23 historical newspapers and 30 000 memorial cards were added to Genealogy Quebec’s collections!

23 historical newspapers have been digitized and made available on GenealogyQuebec.com!

You may browse these 12 738 new images in the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections right now (subscription required).

Here are the newspapers that were added through this update.

The Quebec Gazette (1832 to 1836)
The Inquirer (Trois-Rivières) (1857 to 1863)
The Dominion Illustrated News (Montréal) (1888 to 1893)
The Canadian Jewish Review (1935 to 1939)
Paris-Canada (1884 to 1893)
Midi-Presse (Montréal) (1954)
L’Opinion Publique (Montréal) (1870 to 1874)
L’Obligation (Montréal) (1918 and 1919)
Le Semeur Canadien (Montréal) (1856 to 1861)
Le Trésor des Familles (Québec) (May 1883)
Le Progrès du Golfe (1948 to 1950)
Le National (Montréal) (1892)
Le Charivari (Québec) (1868)
Le Castor (Québec) (1879)
Le Carillon (Québec) (1879)
L’Action Canadienne (November 1915)
La Tribune Canadienne (Montréal)
La Vie Illustrée (Montréal) (1889)
La Semaine (Québec) (1895)
La Minerve (1868 and 1869)
La Chronique de la Vallée du St-Maurice (1929)
Daily Witness (Montréal) (1874 to 1879)
Commercial Gazette (Montréal) (1897)

 

To browse these papers, open the Drouin Institute Miscellaneous Collections and navigate to the “23 – Journaux anciens/” (23 – Historical newspapers/) folder.

Memorial cards

30 000 memorial cards were added to the Obituary section on GenealogyQuebec.com, adding to the 62 500 cards already available in the section.


Memorial cards search engine from GenealogyQuebec.com

Memorial cards can be searched by name, first name and date.

The Obituary section, one of 15 tools available to Genealogy Quebec subscribers, is home to most obituary, memorial card and headstone picture available on the website:

  • 2.3 million Canadian obituaries from various online sources, spanning from 1999 to today
  • 663 000 obituaries from Quebec newspapers published between 1860 and today
  • 611 000 indexed headstone pictures from 830 cemeteries located in Quebec and Ontario
  • 92 500 memorial cards from various locations in Quebec

The Obituary section can be browsed with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

LAFRANCE update: Original church records for Quebec’s 1918 marriages and 4500 BMD records from Ontario!

New church records are now available in the LAFRANCE, one of 15 tools available to GenealogyQuebec.com subscribers.

Original church records for Quebec’s 1918 Catholic marriages now viewable in the LAFRANCE

In June 2019, all of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1918 were imported into the LAFRANCE. However, the link to the image of the parish document had yet to be added to the record certificates. Today’s update added this link, allowing you to view the original parish document with a single click.


Click on the link at the top right of the certificate to view the original parish document


Record certificate and original parish document from GenealogyQuebec.com‘s LAFRANCE

Ontario baptism, marriage and burial records in the LAFRANCE

We are happy to announce that we have begun indexing the parish registers of Ontario, more specifically the parishes that border the province of Quebec, as many French Canadian families settled in that region. These records will be added to the LAFRANCE gradually as they are indexed by our team.

The following parishes have been partially added as of now:

  • Alexandria: 1835 to 1861, 3135 records, mostly baptisms
  • Corkery: 1837 to 1861, 959 records, mostly baptisms
  • Embrun: 1858 to 1861, 194 records, mostly baptisms
  • LaPasse: 1851 to 1861, 408 records, baptisms, marriages and burials

What is the LAFRANCE?

The LAFRANCE, one of 15 tools available to GenealogyQuebec.com subscribers, is a detailed index with link to the original document of ALL Catholic marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1918, ALL Catholic baptisms and burials recorded in Quebec between 1621 and 1861 as well as ALL Protestant marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1760 and 1849.


LAFRANCE search engine

You can learn more about the LAFRANCE in this blog article.

 

 

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

Understanding the linguistic variation in your ancestors’ names

Your genealogical research might have left you with the impression that your ancestors liked to change names quite often. The concept of “dit names”, which was the subject of a previous blog post, sheds light on a part of this variation, which can be obscure to a present-day observer.

