Genealogy is a subject that attracts a great deal of interest in Québec, especially because of the particular status of the culture and history of its population. This topic has therefore been the subject of many works, adopting several angles, including the founding families, the origins of family names, the creation of the cities and villages of the province, and the role of the church in the development of the province. So there’s something for all tastes and all needs regarding genealogical research. Here are 3 books on family genealogy in Québec to add to your reading list.
Les grandes familles du Québec, by Louis-Guy Lemieux (Septentrion)
This work brings together thirty chronicles published by the journalist Louis-Guy Lemieux in Le Soleil between 2003 and 2005. Lemieux is passionate about history and genealogy, which is reflected in the text. While preparing and publishing the book, the chronicles were expanded with some additional information to present very comprehensive content.
The text addresses the most common surnames in the regions of Québec, Chaudière-Appalaches, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Charlevoix, and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Several aspects are studied, including the evolution of the names and the history of the families and their descendants. The book is also particularly interesting because it features photos of the families and places cited in the text, making the reading even more informative and enjoyable.
Retracez vos ancêtres, by Marcel Fournier (Éditions de l’Homme)
This is a book that’s intended as a guide to accompany people in their genealogical searches for their ancestors, more specifically in Québec, North America, and Europe. The book presents working methods, tools, and sources to consult to make the search successful. It also presents a great deal of information regarding relations between Québec and France, which are important factors in the evolution of the local population, the ancestors, and their descendants.
Votre nom et son histoire: les noms de famille au Québec, by Roland Jacob (Éditions de l’Homme)
The study of surnames very often turns out to be a key element in genealogical research. It also says a lot about the history of a family and/or a specific place. In Québec, family names are quite varied, as are their respective etymologies. Some are evolved forms of the names of ancestors, while others come from the names of the cities and villages of origin (most often located in France).
Roland Jacob’s book, published in 2015, is therefore a very interesting tool for better understanding the origin of names and the different possible interpretations that make it possible to trace their evolution. At over 430 pages, this work fascinatingly discusses the roots and alterations of over 10,000 names.
Some other works to discover about genealogy in Québec :
La Diaspora Québécoise, by Jacques Noël (Éditions GID)
Although they don’t want to admit it, many people hope to see a famous name appear in their family tree. Who wouldn’t like to boast about having Liza Minnelli, Madonna, or Camilla Parker Bowles as a cousin? This book describes the Québécois roots that have wound up in the upper echelons of society while addressing the origins and vocations of several Québec families in the first centuries following colonization.
Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec: des origines à 1730, by René Jetté
(Morin et associés)
This is an extremely detailed book that identifies the 16,400 families who lived in Québec between the early days of colonization and 1730. The book totals over 1200 pages and is presented in the form of a dictionary.
Where to Find Books About Québec Genealogy
To find or consult these books, we recommend seeing if they’re available to check out from libraries or genealogical societies. In Montréal, many books about genealogy are available to borrow or consult on site at the Grande Bibliothèque. Of course, it’s also possible to order them at a bookstore or to buy them online. Finally, thousands of works related to genealogy are available at the Drouin Genealogical Institute’s online shop at this address.
When leaving the borders of Québec, especially to visit New England, it’s not uncommon to find French-sounding family names. So you might imagine that this person’s ancestors left the Francophone province to settle elsewhere, keeping traces of these origins with them. Between 1840 and 1930, over a million Quebecers left the territory to look for work. Many of them settled in the northeastern United States, which explains the strong presence of Francophone roots in this region.Some families were separated during this time, so many Quebecers have ancestors who settled elsewhere and established their own family line there. To better understand genealogy and find these Quebeckers ancestors, here’s some crucial information to know how to track down ancestors who settled outside Québec:
Quebecers in the United States
According to certain studies, around 30 million Americans are descendants of Quebecers ancestors. The family ties are therefore numerous, and given that genealogy is a very popular activity in the United States, the resources for finding information are abundant.
How to Find a Québécois Ancestor in the United States
To carry out such research, it’s possible, among other options, to use resources from Québec and to collect information from genealogical societies located in the most relevant American regions. In the United States, several groups specialize in searching for French-Canadian ancestors.
