Quebec Notarial Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Quebec,  Canada
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Location of Quebec, Canada
Record Description
Record Type Notorial Records
Collection years 1800-1920
Languages French
Title in the Language Québec, actes de notaires
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Bibliothèque et Archive Nationales du Québec

Why Should I Look at these Records?

The various acts contain a variety of information important to family history. The names of siblings, wives, and children and other information about family relationships can be found in notarial records. The type and quality of this information depends on the type of act and the items it covered.

What is in the Collection?

This collection contains records dating from 1800 to 1920.

This collection contains vital records including births, marriages, deaths, and a card index. These images are provided with the cooperation of Bibliothèque and Archives Nationales du Québec.

Notarial records contain a variety of legal acts. This collection may contain the following:

  • Marriage contracts
  • Wills
  • Deeds
  • Inventories
  • Agreements and settlements
  • Transfers of property
  • Donations (pre-wills)
  • Legal documents
  • Guardian records
  • Indenture records

The following districts are included in the collection:

  • Bedfored
  • Bonaventure
  • Chicoutimi
  • Hull
  • Iberville
  • Joliette
  • Montmagny
  • Montréal
  • Québec
  • Roberval
  • Saguenay
  • Saint-François
  • Saint-Hyacinthe
  • Terrebonne

Notarial records (actes notariés or minutes de notaire) are records prepared by a notary (notaire or protonotaire, but sometimes tabellion or scrivener). Notaries are important officials in Quebec, Louisiana, France, and other countries where a civil code based on Roman law is in force. Among other matters, notarial records deal with estates and inheritances.

The Quebec notarial records in this collection are images of bound documents. Most of the records are handwritten in French. Generally, the records begin with a title page that gives the date and time the record was made, the name of the notary, and the parties involved.

These records are written in French.

In Quebec, "notaires" (notaries) have registered contracts since 1626. These include deeds, wills, marriage contracts, and other records. The persons involved in the contracts received the originals. The notaries kept copies. The copies are called "minutes."

Each document in a notary's minutes gives at least the name of the notary, the date and place the document was prepared, the names and addresses of the persons involved, and the names and addresses of the witnesses. The ages and relationships of the witnesses and the persons involved are sometimes included.

Notarial records are usually listed by the name of the notary and the dates he functioned. They are not normally indexed by the names of the persons involved in the contract.

Notarial records are first sent to the judicial archives, but they are eventually deposited in the branches of the Archives Nationales du Québec.

Most legal contracts in Quebec had to be notarized by a notary. So the majority of such documents can be found in collections of notarial records. However, marriages were often preformed by the Catholic church and were sometimes not notarized, so when looking for marriage contracts, it is advisable to check church records as well.

These documents are generally reliable depending on the information provided by those who participated in the creation of the documents.

Notarial records for each notary are arranged chronologically, so records with the most value to the family historian are mixed with other written agreements such as conveyances of land and other property, bonds for the payment of money, and deeds of partnership. Some early marriage contracts were prepared by priests and may not be in the notarial records.

Sample Images

Records may contain the following information:

  • Name and age of deceased
  • Name of spouse, children
  • Names of heirs and other family members
  • Date of marriage
  • Date of death
  • Date of notary

How Do I Search the Collection?

View Images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.
Once you've reached the browse page, follow these instructions to get to the images:
⇒Select the appropriate “Judicial District”
⇒Select the appropriate “Notary, Record Type, Years and File Numbers,” which will take you to the images.

Search the collection by image, comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

As you are searching, it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

What do I do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, Now What?

  • Read the document very carefully to figure out any relationships that might be mentioned. These relationships may be key to doing further research.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, Now What?

  • Try to narrow down the time period and the possible location for the records you are looking for. This collection is set up for browsing (you cannot use the search feature to find a specific individual), and you may have to browse through several records before finding the records you need.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing Bibliothèque et Archive Nationales du Québec.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.