the date associated with a few first names in the baptismal records on


Name Day Proportion of baptisms within a five-day interval (%) * Number of baptisms
Janvier January 49.3 452
Épiphan(i)e January 6th 22.0 162
Agathe February 5th 5.4 3 541
Scholastique February 10th 6.0 2 741
Valentin February 14th 29.3 165
Patrice March 17th 22.8 631
Patrick 6.5 1 981
Benoît March 21st 21.1 690
Pascal March and April 43.2 2 558
(Jean) Baptiste June 24th 2.9 53 506
Augustin August 12.0 11 371
Michel(le) September 29th 10.0 17 310
Rémi October 1st 7.2 1 445
Thérèse October 15th 3.1 9 222
Ursule October 21st 3.9 4 499
Toussaint November 1st 29.9 4 279
Martin November 11th 21.3 1 255
Cécile November 22nd 6.5 3 444
Catherine November 25th 5.4 20 718
André November 30th 4.0 7 645
(François) Xavier December 3rd 4.1 17 019
Noël and derivatives December 25th 38.9 3 395
Étienne December 26th 6.2 9 088
Sylvestre December 31st 42.6 295
* In the case of first names referring to a month, the number in this column indicates the percentage of baptisms recorded during that month.This exercise, conducted with the exceptionally well-preserved data of the Drouin Collection Records, indexed on Genealogy Quebec and PRDH-IGD, sheds light on the influence of the calendar on given names. By paying renewed attention to the link between names and dates of birth, you will probably also be able to make sense of the names of some of your ancestors.

Marielle Côté-Gendreau