For example, the American-Canadian Genealogical Society, based in Manchester, New Hampshire, is a centre dedicated to the genealogical research of Canadian and/or Francophone roots. Their collection brings together documents from – among other sources – the Drouin Collection, several Canadian Protestant churches, and archives from various American states.
The American-Canadian Genealogical Society is far from the only organization of this type. Several states, cities, and villages in the region offer this type of service, including the American-French Genealogical Society in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and the French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut. It’s therefore possible to contact these organizations or to visit them in person.
The Drouin Collection
Over 25 million civil status documents make up the Drouin Collection. This collection consists of documents that come from Québec, as well as Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the United States. Indeed, it’s possible to search baptismal records, marriage licences, death certificates, and other official documents, including some from the New England region. It’s therefore a very rich resource to complete research. In addition, the Drouin Collection is easy to access and relatively simple to peruse.
Books and Periodicals About Québécois Ancestors Living in the United States
Was one of the most famous American authors actually Québécois? Jean-Louis “Jack” Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts to Québécois parents. For that reason, Kerouac’s first language was Joual. Kerouac’s mother was also the first cousin of none other than René Lévesque. In addition to this amusing anecdote, books about emigration from Québec to the United States provide very useful information within the context of research, because they can give us hints and clues.
Here are a few interesting and relevant books and periodicals on this subject, which can be found in a library or digitized on the internet:
La ruée vers le sud: migrations du Canada vers les États-Unis, 1840 à 1930 (Bruno Ramirez)
Histoire d’un rêve brisé? Les Canadiens français aux États-Unis (Yves Roby)
L’émigration des Québécois aux États-Unis de 1840 à 1930 (Yolande Lavoie)
The French Canadians in New England (Prosper Bender)
Les Canadiens français de la Nouvelle-Angleterre (Édouard Hamon)
Finding a Québécois ancestor in the rest of Canada
Besides the Drouin Collection, which was mentioned previously, other resources make it possible to research Québécois ancestors living outside the province. For example, it’s possible to contact various local genealogical societies, some of which specialize in searching for data on ancestors of Francophone origin. This is particularly true in Canadian provinces where the Francophone community is still highly developed, including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Maritime provinces. Specialists know how to guide people towards the right resources while accompanying them in their research.
This is the key to starting the investigation off right and successfully finding specific information about Québécois ancestors who decided to emigrate to other places.
Founded at the end of the 19th century, the Drouin Genealogical Institute was given the mission of collecting and categorizing a multitude of notarized documents of genealogical interest and making them accessible to the population. The 1621-1967 Drouin Collection is thus invaluable for tracing the history of families in Quebec. It includes a significant number of official documents, mainly marriage, baptism and burial certificates. There are also other types of notarized documents, including contracts, wills and other legal documents.Parish Registers and Civil Status
Due to its very religious past, in this province, parish registers long served to collect all official documents related to the population and its civil status. This practice was particularly suitable because all the important moments in a person’s life were noted in churches, from baptisms to weddings and funerals.
Very early in the history of the province, Quebec also began to deliver and archive documents in order to keep track of the inhabitants by collecting a copy of the parish acts registered by the Church. This is how notarized religious documents came to be housed in courthouses. For a long time, information was collected by religious institutions, which then sent it to the courthouses. The documents were thus duplicated.
Gradually, the government’s mandate of storing and preparing these documents gained more and more importance, and in 1994, the Registrar of Civil Status obtained the full mandate.
Archiving Done by the Drouin Institute
In the 1940s, the Drouin Institute made microfilms of the civil registers of the Quebec courthouses. These documents were gathered to create the Drouin Collection. These documents thus come from both religious institutions and the Government of Quebec. In some areas, the microfilming process continued until 1968, so the Drouin Collection covers the period from 1621 to 1967.
Religious Genealogy Versus Civil Genealogy
During a genealogical search, researchers often find themselves facing documents that were collected by the Church or the government. To better understand the source and nature of the documents they consult, it is important to distinguish religious genealogy and civil genealogy. In the 1621-1967 Drouin Collection, most documents come from the Church.
Certificates from parish registers were created, validated and issued by religious institutions. Most of the documents that are in the collection came from the Catholic Church, but you can find certificates issued by other Christian denominations and other religions, including Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Protestant, Baptist, Orthodox, Methodist and Jewish. To find specific genealogical information—especially that dating back from before the 20th century—you must look at the certificates issued by these institutions. These documents contain information about the people and are often annotated with information that was considered relevant by those responsible for archiving (often parish priests).
