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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 ($).

Newspapers

Today, news is disseminated in so many ways that we often take it for granted. But years ago, newspapers were the only way people would get information from Europe or the United States, and they also published stories of everyday life experiences. These can be very interesting yet also very helpful to the genealogist.

Take for example death notices. It was not uncommon to read a death notice that would not only contain information about the death of a certain person. The notice would also tell the story about that person’s life, their occupation, their accomplishments, and their family. It could also contain detailed information about the death itself, who attended the funeral and finally the reception following the funeral.

Marriage notices often included a story about the wedding and the reception. You were told what the bride’s dress looked like and what the mother of the bride wore, what food was served. You can paint a picture for your family history from all the information you are given.

Court sessions are covered in detail. Often everyone who attended the court that day was listed.

If your ancestor was in business for himself, you can often find interesting information in the advertising sections.

La Gazette de Québec was the first newspaper in Québec and was first published in the second half of the 18th century. It was a bilingual paper.

The Montréal Gazette followed shortly after, then the Québec Gazette. Through the years, there were many newspapers published.

Most important papers have been microfilmed. Many large libraries have these microfilms on hand for your review. Some smaller newspapers have also been microfilmed.

Bibliothéque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ) has a number of digitized Québec newspapers online available at the above link . There are over 100 newspapers of the early 19th century through to the 20th. Most are in French but there are several which had been printed in English.

Again if many of your ancestors came from a certain location check with the local library to see which newspapers are available for research.

One other important source you may want to use is PERSI (PERiodical Source Index) which is an index of periodical articles.

It is unfortunate that newspapers are not used as much as they should be. Researching can be quite tedious since very few indexes are available.

But if you have the time, you may be quite surprised by what you just might find. The stories you may uncover will certainly bring colour to your family history.



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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 wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 24 November 2014, at 21:04.
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