Although baptism was the cornerstone of civil identity in French Canada for four centuries, this identity was not, until the beginning of the 20th century, as constraining as it is today. It was not usual for an individual to use different first and last names in the course of a lifetime. This phenomenon is fostered by the orthographic instability of proper names, the flexibility of the civil registration system as well as illiteracy.

This article offers some tips to keep in mind in order to locate all the occurrences of your ancestors in the archives.

Do not cross without looking both ways – A name may hide another! 

Do not rely on spelling

This tip may seem trivial to experienced genealogists, but it is a very handy one. For example, the ancestor of the Hétu family would spell his name Estur. The silent ‹ s › and ‹ r › were orthographic relics, for which the French language is renowned. The ‹ h › was added over the years as an ornamental letter.

Orthographic variation should not be systematically attributed to illiteracy, as evidenced by the Hénault family. Four members of this educated and wealthy family signed, in 1816, the marriage record of Honoré Hénault and Julienne Mailloux and spelled their last name three different ways: Hénault, Heneault and Eno. The priest chose the unaccented variant Henault.

Honoré Henault and Julienne Mailloux’s marriage record – Source: Record 2352319, LAFRANCE, GenealogyQuebec.com

Before standardization of proper names, their spelling would be determined to some extent by the whims of the priest, the notary and the individual him or herself.

Keep in mind that language changes

Most Dions are patronymic descendants of pioneer Jean Guyon. How is that possible? First, note that Guyon is pronounced Guee-yon and not Gu-yon. Nowadays, hard ‹ g › is articulated at the velum while ‹ d › is articulated behind the upper front teeth. However, in the past, ‹ g ›, when followed by a vowel pronounced from the front of the mouth like ‹ ee ›, tended to move forward. This linguistic process induced a shift from Guyon to Dion.

Guyot, which derives from the first name Guy just like Guyon, went through a parallel transformation and gave birth to Diotte. However, some names went the opposite way: Pierre Andiran is the ancestor of all Languirands.

Similarly, the Chiasson and Giasson families share the same origin. Only the vibration of the vocal folds in the onset of the word separates those two names. In the absence of a fixed spelling, this phonetic feature was likely to fluctuate across regions, time periods and individuals. Like Guyon and Dion, these two names are two sides of the same coin.

Vowels are also impacted by linguistic change. Maybe you will be surprised to learn that most Harveys from Quebec did not receive their name from an Anglo-Saxon immigrant. It rather comes from the name Hervé.

Be on the lookout for deleted or added sounds

The absence of a strict orthographic norm when it comes to proper nouns opens the door to oral variation. Certain sounds and syllables have a natural tendency to appear or disappear according to their position in the word.

One reason for adding segments is the introduction of definite articles lela and l’(the) in front of last names: it was usual to call people le Gagnonla Corriveau (a famous folkloric and historical figure) or l’Andiran. Reinterpretation of this structure in a merged form completes the shift from Andiran to Languirand.

Now, pronounce Reguindeau (Ruh-guin-do) out loud, then Reyindeau (Ruh-yin-do). You will probably notice the similarity between the two forms, and how easy it is to go from one to the other. The change from hard ‹ g › to ‹ y › is an example of palatalization. English yellow is linked to German gelb through the same process. You might have recognized the French-Canadian last name Riendeau (Ryin-do), inherited from Joachim Reguindeau from La Rochelle, France.

The pioneer François Amirault dit Tourangeau offers another example of deletion: most of his patronymic descendants use the name Mireault or an orthographic variant. The reverse phenomenon can also be found as the female first name Zélie produced Azélie.

The alternation between first names that are essentially distinguished by a few additional sounds can be found without regard for etymological cognateness. In French Canada, Élisabeth and its ancient derivative Isabelle behaved as two variants of the same name until the 19th century. However, Domitille & Mathilde, Jérémie & Rémi, Apolline & Pauline as well as Napoléon, Paul & Léon are not related.

Detect shared consonants, vowels and syllables

 Beyond truncated segments, some names share more subtle similarities that explain why they have often been mixed up, or even used interchangeably.

