Quebec Minorities

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See also Quebec First Nations.
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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Warning[edit | edit source]

Genealogical research in Québec has changed so much over the past thirty years that anything written before 1970 on where to locate documents, what records are open or closed, and what published sources are best, is obsolete. Even if written before 1993, information can be out of date and misleading, so always check publication dates.

Québec is Divided in Many Ways[edit | edit source]

  • As of the year 2000, Québec is officially divided primarily by language: Anglophone or Francophone.
  • But—for two centuries after the battle on the Plains of Abraham, the important division was not linguistic, but religious. Québecers were either Roman Catholic or non-Catholic, i.e. “Other”, who could be anything from Anglican to Zoroastrian (Jews, for the most part, are anglophone, and Protestant for educational purposes).
  • There are two defining breaks in the historic timeline; the Treaty of Paris signed in 1763 which made Québec a British colony, and 1970 (give or take a year or two), when the “Quiet Revolution” brought new laws and regulations, changes that brought Québec society into the 20th century.
  • Like any large area there are geographic divisions with rivers, lakes and mountains forming boundaries. The Townships l’Outaouais, Gaspé, the Gulf and the north-west, each requires special consideration.
  • Social divisions are similar to those everywhere, urban or rural, rich or poor, long-established vs. newcomers (which sometimes translates as pure laine vs. “ethnic”)—put all the above together and the permutations and combinations can be complex, not to say daunting.

British and French Settlements in North America[edit | edit source]

Map 1: British and French Settlements in North America

Detail from A Map of the British and French Settlements in North America,
J. Lodge, Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1755) author’s collection.


Some Thoughts on Language[edit | edit source]

While 80 percent or more of the records and books you are likely to use are in English, or have a bilingual format, when researching in Québec you will encounter some material in French. Simply put, you must understand enough French to use the P.R.D.H. database. It is not difficult, you need a vocabulary of a few hundred words at most. Entries in Parish registers usually follow a standard format, as do most legal documents. Translate one entry and you have translated almost all except for names, dates and relationships.

If you ever studied French, any Traveller’s Phrase Book will refresh you on the basic genealogist’s vocabulary: names of the months, days of the week, numbers from 0 to 100, family (mère, père, frère, soeur, belle-mère, beau-frère, etc.). There are a number of guides written for Americans searching French-Canadian ancestry that will help you with translations of the parish register and legal forms, as well as archaic word usage and old occupations. The Rev. Dennis M. Boudreau, Beginning Franco-American Genealogy, published by American French Genealogical Society (2nd printing 1993), contains vocabulary lists, sample documents with translations, and a guide through the mysterious and assorted formulas used in various Répertoire des mariages de....

Four Important Words[edit | edit source]

Learn the four following words, you will want to recognize them when you meet them in bibliographies and catalogues:

répertoire [repertwa:r]
m alphabetical list, index, directory
m card file index, data file
directory published annually (e.g. telephone book)
census, or counting (of votes)

If you have never studied French, you have more of a problem, but not the one you may think. You need to know how French is pronounced. Phonetic spelling occurs wherever the two languages meet. A francophone Notary will usually spell Douglas with a double ‘ss’, Douglass, because Douglas with one ‘s’ is pronounced Doog-lah. The Irish Bridget family settled for a while in Lotbinière County and their name became Bridgette, so neighbours would pronounce the last ‘t’. If you do speak a bit of French, you will understand how, and not be surprised that, O’Brien became Aubry, and Sauvé turned into Sophy.

St. James is St-Jacques[edit | edit source]

You will have to learn to think geographically in both languages. Today, L’Office de la langue française insists every place and street name be in French and modern road maps follow their dictates. However, for almost two centuries many documents and maps used English names. St. James Street in Montréal was once the financial heart of Canada. Today it is rue Saint-Jacques and the power has shifted to Toronto’s Bay Street. Dorchester Street is now boulevard René Lesveque—but that is a political change. Do not confuse a reference to St. Johns, officially St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, with Saint John, New Brunswick, or St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland. We will be using a lot of the older English terminology, with some translations, in part because these are the names you may well encounter, and in part to alert you to the language divide in Québec geography.

The Religious Divide[edit | edit source]

Nevertheless, in Québec, the Two Solitudes of Genealogy are not Language but Religion. Official vital records are either Roman Catholic or Non-Catholic.

In Québec, before 1926, all registration of vital records was done by the church. Each Parish of whatever denomination, sent a copy of their registers to the local Prothonotary Court where it served as the Civil Registration of baptisms (normally giving date of birth), marriages and burials (usually giving date of death). Most church registers and/or official copies have some sort of annual index, but not all. The individual courts were expected to index their register holdings.

The process of finding Roman Catholic ancestors in Québec, whether they spoke French, English, German, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Creole or Vietnamese, is essentially the same. Finding English-speaking Irish Catholics is the same as finding Francophone ancestors. Records and sources are covered elsewhere and will be noted here briefly, or when there are exceptions or special situations in society that warrant consideration. Finding the “Others” is similar, but with certain differences. Books on the methodology of genealogical research in Québec rarely cover both segments of the population, though they often divide by language rather than religion. Local histories tend to cover a single county, city, or region of the Province and if you read one by an English writer and another by a French Canadian, you may wonder if they are writing about the same place. And speaking of place, Québec refers to the whole province, Québec City to the city.

Where Are They?[edit | edit source]

“English” Québec has always been a mobile society. Moreover, it is very important to understand that at the time of Confederation (1867), the racial balance in Canada East (as the province of Québec was then called) was very different from what it is today:

In Canada East, … people of English, Scotch and Irish origin made up well over 20 percent of the population in 1867. Montréal was more than half “English,” Québec City about 45 percent, the Eastern Townships were overwhelmingly “English,” and there was a substantial “English” minority in Gaspé and several other counties.

The late Senator Eugene Forsey wrote these words in a letter to the Toronto Globe and Mail of 10 February, 1986. Memorize them! By “English”, he meant English-speaking peoples, both from the British Isles and the United States. He tells you where, even today, you will find most of the English-speaking peoples of Québec. If this material seems to stress geography as much as records and documents, that is because to find the latter, you will have to pay attention to the former. The hunt for Non-Roman Catholics in Québec, whatever their origins, will be treated in part, geographically.

“English” Communities In Québec Divide Into Four Groups[edit | edit source]

The major urban centres along the Saint Lawrence River: Montréal, Sorel, Three Rivers and Québec City, where merchants, and then industries provide employment for managers, labourers and tradesmen. Today, Montréal and its surrounding suburbs still matter, the English population in the other cities have shrunk and assimilated.

The Eastern (and western) Townships along the border with the USA; these are predominantly rural and agricultural, with a few towns, and in spite of French expansion into the region, still have a lot of ‘English’.

“Several other counties” are in the Ottawa river valley, where forestry was originally the main source of wealth and employment. Only partially in Québec, the population and their records spill across the river in both directions. Here, large groups of “English” remain; those around Hull taking advantage of lower Québec housing costs while working in Ontario.

Parts of Gaspé and some small Gulf of Saint Lawrence settlements, where the dominance of the fishing industry means that most travel was by boat. These small, shrinking communities are a special case, more or less unrelated to the others, though vital records and land ownership are the same as in the rest of Québec.

A new organization, founded at Bishop’s University in 2000 is the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network. It is a Quebec-wide “umbrella” organization linking historical societies and heritage groups, encouraging cooperation and improving communication. Full address in the Historical addresses section.[1]

Demographic Changes[edit | edit source]

Before the coming of the railroads, few French Canadians had settled in the Eastern Townships. Some came to work on the early railroads but in spite of increasing population pressure in the seigneuries, they avoided the region as long as there were no Catholic parishes. There were no Catholic parishes because Priests were allowed to tithe only those who held lands under seigneurial tenure. The Clergy Reserves were for the support of the Protestant Clergy. This changed with an ordinance in 1839, “confirmed by an act of the Canadian Legislature in 1849”[2], and once it could establish Parishes, the Catholic Church encouraged new settlements in Québec rather than see their young parishioners emigrate to find work in New England factories.

Movement of French Families[edit | edit source]

French families gradually moved into “English” settlements, buying up a farm here or a house there as an English family moved away[3] . Francophone professionals and merchants then came to serve them and the Church supplied the schools and other social services. The Roman Catholic “Holy Name Society” became very active in English regions, adding a Saint’s name, usually that of the Parish, to that of the English founder of a town, so your map will show St-Paul d’Abbotsford, St-Felix de Kingsey, and St-Ignace de Stanbridge. Katevale became Ste-Catherine de Hatley. The French Canadians 1600-1900 has a very helpful index of place names with cross referencing to deal with these changes.

Myth—information[edit | edit source]

As you check various internet sources of Québec information, try to evaluate it, especially the historic commentary. I have encountered more than a little “Myth-information”, and the Myths are politically charged on both sides of the language divide. Always keep in mind the deep religious divide in 19th century Québec, where, as in Upper Canada (Ontario), the power struggle was essentially between Protestants and Roman Catholics (who included Irish and Highland Scots), rather than language groups.

Reading the newspapers will show that in the 1850s there was little antagonism to the French, but letters from Bartholomew Conrad Augustus Gugy (1796-1876), published in the Québec Gazette, railed against the unequal division of power between Roman Catholics and Protestants (Others). You might also encounter Robert Sellar, editor of the Huntingdon Canadian Gleaner; in a region subject to the same demographic forces. Sellar’s conspiracy theory, blames a Papal plot aided and abetted by the Roman Catholic clergy for the changing population of the “English” counties[4] . The past is a foreign country and Québecers in 1870 did not necessarily think the same way they did in 1970.[5]

Non-French Settlement[edit | edit source]

Migration Routes[edit | edit source]

Follow the Water[edit | edit source]

You can not settle on land you can not get to. Long before the British appeared on the scene, the French established Roman Catholic parishes[6] and granted seigneuries on both sides of the St. Lawrence and then south along the Chaudière, Yamaska and Richelieu Rivers, on the latter, all the way to Lake Champlain[7] .

The Seigneuries[edit | edit source]

The seigneuries varied greatly in size, but most ran inland, perpendicular to the river fronts. In due course, three judicial districts were established, named for and administered from: Québec City, Trois-Rivières/Three Rivers, and Montréal. Their borders also ran more or less perpendicular to the St. Lawrence. With European settlement came horses and wheels, and these require roads. During the French regime two principal highways from Québec City to Montréal were built in stages (though never fully completed) on either side of, and parallel to, the Saint Lawrence, the chief area of settlement. Others ran along the Chaudière, St. Francis and Richelieu Rivers, and several joined the Richelieu River valley to the St. Lawrence at Montréal. Superhighways they were not; overland travel was slow, difficult and uncomfortable.

The St. Lawrence River, the main highway, was navigable to ocean going vessels for at least half the year as far as Montréal Island. At the westend of the island of Montréal, the Lachine rapids prevented early explorers from sailing further west and fulfilling their dream of reaching China (La Chine). Lachine therefore became the place where travellers or fur traders took smaller vessels or canoes for travel west. Made nervous by the War of 1812, and with lots of unemployed men at the end of the Napoleonic wars, British Army engineers turned to canal building. The Lachine Canal, started in 1818, opened in 1824, was enlarged in the 1840s and again in the 1880s. The Soulanges Canal superceded a number of shallow canals, some built during the French regime. Eventually the system allowed more immigrants to move by water both into the Great Lakes and up the Ottawa river, and more wheat and timber to move down to Québec[8] .

The Eastern Townships[edit | edit source]

The Saint Francis river flows into the St. Lawrence at Lake St. Peter from the heart of the hilly country that became The Eastern Townships. L’Office de la langue français tried to change the name to l’Estrie, but Québec tourist brochures now refer to Les Cantons de l’est. The Townships (as we shall call them) lie south and east of the river plains of the St. Lawrence and Richelieu Rivers. Fingers of the Green Mountains and White Mountains reach north from Vermont and New Hampshire. Between the rows of hills, small rivers and lakes run north-south across the border with the United States.

In 1791 authorization was finally given for a survey of the lands beyond the back limits of the seigneuries and in “The Constitutional Act of 1791: A challenge for surveyors”, Gilles Langelier describes how “Lord Dorchester dispatched an ‘army’ of surveyors to the four corners of Québec”, not only to establish accurately the border between Upper and Lower Canada, but to verify all titles of ownership of seigneuries, and to create townships and properly survey them[9]. One illustration in his article is a portion of Gale and Duberger’s 1795-1796 “Plan of Part of the Province of Lower Canada,” showing the region north of the United States border and east of Montréal (NMC-57718). It is printed as endpapers in de Volpi and Scowan’s Eastern Townships[10] , and is a map you should know about.

A more modern map of the Eastern Townships is available on the internet.

And a good map showing which townships were in each county in 1871 can be found on the Eastern Townships Research.

Townships, generally about ten miles square, march in regular rows, three deep along the border, then were adjusted to fit around the backs of the seigneuries. Townships were also surveyed west of the Richelieu and east of the Chaudière Rivers, along the Ottawa River beyond the few seigneuries clustered around Lake of Two Mountains (Deux-montagnes) and in the Gaspé Peninsula.