After the early 20th century, material gathered by the Church began to be used by the state to produce statistics about the population of Quebec. These documents produced by the State are those available in the 1926-1997 Marriages and Deaths tool. These are based on the original certificates produced by the Church and available in the Drouin Collection.
The Differences Between Documents
The copies of certain documents contain differences. The same certificate may in fact present some discrepancies when one of the two documents is incomplete or damaged, for example. This decision to establish a duplicate recording enabled Quebec to have one of the most comprehensive civil status systems in the world, to the delight of genealogy enthusiasts.
In Quebec, amateur and professional genealogists alike have access to a rich collection of documents to trace their family roots and draw family trees. Since the days of New France, documentation of birth, death and marriage certificates was advocated by the Catholic Church to keep track of the families that established in these territories. The collection of this data has continued over time, so that today, it can be used to perform extensive genealogical research. The documents are filed among several registers and collections, including the Drouin Collection, which contains Quebec’s marriage records. The latter includes several elements of documentation about weddings that took place within the province, including copies of marriage records. These documents have been indexed and meticulously categorized by specialists. It is possible to consult them by becoming a member of Genealogy Quebec through the Drouin Collection Records or the LAFRANCE.
Search Tools for Exploring the Register of Marriages in Quebec
Given the incredible number of documents collected and indexed in the records through the years, it was important to develop sophisticated search engines to better navigate through these informations. These tools allow to search precisely and trace relationships among individuals. The 1926-1997 marriages and deaths tool is part of the range of tools for exploring the available documents. The vast majority of marriages and deaths that occurred during those years were documented with this tool, itself equipped with a search engine. Thus, anyone who is doing genealogical research and knows that the parental relations they want to discover or confirm took place at that time will probably find useful documents. Other research tools are suitable for other periods. Therefore, it is possible to find marriage certificates having taken place in Quebec during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by using LAFRANCE. By doing so, genealogical portraits and related research are relatively easy to implement and support with several documents. This is a richness that is not available for all, because for many centuries, Quebec was particularly disciplined in keeping these kinds of records.
How to Use Marriage Records Search Engines
One must know that certain practices can complicate searching in these databases, including the spelling of names that may have changed over time. During research, it is advisable to first search more generally, limiting oneself to a family name and a date, if they are available. Then, if necessary, it will be possible to add parameters to refine your search. This technique increases the chances of finding relevant documents. If the results are inconclusive, the family name might have been written in other ways. The person conducting the research will then expand his or her search fields, for example using the character % as a result of the common root of the name (ex: Beau% to search for Beauregard, Beaulieu, Beaudoin, Beaudry, etc.). This form of research is broader and therefore slower, but it allows one to find documents that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Why Use a Register of Marriages for Genealogical Research?
Talk to any genealogy experts and they will tell you that registers are inexhaustible resources for tracing family ties to discover or confirm already known elements. The information found in these registers is usually very reliable. It has always been in the interest of religious and governmental authorities to collect very specific data about the province’s population. Today, genealogists continue to develop and improve these research tools, including those associated with the Quebec marriage records.
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.
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 1916. 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 LAFRANCEhere (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 firstLAFRANCE marriage (in other words, the first pre-1917 marriage) of your ancestry. You can browse the Men and Women series here, and the Kardexat this address.(subscription required).
Finding your ancestors using the LAFRANCE is easy once you find a marriage that predates 1917. 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 1917. You will be able to do so by using our Marriage1926-1997, Men series, Women series and Kardex tools.
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.
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 1917. 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 1917 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 @ institutdrouin.com, 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.
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.
Within minutes, Bertrand was able to find the first LAFRANCE mariage of his paternal ancestry.
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.
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.
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.
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 1917. 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Bertrand, Joseph Alfred Émile – Husband
(Bertrand), Antoine Wilfrid – Husband’s father
St-Aubin, Rose Anna – Husband’s mother
Michaud, Marie Lise Irène – Wife
(Michaud), Joseph Adolphe – Wife’s father
Bernard, Marie Lise Elisa – Wife’s mother
St Louis de France de Montréal – Parish
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 1917, 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.
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.
Bertrand’s maternal ancestry is completed.
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.
