Quebec Church Records

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Quebec Research Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Quebec Background
Ethnicity
Local Research Resources

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

  • The largest religious group in Québec is the Roman Catholic Church. The first Catholic parish register was for Notre-Dame de Québec, founded in 1621.
  • From 1679 to 1993, most vital records for Québec were copies of church records. The province required churches to send copies to government archives.
  • On 1 January 1994, the government began to keep separate vital records.
  • Vital records could be registered civilly without a church record as early as 1926. Beginning in the 1960s, many births and marriages were recorded only in civil registers.

Protestant[edit | edit source]

  • The earliest Protestant records are from 1766, when the Church of England (Anglican) parishes were founded in Montréal. Presbyterian records date from 1770 in the city of Québec and 1779 in Montréal. Other non-Catholic groups came later.
  • Protestant church records are not as extensive as the Catholic records. Clergy of legally recognized Protestant groups were required to send duplicate copies of their church records to the civil archives. They did not always do it.
  • Also, baptisms and marriages performed by some non-Catholic clergy were not recognized by civil authorities until 1825 or later. Beginning in 1825, the registers of various denominations were "authenticated" (given legal authority) by the legislative assembly.
  • Many Protestant registers contain less information than the Catholic records. For example, many marriage records do not list the parents of the bride or groom.

Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caution sign.png

Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available. Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, relationships, and other details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!

FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Methodist[edit | edit source]

University of Montreal[edit | edit source]

The Drouin Collection[edit | edit source]

The Drouin Collection has six databases:
  1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967
  2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967
  3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954
  4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946
  5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942
  6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941.
For details about this six databases, see The Drouin Collection: Six Databases.

Loiselle Card Index[edit | edit source]

Jacques-Henri Fabien Collection[edit | edit source]

  • 1657-1974 - Jacques-Henri Fabien Collection This collection of microfilm consists of genealogical information over the period 1657 to 1974, distributed on more than 250,000 cards, mostly for marriages, that indicate date and place, names of spouses and their parents. The collection includes parishes in the Outaouais region of Québec and Ontario, some parishes in Eastern and Northern Ontario, counties of Pontiac, Vaudreuil, Châteauguay, Huntingdon, Beauharnois, l'Assomption, Laval, Deux-Montagnes and Argenteuil, in Quebec.

Other Marriage Indexes[edit | edit source]

Canadiana Online[edit | edit source]

Canadian Research Knowledge Network[edit | edit source]

In 2018, CRKN merged with Canadiana.org, an organization dedicated to the preservation and access of Canada’s documentary heritage since 1978.

Canadian Research Knowledge Network
411 - 11 Holland Avenue
Ottawa, ON
K1Y 4S1
Canada

Phone:(613)907.-7040

Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed and/or digitized records for churches in the Canada.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under Québec, the county, or a town.
  • Because the churches gave copies of their records to the government for civil registration, search under both thhe "Church records" and "Civil registration" topics.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
  • To find records:
a. Click on the records of Canada, Québec.
b. Click on the "Church records" and "Civil registration" topics. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Or, click on Places within Canada, Québec at the top of the page, and a list of provinces will appear.
d. Click on your province.
e. Click on the "Church records" and "Civil registration" topics. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
f. Next, click on Places within Canada, Québec, [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
g. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
h. Click on the "Church records" and "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
i. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Consult available finding aids.[edit | edit source]

These aids generally provide lists of records that are known to exist and information on their location.


Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the French Letter Writing Guide for help with composing letters.

Addresses[edit | edit source]

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

National Archives of Québec: Catholic and Protestant Records[edit | edit source]

National Archives of Québec (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec--BAnQ
535, avenue Viger Est
Montreal (Quebec) H2L 2P3
Canada
Telephone: 514 873-1100 or 1 800 363-9028 or 514 873-1101 extension 6260
Fax: 514 873-2980
E-mail:archives.montreal@banq.qc.ca
Branch Addresses


University of Montreal: Catholic and Protestant Records[edit | edit source]

University of Montreal Archives

  • Quebec and French Canadian Genealogy Database is a paid subscription service that allows users to instantly search all registers. The university (for research into demography) has each person numbered and all appearances of each individual (subject, witness, parent, child, etc.) are linked together. This is a database only. While it is based on parish and other original records, it  does not have links to those original records.   A number of  burials for individuals dying after 1799 have been added to this database.  Generally these are individuals born before about 1750. 