Routes Across the Border[edit | edit source]

Look at a good relief map of the north-eastern part of the continent and you will see the water routes used by invading armies, refugee Loyalists, and New England settlers:

The routes of entry from the United States were first, the Champlain-Richelieu Route, which was the early route of travel in both war and peace and the natural connection between the Hudson and St. Lawrence valleys. It afforded the only unbroken waterway for boats above canoe size between the two countries.
Secondly, from the headwaters of the Connecticut river, a little farther eastward, several routes into the Eastern Townships converged on the St. Francis river at Sherbrooke. One of these by way of Lake Memphremagog led to the St. Francis valley through the Magog river and also by portage to the Yamaska river. From it, settlers reached both Brome, Shefford, and the western parts of Stanstead Counties. …
The third main route of entry was by way of Lake Megantic and the Chaudière river, which were reached from the State of Maine by the Kennebec river and its tributaries with a portage of a few miles across the height of land[11].

In 1775, Benedict Arnold led his expedition against Québec using the Kennebec route, which took the army to Lake Megantic and down the Chaudiere River to Point Levis opposite Québec[12]. These water routes all run north-south, and

... For a generation following the American Revolution, which terminated in 1783, the international boundary line was only vaguely known, and some considerable settlements were made by people who may have thought they were still in the United States. When the boundary became better defined, these people accepted the new nationality...[13]

Roads Across the Townships[edit | edit source]

In the 1830s east-west travel was overland and far more difficult.

The main, and indeed the only roads leading from the heart of these townships to the older settlements, are Craig’s Road, which, from its intersection of the St. Francis at Shipton, is open to the settlements of St. Giles; the East and West River Roads of the St. Francis, leading from Sherbrooke to the Baie St. Antoine, on Lake St. Peter; and the road through Hatley, Stanstead, Potton, Sutton, St. Armand, Dunham and Stanbridge to the Settlements of the Richelieu River. By this latter road are opened several avenues into the State of Vermont, with which a constant intercourse is kept up. Some parts of Craig’s Road are almost impassable, owing to swamps and windfalls, and particularly so between the settlements of Leeds and those of Shipton[14].

What a Difference a Railroad Made[edit | edit source]

The demography of rural Québec changed radically and rapidly with the coming of the Railroads. A new era had begun. The Townships were no longer isolated, but on a direct route from Montréal to the sea.

On Thursday, 21 July 1836, the first railway train in Canada pulled two coaches from La Prairie, on the St. Lawrence, to St. Johns on the Richelieu River. The average speed on that first round trip was 14.5 m.p.h. but it provided a direct link of the water-route to New York. The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad was incorporated in 1845, to join Montréal and Portland Maine. It reached Richmond in 1851, Sherbrooke the following year, and was completed by 1853. By 1867 the Stanstead, Shefford and Chambly R.R. connected St. Johns/Iberville to Waterloo and Frost Village.

The Montréal and Vermont Junction railroad ran south to the east of Missisquoi Bay, and the Grand Trunk Railway not only joined Montréal to Portland, but also branched north from Richmond and ran through Arthabaska and Megantic counties to Québec City. Branch lines proliferated. By the turn of the century you could get from almost anywhere to anywhere on a train, often several times a day and back.

As soon as the road past the farm led to the village Railway Station, the older children could catch the train to the Model School in the County town, or the Academy in Sherbrooke. Railroads are what moved most people around Québec from the mid 19th century until the 1950s. J. Derek Booth’s two volume Railways of Southern Québec[16]provides a detailed history of the lines with many maps and photographs. For the rest of the province, consult Lines of Country.

Twentieth Century Changes[edit | edit source]

In the 20th century, the importance of the railways declined as the truck and automobile took over. Railway passenger service became unprofitable after World War II and now only the main freight lines cross the Townships. Concession roads became highways, widened and paved, with corners rounded and hills smoothed. A few still wander off over the hills looking much as they did a hundred years ago, but these backroads now lead not to overgrown farms with old houses showing only traces of past prosperity, but to beautifully restored stone or wooden “heritage homes” set in well-tended gardens. “The Townships” are now prime vacation country for week-enders from the cities; another influx of “settlers” is underway. They drive out on the autoroutes.[17]

Years of Settlement[edit | edit source]

Remember the words of Senator Forsey who told us where to find the “English”:

In Canada East, …people of English, Scotch and Irish origin made up well over 20 percent of the population in 1867. Montréal was more than half “English,” Québec City about 45 percent, the Eastern Townships were overwhelmingly “English,” and there was a substantial “English” minority in Gaspé and several other counties [Ottawa River valley].

From “the Beginning”[edit | edit source]

Among the early non-French arrivals in the French colony of Canada were Irish and Scottish mercenaries in the French Army. Those who married local women were absorbed into French society and their children grew up part of it. You may have trouble recognizing the surnames; Riley became Riel, O’Brien became Aubry and O’Connor produced even more creative phonetic spelling[18]

AUBRY dit Thècle, Thècle-Cornelius ([son of] Connehour and Honorée Iconnehour) de
St-Patrice de Diasonyden, Ireland, …
m. 10-09-1670 Québec
CHARTIER, Jeanne …
RIEL, dit Lirlande, Jean-Baptiste (Jean-Baptiste and Louise Lafontaine) de St-Pierre, v, et.
év. Limerick, Irlande: cité 02-10-1700 Hôtel Dieu, Québec, 30 ans, naturalisé mai 1719,
soldat de la compagnie de Lavaltrie

Those excerpts of entries are from René Jetté’s Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec[19] Dr. Jetté, among the best and most knowledgeable of Québec’s genealogists and demographers, has become a byword: “Have you looked in Jetté?” His Dictionnaire covers all the families who settled in the colony from the beginning to c. 1730, listed by surname, with all known facts. This widely available single volume is based on the early volumes of the computerized database of the P.R.D.H.

New England Captives[edit | edit source]

During the French and Indian Wars[20] , the French and their Indian allies raided New England settlements, and we have tales of some of them, often children, captured by Indians and carried off to Québec, baptized into the Roman Catholic faith, and integrated into Francophone society. There are many books both by and about New England captives, including Emma Lewis Coleman, New England captives carried to Canada between 1677 and 1760, during the French and Indian wars, 2 volumes (Portland: The Southworth Press, 1925). Try searches under the subject heading: Indians of North America - Captivities. These non-French ancestors, once they reached Québec, can be researched as you would any Francophone Roman Catholic, which is what most of them became.

After the Plains of Abraham

  • September 13, 1759:
    British army under General Wolfe capture Québec City.
  • September 8, 1760:
    Capitulation of Montréal. Canada surrendered to British.
  • February 10, 1763:
    Treaty of Paris ends Seven Years War, France cedes Canada and remaining colonies in Acadia to Great Britain.

Between the taking of Québec and the Treaty of Paris, General Amherst directed a sort of mopping up operation, using some regiments of British regulars and quite a number of Colonial Militia regiments from the New England colonies. Both groups of soldiers had a chance to look over this newly acquired territory, check out its possibilities, and doubtless meet some of the women. Some stayed.

Changes in Land Tenure—Limited Settlement[edit | edit source]

  • 1763, 7 October, the Royal Proclamation established British institutions and laws in Québec. General James Murray, Governor, planned to survey vacant land into Townships and grant land in English tenure.
  • 1774, on advice of Governor Sir Guy Carleton, the British Parliament passed the Québec Act. French Civil Law and the seigneurial system were restored, as was the tithe to the Roman Catholic church. As well, the oath of allegiance, required for anyone holding any government office, was modified to accommodate Roman Catholics.
  • 1791, 26 December, a third change came after the Loyalist refugees arrived. The Canada or Constitutional Act (passed 10 June) came into force, splitting the Province of Québec into Lower Canada and Upper Canada. In Lower Canada, things were not much different than they were under the Québec Act, except that land tenure in the new Townships was to be English, i.e. free and common soccage, and there would be a democratically-elected Assembly.

Since English-speaking settlers did not pour into Lower Canada, the Assembly was destined to be dominated by French-speaking leaders and politicians, which, in turn, provided another reason for English settlers to avoid Québec.

The Beginnings of English Settlement[edit | edit source]

The English began to arrive after 1760 and trickled into Québec for almost 200 years but in the early years, the English population in Québec grew very gradually:

Very few English-speaking immigrants came to Québec, preferring to settle in the more fertile Ohio Valley rather than in the colder region to the north (amidst an alien French-speaking population).[21]

By the mid-1760s there were not more than 500 English-speaking residents of Canada.[22]

  • 1760—With the British Army, came commissary merchants and other suppliers. The army’s forts and garrisons were built where they would defend the border and waterways. Records may have been kept by regimental chaplains. The Montréal Garrison Church records date from 1760 to 1869 [ANQ microfilm].
  • 1763—Next came British officials and bureaucrats and more service personnel, who established themselves at Québec City, Montréal, and smaller cities. Some Protestant churches were built, but immigration was limited.[23]
  • 1783—The American Revolution brought Loyalist refugees to the St. Lawrence cities and along the Richelieu. Later most moved west to what became Upper Canada, some settled in the Townships, and a few in Gaspé.
  • 1791—saw the beginning of the survey of townships and in the following decade, land was granted and settlement began along the river and lake routes from the new American states. These “Yankis” spoke English and were, for the most part, Protestant.
  • 1815—The end of the Napoleonic wars saw emigrants from the British Isles arrive in greater numbers at the ports of Québec and Montréal. Some were Protestant, others Catholic; most wanted land. Newcomers might search out land at once, or spend a generation in a Francophone parish where children would pick up French and get to know the other culture, before moving south to the Townships or west[24] up the Ottawa.

By 1867, “English” immigration into rural Québec had pretty well ended. Communities were stable, but sons were being educated to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and professors; if no son wanted the farm, usually it was a French-Canadian who bought it. The population changed gradually but inexorably, as more and more “English” moved to Montréal, or to Ontario, or to the “States”; at first, a few came back, but most did not.

Between 1880 and 1930, the population of the Montréal metropolitan area rose from 140,000 to a million. The completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railway brought a spurt of growth in 1885-1887. Another period of rapid growth came at the turn of the century, a consequence of the rapid colonization of Western Canada, and a third period, from 1922 to 1930, ended with the Depression of the 1930s.

The last large influx of new immigrants from Britain and western Europe came at the end of World War II, a few Swiss and Dutch settled in the Townships and farmed. Those from the British Isles who found jobs in Montréal, established themselves in the West Island communities and tried to ignore the “French fact” of the island. Like their predecessors a century or so earlier, they imagined they were coming to an English-speaking country with British laws. Duplessi’s Québec was an unpleasant surprise to many.

A smaller group who came from Eastern Europe after anti-Communist uprisings in Hungary and Czechoslovakia fitted into Montréal’s cosmopolitan society and greatly enriched it.

The growth of the 1950s and 1960s ended and many moved on. Statistics are difficult to determine, but at least half a million “English” Québecers have departed since 1967. As their collateral ancestors did, they have spread all across the continent.

On the Move[edit | edit source]

Even in 1867 a prosperous farm could not support three or four sons and their families. Railroads meant that by the last quarter of the century, a son or daughter could work quite far from home, and commute by train, daily or on weekends. Some sons got an education, became professionals and moved to the city.

Others sought their fortune outside Québec, and even the sons who stayed on the family farm had a tendency to look for better land, or better schools for their children, in the next township or the next county.

Such mobility meant that they met and married people from another township or county, perhaps settled down in a growing town, or even Montréal and, when their parents retired from the farm, the parents moved to that same place and are buried there, not near their farm.

If members of a family moved to town, or to the city, or changed farms, and you have no idea where they went, consult the series published by the Genealogical Record Library in Toronto.

They produced, among other Regional indexes[25] , a three-volume set, The French Canadians 1600-1900. This should have been entitled “The People of Québec” because it includes both language groups. While it has indexed a few early sources, the bulk are mid-to-late 19th century, and may well indicate where a family relocated.[26]

Carte de La Gaspésie … au “Bas Canada”[edit | edit source]

Carte de La Gaspésie … au “Bas Canada” …
S. Drapeau, Québec [City], 1865.

1Quebec Map 15X.jpg

Special Regions of English Settlement[edit | edit source]

Gaspé and the Gulf[edit | edit source]

Fish Bring Fishermen[edit | edit source]

As Senator Forsey pointed out, there are pockets of English-speaking Québecers in outlying regions: in the east of Québec, the Gaspé Peninsula and North Shore of the Gulf are home to the descendants of fishermen from France, the Basque country, the West of England and the Channel Islands[27] who made seasonal visits to the coast from earliest times. Some small year-round settlements followed. When the British captured Québec:

Cod fishermen from Great Britain and New England replaced the French at Gaspé. Seigneuries and fisheries passed into British hands and new peoples of various backgrounds settled there. Americans ravaged the region in 1778.[28]

After the American Revolution, a few hundred Loyalists added to the population mix. Anyone working on the Gulf or Gaspé families should study Plate 54 in Vol. I of the Historical Atlas of Canada. It details early settlement, seigneuries, townships, population, origins of settlers, and much that you ought to know.

Some Useful Books[edit | edit source]

Marion Turk’s books will tell you much about the Channel Islanders. For some background on cod fishing, the economic system and social history, read Roch Samson’s Fishermen and Merchants in 19th Century Gaspé: The Fishermen-Dealers of William Hyman and Sons.[29] Another useful work is Michel Emard’s Recensements et listes de la Gaspésie 1686-1881 Inventaire et guide (Pointe au Genièvre: Cahiers gaspésiens, No. 3, 1980), which itemizes all known census returns and name lists, and where they are located. Yes, it is in French only, but the vocabulary required to use it is minimal. It is an inventory and list only, not actual transcripts of lists.

Those you will have to locate in the public or private sources given. As you probably know, copies of the French Archives des colonies, the British War Office and Colonial Office papers are available at the Archives of Canada.