Apolline & Hippolyte, Jérémie & Germain, Mathilde & Martine as well as Alice & Élise illustrate this phenomenon. In other cases, the similarities seem even more tenuous. It is improbable that a present-day genealogist would spontaneously perceive a link between Angélique, Julie and Judith. Yet records show that these three first names have often been used alternately.

All of the appearances of Marie Angélique (Judith, Julie) Desgranges in the PRDH-IGD.com records, illustrating the interchangeability of these first names throughout the records.

Focus on the most distinctive part

 A first name with a rare ending is susceptible to be substituted with other names that share the same characteristic. It is the case of David & Ovide or Stanislas & Wenceslas.

The most distinctive part of a first name, or even a last name, sometimes acts as a nucleus that can be completed with a variety of prefixes and suffixes. Thus, Rose generates Rosalie, Rosanna, Rosina and Rosa. The female first names structured around the nucleus ‹ del › provide another example. By varying starts and endings, this group includes Adèle, Adélaïde, Adeline, Délie, Délina, Délia, Délima, Odeline and even Odile, which are not all etymologically related but came to sound alike and sometimes be used alike.

Similarly, it is not surprising that Brunet is occasionally substituted with Bruneau or Brunel, and Gendreau may alternate with Gendron.

Know the first name combinations inspired by the saints

 To shed light on this last type of variation, religion rather than linguistics comes in handy. Some saints’ and blesseds’ names are composed of several parts, with Jean Baptiste (John the Baptist) being the most well-known. An individual may use one part or another. Thus, Rose de Lima (Rose of Lima) paves the way for Rose and its sisters Rosalie, Rosanna, Rosa, as well as Délima and even Délina.

François Xavier (Francis Xavier), Jean François Régis (John Francis Regis), Jeanne Françoise Frémyot de Chantal (Jane Frances de Chantal) and Marie des Anges (Mary of the Angels), among others, also open the door to alternation between their parts.

The resemblance function in the LAFRANCE and on PRDH-IGD.com

 The resemblance (or likeliness) function available on the search engines of both PRDH-IGD and GenealogyQuebec.com‘s LAFRANCE will neutralize some of this variation, making genealogical research easier.

PRDH-IGD.com search engine with the Likeness function activated

For example, searching for “Mathilde” will generate a list containing women named Mathilde, Domitille, Martine, Donatille, Mélitime, Métheldée and Militilde, with their various spellings.

 

Marielle Côté-Gendreau

More additions to the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections and new LAFRANCE feature

Over 10 000 images of historical and genealogical significance have been added to the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections recently. These can be browsed with a subscription to GenealogyQuebec.com.

Archival fonds

You will find, in the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections (more information), a folder titled Fonds d’archives (Archival fonds), containing the genealogical and historical archives of several collaborators of the Drouin Institute. These archives contain documents of all kinds; family genealogies, photos of individuals, buildings and streets, digitizations of historical works, family histories, maps, as well as many other types of documents and archives.

It is truly a gold mine of information and documents for Quebec history and genealogy enthusiasts. This most recent update pertains to the André-Hurtubise, Gaston-Dupuis and Yvan-Beaulieu Fonds. You can consult them in the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections under the “14 – Fonds d’archives” folder.

Other documents

Some 2000 images were also added in the Drouin Institute’s Miscellaneous Collections, under the “18 – Autres documents” (Other documents) folder.

These folders contain the archives of notary Joseph Dionne dating from between 1741 and 1779 (Dionne_Joseph_1741-1779 folder), as well as a book about the descendants of Guillaume Roux, authored by Sylvain Croteau and André Roux (ROUX_Descendants_of_Guillaume folder).

Comments on the LAFRANCE

A comment field has been added to the LAFRANCE certificates, in which you will find complementary information related to the record. These comments are added by our team during the indexing process of the records. The comment field may be used, for example, to highlight a mistake made by the priest in the record.

Example of a certificate with comment, from GenealogyQuebec.com’s LAFRANCE

The comment field may also be used to bring attention to various details in the record, such as an unusual cause of death.

The LAFRANCE is an index with a link to the original document of ALL Catholic baptisms and burials recorded in Quebec between 1621 and 1861, as well as ALL Catholic marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1918. In addition, ALL Protestant marriages recorded in Quebec between 1760 and 1849 are also available on the LAFRANCE.
You can start using the LAFRANCE today by subscribing to Genealogy Quebec!