Anglican Church of Canada[edit | edit source]

For the Anglican Diocese of Québec

Archives and Special Collections
Bishop's University
31 rue des Jardins
Québec QC
CANADA G1R 4L5
Phone: 418-692-3858

The University Archives are stored off-site; arrangements must be made with the archivist prior to your visit.


Archives of the Anglican Church of Canada
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 3G2
Canada
Phone: (416) 924-9192

  • Directory for Canadian Anglican Archives across the country, including General Synod archives and archives for dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces. Contains contact information and chief archivist for each. Each Diocesan archives is responsible for retaining records created by the respective diocese and they also hold the historical parish records for each diocese which includes the parish birth, marriage and death records. Where noted some archival records are accessible at the local university or provincial archives. Genealogical enquiries requiring baptismal, marriage, or burial parish registers need to be addressed to the diocese in which the event took place. If you don’t know what diocese the event took place e-mail the General Synod Archives at archives@national.anglican.ca
  • Parish Registers Inquiry Form Send to the diocese where the baptism, marriage, or burial took place.

Baptist Records[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Baptist Archives
McMaster Divinity College
1280 :Main Street West  Room 152
Hamilton, ON   L8S 4K1 :
CANADA
Fax:  905-577-4782
Phone: (905) 525-9140 :x23511 or x23512

  • Several hundred Baptist congregations have deposited their original records in the Archives, which also contains the official records of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, Union d’Eglises Baptist Francaises au Canada, and other organizations.
  • Genealogical Research Policy (1 August 2020): Genealogical researchers have found the Canadian Baptist Archives (CBA) to be of assistance in accessing important information about family members. Genealogical researchers are always welcome to come and use the archives in person at no cost. Before researchers arrive at the archives, the archivist can provide upon request a list of material that may be relevant to their research. All other information relating to fees and services can be found on the Fees Information web page. Starting September 1, 2011, due to our limited hours of operation, the CBA will no longer perform genealogical research for patrons. Patrons that cannot come to the archives in person will need to hire a professional researcher to do this work for them.

Lutheran Records[edit | edit source]

Wilfrid Laurier University Archives and Special Collections
75 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5
Canada
Phone:519.884.0710 x3906
E-mail:libarch@wlu.ca

  • Catalog
  • The Archives holds the records of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (and predecessors) and also the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (and predecessors). Holdings include the records of hundreds of Lutheran congregations across Canada.

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Once the largest Christian denomination in English-speaking Canada, in 1925 some 70 per cent of its congregations joined with the Methodist Church, Canada and the Congregationalist Union to form the United Church of Canada. [1]

  • A few pre-1925 Presbyterian records are available through the Presbyterian Church in Canada:
Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives
50 Wynford& Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1J7
Canada
416-441-1111 ext. 310
  • Most Presbyterian records are at archives of the United Church of Canada. 
United Church of Canada Archives
40 Oak Street
Toronto, ON M5A 2C6
Canada
Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 1101
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 1101
Fax: 416-231-3103 attn: Archives
E-mail: archives@united-church.ca
  • The Québec-Sherbrooke Presbytery Records

Montréal-Ottawa Conference of the United Church of Canada
Bishop's University
31 rue des Jardins
Québec QC
CANADA G1R 4L5
418-692-3858


United Church of Canada[edit | edit source]

United Church records include Methodist, most Presbyterian, and Congregational church records dating from before the 1925 merger which formed the church. Many records are still in the hands of local clergymen. Others are at:
United Church of Canada Archives
40 Oak Street
Toronto, ON M5A 2C6
Canada
Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 1101
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 1101
Fax: 416-231-3103 attn: Archives
E-mail: archives@united-church.ca


Go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination to find more archives.[edit | edit source]

There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources. This is especially important if local archives are not given above.

Wiki Articles for Records of Major Churches in Canada

Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:


Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details


Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.


It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read French records.

During the reign of Napoleon, a different calendar was used. You will want to translate the dates written in these records back to normal Julian calendar dates. Charts in this article will help you:

Also, see:

  • Alsace-Lorraine: Converting French Republican Calendar Dates - Instruction


There is a three-lesson course in reading handwriting in old French records:

These lessons focus on reading church record and civil registration records:

Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual, Full Manual. Much more is covered, but these first four lessons are especially useful.

Some Catholic Church records will be written in Latin:




  1. "Presbyterian Church in Canada", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_in_Canada, accessed 26 July 2020.