The Lower North Shore[edit | edit source]

Some settlements along the narrow stretch of coastline, south of the Labrador border running east to Blanc Sablon, are still English speaking. Harrington Harbour, for example, is a village of approximately 315 people, whose fishermen ancestors from Newfoundland settled there in 1871, so it is not on Arrowsmith’s 1846 map (opposite). “In a small place like this, everyone’s related.” That comment was made by thirteen-year-old Jonathan Cox to writer Brian Payton[30] who visited the area. His article points out how another fishing settlement, Tête-à-la-Baleine/Providence Island, was a double community, a winter village on the mainland, a summer village on the island for the fishing season. “A migration practised for generations until motorboats came into use”.

Other “Others”[edit | edit source]

As well as fish; fur, wood pulp, and later iron ore, aluminium and hydro-electric power brought others to this remote region. You can expect to find English-speaking traders, managers, foresters, and eventually engineers, sometimes bringing their families. Sept-Isles/Seven Islands, a fortified trading post was built around 1650 by the French, leased to the Northwest Company after 1763, taken over by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821, closed in 1859, reopened in 1870, and for a long time it was where the road ended. It shares importance with Baie Comeau which for years supplied the newsprint for Col. Robert R. McCormick’s Chicago Tribune.

Travel by Boat[edit | edit source]

The Gulf is a region where the coastal schooner was considered the normal mode of transportation. Small vessels, some classed for light-ice duty, still serve the tiny communities. Roads and railways came late to Gaspé and even later to the Côte-Nord. Look at a map of the Gulf, it should be apparent that it is easy to sail from Gaspé to Québec City or Newfoundland or even Pictou or Chéticamp in Nova Scotia, but not easy to get to Halifax.[31]

Settlements Around Gaspé and the Gulf[edit | edit source]

Detail Showing settlements around Gaspé and the Gulf from Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and a large portion of the United States by J. Arrowsmith (15 Feb. 1846), author’s collection.


The Railroads[edit | edit source]

Eventually, however, the south shore of the Gaspé peninsula with the fine harbour at the town of Gaspé, attracted railroad entrepreneurs.

Two separate railways were incorporated, each starting at the small town of New Carlisle, one eastward to Gaspé, the other westward to join with the Intercolonial at Matapedia Junction.... The Atlantic, Québec and Western …[connected] New Carlisle with Gaspé. The Atlantic and Lake Superior [later changed its name] to the Québec Oriental![32]

Between them, the two lines covered only 202 miles, but remained separate companies until absorbed into the CNR (Canadian National Railway) system in 1929. However, do not overlook their existence, and the effect train service may have had on the movement of people living along the south coast of the peninsula. From Matapedia Junction a passenger could catch daily express trains to Montréal or Halifax.

Another short rail line runs east from Mont-Joli to Matane, from where a ferry runs to Godbout on the North Shore. Good train service from Montréal made this section of Gaspé a popular summer colony for wealthy Montréalers.

The ANQ and Church Records[edit | edit source]

The ANQ maintains branches at Sept-Iles (serving the Côte-Nord) and Rimouski (Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspé). Availability of vital records is the same as for any other part of Québec, but the same caveat applies to the Gaspé and Gulf as to the Townships along the border with the USA: always remember to look South.

And never underestimate the range of a coastal schooner; an Acadian Priest based in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, is thought to have served small communities around the Gulf, including Gaspé. When looking for marriages especially, remember it was often easier to travel by water, and if there is no record “at home”, might they have gone to New Brunswick to find a preacher? From the south shore of Gaspé, check Campbelton, Dalhousie, or even Bathurst; from the North Shore of the Gulf, perhaps St. Anthony or Cornerbrook.

United Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Gaspé peninsula records of the United Church of Canada (Methodist, some Presbyterian, and Congregational before 1925) fall within the church’s Maritime Conference, consult Guide to Family History Research in the Archival Repositories of the United Church of Canada (Toronto: OGS, 1996). Indeed, you should carefully check Diocesan or Administrative District boundaries when looking for church archives of any denomination in outlying regions like Gaspé.

The Gaspé Genealogy Register, an information exchange page with Gaspé related links, is found at the useful website which you may want to bookmark.[33]

Townships Surveyed Along the Ottawa River[edit | edit source]

Detail Showing Townships surveyed along the Ottawa River from A Map of the Province of Upper Canada … Québec to Lake Huron … James Wyld, London (1835) Map Collection Archives of Canada (NMC 94069). This map, at 58% of original size is No. 119 in the ACML Facsimile Map Series.


The Ottawa River and North-West Québec[edit | edit source]

On the western side of the province, up the Ottawa Valley, the timber trade brought New England entrepreneurs and Irish labourers whose English-speaking descendants displayed some of their ancestors stubborn determination when they resisted the inspectors of l’Office de la langue française. Follow the Ottawa River far enough and you reach Lake Timiskaming (Ontario)/Lac Témiscamingue (Québec) and north of this, the mining regions of Rouyn, Noranda, Amos and Val-d’Or in the Abitibi District. This is mining and pulp and paper country, more polyglot than “English”.

The Outaouais[edit | edit source]

Long before Europeans turned up on the scene, the Ottawa River was a main route for travel and trade. When white men arrived it served explorers and the fur traders. Look at a map of our “National Capital Region” and you will see two large rivers flow into the Ottawa, almost opposite each other. The Rideau River flows from the south through chains of small lakes that, with the help of a 19th century canal system, offer a route to Lake Ontario and Kingston. The Gatineau River flows from the north, again via a chain of small lakes, leading far into the Canadian Shield. This region of Québec, north of the Ottawa, is termed l’Outaouais, while west of it lies “The Pontiac”, an English-speaking area. On the Ontario side of the river people refer to “The Valley”, i.e. the Ottawa River Valley. The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group serves both Pontiac County in Québec and Renfrew County in Ontario.

Philemon Wright[edit | edit source]

Except for a handful of seigneuries around Lake of Two Mountains/ Deux-Montagnes, where the Ottawa joins the St. Lawrence, settlement was sparse until townships were surveyed. Then, in 1800, Philemon Wright, born in Woburn, Massachusetts on 3 September, 1760, became the first settler in the forested area that would become Ottawa-Hull.

Petitions, red tape, and cheating partners aside, he secured a grant of 13,701 acres, and with “others”, 18,333 acres, in Hull township, Lower Canada, where the Gatineau River flowed into the Ottawa, across from the falls at the mouth of the Rideau River! Quite a corner lot! and of huge proportions, where he determined to create a self-sufficient farming village - and he did! He built mills, roads, a tannery, the farms were productive, settlers and workers moved into the Outaouais both to farm and harvest the wealth of the forest. In 1807 Wright floated the first raft of squared timber down the Ottawa River and on to Québec. In 1819 his was the first steamboat, theUnion of the Ottawa, on the river.

Early Church Records[edit | edit source]

The legislation that allowed Roman Catholic parishes to tithe in Townships (1839-1849) also affected the settlement of the Outaouais. Philemon Wright brought in New England settlers. Then British and Irish immigrants came and petitioned for land. French Canadians moved in to work in the woods, but as in the Eastern Townships, not in family groups until Catholic parishes could be established. In the Outaouais, the earliest Anglican Mission records begin around 1823, the Catholic Mission records date from 1841. Note that the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa includes the deanery of Clarendon which covers almost all of the Outaouais.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

The building of the Rideau Canal improved transportation on the Ontario side of the river, and several military settlements such as Perth were strategically located to guard the important route. Good land and easy access, meant that a number of French from Québec crossed the river to become Franco-Ontarians, though their roots were in Québec. Expect to find intermarriage between the various Roman Catholic language groups on both sides of the river, and some intermarriage between Catholics and Protestants.

Settlement tended to follow the timber trade, and as river valleys were cleared of their stands of tall pine, some land proved arable. Look for records in the churches at the mouths of the rivers, a priest or missionary might travel upstream in the summer or fall, before freeze-up; never in the spring during the log drives.

The usual poor roads were constructed along the rivers, but because water was the cheapest way to move timber as well as bulk farm produce, the railroads came late. By the 1880s the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) had bought and completed the Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental line that ran from Hull, along the north shore of the Ottawa River, to Lachute, Ste-Thérèse, and Montréal.

The in-migration of French-Canadians and out-migration of many “English” from Québec townships also holds true in the Outaouais. Hull and Gatineau have become essentially French cities, though Aylmer and Chelsea (suburbs of Hull) are more favoured by the “English”, and much of Pontiac County is still “English”. The Laurentian hills and lakes, north and east of Hull, now cleared of the first growth pine, have become cottage country, as is much of Pontiac county.

The ANQ[edit | edit source]

The Hull branch of the ANQ, in the basement of the Palais de Justice, is also the home of the Société de généalogie de l’Outaouais, who maintain a library there as well as a large card-file name index. The Société has purchased books, marriage indexes, microfilmed registers and other microforms that supplement those held by the ANQ, making this an excellent base for researching families of central, western and northern Québec as well as Eastern and northern Ontario. The ANQ will order films of records for any region they do not have, but the holdings cover most of the province west of Québec City.

The Library and Archives of Canada[edit | edit source]

The Library and the Archives of Canada [LAC] also have large genealogical collections and in an earlier era. The Archives collected material particularly related to the Pontiac-Ottawa-Hull area and holds numerous microfilms of early missionary church records, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. As well, there are two file-card indexes. The Fabien Collection, index-card file (MG 25, G 231), now on microfilm, covers two limited areas: the region on both sides of the Ottawa River (Québec and Ontario) on 25 reels of microfilm, and the counties surrounding the Island of Montréal on 45 reels. These notes, entries in registers, and newspaper cuttings are somewhat disorganized, but by sorting through, I have found leads to problems I had almost despaired of solving. The Archives issues a microfilm shelf list and films can be borrowed.

The other index, the Gravelle Collection, is a card-file at the NA, noting records of selected births, marriages and deaths in parishes along the Ottawa River. Between the Ottawa based genealogical societies, those up The Valley, and the Outaouais groups, a great many records, census and church as well as cemetery, have been transcribed and published. More are coming out every year, so check bibliographies and publication lists of the many societies.

And remember: When looking for records all along the Ottawa River valley, always check both sides of the river: Montebello (La Petite Nation) and l’Orignal, Hull and Ottawa, Quyon and Arnprior, etc. Both the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals in Ottawa tend to have marriages from both sides of the river. The Catholic Cathedral marriage index is published, the Anglican archives have computerized their indexes. As with the Gaspé Peninsula, church archives may fall within a diocese or administrative group whose borders cross provincial borders.[34]

Northern Québec[edit | edit source]

Rouyn, Noranda, Val-d’Or, and Amos, the mining and pulp towns in the north of Québec opened up with the building of the National Transcontinental Railway (now CNR), which ran from Québec City to Winnipeg in a great arc, north of most settled areas, across the Laurentian shield. Look at Plate 16 in Vol. III of the Historical Atlas of Canada. This is not “English” Québec. Managers and engineers might speak English, but railroad labourers, miners and workmen were recruited from pockets of unemployment in North America, the UK, and across Europe. Do not expect people to stay put, follow the rail lines.

ANQ and Other Resources[edit | edit source]

There is a branch of the ANQ in Noranda, and you can expect to find regional records there. Note that the United Churches in Temiscaming, Noranda and Val d’Or are part of the Ontario Manitou Conference, though they would have had to supply copies of their registers to the Québec Prothonotary Court. This will apply to all denominations, but their archives for this region may, like those of the United Church, be located in a different province.

Detail from Québec City, 1815[edit | edit source]

Map 9: Detail from Québec City, 1815

Detail from Québec City, 1815 by Joseph Bouchette, author’s collection.

Quebec City Detail18X.jpg

Urban Centres[edit | edit source]

Along the St. Lawrence[edit | edit source]

Québec City, Three Rivers and Montréal are all on navigable water and English-speaking immigrants, soldiers and sailors all arrived at the three locations by ship. During the 19th century, many arrivals wanted land to farm. Others were skilled tradesmen, well-connected merchants, “officers and gentlemen”, but some were too poor and unskilled to have any hopes for acquiring land so settled for manual labour and a “daily wage” paid when there was work to be done. All of these social classes tended to stay in the growing towns and cities along the Saint Lawrence.

Québec City and Montréal began as walkable, walled cities, like those in medieval Europe. Housing was densely built, though richer men who could afford horses and carriages, might choose to live in an estate outside the walls. Three Rivers was a fairly large town as was Sorel, this last, a creation of British Army engineers.

When the Judicial District of St. Francis was formed, Sherbrooke became the main urban centre for the eastern portion of the Eastern Townships. St. Johns, on the Richelieu, was a military centre that also became an urban business centre, serving the western parts of the Eastern Townships as well as the townships to the west of the Richelieu. County seats and railroad centres grew into towns.

Changing Demographics[edit | edit source]

Remember what Senator Forsey said: “…in 1867 Montréal was more than half ‘English,’ Québec City about 45 percent”. The Montréal percentages may even have grown as immigrants from both the British Isles and Europe poured into the St. Lawrence ports between Confederation and the First World War. Québec City, Sorel and Three Rivers, however, slowly lost their “English” to the financial, industrial and transportation capital of Canada—Montréal.

