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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 ($).
Religious Records—Published Sources
If Québec’s original records and published data are unique in their completeness; like so much else in Québec, the search for records can be delicate. Marriage indexes are more prevalent than cemetery transcripts, and material produced by the “English” has more similarities to that which is published in other parts of the country. Fortunately, the original records for several large regions of the Protestant “Others” in the “English” Eastern Townships have been indexed.
St. Francis District
This area takes in the south-western townships and those around Sherbrooke. Births, Marriages and Burials are all indexed.
Mariages Non-Catholiques du District Judiciaire de St-François, de 1815 à 1879 inclus/Marriages in the District of St. Francis of the Eastern Townships, Québec, 1815-1879: from the church records of sixteen religious denominations, catholics not included (2 volumes); Naissances Non-Catholiques/Births etc. … (2 volumes) and Décès Non-Catholiques/ Deaths etc. … 2 volumes (Sherbrooke, Québec: Société de Généalogie des Cantons de l’Est Inc. c. 1987 - 199?). These works are bilingual, so there will be no language problem, though when using a computer catalogue you may find the French title is given first.
This area is north of the St. Francis District and was settled by Scottish and Irish settlers, many of whom travelled on Craig’s Road from Québec City.
The Anglo-Protestants of Megantic County, Repertory of Births, Marriages and Burials, 1826-1991, Robert Boutin, comp., Paul Vachon, sup. ed., (Thetford Mines, Québec: Société généalogique de la région de l’Amiante, ca. 1992).
District of Bedford and Other Regions
Bedford is comprised the counties of Missisquoi, Brome and Shefford, the western portion of the Eastern Townships. Ralph Neil Broadhurst, of Kintracers in Calgary, has compiled an index of the marriages, and indexed births in Shefford Co.
- Protestant marriages in the District of Bedford, Québec, 1804-1879: from the church records of eight religious denominations representing seventy congregations (Calgary: Kintracers, 1991).
- Protestant births and baptisms, Shefford County, Québec, 1822-1879 (1992). This work is also by Ralph Neil Broadhurst.
- Marlene Simmons, whose field of expertise also is the Townships, has compiled several indexes as well as many other research tools:
- Sutton Township, Québec, 1850-1899: births, marriages and burials in the Protestant civil registers (Pointe Claire, Québec: Québec Family History Society, 1994).
- Christ Church, Anglican, Sorel, Québec, 1784-1899: index to baptisms, marriages and burials (Pointe Claire: QFHS, c. 1999).
For Montréal, the Québec Family History Society has indexed Marriages 1766-1850: Christ Church Cathedral, Montréal, Québec, Canada (QFHS, 1991). Other indexes and transcripts are listed in the sections on Cemeteries and Newspapers, and because new work is coming out all the time, do check the latest bibliographies and websites.
Roman Catholic Marriages
Because parents names are given, if you find a Catholic marriage, you can work back a generation. If you can find the parent’s marriage, back you go another generation. The result is that Marriage Indexes have become an important, and unique genealogical tool in Québec. Individual genealogists and Genealogical Societies across the province have been indexing parish and county marriage records for several decades, to the point where almost every parish is completed, and they have started on Births (Naissances) and Burials (Sépulture or Décès). Even the Protestants have been caught in the net so be sure to check just what churches are included, particularly in areas with an “English” population.
Répertoire des …
| répertoire [repertwa:r]
|| m alphabetical list, index, directory|
|| m card file index, data file|
|| directory published annually (eg. telephone book) |
Remember that many Répertoire des mariages de… were prepared and published before the “Dark Ages” of the Privacy Laws descended, and once published, are open to the public. For Roman Catholic families in Québec, regardless of language, the many Répertoire des mariages… are easy to use. The two large marriage indexes, Drouin and Loiselle, which cover the whole province and bordering areas, as well as those for a specific county or parish, normally give marriage date, parish, and the names of the parents of the bride and groom. Start with a known couple, find their marriage, and with luck, you can trace a family line back to seventeenth century France (or Ireland) very quickly.
It is a great temptation to do so and boast of the results, but, of course, such a direct lineage does not include siblings, much less collateral lines. Moreover, human error is ever-present in indexes and I have found enough mistakes in both dates and names, not to mention missing entries, that I could never advise accepting these secondary sources as proof positive. The two big indexes are:
This is a card index of marriages, 1642-1963, prepared by Père Antoine Loiselle, in microform as a set of microfiche that fill four card-file drawers, two for the women’s names, and two for the men. Take care! the names are alphabetical by surname but then, alphabetical by surname of spouse rather than Christian name of indexee.
Institut Généalogique Drouin
The Institut published an index of marriages, by the name of the groom in: Répertoire alphabetique des mariages des Canadiens-français 1760-1935, 49 volumes (Longueuil, Québec: Services généalogiques Claude Drouin, ca. 1989-1990), and by the name of the bride: Répertoire alphabetique des mariages des Canadiens-français 1760-1935: ordre feminin, 64 volumes (Montréal: Institut généalogique Drouin, [1991?]). Each volume has two sections, related (but not always) to the marriage date, alphabetical by surname, then by first (Christian) name, then by surname of spouse.
Be sure to check both sections of each volume. Sometimes an entry for an early date that should properly be in the first section, turned up too late and was included in part two.
|There is a third section, available on microfilm, which includes marriages between 1930 and 1940, as well as marriages missed or omitted from the first two volumes, and some celebrated outside Québec. While the published volumes are available in many places, the microfilm is not well known or widely available.|
This is an index-card file at the Archives in Ottawa (MG 25, G 231), now on microfilm. It is primarily a tool for French Catholic research, applying only occasionally to the “English”. Many other smaller and regional indexes will provide more detailed information.
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