A few decades after they arrived in Québec, the colonists imported the practice of establishing records, where each individual was accounted for from birth to death and passing through marriage. In Québec, we therefore find an impressive number of documents, which makes the work of genealogists even more exciting.
Many records have been kept since the time of New France, and luckily, a large proportion of these are still available, having been archived and digitized by following a methodology that helps facilitate research. Therefore, when you start a search for a baptismal record, even though there’s no centralized resource from the government, it’s relatively easy to find the desired information. Through the efforts of passionate specialists, we can consult documents that have been sorted and organized in order to simplify their research and analysis.
Here are 7 resources that you can use to find records from baptisms that took place in Québec and certain neighbouring provinces, as well as some tips on how to decrypt the information discovered during your research.
Research tools from Genealogy Québec
1) The LaFRANCE directory
LaFRANCE is a tool presented on the Genealogy Québec website. Regularly updated and supplemented, it lets you find Catholic and Protestant marriage documents, all the baptism and burial certificates dating from between 1621 and 1849, and more than 68,401 baptism and burial certificates issued between 1862 and 2008.
This research platform is very easy to use, which facilitates the decryption of the information received. Just visit the Genealogy Québec website, create an account, and select LaFRANCE.
After that, to find the information you want to obtain, you have to choose one of three forms: by individual, by couple, or by parish. These three forms lead to results that have been digitized, and you can also find a copy of the original document. Given that the spelling of names may have changed over time, the system is equipped with a dictionary of names, which ensures that the results also display similar names, in addition to presenting the exact surnames.
2) The records from the Drouin Collection
This other tool, also available on the Genealogy Québec website, includes all the Catholic records from Québec, Ontario, Acadia, and New Brunswick. Less research-friendly because it doesn’t have a search engine, it nevertheless allows you to search through millions of documents, including baptism certificates. The scanned images available in the records are sorted according to an indexing methodology in chronological order, by place, and by name, according to the record.
3) The Little BMDs
This information resource is part of the Great Collections available through Genealogy Québec. It contains three databases: one for marriages, one for baptisms, and one for burials. There are several boxes to fill in to find the information, but during your first search, we recommend sticking to the name of the parents and the person baptised, as well as the date when the baptism took place.
4) The Connolly File
Here’s another platform you can use to perform searches of baptism certificates. With a rich collection of several million documents, it includes three databases, including one for marriages, one for burials, and the one that interests us: the one for baptisms. Much like the Little BMDs, it’s preferable to fill in only a few boxes when searching, to avoid mistakes and ensure that the results are easier to decipher.
Other resources for finding baptismal records
5) Genealogical Societies
Throughout the province, genealogical societies, led body and soul by passionate people, take care of archiving documents and supporting individuals in their research. Such organizations can be found in all regions of Québec, and are sometimes even divided up by city and by neighbourhood. The public is generally invited to visit documentation centres or to contact these Genealogical Societies to find information such as baptismal records from the place in question. The files there are sorted and stored in directories in the aim of documenting the past so that anyone can find the answers to their questions.
6) Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BANQ)
Library and National Archives of Québec (BANQ)
It’s possible to consult the Civil Status Records from Québec from the origins to 1916 online. These documents are divided by parish, by district, and by region. Then, you have to choose the date. These are documents that have been digitized but which have not necessarily been transcribed into a database, nor classified according to type (marriages, burials, baptisms).
7) Library and Archives Canada
As stated above, there’s no centralized information resource offered by the government that lets you consult baptismal records. However, it’s possible to perform searches through the Library and Archives Canada website, since certain documents can be found there and consulted online.