Québec City[edit | edit source]

As the capital of the colony, Québec City is where you would find British military and government officials, and those supplying and serving the government. The microfiche index to non-Catholic Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from the Québec City area, c. 1790-1875, available at branches of the ANQ, is probably the best place to begin a search. The Archives in Ottawa has a card index to theQuébec Gazette, 1764-1823, available on twenty-four microfilms (C-7071/ C-7095). In addition, the Québec Family History Society has published two indexes compiled by Ernest J. Smith, Québec City gazette marriage notices, 1846-1855 and Death Notices, 1846-1855, from the Québec gazette[35] . “The first city directory in Canada was published in 1790: Directory of the City and Suburbs of Québec. A second edition came out in 1791, but nothing further until 1822, and even after that publication was sporadic so the runs appear incomplete”[36]. Though closed in the winter months, for half the year Québec City was the first port of arrival, and so a distribution and shipping center. A major export was the timber that was rafted down the rivers throughout the 19th century. Québec City, however, was not a railroad centre, though the Government of Canada did it’s best by building the National Transcontinental Line which ran from Winnipeg to Québec City, largely through unsettled and undeveloped wilderness.[37]

Québec City still has a small “English” community, but as journalist George Boulanger pointed out in the Globe and Mail, Québec City’s English-speaking Jewish and Irish ethnic communities:

… had followed business up-river to Montréal many decades ago and no new Jewish or Irish immigrants ever came to strengthen the dwindling communities of those who stayed behind. Now, most new immigrants to Canada settle in either Vancouver, Toronto or Montréal. Those who do venture to the old walled city come from Chile, San Salvador, Haiti and Lebanon, not the British Isles or Eastern Europe.[38]

This is even more true of the other smaller urban centres in Québec. The Francophone population has grown, but as the English leave they are not replaced, their institutions decline and may eventually disappear. The “English” population is also ageing, so the volunteers who run the historical society museums, the libraries, the churches and who maintain the graveyards, may be slow to respond to your enquiries.

Urban Research[edit | edit source]

Special urban research tools include the indexes, then city directories used in conjunction with census returns, cemetery and burial records, and newspapers. Even if your family was Protestant, have a look at local marriage indexes—they might include a cousin who married a Catholic or they might include the Protestant churches.

Telephone Directories[edit | edit source]

To check whether members of a family are still living in a city, try Canada 411 on the Internet. If you are sure a family once lived in a city, check the historic telephone directories, which exist on microfiche.

Abmalgamation[edit | edit source]

In the last decades of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the Provincial Government has forced small communities to amalgamate into larger municipalities. Lac Brome, in Brome County was among the first. In western Quebec, Hull and its surrounding suburbs have become Gatineau, and the entire Island of Montréal is now one city.[39]

Plan of the Town and Fortifications of Montréal[edit | edit source]

Map: Plan of the Town and Fortifications of Montréal

Plan of the Town and Fortifications of Montréal or Ville Marie in Canada published in the London Magazine (May, 1760) author’s collection.


City of Montréal 1830[edit | edit source]

Map:City of Montréal 1830

City of Montréal 1830
F. Cattlin and J. and C. Walker, author’s collection.


Montréal—City Unique [40][edit | edit source]

Montréal and Mount Royal, Geography of a City[edit | edit source]

Researching English-speaking Montréalers is relatively easy as most records have survived, many are indexed and there are good runs of City Directories. It is the geography that will slow you down unless you know the city, the island, and most important, the names and acronyms of the communities and districts.

If you have ever lived in Montréal, you know it is unlike any other city in North America - except perhaps Manhattan. Both are islands on navigable water, where an early settlement grew and spread to cover the entire island and the surrounding river banks. Both are densely built but have a large open park at their centre. In fact both Central Park and Mount Royal Park were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903).

New York started at the southern tip of a long oval island and grew north. Montréal started as a walled town mid-way along the south side of a long oval island and grew east and west along the “beach” level of the land. North of the original settlement rises Mount Royal and Westmount Mountain; modest hills, and the core of an ancient volcano worn down by glaciers.

The land slopes gently north from the river, then rises sharply in a steep hill (e.g. Beaver Hall Hill), or evens as an escarpment in places, then flattens out into another “beach” which is now the centre of the city; Dorchester Street (now René Levesque Boulevard), Ste-Catherine Street and Sherbrooke Street. North of Sherbrooke Street the city climbs the slopes of the mountains. A “pass” (Côte-des-Neiges) between Westmount Mountain and Mount Royal leads to the northern suburbs, as do streets on the level ground east and west of the “mountains”. These geographic features have determined how the city grew and where you should hunt for people in the various 19th century censuses. Generally speaking, higher is better - unless you are a horse pulling a trolley car uphill.

The Historical Atlas of Canada, Vol. II, Plate 49, “Social Change in Montréal, 1842-1901, should be studied with care. Vol. III, Plate 14, shows “The Industrial Development of Montréal”, and Plate 30, shows “The Social Landscape of Montréal, 1901”. This last will give you the “Median rent by street”—important because Montréal is a city of tenants who far outnumber home owners.

Street Names Change[edit | edit source]

The steep hill-cum-escarpment north of Lagauchetière Street caused a discontinuity in streets and street names, as did the gentler rise above Sherbrooke Street. Both hills are shown on the 1830 map included. A single street might have had three or more names, and this has only been rationalized in modern times. You must have historical maps of the city.

On some of these you will see how Colborne Street once turned into Windsor Street at Notre Dame West, only becoming Peel Street as it crossed Dorchester Boulevard (now politically corrected to René Levesque - except where it runs through Westmount). The city fathers were always prone to change street names. You have to be alert to this. Perhaps a change of address means the family moved, but perhaps only the street name changed. Use City Directories and check in the Street section, noting cross-streets with care, especially for census research. If you cannot find an address on a modern map, check directories and maps from the period when that address existed. For some early maps, and pictures of the city, find a copy of C.P. de Volpi’s two volume “Pictorial Record” of Montréal (1963), and for countless anecdotes and stories about historic Montréal’s people and places, search your library catalogues for books by Edgar Andrew Collard, who, for years, wrote a column for the Montréal Gazette and assembled these into many books[41] .

Montréal Metropolis 1880-1930[42][edit | edit source]

If you do not know Montréal well, do your best to get a copy and read the suggested sections with care, it will give you a feel for how the city grew and spread, where the cultural and economic fault lines lie, and so where to look for your people. Note:

Compared to other North American cities, Montréal was quite densely built, especially in its working-class sectors, where multi-family housing had predominated since the mid-nineteenth century (page 12) [This means census hunts are - to put it politely - time-consuming chores!—AD]

A useful map is on page 15 showing streets and main buildings downtown, 1931. On pages 21-22 note the strong role religion played in Montréal life stating:

Montréal’s division into two large Christian communities echoed Belfast, but … The linguistic division into French and English strengthened the unique character of Montréal … The resulting physical division of the city into an English-speaking West End and a French-speaking East End minimized conflict …

Read: “Factors in the Development of Montréal”, by Paul-André Linteau, pages 25-33. Note particularly page 27:

During the half century between 1880 and 1930, the population of the Montréal metropolitan area rose from 140,000 to a million. Three demographic surges: 1885-1887, following the completion of Canada’s first transcontinental railway. A second spurt in growth came at the turn of the century, a consequence of the rapid colonization of Western Canada … a third surge occurred from 1922 to 1930…

You will learn about the ongoing immigration, and the resulting ethnic and social divisions, and the role of business, the government and the churches. These must be understood to work intelligently in the records.

“A Community of Communities, Suburbs in the Development of Greater Montréal”, by Walter van Nus, pages 59-67 is also required reading because “Between 1871 and 1914, 43 new municipalities were incorporated on the Island of Montréal, not including those of the “West Island” - the emphasis is mine because you will encounter these 43 place names, as well as those of the “West Island” communities where many “English” lived: Dorval, Pointe Claire, Beaconsfield.

The section on “Diversity in Mainly Working-Class Suburbs” explains a lot about where the majority of the population, both English and French-speaking, lived and worked, and why “workers from the grimy southwest of Montréal regarded their move to Verdun as a step up.“ (page 61) Understanding the subtle steps up, or down, is essential in following the moves a family might make every year or two. See section on “Moving Day in Montréal”.[43]

Westmount, Notre Dame de Grâce, Town of Mount Royal and Hampstead[edit | edit source]

These were once “English” enclaves,

…residential havens for upper-middle-class families. Not coincidentally, the principal examples have retained their independence from Montréal: Westmount, Outremont, Montréal West, Hampstead, and the Town of Mount Royal. …in Westmount, for example, the most elegant area lay north of the Boulevard, on the steepest part of the slope [of the mountain]…
Notre Dame de Grâce (NDG), which was sub-divided largely between 1905 and 1912, housed economically stable craftsmen and white-collar workers, most of whom commuted. Located just west of Westmount, the bulk of NDG shared Westmount’s ideal location for homes on the western slope of the mountain, separated from the smoky industrial areas along the Lachine Canal by a cliff running for several kilometres along the suburb’s southern edge…
With language groups concentrated in different suburbs, linguistic polarization on the Island (with St. Lawrence Boulevard acting as the popularly recognized boundary) encouraged stronger local loyalties.
…Not all anglophones were Protestants, of course, but almost all Protestants were anglophone…more and more anglophones moved to neighbourhoods north and west of the city, …in 1911 for example, 78 percent of Westmounters were Protestant.

The TMR (Town of Mount Royal, established 1912) was created directly out of farmland by a subsidiary of the Canadian Northern Railway Co., which was blasting a tunnel through the mountain to gain access to the harbour. It hoped to recoup part of the huge cost by developing a prestigious planned suburb linked to downtown by commuter trains through the tunnel. Hampstead, created 1914, to the west was also a “corporate suburb” laid out by town planners.

“Gigantism in Downtown Montréal”, by Isabelle Gournay, pages 153-182, includes discussion and plans, of several of the prestigious early apartment buildings:

Beginning in 1905, the Square Mile and the streets immediately east of the McGill University campus saw the construction of a growing number of apartment buildings designed for the Anglo-Protestant upper class, as an alternative to the private home whose maintenance had become quite costly.[44]

There was another building boom of luxury apartments in the Square Mile in the 1960s, and many brick mansions and grey stone town houses were destroyed. All but a handful of the mansions along Dorchester Street have vanished, but between Dorchester and Sherbrooke Streets, the rows of grey stone town houses survive; many have become boutiques, restaurants, and there are still many residential units on upper floors. Photographs and other records of most mansions and many town houses exist in the Notman Collection and Archives of the McCord Museum. Check their website.

Moving Day in Montréal[edit | edit source]

“Compared to almost every other Canadian city, Montréal has a small proportion of single-family detached homes.”[45]

Montréal is a city of tenants. In 1994, 53% of households rented, the average rent being $542 per month, and families may have moved every year, though most did not. Nevertheless, in June 1995 some 175,000 households notified the telephone company of an impending move.

Until 1973, moving day was 1 May, traditionally the day most residential leases started. In 1973, worried by the disruption this date caused in childrens’ education, the Québec Government declared that these leases would now end on 30 June. This meant that until 1973, when planning a census hunt for a Montréal family, you must know the date (day and month) the census was taken, since in Canada censuses tended to be taken in late spring, for example, you may have to check two addresses: where the family was in the 1881 Directory (usually compiled late in 1880), and the one in 1882 (made up late in 1881).

Now that 1 July (Canada Day) is Montréal moving day, there are fewer problems for family historians, but just as much chaos as some 200,000 apartments change tenants, as Mark Abley’s article amusingly describes.

Street-Car Routes[edit | edit source]

“Guy—la rue Guy—Guy” used to be the call of the streetcar driver at Sherbrooke Street, where Côte-des-Neiges turned into Guy Street. In Montréal, Public Transportation will often determine where a family lived. As Stephen Leacock explained it:

Fast urban transport spreads a city out; telephones put the suburbs within talking distance; lighted streets and comfortable streetcars invite movement abroad; and on the heels of all that the motorcar puts anybody anywhere.[46]

The telephone came to Montréal in 1880 with four hundred subscribers. The Montréal Passenger Railway Company had put their horsecar on Notre Dame Street in 1861, and when Montréal shops moved up the steep hill to St. Catherine Street they instituted the first electric car. The Rocket began experimental runs along St. Catherine Street on 1 September 1892. It met with such success that:

… on Christmas Day, sixteen of the modern vehicles permanently replaced horses on the line. The next year, the Montréal Street Railway Company … felt sufficiently satisfied with its use of electricity, to keep the service running all winter. There were to be no more sleighs and soon, no more horses. By 1894 the changeover on all lines was complete.[47]

By the 1920s city maps show a complex network of streetcar lines leading off to Cartierville and other island suburbs. Instead of living within walking distance of the factory or shop where they worked, a family could move to a pleasanter part of town and take jobs at places along different streetcar routes. Maps for visitors often give this information, for exampleMap of the City of Montréal with Index of Streets and Numbered Charts of the Tramway Routes (Revised to March, 1925), published by A.T. Chapman of Montréal. Lovell’s Montréal Street Guide a booklet published annually, also contained lists of Bus and Tramway Routes. John Lovell and Sons, Ltd., a firm that started publishing in 1835, still publishes Directories, maps and Street Guides for Montréal and its suburbs.

The Railways[edit | edit source]

Two major employers were the CPR (18,000 employees in 1955), whose Angus Shops were in the east end of Montréal, a block north of Sherbrooke Street, and the CNR (15,000) whose Pointe St Charles Shops and Yards were near the river, where the rails crossed the Victoria Bridge. Workers would have had passes to use their company’s trains, so look for their homes in streets along the railway tracks.

