Sunday, 8 April 2018

Finding Your Ancestors in Quebec

The Finding Your Ancestors Series - resources to each province in Canada

I don't profess to being an expert in each Canadian province, but I have tried to find researchers who live in the local area.  Please do explore and settle in for a good read, 'cos there's a lot of detail!

In my teens our family did visit both Quebec and Newfoundland briefly. We visited the Quebec Parliament where I attempted to interpret the debates using my high school French. The Plains of Abraham and La Citadelle were fascinating, as well as Chateau Frontenac. 

Chateau Frontenac
Credit: CCO public domain

Although most official records for Quebec are in French, you will find English is well represented. To give a perspective of space for our European genealogy colleagues: the distance between Montreal and Toronto is 542 km or 336 miles. The province is predominantly French speaking. 

Message to new genealogists researching their Quebec ancestors: although the ship manifest may state Montreal or Quebec as a destination, your ancestor may have settled there initially but moved into Ontario or points westward. As well, it is worthwhile to use the term 'French-Canadian' in your online research arsenal.

Brief History
The first recorded explorer in Quebec is Jacques Cartier. After his arrival in 1535 he visited an Iroquoian villiage called Hochelaga. This is now the site of  the city of Montreal. Another explorer, Samuel de Champlain was instrumental in the founding of 'New France' which was later known as Lower Canada. This entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia provides quite a lot of history and overall facts about the province.

Mothers of New France (Quebec) :  Filles du Roi - women sent to the New World in 1663 by King Louis XIV of France to ensure that the population increased and to secure his claim to the new land. Canadian Museum of History Fille du Roi. Millions of descendants in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide can claim their lineage from these 770 women!

For Genealogists
This page from the PRDH Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH, Research Programme in Historical Demography) at the Université de Montréal  gives a background on the emigration of people from France and outlines family names of first settlers - in the province. The PRDH does have a searchable database - requires registration and eventually a credit card.

These free websites should be your first stopping ground for Quebec genealogy.
Cangenealogy Quebec is Dave Obee's site.
Library & Archives Canada Quebec is the Government of Canada's Genealogy page for Quebec. Family Search - Quebec. 
Also Olive Tree Genealogy is a great list of resources for Quebec Genealogy (TIP: Ctrl and + keys for larger text).
Births Marriages and Deaths - contains links to each province's searchable database of BMDs

Your next stop the family history society website Quebec Family History Society

as well as the Libraries and Archives in Quebec.
BAnQ - Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (Library, Archive & Museum),
Libraries Association of QuebecL’Association des archivistes du Québec (AAQ)  - en français.

The Genealogical Site of French America - this site allows  you to search so many different types of data. In order to conduct searches, you will need to register with a username and password. It is a very large and powerful site, and eventually will need to provide payment. 

Acadian and French Canadian Ancestral Home  Acadian genealogy is described as the research of families who are descended from French citizens in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI.  Best links for Acadian research.  Irish Ancestors in Quebec City - provides links to a number of resources and databases - Catholic records   Grosse Isle and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site

Quebec E-Resources

Print Resources (only a few)

Books and Resources to purchase for Quebec genealogy

King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: the Filles du Roi, 1663 -1673 Gagné, Peter J. Pawtucket R.I.: Quintin Publications

Les Passengers Du Saint-Andre. Montreal: Societe Genealogique Canadienne-Francaise, No. 5. 1964.

Montreal Directory 1868-69: containing an Alphabetical Directory of the Citizens and a Street Directory. Lovell, John. Milton, Ontario: Global Heritage Press, 2000. See Quebec E-Resources.

French-Canadian Sources: A Guide for Genealogists by Patricia Keeney Geyh, Joyce Soltis Banachowski, Linda Boyea.

Quebec Genealogists' Blogs or articles about Quebec
Seminaire de Quebec

Researchers Located in Quebec 


    1. Interesting that you include the reprint of the Lovell 1868-69 street directory, but did not mention that the Lovell directories from 1842 to 2010 are all available online and fully searchable. Perhaps you are not aware of the resource?

    2. Hello Nancy,
      Thank you for your comment, I will add this to the information above. You are quite correct, I did not know about this resource. Great to have help from those on the ground! Tx!