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The names of several thousand Québec men disappeared from local church registers because they went west to work in the fur trade. Some of the contracts they signed are in notarial records. (See the "Notarial Records" section of this outline.) Some of those records have been inventoried in:
Massicotte, E. Z. Répertoire des engagements pour l'Ouest conservés dans les archives judiciaires de Montréal 1670–17 (Repertory of Contracts for the West Preserved in the Montréal Judicial Archives 1670–17). Rapport de l'archiviste de la province de Québec pour 1929–1930 (Report of the Archivist of the Province of Québec [RAPQ], 1929–1930): 191–466. (FHL book 971.4 A5r 1929–1930.) Text in French. Gives the name of the man who signed the contract and sometimes his home parish, the name of his employer, the name of the notary, and the date of the original contract. An index of names is at the end of the volume.
The inventories continue up to the contracts of 1821. They are in the following annual volumes of the RAPQ series:
Annual Volume Contracts
1930–31, 1931–32, 1932–33 up to 1778
1942–43, 1943–44, 1945–46 1788–1821
Names of about 20,000 men are included in the above series. For detailed information, consult the original notarial records.
In 1821, the Hudson's Bay Company merged with the North West Company to monopolize the fur trade in western North America. Names of many French Canadians are included in the Hudson's Bay Company records. Those records are described in the "Business Records and Commerce" section of the Canada Research Outline (34545).
A bibliography of additional sources about people in the fur trade is:
Hansen, James L. Voyageurs and Habitants: Tracing the Early French in the Great Lakes Region, National Genealogical Society Conference in the States (1995: San Diego, California). San Diego, A Place to Explore: Syllabus. Two Volumes. [Arlington, Virginia, USA]: National Genealogical Society, 1995, 2:688–91. (FHL book 973 D25ngsc 1995.)
Some of the sources in the "Genealogy" section of this outline give more information about Québec men in the fur trade.
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