BMD Cards

In order to facilitate browsing and searching on GenealogyQuebec.com, the Kardex and Loiselle File have been merged into a single collection, BMD Cards, containing baptism, marriage and burial cards from Quebec, Ontario and the United States.

In addition to the Kardex and Loiselle files, this collection contains Ontario BMD cards, BMD cards sorted by cities or families, and death cards organized by family name, provided by the Quebec Family History Society.

You can browse this collection with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.

New articles on the Drouin Institute blog

The PRDH website is celebrating its 20th anniversary, by François and Bertrand Desjardins

 

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

BMD Cards (Baptisms, Marriages, Burials)

The BMD Cards tool is a repository of baptism, marriage and burial cards from Quebec, Ontario and the United States.

This tool contains the “Antonin Loiselle” and “Kardex” collections, as well as Ontario BMD cards, BMD cards sorted by cities or families, and death cards organized by family name, provided by the Quebec Family History Society.

The Loiselle File

The Loiselle File is a collection of marriage files produced by priest Antonin Loiselle as part of his personal research. In total, this collection contains 1 044 434 marriage files that pertain to about 100 different parishes.

The tool covers all of Quebec as well as Fall River, MA and Manchester, NH from 1621 to the mid 20th century.

The Loiselle File is navigated similarly to the Drouin Collection Records. The documents are organized in a file tree containing over 16 000 folders. Within these folders, the files are sorted by alphabetical order of the husband and wife’s first name. A search for Abraham will be conducted within the first few files, while a search for Zenophile should be done towards the end of the folder.

The marriage files contain the following information: first and last name of the husband and wife, last name of the parents or of the previous spouse. In most cases, a date and location will be given for the marriage. Additional information may also be present, such as the residence of the the spouses or the parents.

The Kardex

The Kardex is a directory of marriage files complementary to the Men and Women series. The files pertain to Catholic and Protestant marriages as well as to notarized documents.

The Kardex covers from 1621 to around 1950 for Quebec, Ontario as well as a small part of the United States.

The Kardex is navigated similarly to the Drouin Collection Records. The documents are organized in a file tree.

The Kardex marriage files contain the following information: the name and first name of the spouses, the name of the parents, or the name of the previous spouse.

In most cases, the date and location of the marriage may also be included. Additional information may also be present in the file.

To better understand the structure of the Kardex files, here is an example:

  1. Bertrand, Joseph Alfred Émile – Husband
  2. (Bertrand), Antoine Wilfrid – Father of the husband
  3. St-Aubin, Rose Anna – Mother of the husband
  4. Michaud, Marie Lise Irène – Wife
  5. (Michaud), Joseph Adolphe – Father of the wife
  6. Bernard, Marie Lise Elisa – Mother of the wife
  7. St Louis de France de Montréal – Parish in which the marriage was celebrated
  8. 12 Juin 1915 – Marriage date

 

You can use the Kardex with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.

The PRDH website is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

The PRDH website is celebrating its 20th anniversary! It was in the summer of 1999 that the Université de Montréal’s Programme de recherche en démographie historique  (PRDH) launched the website, with the goal of sharing the genealogical information compiled by the PRDH with the public.

Produced in collaboration with Maison Gaëtan Morin éditeur, and thanks to a grant from the  Fonds de l’autoroute de l’information, an initiative of the Government of Quebec aimed at increasing the presence of French-language content on the Internet, the website was the latest step in an already 20 year old process of making the PRDH data available outside of the academic fields.

The PRDH database takes the form of a computerized population register, composed of biographical files on all individuals of European ancestry who lived in the St. Lawrence Valley. The file for each individual gives the date and place of birth, marriage(s), and death, as well as family and conjugal ties with other individuals. This basic information is complemented by various socio-demographic characteristics drawn from documents: socio-professional status and occupation, ability to sign his or her name, place of residence, and, for immigrants, place of origin.

Over the years, the PRDH has become an evolutionary and multi-purpose database, available for queries regarding various human populations in general and that of Quebec in particular. It is a truly interdisciplinary information system.

