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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 ($).

Order Of Action

When researching ancestors it is important to know what to do, but it is equally as important to know what not to do. You can save numerous research hours by knowing which steps you should take and in which order to take those steps. This is our recommend order of action:

  1. Gather information available from your family.
  2. Find out where the closest genealogical society, specializing in French-Canadian research is located. Discover what is in their collection.
  3. Find out where the closest public library with a good genealogical department is located. Check what is in their collection.
  4. Find out where the closest Family History Center is located. Discover what is available through them. Remember to check the FamilySearch website to find out what has been digitized and available online.
  5. Join a genealogical society specializing in French-Canadian research. Hopefully this society will have a good research library. You will be able to discuss with other members problems you are encountering and receive suggestions as to what your next action should be.
  6. You may also want to join a society specializing in the location where your ancestors lived. Members of that society will know what terrific resources are available locally. These resources may not necessarily be available close to where you live.
  7. When you feel you have researched through all available records locally, then start looking at what can be borrowed through interlibrary loan.
  8. And finally, you may want to travel to larger centres, such as Montréal, and access larger collections.

The amount of information and the research tools available to enable you to find your French-Canadian ancestors is mind boggling. Unfortunately, too many researchers waste so much time simply because they are not aware of what is available and where it can be found. Make it your first challenge, before starting your actual research, to find out where you can find the information you need. You will discover that you will save a lot of time on the research side by spending some time initially doing your homework.

The Internet

The Internet are a very big part of genealogical research. And that is certainly true for research of French-Canadian research. Most genealogical societies now have their own homepage. Lists and searchable databases are appearing on different areas of research.

But the Internet is always changing and whatever is listed there could be out of date before long.

So all we would like you to remember is this. Do not neglect the Internet, but do not only rely on it for information. Many individuals have completed their family lineage through the Internet. This does not mean they found the factual information on the Internet, but they hooked up with someone who had already traced that particular family line.

You can join news groups, pose questions or answer someone else’s question. You will need to familiarize yourself with what is out there of interest to your individual research.

Useful Links

Never overlook the search power of Google or any other search engines. Many times names and families being researched can be located on the Internet after conducting a simple search.

With millions of names and thousands of family trees and databases, RootsWeb is an indispensable, free tool. ($)
Six databases form part of the Drouin collection―the ultimate for French-Canadian research. The original parish, notary and other records were microfilmed in the 1940s for generations to use for research. They stem back to the early colonization of New-France in the 17th century to the mid 20th century. Not all registers have survived. The databases are:

  • Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946
  • Québec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
  • Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954
  • Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
  • Québec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection), 1647-1942
  • Miscellaneous French Records (Drouin Collection), 1651-1941

Also available on the website are the following databases:

  • Québec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890. This is a collection of genealogies in several books written by Cyprien Tanguay. Be aware, there are known errors in his books, so as any good researcher, always confirm indexes with original records.
  • Québec City Area, Marriage Contract Index, 1761-1940 These are marriage contracts between 1761 and 1940 in the Québec City area. Marriage contracts were often used to ratify a contract between a groom and bride’s family. The information contained therein can be crucial for your research. It may contain, age, place of residence, parents’ names, where the ancestor originated from, occupation, his worth and other information.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery
Located in Montréal, Québec, the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery Index covers the period 1849 to 2011. The database contains the names of the persons who were buried in this Catholic cemetery.

BMS2000 ($)
BMS2000 is an index which contains millions of baptisms, marriages and burials from Québec, Ontario and some United States records. This index is compiled from published repertories.

Généalogie Québec Québec Records ($)
This website is managed by the Institut généalogique Drouin appears to be truly the main player in the Québec genealogy databases. It incorporates several databases, namely the entire Drouin parish register images available for download. These images are often clearer than those available on Ancestry. Although not indexed, these parish registers can be used in conjunction with the LAFRANCE database, an index of baptisms and marriages from parish registers.

Several other collections are available and useful, for example the 1926-1996 Québec marriages and deaths. The marriages have images attached to the database, and can be searched by names. The Kardex and Loiselle are two other databases with images of mostly marriages from Québec, Ontario and the United States. The Connoly File is another index of some six million baptisms, marriages and deaths.

The databases available are:

  • Registres du Fonds Drouin (Drouin Collection records)
  • Grandes collections (Great collections)
  • Autres registres et documents (Parish records and documents)
  • Mariages et décès 1926-1996 (Québec Marriages and Deaths 1926-1996)
  • Le Nécrologe du Groupe-Nécro (Groupe-Nécro Obituaries)
  • Petit NBMDS (Little BMDs)
  • Le Fichier Connolly (Connolly File)
  • Le Kardex
  • Le Fichier Antonin-Loiselle (Antonin-Loiselle File)
  • Généalogies familiales de l’Institut Drouin (Drouin Institute Family genealogies)
  • Recensements du Québec et de l’Ontario (Québec and Ontario censuses)
  • Contrats notariés (Notarized documents) Cartes postales (Postcards)
  • L’Annuaire des citoyens du Québec (Québec citizen directory―at the time of update these course materials this was not available)


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 24 November 2014, at 21:55.
  • This page has been accessed 637 times.