CNR records are at the NA in Ottawa in RG 30, and hold very few, scattered, employee records.[48] I am assured the CPR records have survived, but if you check the CPR Archives website you find a discouraging note:

Unfortunately, employee records are not held by CPR Archives and are not available for research purposes.

Bill 101 removed the ’s from many big stores (and big employers), like Eaton’s (4,000) whose archives are at the Archives of Ontario, Simpson’s (1,631) (absorbed by Sear’s), Henry Morgan’s (2,750) (bought by The Bay). The Sun Life Insurance Co. (2,000)[49] left town years ago as did many smaller firms, so employment records are scattered and difficult to find, if they survive at all.

Early Montréal Churches and Synagogues and Date of First Records[edit | edit source]

Church Name
Year Records Start/End




Christ Church

Côte de Neiges

Crescent Street

Crescent Street

Dominion Square


Ste. Catherine St.
Dominion Douglas
United Church
Dorchester Street
East End
de la Gauchetière St.



First French



Mountain Street

New Connexion

New Jerusalem


St. Andrew

St. Andrew and St. Paul
Dorchester Street
(The A and P was rebuilt on Sherbrooke Street in 1920)
St. James

St-Jean French Presbyterian 1841-
St. Gabriel St. Presbyterian 1779-
St. Martin’s Anglican 1874-
St. Mathias Anglican 1874- Westmount
St. Mark Presbyterian 1869-
St. Matthew Presbyterian 1860-
St. Paul Methodist 1866-
St. Paul Presbyterian 1830- see St. Andrew A and P
Sherbrooke St. Methodist 1865-
Stanley St. Presbyterian 1875-
West End Methodist 1868-
Zion Congregational 1834-
St. Patricks Catholic (Irish) 1859-
(for 1867-1872 see Notre Dame de Montréal)
Spanish Portuguese Synagogue 1841-
German Polish Synagogue 1858-
Avatah Shalom Hebrew

Some Montréal Dates[edit | edit source]

For a fuller chronology and other useful facts about Montréal, see C.P. de Volpi, Montréal: … A Pictorial Record, Vol. 1, pages 1-9.

8 September, British take possession of Montréal.
Post office established at Montréal, Québec City and Three Rivers.
18 May, one-fourth of the city is destroyed by fire.
11 April, fire destroys 100 houses, two churches and a school.
12 November, Americans under General Montgomery occupy Montréal.
Benjamin Franklin and a delegation of Americans arrive at Montréal in an attempt to persuade Canadians to join the American cause. They bring with them Fleury Mesplet, a French printer, and his press, to print propaganda. He becomes Montréal’s first printer. Americans retreat 16 June.
First Synagogue built at the corner of St. James and Notre Dame Streets.
“Gazette de Commerce et Litteraire” published by Fleury Mesplet.
First brewery established by John Molson.
3 August first issue of Montréal Gazette.
Act passed for removal of walls around city.
Another fire destroys 3 churches, one college and 25 homes.
19 October, Montréal Herald starts publication.
26 October, Americans defeated at Chateauguay.
31 March, McGill College established by Royal Charter.
17 July, Construction of Lachine Canal commenced.
1 May, Montréal General Hospital is completed.
15 July, New Notre Dame Church opened.
McGill College opened.
High School of Montréal founded.
Telegraph system between Montréal-Toronto and Buffalo commences
1852 8 July, Great fire of Montréal destroys 11,000 houses.
1853 18 June, Grand Trunk railway service between Montréal and Portland.
1856 27 October, Grand Trunk railway service between Montréal and Toronto.
1860 27 November New Christ Church Cathedral opens.
1869 24 October St. Andrew’s church (Presbyterian) on Beaver Hall Hill destroyed by fire, which crosses street and also partially destroys the Church of the Messiah (Unitarian).
1869 Montréal Evening Star founded, and Canadian Illustrated News begins publication.
1884 La Presse founded by T. Berthiaume.


Special Groups Of Non-Francophones[edit | edit source]

The British Military and Local Militia[edit | edit source]

Throughout the early period, 1760 to 1815, many genealogical problems will centre around members of the British military, their marriages, children, transfers and pensions.

British Garrisons[edit | edit source]

garrison n. and v. 1. the troops stationed in a fortress, town etc. to defend it. 2. the building occupied by them. provide (a place) with or occupy as a garrison.3. place on garrison duty.
garrison town a town having a permanent garrison.
The Town Major, sometimes listed in Almanacs or Directories, was the chief executive officer (staff officer) in a garrison town or fortress. He might be an officer who had married and remained behind on half-pay when his regiment left the colony.

The invasions of 1775-76 and 1812-14 convinced Britain that the United States was a potential aggressor and so the British Army built fortifications at strategic points along the border and vital waterways. Along the Richelieu we find Fort Chambly, Fort Saint-Jean, Ile-aux-Noix, and there were countless smaller outposts between the major forts. Here the British maintained large, or small, Garrisons of their regular Army, but relied on local Militia to assist.

Another important military route led from the Bay of Fundy (western Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) to Québec: up the Saint John River to the Madawaska, then to Lake Temiscouata, at the far end of which ‘a portage of eighteen leagues’ brought the traveller to the Saint Lawrence at Rivière du Loup.[51] The British Military used the route, established outposts and settlements of disbanded soldiers along it and it should not be forgotten.

Study the Historical Atlas of Canada, Vol. II, Plate 24 “British Garrisons to 1871”, an indispensable tool when researching any British army personnel in early Canada. The specific locations of the “outposts” where only a handful of men might be posted are useful to know, and help make sense of regimental records—as well as explaining “how he met her”.

Note: When you find yourself working in British Army records, remember that place names may well be given English. Chambly and Lachine, for example, are no problem; Three Rivers is fairly obvious, but one researcher I knew confused St Johns (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) with Saint John in New Brunswick, and hunted for baptisms up and down the Saint John River instead of the Richelieu river valley.

To 1871
British regiments served in Canada until the Treaty of Washington in 1871. In addition to their actual military duties, the British regiments made a large contribution to the colonies through their services as surveyors, engineers, and builders of canals and bridges. They also added immeasurably to the social and cultural life of the garrison towns and cities where they served. The regimental band played concerts, the officers organized theatrical entertainments, balls and sleighing parties. Some married (some did not marry), and children were born in a variety of towns as the regiment relocated. Some records may still be in Québec while others could be in Ontario. The records of the Anglican churches in Sorel and St. Johns (Garrison Church, 1817-1875) include many from the forts and garrisons along the Richelieu River.

Military “C” Index[edit | edit source]

The Military “C” Index (available from the Library and Archives of Canada in card form at the LAC) is another tool for tracking both regiments and individual soldiers who served in Canada. After 1871, the precursor of the Archives acquired the files of the British forces stationed in Canada, some 1,919 volumes of records: the “Canadian Command”, 1785-1883, and the “Nova Scotia Command”, 1762-1899, with some sundry additions. Archivists indexed these papers by individual name and regimental units giving volume and page numbers. This is the “C” index. Later the huge collection was microfilmed so researchers must now cross check a “Conversion List” to discover what volumes are on which microfilms. Military “C” is a very large index, but by cross checking, you should be able to determine the regiment a man served in, and from that, where he may have been stationed. If lucky, there will be Muster Rolls or Pay Lists, or perhaps a desertion and recapture.

Essential Books[edit | edit source]

A number of useful books are listed in the Bibliography, Military and Militia, but two are essential when tracing British Army personnel: The Service of British Regiments in Canada and North America: a resume, compiled by Charles H. Stewart (1962), is a typescript document but copies can be found in most major research and legislature libraries, including a few in the USA. British Army Pensioners Abroad, compiled by Norman K. Crowder (1995) lists pension recipients by regiment. Brenda Merriman’s Genealogy in Ontario has a brief but informative section on researching British military in Canada.

The Library and Archives of Canada has a good run of the annual British Army Lists, in which you can follow the careers of commissioned officers, both in active service and on half-pay. In the end, however, many service records will have to be sought in the Public Record Office at Kew, England.

British Admiralty Records[edit | edit source]

The North Atlantic Fleet was based in Halifax, where a magnificent, all year harbour provided shelter, with an army garrison on Citadel Hill providing land-based defence. The St. Lawrence River opened for navigation in April-May and froze over in early winter, so Québec City and Montréal were summer-time ports and never major naval bases. However, military units and supplies had to be brought in every summer, so many ships of the Royal Navy came and went. In the Library and Archives of Canada, MG 12 holds Admiralty papers, but these are largely reports from high ranking officers to the Admiralty. Records of British Naval personnel are with The National Archives in Kew.

One useful reference work is William R. O’Byrne, A Naval biographical dictionary: comprising the life and service of every living officer in Her Majesty’s Navy … (London, 1849). If great-great-great …, was an officer “who fought with Nelson at Trafalgar”, and was still alive in 1849, his career will be detailed here.

Colonial Militia[edit | edit source]

militia n. a military force, esp. one raised from the civil population and supplementing a regular army in an emergency.

In Canada, where our Militia has a long and honourable history, this is what is meant. Do not confuse Canadian Militia (now the Reserve Army) with modern American groups calling themselves Militia (American part-time soldiers are the National Guard). The publicity the American groups received means there is always a danger that the term will be misused and misunderstood. There is more danger that a client will tell you an ancestor “served in the British Army - I have his Commission as a Major”. Almost always, this Commission is in the local Militia, indicating a certain social status, but you will not be able to find him in the British Army Lists.

Universal Compulsory Service[edit | edit source]

Under the Lower Canada Militia Act of 1803 and the Upper Canada Militia Act of 1808, the Militia was composed of all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 50, or 60 in case of national emergency. Units were formed on a local basis, usually by County. The officers commanding the Militia were often half-pay British Army officers. Published Militia Lists, naming officers only, are quite common in Almanacs and Directories.

Local Militia assisted British regulars to repel the invading Americans in 1812-1814, and served in 1866 and 1870 against the Fenian invasions from the United States. In the Archives there are land grant documents and medal registers recording such service. Most of the files are indexed. The county Militias were not a formal “military force”; they supplied their own weapons and turned out once a year for a day of “training”, usually on 4 June, birthday of King George III (which, of course, required many toasts to his health). Attendance was compulsory at this annual muster of the Militia with a small fine for “delinquency”. There are a few nominal Muster Rolls at the Archives, and others exist in provincial Archives.

The Reserves[edit | edit source]

Changes in the Canadian militia are detailed in the article on “Militia” in The Encyclopedia of Canada (1936-40, 6 volumes). Volunteer service in the Army or Naval Reserves (Militia), with a week or two of training every summer, has remained a tradition in many English Québec communities.[52]

Loyalists[edit | edit source]

The American Revolution 1775-1783[edit | edit source]

The American Revolution brought a lot of soldiers back to Québec, from both sides, and it also brought the first wave of Loyalist refugees fleeing war and persecution by their neighbours. Many refugees were wives and children of men fighting with the British forces. The stories of some of their tribulations are told in The Loyalists of the Eastern Townships of Québec, published by the Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch U.E.L. Association in 1984. An Index to this book has been compiled by Linda Corupe.[53]

1783 to 1800[edit | edit source]

Some eighty to a hundred thousand Loyalists fled the Revolution; the majority settled in the Maritime provinces. Of those who came to the old Province of Québec, most settled to the west of Montréal and eventually forced the split between Lower and Upper Canada. The Loyalists of Lower Canada were divided between the urban centres along the Saint Lawrence where they had originally come as refugees, the Eastern Townships where some settled in the early 1790s, and a handful in Gaspé where a few of their descendants remain.

When fighting ended with the Treaty of Paris (Treaty of Separation) signed 3 September 1783, the arrival of several thousand English-speaking Loyalists changed the population balance in the Province of Québec.

A census of 1785 gives the figure of 6800 for those already established in the St. Lawrence Valley. These newcomers … were astounded to realize that they had to obey foreign laws. In particular the seigneurial system was repugnant to them. They protested … [54]

As a result, on 26 December 1791, the Canada or Constitutional Act (passed 10 June) came into force, dividing Lower Canada and Upper Canada. In Lower Canada, this did not change much of the Québec Act, except that land tenure in the new Townships was to be English, i.e. free and common soccage, and there would be a democratically elected Assembly.

The Refugees and Sorel (William Henry)[edit | edit source]

The Loyalists entered Canada principally by way of Lake Champlain where “the existence of a seigneury (St. Armand) gave assurance that they were within British territory”[55] They then travelled north up the Richelieu River, coming to refugee camps at St. Johns (St-Jean), Three Rivers and Sorel; three towns that were once far more English than they are today. Sorel’s story is curious:

The seigneurie of Sorel had been purchased by the Crown during the American Revolution for military-strategic reasons and, at the end of the war, Governor Frederick Haldimand founded a town on the old site of the ‘fort de Sorel’ to accommodate some of the thousands of Loyalist refugees who had flocked to the area during the conflict. The town, soon known as William Henry, was an artificial creation, established almost overnight by the decree of a central authority. It was laid out on an ambitious plan with straight, wide streets and a large central Square.[56]

Loyalists of the Eastern Townships (op.cit.) has lists of Loyalist refugees at Machiche (1779), across the river from Sorel, as well as lists of those settled in the Seigniory of Sorel in 1784. ( Many of these moved to newly surveyed Eastern Townships in the 1790s (see page 42). As well, there is a list (see pages 37-38) of Loyalists embarking for Chaleur Bay and the two settlements that were opened up for them in Gaspé.

