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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: Quebec Non-Francophone Ancestors by Althea Douglas M.A., CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Unique Research Methods in Québec
The ANQ—Les Archives nationales du Québec
The Québec National Archives, hereafter ANQ, was once located in Québec City, but about thirty years ago, it split into nine regional archives:
| Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspé
| Rimouski North Shore [Gulf of St. Lawrence]
| Saguenay - Lac St-Jean
| l’Estrie [Eastern Townships]
| Mauricie - Bois-Franc
|| Three Rivers|
| Outaouais [Ottawa River Valley]
| Abitibi - Témiscamingue
|| Noranda |
| **Direction de l’Est du Québec
|| Québec City |
| **Direction de l’Ouest du Québec
|| Montréal |
The addresses are given in the Address List, or you can check for current addresses.
The ANQ’s latest handout sheet includes a map showing the boundaries of the various regions, but this is not on the Internet.
Note: After years in an old building on Mullins Street in Point St. Charles, in May 2000 the Montréal branch of the ANQ moved into an impressive historic building on Place Viger, facing the former CPR Station and hotel. Once the home of l’École des Hautes Études Commerciales this building was built in 1908-1910 by Gauthier and Daoust, architects, and has been beautifully restored, especially the atrium-like salle de consultation.
Direction des Archives Nationales de l’Ouest du Québec
535, avenue Viger est, Montréal (Québec) H2L 2P3
Telephone: (519) 873-6000
What the Branches Hold
In the 1970s it was thought best to have each region hold the records of the local governments, judicial districts (including baptisms, marriages and burials), notarial records, and private papers of individuals, for its own area. For example, the fonds of Philemon Wright, founder of Hull, are in the Hull Branch. For genealogists, nine ANQ branches were better than some fifty plus Prothonotary Courts.
A computerized index/inventory (originally named “Saphir”), of all the holdings of all branches (printouts of which are available in microform), plus microfilm or microfiche of many records, link this divided system. However, more and more, the records are being consolidated at the centres in Montréal and Québec City. Even so, you can manage basic research from any centre. Any staff I have dealt with have been friendly and helpful, though busy, and most speak adequate to fluent English. Usually someone is able to answer correspondence in English though response time may be slow.
Government records and most documents are, naturally, in French, as are most archival finding aids, instruction leaflets, and signs. Regional archives usually issue their own French language “Guide du Chercheur en Généalogie”, relating to their regional holdings and an English translation may be available. There may or may not be indexes, card or otherwise, for various regional records. One nice thing about Québec is that women keep their maiden names throughout their life, at least in legal documents and official registrations, so always check indexes under maiden names.
Most ANQ branches have listings of their holdings of microfilms and published vital records, as well as copies of any court-generated indexes to local records. In the Hull ANQ branch, the “Chartrand Index” is regularly updated, but beware of the copy at the Archives of Canada in Ottawa, theirs is the 8th edition of 1993, and very, very out of date.
The records of Québec Notaries are an important source of information on estates, land transfers and marriage contracts. Most that are over 100 years old are with the ANQ. The archivists can usually guide you into these records which are well indexed. On the other hand, the sorts of records early “English” settlements may have kept (Township Books, Justice of the Peace, Quarter Sessions, etc.) do not fit French Québec patterns, nor are they useful for Francophone genealogy. If they survive at all, they may be hard to find among the judicial and municipal records. Consult the Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories for possible holdings in smaller museums and libraries. Remember that Lower Canada Marriage Bonds and original Crown grant Land Papers are at the Archives in Ottawa.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Quebec Non-Francophone Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.