Baptism certificate from the PRDH website

The project relies on exhaustive gathering of data from the parish registers of old Quebec. By systematic attribution of baptism, marriage, and burial certificates to the respective individuals – a “family reconstruction” made on the basis of names and family ties – people are identified and their biographies established. Thus, the PRDH contains the personal history of the Quebec ancestors of all French-Canadians and is of interest to a broad public.

Individual file from the PRDH-IGD website

That is why the PRDH inaugurated, in 1980, a series of publications intended for the general public – directory of baptisms, marriages and burials in 47 volumes covering the French Regime, CD-ROM extending this directory to the whole of the XVIIIth century, Genealogical dictionary of families from the origin of the province to 1765 on Cd-Rom -, culminating with the opening of the website in 1999. The sale of these various products derived from its academic activities has provided the PRDH with revenues that have always been reinvested in the project.

Constantly corrected when necessary and enriched over time, the PRDH site quickly became the reference for 17th and 18th century genealogy in Quebec. Moreover, the PRDH established a fruitful collaboration with the Drouin Genealogical Institute about ten years ago to pool their resources and expertise to extend the coverage of the PRDH database to the 1840s. Assisted by a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) obtained for the establishment of an integrated infrastructure of historical micro-data of the population of Quebec (IMPQ), the PRDH directory has now been extended to 1849, tripling the number of civil records in the database.

Family file from the PRDH website

Today, PRDH-IGD.com contains more than 2.5 million records and offers researchers, as well as amateur and professional genealogists, one of the most comprehensive database of its kind.

You can start using this incredible database right now by subscribing here!

And for a more in depth explanation of the database’s structure, as well as tips on how to best use the website, you’ll want to read this article on the Drouin Institute blog.

 

Bertrand and François Desjadins

The 1741 Montreal census is now available on PRDH-IGD.com!

The 1741 Montreal city census has just been added to PRDH-IGD.com, thanks to the generous contribution of author and genealogist Marcel Fournier.

In addition, every individual listed in this census has been identified and linked with their PRDH-IGD Individual file.

These 553 new records can be viewed now with a subscription to PRDH-IGD.com.

What is PRDH-IGD.com?

PRDH-IGD is a directory of ALL vital events (baptisms, marriages and burials) recorded by the Catholic church in Quebec and French Canada from 1621 to 1849, as well as a genealogical dictionary of families. The PRDH-IGD database contains over 2 500 000 records.

What makes PRDH-IGD unique is how these records are connected to one another through genealogical links, which we refer to as Family Reconstructions. In addition to the baptism, marriage and burial files, PRDH-IGD contains individual and family files.

Any individual mentioned in a BMD record from the database is attributed an individual file. Similarly, any married couple mentioned in a BMD record gets their own family file, which lists all of the couple’s children.

To learn more about PRDH-IGD, you can read this article on the Drouin Institute blog.

You may also be interested in this article, which explains the similarities and differences between GenealogyQuebec.com and PRDH-IGD.com.

PRDH-IGD and Genealogy Quebec in a library near you!

Several libraries and genealogical societies now offer free-access to Genealogy Quebec and PRDH-IGD, mainly in Quebec but also in the rest of Canada and the United States. Contact your local library or genealogical society to see if free access to the websites is available!

Libraries and genealogical societies tend to rely on suggestions and demand when selecting resources to add to their catalog. As such, the best way to have your local institution provide Genealogy Quebec and PRDH-IGD access is simply to ask them to!

You can do so by calling or visiting the library, and letting the librarian or person in charge know about the websites.
Some libraries even allow you to suggest resources through an online form.

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

43 164 baptism, marriage and burial records have been added to the NBMDS tool on GenealogyQuebec.com!

43 164 baptism, marriage and burial records from 21 parishes of the Mauricie region have been added to the NBMDS tool, one of the 16 collections offered to Genealogy Quebec subscribers.

These records extend from 1846 to 1999 and were provided by the Société généalogique de Shawinigan. You can visit their website at http://www.histoireshawinigan.org/.

These new records can be consulted right now in the NBMDS tool (requires a subscription to Genealogy Quebec).

What is the NBMDS tool?