Marlene Simmons has published Christ Church, Anglican, Sorel, Québec, 1784-1899: index to baptisms, marriages and burials (QFHS, c. 1999) and Gary Schroder and Carol Truesdell have transcribed the memorial inscriptions of The Sorel Anglican Cemetery, Sorel, Richelieu County … (QFHS, c. 1995). Missionaries from the church at Sorel also served the British Army garrisons at several forts along the Richelieu River.

Some Useful Reading

Loyalist lineage is a popular line of research and the bibliography would be extensive, but much of it would centre on either the Maritimes or Ontario (Upper Canada). Start by reading what Brenda Merriman has to say in Genealogy in Ontario. She devotes 22 pages to sources, documents and bibliography, much of which relates to both Québec and Ontario Loyalists. Indeed, what she says about all the documents and records of the British colonial government in Upper Canada can be almost equally relevant to any other British colony, even Québec.

Loyalist of the Eastern Townships is a rather scattered collection of personal accounts, but very relevant to the settlement of the Townships. Eleven Exiles: Accounts of Loyalists of the American Revolution,[57] has two useful appendices, the first (A) a chronology of major events between 1763 and 1791, the second (B) lists the exact date of the battles and other military events. Chapter 10, ‘Sarah Sherwood: Wife and Mother, an “Invisible” Loyalist’, has considerable information on Loyalist life in Québec. The interesting bibliography is oriented to social history rather than genealogy.

Loyalists and Land[edit | edit source]

Of the Loyalist refugees who waited at St. Johns and Sorel, many had come from New England and New York State and had their eye on lands along the border. However, at the end of the American Revolution, there had been a reluctance on the part of the British authorities to allow settlement near the border, indeed some had thought it best to reserve the lands for future settlement by the French Canadians. Since Vermont only made up its mind to join the United States in 1791 there was not any clearly defined border in any case.

However, it was the pressure from the refugee Loyalists waiting impatiently in camps along the Richelieu River that forced a change of government policy. The Constitutional Act was passed late in 1791, and so, after almost a decade of petitioning government and governors, the first survey of townships was begun, though not until 1796 were the first lands in Lower Canada actually granted in free and common soccage.

It often took the first settlers many years to get their patents, but they did have the pick of the land, for by the time the official papers were registered, most settlers had already established their families on desirable sites. Nor did it take long for a new generation, “late loyalists”, and their friends and relations of indifferent political persuasion, to move north across the border. To the French Canadian majority in the Assembly at Québec City, they were all - Loyalist or later arrivals - “les Yankis”, and they had a point.

While loyal to Britain, these arrivals were not necessarily British in outlook. A lot were not even from the British Isles; some were of German origin. Many were North American born, often over several generations, and were experienced settlers. For generations they had been moving out from the comfortable established settlements in New England to unclaimed areas where young men could find land. Many grew up with an axe in their hand and knew the ways of the frontier. They are the first settlers in the row of townships along the border, and their cultural and religious connections ran south rather than north. Do not be surprised to find records south of the border.

A complete list of “Lands granted in Free and Common Soccage in the Province of Lower Canada” arranged by Townships, and listing grantor, the Leader of the Township, date of the Patent, acreage of grant and Crown and Clergy reserves is provided by the Surveyor Joseph Bouchette in Vol. I of The British Dominions in North America; or a Topographical and Statistical Description of the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada,… (London, 1832). This should be available in the Rare Book section of many reference libraries.[58]

Other Anglophones[edit | edit source]

Non-English Anglophones[edit | edit source]

“Ethnics” is what Jacques Parizeau called them after his referendum failed. The journalist George Boulanger also betrayed certain bias when he referred to Québec City’s English-speaking Jewish and Irish “ethnic communities”:

… [who] had followed business up-river to Montréal many decades ago and no new Jewish or Irish immigrants ever came to strengthen the dwindling communities of those who stayed behind.

The Irish, at least the Roman Catholics, sort of fitted in, though they are probably included in Parizeau’s accusations. As has been said, their records are the same as Francophone Catholics, but there is quite a lot of literature on “The Irish in Québec” and their sufferings during the Famine and on Grosse Isle, and their impact on Montréal, some of it quite recent.[59] Sister Marianna O’Gallagher is the expert and you should consult her books and articles[60] . In the Canadian Geographic (July-August 1999) there is an article by Pierre de Billy describing the English-speaking Irish village of Shannon, 25 kilometres northwest of Québec City which so far has resisted francization.

The First Jews in Québec[edit | edit source]

Jews were barred from New France, so the origins of the Jewish community in Québec can be stated with some precision.

Hart, Aaron (1724-1800), merchant, was an English Jew who came to Canada in 1759-60 as a commissary in the British army, and who settled as a merchant in Three Rivers. Here he established a prosperous business, and founded a family that has played notable part in commerce and literature. He died at Three Rivers, Lower Canada, on December 28, 1800. (MacMillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 3rd ed. 1963).

Aaron Hart was not the only Jew to arrive under British auspices. When some of these soldiers and civilians decided to remain permanently in Québec, the “history of Canadian Jewry commenced”.

… these men associated freely and on equal terms with their English and Protestant fellows. British by birth as they were, all had close ties with the familiar Anglo Saxon world. They settled down in Montréal and prospered, although without any perceptible increase in numbers; after seventy years of residence, they totalled no more than fifty-two.[61]

These were British-born, and for the most part Sephardic Jews whose ancestors had fled Spain and Portugal centuries earlier. In 1768 they organized Shearith Israel, the first congregation in what is now Canada, in conformity with the Sephardic Rite as practised in London and New York. By 1777 they had erected a synagogue on St. James Street, and the records of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue survive from 1841. The descendants of these British Jews remain the elite, at least in their opinion, among the complex social levels of the Montréal Jewish community. William Weintraub called Jewish Montréal “A Third Solitude”[62] and his City Unique will fill you in on the geography and social mores in Montréal where the largest Jewish population is found.

Montréal—Home of the Notre Dame de Grâce[edit | edit source]

Kosher Meatmarket[edit | edit source]

The Notre Dame de Grâce (NDG) Kosher Meatmarket is not an oxymoron. It was a long-established business in NDG that no one paid much attention to until the New Yorker magazine added it to their “Favorite Business Directory” listings. That made Montréalers stop, think, and laugh at an incongruity they had accepted as a normal part of their multi-cultural city, just like the Christ-Roi Valet Service.

The arrival of Jews from central and eastern Europe, Yiddish-speaking for the most part, began in the 1840s, a trickle at first, but swelling after 1880 to reach a peak just before World War I. Records of the German Polish Synagogue begin in 1858 and those of the Avatah Shalom Hebrew in 1882. In 1881 the Jewish population of Montréal numbered 814, in 1911 it was 27,948. Kathleen Jenkins devotes several pages of her history of Montréal to the political accomplishments of the early Jewish settlers and to the growth of congregations and divisions in the community.

Hers, however, is a polite history by a gentile. For a livelier, and contemporary account by a member of the community, read Chapter 8 in City Unique. It will tell you more first-hand information on the social structure of Jewish Montréal, from east of The Main to above The Boulevard, than you can probably find anywhere outside of Mordecai Richler novels. Indeed, the whole book should be required reading if you are doing research in 20th century Montréal.

You should be aware of the work Glen Eker has done on census records of the Jewish communities: Jewish residents of Montréal and Québec City in the 1871-1901 censuses of Canada (Avotaynu, Inc., c. 1993), 2 microfiche, and Jewish residents of Greater Québec province, excluding Greater Montréal and Québec City, in the 1871-1901 censuses of Canada (Teaneck, New Jersey: Avotaynu, Inc., 1994), 1 microfiche. As to where they lived, Montréal Metropolis tells us (page 65):

…To some extent, however, Jews segregated themselves. Orthodox Jews needed to live within walking distance of their synagogue…between 1900 and 1914, many traditional Jews from eastern Europe moved into the “immigrant corridor” between St. Lawrence Boulevard and Park Avenue, helping to make St. Louis de Mile End the Island’s first multi-ethnic suburb. That confluence permitted the Jewish community to finance a major project there: The St. Urbain Street Synagogue (1905).

City Unique chronicles the importance, and then the decline in the use of Yiddish in Montréal, indeed there was a lively and important Yiddish theatrical tradition well into the 1950s. For educational purposes Jewish Montréalers fell under the Protestant School Board, though there were some parochial schools. For many years McGill University accepted a limited number of Jewish students, which, of course meant the brightest and best. This quota came to an end after World War II. For almost a century, starting in the 1880s the Jewish community developed its own social and cultural institutions, the Jewish Public Library, the Jewish General Hospital, a wide range of social welfare organizations, many of which remain though now most are government funded and so government controlled. Several organizations are making a concerted effort to record and preserve the oral history and traditional culture of the men and women who arrived in Canada early in the 20th century. The Jewish Public Library (see Addresses, under Archives) would be the place to start asking about such material. Also check the Jewish Genealogical Society website or e-mail

Black Montréal[edit | edit source]

The arrival of railroads saw the growth of the black community in Montréal. In 1804 there were 142 slaves in the Montréal district, but by the time the British Parliament abolished slavery in British colonies in 1833, slavery was virtually non-existent in Canada. The flight north of escaped slaves from the United States meant a steadily increasing population, and there was also some immigration from the Caribbean, but the 1861 census shows “that only 190 Negroes lived in the lower section of the province.”[63]

The original Bonaventure Station was built in 1847 and was owned by the Grand Trunk Railway which, in 1888-89 replaced it with an impressive brick structure that dominated the corner of Windsor (now Peel Street) and St. James Streets. The CPR, not to be outdone, built a Romanesque, stone fortress, Windsor Station, also on Windsor (now Peel) Street, across from Dominion Square. Both provided work, and in particular, jobs for sleeping car porters; not great jobs, but regular, steady, respectable work. They established their families in the downtown area, between, and west of the two train stations within an easy walk of their work. “Little Burgundy” was a “salt and pepper” district on the eastern fringes of St. Henri as Mairuth (Hodge) Sarsfield, who grew up in this Montréal milieu, explains in her novel, No Crystal Stair. Set in the mid-forties, the novel will bring the community to life and explain some of the social structure. The one place known to white Montréal was Rockhead’s Paradise, which brought the top black entertainers from New York’s Harlem to Montréal.[64]

Chinese Montréal[edit | edit source]

The Chinese community in Montréal was not large enough to attract the notice of either Montréal historian Stephen Leacock or Kathleen Jenkins. By the 1940s when my family moved to Montréal, “Chinatown” was downtown, around Lagauchetière street, west of the Main (Boulevard St-Laurent), where a cluster of restaurants, small shops with exotic wares, and even banks with signs in Chinese characters, set the area apart. Most of the Chinese-run social institutions were centred there as well.

Our Chinese friends had left that enclave a generation earlier, and while families or friends might move to the same part of the Town of Mount Royal or Côte St. Luc, I was never aware of any other specifically Chinese part of town. Look for professionals in University Alumni Directories, and those still in the service industries—yes, there were small family-run Chinese Laundries scattered across the city—in Telephone Books and City Directories.

First Nations[edit | edit source]

Last, but not least, the First Nations in Québec are another “Ethnic” group that have frustrated Jacques Parizeau and his friends. The population shares the province’s religious and language divisions; it relates to who they fought for in the seventeenth century.

When the Province of Québec was given control of Ungava - their portions of Rupert’s Land (the territories the Hudson’s Bay Company had controlled from London for two centuries) - the southern part in 1898, the northern in 1912, the residents, who were for the most part Cree or Inuit, greatly increased the proportion of First Nation Québecers who were English-speaking, and often Protestant, since the Anglican church had had considerable influence in Rupert’s Land.

Research into Aboriginal ancestry is becoming popular, so more is in print, but for this genealogy you need a lot of special knowledge about records and history or you can waste hours and even days. I do not consider myself expert and rarely undertake such work. You could start with Chapters 5 and 6, “Migrant Adventurers” and “Indian Ancestry” in my Here be Dragons, too! (OGS, 2000), and note the suggested books, especially those relating to women in the fur trade. Remember, many of our early aboriginal ancestors were women.

Then go to the website for Denis Beauregard’s words of wisdom on Québec’s Native People and a list of Répertoire des mariages for various reserves. The records of the Federal Department of Indian Affairs, RG 10, are not something to plunge into unprepared. One archivist described it as a quagmire, and it is vast. If you must, start with Bill Russell, Indian Affairs Records at the National Archives of Canada: A source for genealogical research (Toronto: OGS, 1998), and try to find a copy of James Morrison’s Aboriginal People in the Archives: A Guide to Sources in the Archives of Ontario (Toronto: Archives of Ontario, 1992). While this relates to Ontario, it will show the sorts of records that may hold information and you can then search for similar material in Québec Archives.

While Québec’s First Nations are demanding more power over their own societies, language laws and other restrictions are driving the anglophone non-English out of the Province. They are being replaced by other “ethnics” from former French colonies in the Caribbean, North Africa and the Far East, who in another generation or two will make Québec genealogy an even greater challenge.[65]

Records of Non-French in the Library and Archives of Canada[edit | edit source]

The Library And Archives Of Canada [LAC][edit | edit source]

Archives Division[edit | edit source]

The original Land Papers for Crown Grants for both Lower and Upper Canada (1764-1841) are held at the Archives Division of Canada, but are widely available on microfilm. They are indexed sometimes by Township, sometimes by County, and for subsequent transfers, the Judicial District must be known. For Québec land research a good sequence of historic maps, gazetteers and directories will be essential.

