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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: French Canadian Ancestors  by Louise St Denis. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

French-Canadian Surnames

In genealogy, we are searching for information on a name. So let’s look at researching French-Canadian surnames on the Internet. It is easy to suffer from information overload on the Internet, so planning your research is essential if you do not want to get lost in cyberspace. You will find mountains of information and some will be of little value to you. You’ll have to learn to skim pages, bookmarks pages that appear worth perusing, and after a while, when you get tired of skimming, go back to those pages you bookmarked. If you find nothing of interest, try again later. The Internet is always changing.

It also means that when you find something of interest take note of it or print it. It might have moved or have been removed in the future. A word a caution, do not believe everything you read on the Internet. Everybody can publish on the Internet. Treat the information you find as hints to search and verify further.

First, a word about personal family pages―you will find lots. They are set-up by individuals or families with specific research interests. These pages tend to be highly focused and present common elements―lists of surnames, online databases, ancestor and descendant charts, family photos, and favorite links.

In French-Canadian genealogy, you will often come across pages written in French. If you need help to understand the language, Google Translatecan be very helpful.

Web pages are there for a very good reason. The Internet is a place to find and exchange with like-minded people. You will find cousins that can have a lot of information of interest to you. The very best way to communicate such information is through a personal family page. This way you do not have to wait a long time while a long GEDCOM downloads or receive a thick document in the mail. You can look up the personal page, copy what is of interest and go on. After a while, you will likely visit personal family pages only when referred by an Internet contact with whom you have found common ancestors.

Here are a few websites with information on surnames, family associations, which can be very helpful since they specialize in the surname pioneers. On some, you can even use a search engine or leave a query:

RootsWeb - Surname List - Search 

Fédération québécoise des sociétés de généalogie

Fédération des association de familles du Québec

Genealogy Toolbox

Surname Web - Surname Genealogy Search

Fichier Huguenots / Huguenots database 


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Research: French Canadian Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 25 November 2014, at 15:55.
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