The NBMDS tool is an index of Catholic and Protestant baptism, marriage and burial records, mostly from the province of Quebec. The tool contains over 1.2 million records and is divided in 3 sections; baptisms, marriages, burials.

The regions covered by the tool are:

  • The Bas-St-Laurent region (1727 to 2011)
  • The Laurentides region (1727 to 2011)
  • The Outaouais region (1727 to 2011)
  • The Mauricie region, specifically the Shawinigan region (1846 to 1999)
  • The city of St-Hubert (1727 to 2011)

The marriage section also contains some 120 000 marriage records from the United States and Ontario, dated from between the 17th century and the end of the 20th century.

You will find more information about the NBMDS tool as well as search tips and best practices in this blog article.

Maple Stars and Stripes – French-Canadian genealogy podcast

Want to learn even more about the NBMDS tool? Do not miss a comprehensive overview of this collection in the latest episode of the Maple Stars and Stripes podcast, featuring Bertrand Desjardins and Sandra Goodwin.

Maple Stars and Stripes is a podcast dedicated to the genealogy and history of French -Canadians. 3 other episodes dedicated to the Drouin Institute collections are also available for listening:
Ep. 65: The Drouin Institute’s Lafrance Database and the PRDH
Ep. 72: Drouin Collection Records-part 1
Ep. 73: Drouin Collection Records-part 2

The Forgotten in Genealogy – Clergenealogy

The Drouin genealogical Institute is proud to support the Société de généalogie Saint-Hubert and its brand new website Clergenealogie.org, a free genealogical research website focusing entirely on members of the clergy. Clergenealogie.org currently lists over 128 000 members of the clergy who lived between the 16th century and today. You can explore this incredible database for free by registering at this address: https://clergenealogie.org/newacctform.php

Some researchers estimate that over 120 000 young women and men in French America have dedicated their lives to religious service from the beginnings of New France to the present day. Their contribution to society is significant; they have worked in the fields of education, health and helping the most deprived (orphans, disabled, elderly, patients with intellectual disabilities, etc …) in addition to their religious functions.

The birth of these people is overwhelmingly recorded in baptismal records. But anyone who tries to follow the lives of these children to reconstruct the story of a family often loses their trace. Their religious commitment, regularly involving a name change, often “separated them from the world”. The vow of chastity they pronounced prevented them from getting married, leaving us with no marriage records to track them. Information about their deaths is often difficult to find, as religious communities sometimes have their own cemeteries and registers. They have become the “forgotten in genealogy”. ”

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

All of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1918 are now available on the LAFRANCE!

All of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1918 have been added to the LAFRANCE, one of the 16 tools available to GenealogyQuebec.com‘s subscribers!

This update represents the addition of 11 167 marriage records to the database.

About the LAFRANCE

The LAFRANCE, one of 16 tools available to GenealogyQuebec.com subscribers, is a detailed index with link to the original document of ALL Catholic marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1918, ALL Catholic baptisms and burials recorded in Quebec between 1621 and 1861 as well as ALL Protestant marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1760 and 1849.

You can start tracing your ancestors on the LAFRANCE by subscribing to Genealogy Quebec right now!

Finding the original document associated with a 1918 marriage

When you view a marriage certificate on the LAFRANCE, an image of the original parish document is usually associated with it.

In the case of Quebec’s 1918 Catholic marriages, the association between the certificate and the image will be made within the next few weeks. In the meantime, you will need to refer to the Drouin Collection Records to view the original document.

To do so, start with the marriage certificate for which you want to find the original document. We will use the marriage of Charles Emile Fillion and Yvonne Boucher on June 18, 1918 in Matane as an example.

We begin by opening the Drouin Collection Records tool and clicking on the “Québec” folder, which contains every parish register recorded in the province of Quebec between 1621 and the 1940s.

It is then a question of finding, within the folders, the parish in which the desired marriage was recorded. In our case, the parish is Matane, as indicated in the marriage certificate. We will find it under the “M” folder.

Opening the 1918 folder under Matane provides us with the list of images pertaining to the Matane 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 recorded on June 18th, we know that it will be found around the middle of the image series.

After browsing through a few images, we are able to find the original document pertaining to Charles Emile Fillion and Yvonne Boucher’s marriage.