Land Papers and Petitions[edit | edit source]

In order to obtain Crown land, settlers were required to submit petitions to the governor stating their reasons for claiming land grants. Claimants might be Loyalists, children of Loyalists, military claimants, “late Loyalists”, legitimate settlers or just opportunists. The Library and Archives of Canada [LAC] hold the land petitions and other papers for Québec and Lower Canada from 1764 - 1841 (RG 1 L3L). Both the documents and the card index to them are available on microfilm.

Petitions by Associates[edit | edit source]

Petitions could be submitted by individuals, or by an “association” of would-be settlers. Individual petitions are more common in Upper Canada, where individual petitions can have useful information about military service, loyalties, time of arrival in the province, family, etc. but alas, “associations” offer little except lists, and more lists, of names.

In Lower Canada, most land grant petitions were made by groups of associates; two or three “men of influence” who had the money to pay for a survey and other charges, might gather together a number of “Associates” and in their name sent off a petition asking for a large tract of land, often a whole Township. If one petition was not accepted, another might be sent by many of the same men asking for land in a different area.

Bureaucratic Processes[edit | edit source]

Once the petition reached the Governor, bureaucratic wheels started to grind. Qualifications of “Loyalists” were checked, attested to or documented in several ways and noted in a variety of files. Each “associate” had to swear an oath of allegiance, and for many of these group-petitions, there are bundles (files) of attestations and certificates showing that each individual had in fact taken the oath. These lists, and the lists of those who had taken the oath are stored in the Land Papers, though not necessarily together with the attestations.

Land had to be found, and surveyed into Ranges and Lots. The Chief Surveyor in Lower Canada was Joseph Bouchette and his survey reports and maps constitute another section of the Land Papers.

Finally the associates agreed with the leaders as to who would get what lots, and more lists were made. The names might also be added to one of the surveyor’s diagrams of the Township. Eventually the government would pass an Order-in-Council, and issue a fiat or warrant, which assigned a grant of land to the petitioners, who would portion it out as agreed. Officials might check this and make further lists of who really cleared land, built cabins, etc.

Lower Canada Land Papers[edit | edit source]

The Lower Canada Land Papers are not easy to research. At some point in time, they were numbered sequentially, and the files are divided into “volumes”. They are indexed by the name of individuals, giving only a date, and the page numbers of the petition file on which the name is found. You then have to cross check the page numbers against a microfilm list which gives the volume numbers, and the page numbers within each volume or part volume on the film.

Because of the “associations” one petition file can run to well over a hundred pages. The file will be in the name of the “men of influence” who headed the association, not the individual associate whose name may only occur once or twice. To find the names of those who got the original big land grant, look in Joseph Bouchette, British Dominions, Appendix XVIII, Vol. 1, pages 483-488, where grants are tabulated by Township.

Published Sources[edit | edit source]

Lists of the individual land grants (1763-1890) are published in the Journal of the Legislative Assembly (Lower Canada) 1949, Vol. 8, Appendix 3, divided by County and Township, then by range and lot, and then giving the owner’s name. In addition, if you know the Township, there is a nominal listing of grantees, alphabetical by first letter of the surname. The Québec Family History Society has extracted the nominal lists for each letter of the alphabet and published them in a single booklet for each letter - A, B, C, etc., but separately grouped and listed by township. The lists serve the same purpose as the Archives of Ontario computerized land index, but are not nearly as user friendly.

Deeds[edit | edit source]

Once in possession of a location (as recorded on lists and maps) for a lot, the would-be owner had to “improve” his land (clear, plant crops, erect a building etc.) within a given number of years. When this had been done a Patent of ownership was issued in the name of the Crown. It was the owner who was given (and hopefully retained) the Land Patent (or Deed). It is not with government records. The Department of Crown Lands kept all the lists and attestations and petitions and reports of Surveyors General, and Script Books telling what Patents had been given out. These are what are indexed at the Archives.

The published lists of grants go up to 1890 and Crown grants after 1841 are preserved in Québec City by the:

Service de l’enregistrement des documents de l’État
1200, route de l’Église, Sainte-Foy (Québec) G1V 4M1[66]

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

General Reference Works[edit | edit source]

  • Canadian Almanac and Directory…(Toronto: Canadian Almanac and Directory Pub. Co., 1995-)current issue on CD-ROM. Useful source of addresses.
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia 3 volumes (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, c. 1985) also The…Canadian Encyclopedia (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, c. 1998) on CD-ROM.
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 14 volumes [to date] (Toronto: University of Toronto Press; Québec City, Les Presses de l’université Laval, c. 1966).
  • Directory of Associations in Canada/répertoire des associations du Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973-c. 1997) also Associations Canada: an encyclopedic directory/un répertoire encyclopedique (Toronto: Canadian Almanac and Directory Pub. Co., 1991).
  • Directory of Canadian Archives (Ottawa: Canadian Council of Archives, 1990) Current version is on the internet.
  • The Encyclopedia of Canada, genl. ed., W. Stewart Wallace (Toronto: University Associates of Canada, 6 volumes, 1935-37; registered edition 1940; 2nd edition 1948) Edited by a noted historian just before World War II, now an invaluable guide to the recent past. Town and city entries give the newspapers, major industries, and the railroads that served each community. References are to Encyclopedia of Canada plus the entry topic. Most libraries will have a copy, but by now it is probably in the stacks.
  • The Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates, compiled by Jay Myers, revised by L. Hoffman and F. Sutherland (Richmond Hill, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1991).
  • The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature, editor Norah Story (Toronto, London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1967) Contains detailed accounts of most Canadian political divisions and places.
  • Dictionary of Canadian French/Dictionnaire du français canadien, edited by Sinclair Robinson and Donald Smith (Toronto: Stoddard, 1990).
  • Le dictionnaire pratique des expressions québécoises, compiled by André Dugas and Bernard Soucy (Montréal: Éditions Logiques, c. 1991). Elliot, Noel M., editor, The French Canadians, 1600-1900: an alphabetized directory of the people, places, and vital dates, 3 volumes. (Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1992) The People of Québec, i.e. both language groups. Also useful in finding migrating Québecers may be: People of Ontario, 1600-1900: alphabetized directory of the people, places and vital dates, 3 volumes (London, Ontario: Genealogical Research Library, 1984) and The Central Canadians, 1600-1900: an alphabetized directory of the people, places, and vital dates, 3 volumes. (Toronto: Genealogical Research Library, 1994).

Bibliographies, Catalogues etc.[edit | edit source]

  • Beaulieu, André, and Jean Hamelin, La presse Québecoise: des origines à nos jours. Index cumulatife, 10 volumes, (Québec City: Université de Laval, 1973-1990).
  • Bond, Mary E., Canadian Directories, 1790-1987: a bibliography and place-name index, 3 volumes (Ottawa: Library of Canada, 1989).
  • Burrows, Sandra and Franceen Gaudet, Checklist of indexes to Canadian newspaper. (Ottawa: Library of Canada, 1987) Updated version is available on NLC-BNC internet website.
  • CARD/Canadian Advertising rates and data (Toronto: Maclean-Hunter and Standard Rate qand Data Service, 1966-monthly) For current addresses of all media.
  • Cardinal, Claudette, The History of Québec: A Bibliography of Works in English (Montréal: Concordia University Press, 1981).
  • Canadian Newspapers on Microfilm (Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1959).
  • Canadian Serials Directory, editor Gordon Ripley (Toronto: Reference Press, 1987).
  • Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm 1666-1891, compiled by Thomas A. Hillman (Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1987).
  • Catalogue of Census Returns on Microfilm, 1901, compiled by Thomas A. Hillman, (Ottawa: Archives of Canada, 1993).
  • Filby, P. William, American and British Genealogy and History: A selected list of books…(Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1983) Contains a Canadian section with important Québec material.
  • Genealogy and Local History to 1900: a Bibliography, compiled by J. Brian Gilchrist and Clifford Duxbury Collier (Ottawa: CIHM-ICHM, 1995) Old and rare Canadian books, periodicals and serials available on microfiche.
  • Matthews’ List (Meaford, Ontario: Syd Matthews and Partners, 199-?-) Also known as Matthews Media Directory. Addresses, etc. of current publications.
  • Morley, William F.F., Canadian Local Histories to 1950: a bibliography, 3 volumes (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967-1978) Volume 2: La province de Québec; Also available in the Scholarly Reprint Series Editions (1980).
  • O’Donnell, Brendan, Printed Sources for the Study of English Speaking Québec (Lennoxville: Bishop’s University Press, 1984).
  • Union List of Manuscripts in Canadian Repositories (Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1975) Supplements (1979, 1982, c. 1985).
  • Union List of Newspapers Held by Canadian Libraries (Ottawa: Library of Canada, 1977, 1983).

Biographies and Directories[edit | edit source]

  • A Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography being Chiefly Men of the Times, ed. Geo Maclean Rose (Toronto: Rose Publishing Company, 1888).
  • The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography, editor W. Stewart Wallace (London, Toronto: Macmillan, 3rd edition, 1963).
  • The Social Register of Canada, 3rd edition (Montréal: The Social Register of Canada, 1958-1961).
  • The Canadian Directory of Parliament1867-1967, editor J.K. Johnson (Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1968).
  • Omer, Joseph and N. Omer Coté, Political Appointments and elections in the Province of Canada, 1841-1867 (Ottawa, 1866; second edition 1918) Indexed, and exceptionally reliable.

Eastern Townships[edit | edit source]

  • Barry, Gwen Rawlings, A History of Megantic County: Downhomers of Québec’s Eastern Townships.
  • Brown, Kathleen H., Schooling in the Clearings; Stanstead 1800-1850 (Stanstead Historical Society; Guelph, ON: Prism Studios, 2001).
  • Channell, Leonard S., History of Compton County and Sketches of the Eastern Townships, District of St. Francis and Sherbrooke County. (Cookshire: L.S. Channell, 1896; Milton: Canadiana Reprint Series, No. 8, Global Heritage Press, 1999) Biographical details of most land owners.
  • Men of Today in the Eastern Townships 1917, editor Erastus G. Pierce, introduction by V.E. Morrill (Sherbrooke: Sherbrooke Record Co., 1917).

Montréal[edit | edit source]

  • Borthwick, Rev. J. Douglas, History and Biographical Gazetteer of Montréal to the year 1892. (Montréal: John Lovell, 1892) contains a short history and hundreds of biographies of English and French Montréalers.

Immigrants and Emigrants[edit | edit source]

  • Acton, John A., Index of Passengers Who Emigrated to Canada Between 1817 and 1849. (Toronto: OGS, 1999) Index to lists of emigrants found in records of the British Colonial Office, replaces NA finding aid to CO 384.
  • A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation, compiled by Donald Whyte F.H.G., F.S.G. 2 volumes (Toronto: OGS, 1986, Vol. 2, 1995).
  • Names of emigrants: from the 1845-1847 records of James Allison, emigrant agent at Montréal, comp. Irish Research Group, Ottawa Branch, OGS (Ottawa: Ottawa Branch, OGS, 1994).

Genealogy—Methodology[edit | edit source]

  • Boudreau, Rev. Dennis M., Beginning Franco-American Genealogy (Pawtucket, Rhode Island: American French Genealogical Society, 2nd printing, 1993) Has useful word lists and explanations of Marriage indexes.
  • Douglas, Althea, Here Be Dragons! (Toronto: OGS, 1996) Tools of the Trade for Canadian Genealogy and Here Be Dragons, too! (Toronto: OGS, 2000).
  • Harrison, Lorraine St-Louis and Mary Munk, Tracing Your Ancestors in Canada (Ottawa: Archives of Canada, revised 1998) Free from the Archives of Canada, and on their website.
  • Jetté, René, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983).
  • Répertoire des noms de famille du Québec des origines à 1825 (Montréal: Institut généalogique J.L., 1988). A helpful guide through the A--- dit B---- maze of Francophone families. Note: Both the Drouin (113 volumes) and Loiselle (microfiche) marriage indexes cross-reference most Québec dit names.
  • Traité de généalogie (Montréal: les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1991). If you can read French, this book has a very helpful section on the language and formulas of notarial contracts.
  • Mann, Thomas. The Oxford Guide to Library Research (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
  • Merriman, Brenda Dougall, About Genealogical Standards of Evidence. (Toronto: OGS, 1997).
  • Merriman, Brenda Dougall, Genealogy In Ontario: Searching the Records. (Toronto: OGS, 3rd edition 1996) The detailed descriptions of British colonial records generated in Ontario will prove useful regardless of what British colony you are researching.
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown, Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997).
  • Punch, Terrence M.C.G. (C) with George F. Sanborne Jr., F.A.S.G. eds. Genealogist’s Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2nd edition 1997) Gaspé and Gulf of St. Lawrence records may turn up in Atlantic Canada.
  • United Church of Canada, Committee on Archives and History, Guide to Family History Research in the Archival Repositories of the United Church of Canada (Toronto: OGS, 1996).[67]

Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

  • Andreae, Christopher, Lines of Country: An Atlas of Railway and Waterway History in Canada, cartography Geoffrey Matthews (Erin Ontario: The Boston Mills Press, 1997).
  • Bouchette, Joseph, The British Dominions in North America; or a Topographical and Statistical Description of the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, The Islands of Newfoundland, Prince Edward and Cape Breton…(2 volumes, London, 1832) Available in the Rare Book section of many reference libraries, Vol. I has particularly useful tabulations of the Townships surveyed and granted after 1795 in Lower Canada.
  • Concise Historical Atlas of Canada edited by William G. Dean et al. Cartography Geoffrey J. Matthew and Byron Moldofsky (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1998).
  • County Maps: Land Ownership Maps of Canada in the 19th Century', comp. Heather Maddick (Ottawa: National Map Collection, Public Archives of Canada, 1976).
  • County Atlases of Canada: a Descriptive Catalogue, compiled by Betty May, Frank McGuire and Heather Maddick, (Ottawa: National Map Collection, Public Archives of Canada, 1970).
  • Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume I, edited by R. Cole Harris (1987); Volume II, edited by R. Louis Gentilcore (1993) et al.; Volume III, edited by Donald Kerr (1990). Designer/cartographer Geoffrey J. Matthews (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press) 3 volumes.
  • Historical Atlas of Canada, editor D.G.G. Kerr (Don Mills, Ontario: Thomas Nelson and Sons [Canada] Ltd., three editions 1961, 1966, 1975) A slim single volume, probably more widely available than the newer 3 Vol. publication of the same name. Excellent for finding the dates and changes made in territorial boundaries of Québec and Canada.