A search for a Desjardins and Bertrand couple in the Marriage 1926-1997 section allows us to find their marriage:
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.
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 @ institutdrouin.com if you have any questions regarding this guide or the process of retracing your ancestors.
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Our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page has been reworked to make it more relevant and simple to use. We will be adding to it as we receive inquiries from our users.
Search Tools page revamped
We have separated the 15 tools offered on GenealogyQuebec.com in 3 categories, in an attempt to make the website more beginner friendly.
Primary research tools
These are the most comprehensive and detailed tools available on the website. For most of our subscribers, these 3 tools will be sufficient to find their ancestors and retrace their lineage. All of these tools are equipped with a search engine.
Secondary research tools
These are our complimentary research tools. They are used to address potential gaps in searches made using our primary research tools, or to add additional sources and content to these searches. All of these tools are equipped with a search engine.
Archival fonds and databases
These tools use a file tree structure. They are not equipped with a search engine and must be browsed manually.
You may also notice that we have added documentation to the Search tools page. You can access it by clicking on More information next to the tool’s description. This documentation contains information about the type of documents, the region and the period covered by the tool, as well as a short tutorial.
Planète Généalogie additions to GenealogyQuebec.com
In our previous newsletter, we announced the acquisition of Planète Généalogie by the Drouin Institute, and the gradual addition of numerous collections to Genealogy Quebec resulting from this acquisition.
Here are the additions that have been made since the release of that newsletter:
Archives municipales (Municipal archives) (38 949 new images)
Can be browsed in the Drouin Institute’s miscellaneous collections tool, under 16 – Archives municipales.
Documents from the counties of Berthier, Joliette and Arthabaska. Directories and indexes of mayors and municipalities.
Union des Cantons de l’Est (1867 à 2008) (85 508 new images)
Can be browsed in the Kardextool, under 01_Fiches BMS.
These are files containing information (names, dates, locations) pertaining to various individuals who lived on the south shore of the St-Lawrence river.
With these additions, we have officially reached over 44 million images and files on GenealogyQuebec.com! This is another important milestone in our efforts to preserve and share the genealogical heritage of Quebec and New France, which wouldn’t be possible without our subscribers. Thank you!
Catholic baptisms 1850-1861 : 18 301 added records
Catholic burials 1850-1861 : 9183 added records
In addition, the corrections sent by our users over the past 2 months have been applied. You will find a list of the the parishes that have been updated at this address.
About 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 1916, ALL Catholic baptisms and burials celebrated in Quebec between 1621 and 1849 as well as ALL Protestant marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1760 and 1849. Baptisms and burials of the 1850-1861 period are added gradually through our bimonthly updates.
Over 20 000 death notices have been added to our free obituary section since our last update.
This section contains Canadian obituaries ranging from 1999 to this day. You can browse the collection free of charge here.
To conclude, the Drouin Institute team would like to wish you a happy holiday season as well as a new year filled with genealogical discoveries!
This section contains 660 family genealogies produced by the Drouin genealogical Institute over the course of the 20th century. These 660 genealogies total for over 230 000 pages. 203 genealogies are indexed by couple.
This section is separated in 2 categories.
Marriage search in the Family Genealogies
The marriages included in the Family Genealogies have been indexed and can be searched by the name of the spouses, the date of the marriage, or the name of the family for which the genealogy was produced.
The entire content of the Family Genealogies is presented in a file tree. The different sections are organized via separated folders.
You can browse the Drouin Institute’s Family Genealogies with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.
This tool contains all of the Great Collections published and edited by the Drouin Institute over the course of its existence.
Masculine (Men series): Alphabetical directory of all French-Canadian marriages from Quebec between 1760 and 1935, sorted by the groom’s surname.
Féminine (Woman series): Alphabetical directory of all French-Canadian marriages from Quebec between 1760 and 1935, sorted by the bride’s surname.
Histor: Directory of marriages files, including the origin of the subjects as well as a marriage contract. This collection covers all of the Catholic and Protestant marriages celebrated in Quebec between 1730 and 1825, as well as marriages celebrated in Western French forts such as Détroit. Also contains Acadian marriages.
Fiches Acadiennes (Acadian cards): This series contains 50 000 birth, marriage and death files of Acadian individuals.