New articles on the Drouin Institute Blog

French-Canadian “dit names” and nicknames, by François Desjardins

Genealogically yours,

The Drouin team

French-Canadian “dit names” and nicknames

If you’ve ever done genealogical research in Quebec, chances are that you’ve encountered “dit names”, which are secondary family names associated with a primary name, sometimes even replacing it.

These abound in the nominative history of ancient Quebec. Their origins are multiple: military nicknames, nicknames related to a physical characteristic or to the place of origin, names of fiefs among nobles, mother’s name, father’s name, etc. Some go back to the early ancestors, others are introduced by descendants; some are transmitted, others not; some are specific to the entire family line, others only concern a subset.

The result of this is that an individual may be identified under a nickname or secondary surname at any time, with no way real way to predict when.

Example from GenealogyQuebec.com’s LAFRANCE, an individual bearing the “dit name” “Bellefleur” in addition to “Pelletier”

In the context of genealogical research, “dit names” can be seen as a second family name given to an individual.

To illustrate the phenomenon, we can use Roy dit Desjardins, a frequent “dit name” combination. If you come from the Roy dit Desjardins line, your ancestors may have been named Desjardins, Roy and Roy Desjardins over the generations, which can be confusing if you are not familiar with the concept of “dit names”. Your ancestors could have alternated between one or both of these names over the records, for seemingly no reason!

Which is why you will find, on PRDH-IGD.com and GenealogyQuebec.com‘s LAFRANCE, a window dedicated to “nickname / dit name” associations. This window is located directly in the search engine.

When you enter a surname in the search engine, you will see the “dit names” associated with this last name according to their frequency in the database. This tool is particularly useful since it can allow you to trace a line of individuals who have held different family names over the generations. For example, if you do not find the marriage of the parents of your ancestor Pierre Desjardins, you will know that it is possible for Pierre Desjardins’ father to be named Roy on his wedding record, allowing you to trace the record in question more easily.

“Dit names” in the context of genealogical research

“Dit names” can help you as well as hinder your genealogical research, hence the importance of being familiar with the concept.

On the one hand, “dit names” represent, in a record, an additional source of information to identify an individual. That is, an individual with a “dit name” will be easier to identify over the various records, as the combination of the two names should distinguish it from other individuals with more common names.

For example, if you are looking for an ancestor by the name of Pierre Tremblay, you may have difficulty distinguishing him from the dozens of other Pierre Tremblay who are his contemporaries. On the other hand, if your ancestor is named Pierre Tremblay dit Boucher, it should be much easier to identify him in the records as it is a more recognizable and unique name.

However, “dit names” can also be an obstacle in your search for your French-Canadian ancestors, especially if you do not take them into account when doing your research.

Let’s use Roy dit Desjardins as an example of a common “dit name”. If you descend from the Roy dit Desjardins line, your ancestors could have been named Desjardins, Roy, and Roy Desjardins over the generations.

If you are not familiar with the “dit name” concept and are looking for records pertaining to your ancestor Pierre Roy, your research may omit several records where he is identified as Pierre Desjardins. This is why it is important to search for the both surnames individually when your ancestor has a “dit name”.

The PRDH-IGD (subscribe to PRDH-IGD) and GenealogyQuebec’s LAFRANCE (subscribe to Genealogy Quebec) search engines give you the ability to search for two last names at a time for a single individual. You can either search for both or one of the 2 names entered. To do so, select either “AND” or “OR” in the drop down menu located between the two name fields.

GenealogyQuebec.com’s LAFRANCE search engine
PRDH-IGD’s search engine

The search engine will then find all the individuals with one or/and the other of the selected names, which ensures you do not miss any records pertaining to your ancestor.

Name-nickname associations in the LAFRANCE and on PRDH-IGD.com

Wondering what combinations of surnames and “dit names” were most common at the time of your ancestors?

You can find out thanks to this free tool made available to you by Genealogy Quebec:

Name-nickname associations in the LAFRANCE

Simply enter the name you are interested in to obtain a list of all the names associated with it in one of the 3.6 million records contained in the LAFRANCE. These are listed in alphabetical order, and the frequency of each combination of names in the database is also indicated.

 

François Desjardins