For the past few years I have been researching my Quebec roots. I have relied almost completely on the Drouin Collection found on ancestry.com. I have supplemented that resource with the Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 browse collection found on familysearch.org. These two collections contain baptism, marriage, and burial records. They are in French, and often difficult to decipher because of poor quality scans. It has been an awesome adventure to learn how to read French records and piece my family tree together using these collections.
I got to the point that I needed to understand the other relevant collections for this area and how to use them and so began a journey that is still going on. Below is a list of my Quebec Resources so far.
The Drouin Collection on ancestry.com contains baptism, marriage and burial records. Most of it is indexed but the index is terribly inaccurate. Rather than spend time searching the index, I page through the parish books and search the handwritten indexes found at the back of each year. When I find a hit in the handwritten index I click through to the record. Some years don’t have this handwritten index and require a record by record search of the book. My family tended to live in small parishes so the books are typically 13-30 pages long. Occasionally I’ll find a year that is more like 60 pages long. The tricky thing about working this way is that when my family moves to a different parish, I can’t always pick them up in the ancestry index and I have some families in my tree with obvious gaps between children. The images in this collection are often poor quality and difficult to read.
The Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 browse collection found on familysearch.org is part of a larger collection that contains a small portion of indexed records. The majority of the records are not indexed and can be browsed like a microfilm, one page at a time. The images are different from the images on ancestry. The familysearch images are the original parish records and the Drouin Collection are the civil copies created each year for the courts, read more about this here. Because the two collections contain the same records but different copies of the records it’s important to know how to use both collections so if you come across a record that is not legible you can try the other collection. The familysearch collection is broken into much larger groups of years and takes a lot longer to search through. In my experience though the images are so much better that it’s worth the time spent.
The PRDH. This website has so much available and I’m only just beginning to understand how much. So far these items on their website have been helpful for me:
- The map of parishes.
- This article on names. Which, among other things, helps explain the “dit” names found in so many records.
- This search box to check for “dit” names.
- The free record search. I have not yet paid for any records but I have used this record search to help me identify potential records and then I’ve found those records in the Drouin collection or the familysearch collection.
- The Pioneer Page. I have not yet identified my pioneers – the ancestors who traveled from France to Quebec – but eventually I’ll get there. When the time comes, I look forward to using this search page.
This “dit” name list found on rootsweb.
The Facebook group Genealogy Translations has been essential for help translating certain records. For the most part I can do it with the help of google translate, my french speaking friends and family, and various other online helps, but some records are just so crucial that I seek a translation from someone with more experience.
I recently joined the Facebook group Quebec Genealogy. It has already been a big help. Among other things, I have begun going through a list of online resources that is posted on the files page. I look forward to finding more record collections and websites from this list. I’m also looking forward to the help that will come from a community of people researching in the same area.
Maple Stars and Stripes is something I have just stumbled upon. I can tell it is a gem of a website and have just signed up for their emails.
The last resource is not a Quebec resource but has helped me with my descendancy research on my Quebec lines. This online collection of Ontario obituaries has been very helpful as several of my lines moved from Quebec to Ontario in the early 1900s.
I look forward to adding to this list. I am fascinated by this part of my tree. I actually have three different branches of my tree that go back to the early French settlers in Quebec. I hope to eventually get back to France and understand why my family chose to come to Quebec. In order to do that I want to make sure I know about the record collections and websites that might help me.
Do you have any Quebec ancestors? What resources do you like?