Dossiers généalogiques Drouin: Contains the data collected before 1960 by Joseph and Gabriel Drouin in order to create their family genealogies.
Affinités généalogiques Drouin: Complement to the Dossiers généalogiques Drouin, contains various genealogical and historical documents.
Petit Drouin: Directory of Quebec Catholic marriages from 1760 to 1825.
Kardex Noir: The Kardex Noir was the predecessor to La Masculine (Men Series). Its content is similar.
Prévôté de Québec: Contains transcriptions of Prévôté de Québec hearings.
DNCF: Contains all of Quebec’s Catholic marriages from 1608 to 1760, with a short biography of a few ancestors.
Patrimoine familial: This series presents the life and genealogy of some famous or significant Quebec historical figures.
Patrimoine national: Contains baptism, marriage and burial directories as well as some Quebec cemeteries, produced by various authors.
Fiches franco-américaines (Franco-american files): These files contain an index of people which have been covered in the Guide Officiel Franco-Américain. The Guide Officiel Franco-Américain (GOFA) was a guide published annually in the United States pertaining to French-Americans. It contained short biographies of individuals with French roots living in the United States.
There are 2 tabs in this tool.
Search by family in the Great Collections
The search by family in the Great Collections allows you to search for a surname in one or many of the following collections:
La Masculine (Men Series)
La Féminine (Women Series)
Le Fichier Histor
Dossiers généalogiques Drouin
Fiches Acadiennes (Acadian cards)
After searching for a surname, you will obtain a list of results that includes every page where this family name is mentioned in the collections cited above. The results are in the same order in which they appeared when the Great Collections were initially published as books, which means that an individual whose first name begins with A is more susceptible to be on the first few pages than an individual named Zenophile.
In this tab, the collections are organized within a file tree.
Here is a schema explaining the structure of La Masculine (men series) et La Féminine (woman series):
You can browse the Drouin Institute’s Great collections with a subscription to Genealogy Quebec at this address.
In a previous article, we have shown using the family of Joseph Landry dit Penot and Marie Josèphe Coron dite Dauphinais how the PRDH family reconstructions, the centralization of all the vital events pertaining to a family, allow us to bring light to the living conditions of our ancestors. This exceptional couple, married in 1778, gave birth to an incredible 25 children, a great example of the natural fertility that prevailed in the absence of contraception and other social limitations.
Such a fertility rate would have been unsustainable due to the population increase resulting of so many births, had it not been for the mortality rate that was associated with the population of the time. Elevated mortality under the Old Regime made death an omnipresent part of our ancestors’ lives: it could happen at any age, contrarily to today, where it is mostly associated with old age. The infant mortality rate (death before the age of 1) was extremely high, and the children who did live past the age of 1 were still prone to sickness and accidents. Individuals reaching the age of 50 would be considered elderly. Men and women would die of malnutrition, work accidents, lack of proper hygiene as well as sickness, including smallpox epidemics that ravaged the population.
The information colligated by the PRDH allows us to put actual figures on these conditions. At the forefront is infant mortality rate. Between a quarter and a third of children born under the French Regime died before the age of 1, with a gradual increase over time, particularly in cities. Infant mortality rate is indeed directly linked to hygienic conditions and thus to the detrimental effects of overcrowding in cities. For example, 50% of children born in Montreal within the last few decades of the French Regime died before reaching their first birthday. Overall, less than half of the population would reach the average age of marriage, which was 20 years old for women, and 25 years old for men.
Marrying at the age of 25, an average man would go on living 39 more years, to the age of 64. An average woman, marrying at 20, would also go on living 39 more years, to the age of 59. Why such a disparity? Because 1.5% of childbirths would result in the death of the mother, which meant that on average over the course of her life, a woman had a 12% chance of dying while giving birth. This had a direct impact on the average length of marriages at the time: barely half of the married couples would reach their silver wedding anniversary. This also explains the frequency of remarriages, as the presence of two parents was necessary to raise a large family.
You are now acquainted with the average living conditions and mortality rates in Quebec during the XVII and XVIII centuries. How do these rates compare to those among your ancestors? Careful! You may notice that your ancestors fared better than what is being described in this article, which is entirely logical. If you are here today to research and explore your ancestors’ history, it is through an unbroken lineage going back to them. A lineage that is a testimony to their children’s survival, as well as their own…