Eastern Townships[edit | edit source]

  • Historical Atlas of Québec Eastern Townships: Illustrated Atlas of the Eastern Townships and South Western Québec, H. Belden and Co. 1881, reprint edition, editor Ross Cumming (Port Elgin, Ontario, 1972).
  • The Eastern Townships Gazetteer and General Business Directory…Containing Also Much Useful Information of a Miscellaneous Character (St Johns/St-Jean, Québec: Smith and Co., Proprietors of the “News”, 1867) Reprinted by Page-Sangster Inc., 1967.

Military and Militia[edit | edit source]

  • British Orders and Awards. (London: Kaye and Ward Ltd., 2nd edition, 1959) Lists all the awards, honours and medals, with notes on military and other ranks.
  • Cooke, Owen, The Canadian Military Experience, 1867-1983: A Bibliography (Ottawa: 1983).
  • Officers of the British Forces in Canada During the War of 1812-15, compiled by L. Homfray Irving, Hon. Librarian Canadian Military Institute (Welland: Tribune Printers, 1908) Some data on regular British army, but for the most part lists Upper and Lower Canada Militia Officers compiled from land grants, pay lists, etc. Also lists Naval forces in the Great Lakes.
  • O’Byrne, William R., A Naval biographical dictionary: comprising the life and service of every living officer in Her Majesty’s Navy…(London, 1849) Details of the naval career of every officer alive in 1849.
  • The Service of British Regiments in Canada and North America: a resume, compiled by Charles H. Stewart (Ottawa: Department of National Defence Library, 1962) Copies of this typescript document are available in most major research and legislature libraries, including a few in the USA.
  • British Army Pensioners Abroad. comp. Norman K. Crowder (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995) Listed by regiment.
  • Royal Hospital Chelsea Soldiers’ Documents: Manuscript Group (MG)13, War Office (W.O.) 97. Archives of Canada - Quick Guide Series: Manuscript Division: Number 1.
  • The Regiments and Corps of the Canadian Army, Army Historical Section (Ottawa: Department of National Defence, 1964).

Look For Articles By

  • Lépine, Luc, whose speciality is Lower Canada Militia Officers 1812-1815, both French and English, some listings published in Connections, QFHS.
  • Wright, Glenn T., senior archivist In the Government Archives Division, NA, has presented a number of papers on Canadian Military Records, many have been published in the annual OGS Seminar Proceedings or Syllabus or in Families.

See Also

  • Encyclopedia of Canada, “Militia” (Vol. 4, pages 290-294).
  • Tracing Your Ancestors in Canada (Ottawa: Archives, revised edition 1998). “Military and Naval Records” (pages 33-37) provides a concise summary of records available at the NAC, Ottawa.

Québec[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

  • Les rapports des Archives nationales du Québec, 1920-1975, a collection of 53 volumes, over 20,000 pages, is available on CD/cédérom ($200 plus tax and shipping). These reports include important transcripts of documents and lists. The ANQ Rapports are thoroughly indexed for names at the end of each volume, and though the material concentrates on the earlier years, before 1800, they are a valuable source of information.

Social History and Geography[edit | edit source]

  • Bellavance, Marcel, A Village in Transition: Compton, Québec, 1880-1920 (Ottawa: Environment Canada, Parks Canada, 1982). Available in French.
  • Greer, Alan, Peasant, Lord and Merchant: Rural Society in Three Québec Parishes 1740-1840 (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1985, reprint 1987). Background on South Shore Region.
  • Harris, Richard Colebrook, The Seigneurial System in Early Canada. (Madison, Milwaukee and London: The University of Wisconsin Press; Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 1966) Still in print.
  • Harris, R. Cole, and John Warkentin, Canada Before Confederation: A Study in Historical Geography (New York, London, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1974) A valuable survey of how and why the country was settled, including varieties of land divisions. “Québec in the Century After the Conquest” (Chapter 3) is required reading for any genealogist working in the province.
  • The Loyalists of the Eastern Townships of Québec (Stanbridge East, Québec: Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch U.E.L. Association, 1984) Index to The Loyalists…, Privately printed November 1992. Linda Corupe, U.E., 210 Allan Drive, Bolton, Ontario L7E 1Y7.
  • Little, John I., Crofters and Habitants: Settler Society, Economy and Culture in a Québec Township, 1848-1881 (Kingston, Montréal, London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991) The Child Letters: Public and Private Life in a Canadian Merchant-Politician’s Family, 1841-1845 (Montréal and Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press, 1995) [Marcus Child, of Stanstead] and many papers and booklets; many dealing with Stanstead and Compton Co. These are listed on the Simon Frazer University - Jack Little website
  • McCallum, John, Unequal Beginnings: Agriculture and Economic Development in Québec and Ontario until 1870 (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1980) Useful background material.[68]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Douglas, Althea. "Introduction to English Communities in Québec (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  2. O.D. Skelton, The Life and Times of Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt, editor Guy MacLean (Toronto, 1966) pages 10-15.
  3. Bellavance, Marcel, A Village in Transition: Compton, Québec, 1880-1920 (Ottawa: Environment Canada, Parks Canada, 1982). This small (under 100 pages) book gives an excellent and balanced account of such demographic changes. Originally written in French, the notes and bibliography provide a very good list of sources in that language.
  4. Sellar, Robert, The Tragedy of Québec: the Expulsion of its Protestant Farmers (Huntingdon: 1907/1916) (Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1974) "Introduction by Robert Hill - Social History of Canada, general editor Michael Bliss.
  5. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Demographic Changes (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  6. See Plate 46, Vol. I, Historical Atlas of Canada.
  7. Richard Colebrook Harris, The Seigneurial System in Early Canada (Madison, Milwaukee and London: The University of Wisconsin Press; Quebec: Les Presses de l'Universite Laval, 1966) Still in print.
  8. For a concise sumary of canal building see "Canals", The Encylopedia of Canada, 6 volumes, editor W. Stewart Wallace (Toronto: University Associates of Canada, 1935-37) registered edition 1940, 2nd edition 1948.
  9. Gilles Langelier [of the Cartographic and Architectural Archives Division, NA], "The Constitutional Act of 1791: A challenge for surveyors", The Archivist-l'Archiviste, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January-June 1991) page 8.
  10. C.P. De Volpi and P.H. Scowan, The Eastern Townships A Pictorial Record (Montreal: Dev-Sco Pul. 1962) Endpapers.
  11. Dresser, John A. "The Eastern Townships of Quebec; a Study in Human Geography:, Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada (Third Series, Section II, Vol. XXIX 1935) pages 93-94. For research in the Townships, this short paper gives an excellent survey of the geographic features and population movements and changes. Do get a copy and read it.
  12. Wallace, Willard M. Traitorous Hero: The Life and Fortunes of Benedict Arnold (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1954) gives a vivid account of this wilderness expedition.
  13. Dresser, op.cit., page 93.
  14. Bouchette, Joseph, The British Dominions in North America; or a Topographical and Statistical Description of the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, The Islands of Newfoundlnad, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton... (2 volumes, London, 1832) Vol. I, page 303. Available in the Rare Book section of many reference libraries. Vol. II has particularly useful tabulations of the Townships surveyed and granted after 1795 in Lower Canada.
  15. Douglas, Althea, "The Township Trap", Here Be Dragons!: Navigating the hazards fround in Canadian family research, A guide for genealogists (Toronto: OGS, 1996).
  16. Booth, Derek J. Railways of Southern Quebec, 2 volumes (Toronto: Railfare Enterprises Ltd., 1985).
  17. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Non-French Settlement (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  18. O'Farrell, John, Annual concert and ball of the St. Patrick Society, Montréal, 15th of January, 1872: address delivered on invitation of the society by John O'Farrell. Cover title: Irish Families in the ancient Quebec Records: With some account of Soldiers from the Irish Brigade Regiments of France serving with the Army of Montcalm, (Montreal: J. Lovell, 1872; reprints - Montreal: St. Lawrence Press, 1908; Ottawa: Dominion Loose Leaf, 1924; Mayo, Quebec: Our Lady of Knock Shrine, St. Malachy's Church, 1967).
  19. Jette, Rene, Dictionnaire genealogique des familles du Quebec (Montreal: Les Presses de 1'Universite de Montreal, 1983).
  20. A collective term sometimes used to cover King William's War (1689-97); Queen Anne's war (1702-13); King George's War (1744-48) and the Seven Years War (1754-63). For details see under these headings in The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature, comp. Norah Story (Toronto, London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1967).
  21. Readings in Canadian History: Pre-Confederation, editors R. Douglas Francis and Donald B. Smith (Holt, Rinehart and Winston of Canada, Ltd., 2nd edition, 1986) page 190. The quote is from the introduction to Topic Six: "The economy and Society of Post-Conquest Québec", which consists of Fernand Ouellet, "The Legacy of New France Restored to Favour", Michel Brunet, "French Canada and the Early Decades of British Rule, 1760-1791", and José Igartua, "A Change in Climate: The Conquest and the Marchands of Montréal". These three Readings in Canadian History will fill you in on two different theories of what went on as the British replaced the French, as well as the changes in the fur-trade. If you are researching families who came into Québec in these early years, these Readings and others in the book, are both concise and historically sound accounts of the era.
  22. R. Cole Harris and John Warkentin, Canada Before Confederation: A study in historical geography (New York, London, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1974) page 66.
  23. The Archives of Canada has films of some, but not all, early Protestant registers: Montréal -Christ Church Anglican parish, BMD, 1766-1787+ Québec -Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, BMD, 1768+ -StAndrew's Presbyterian Church, BMD, 1770-1829+ -Garrison Protestant Chaplaincy, BMD, 1797-1800; 1817-1825 Sorel -Christ Church Anglican Church, BMD, 1784-1796 Note: Sorel records include baptisms from Richelieu valley Garrison forts. Three Rivers -Protestant church and garrison MD, 1768-1786+
  24. Not north - Look at a map!
  25. Elliot, Noel M., editor, The French Canadians, 1600-1900: an alphabetized directory of the people, places, and vital dates, 3 volumes (Toronto, Ontario: Genealogical Research Library, 1992). Also useful in finding migrating Québecers may be: People of Ontario, 1600-1900: alphabetized directory of the people, places and vital dates, 3 volumes (London, Ontario: Genealogical Research Library, 1984) and The Central Canadians, 1600-1900: an alphabetized directory of the people, places, and vital dates, 3 volumes (Toronto, Ontario: Genealogical Research Library, 1994). These indexes have now been compiled into a searchable database available on CD-ROM. The somewhat limited selection of sources has not changed.
  26. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Non-French Years of Settlement, New England Captives (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),,_New_England_Captives_%28National_Institute%29.
  27. Turk, Marion G., The Quiet Adventurers in Canada (Detroit: Harlo, 1979) is an excellent source of information on Channel Islanders. Her other books on these migrants include: The Quiet Adventurers (1971) The Quiet Adventurers in America (1975) with Supplements in preparation.
  28. Historical Atlas of Canada, Vol. I Plate 54 "Exploitation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence".
  29. Studies in Archaeology, Architecture and History, (Ottawa: Environment Canada, Parks Canada, National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, 1984).
  30. The Globe and Mail (31 May 2000) Section R (Travel).
  31. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Regions of English Settlement (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  32. Legget, Robert F., Railroads of Canada (Vancouver: Douglas, David and Charles, 1973) pages 102-103.
  33. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Regions of English Settlement, Railroads, ANQ and Church Records, United Church Records (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),,_Railroads,_ANQ_and_Church_Records,_United_Church_Records_%28National_Institute%29.
  34. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Regions of English Settlement along the Ottawa River (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  35. Smith, Ernest J. Québec City gazette marriage notices, 1846-1855; Death Notices, 1846-1855, from the Québec gazette (Pointe-Claire, Québec: Québec Family History Society, 1997)
  36. Douglas, Althea, Tools of the Trade for Canadian Genealogy (Toronto: OGS, 2000) page 40
  37. Legget, Robert F.,Railroads of Canada (Vancover: Douglas, David and Charles, 1973) Chapter 9.
  38. Globe and Mail (12 April 2000) page R3.
  39. Douglas, Althea. "Québec English Communities (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  40. Weintraub, William, City Unique: Montréal Days and Nights in the 1940s and '50s (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc., 1996) is a good read if you know Montréal, and essential if you want to understand its multi-layered social structure.
  41. Collard, Edgar A., Montreal, The Days that Are No More (Toronto: Doubleday Canada Ltd., 1976) which lists other titles including: The McGill You Knew, Call Back Yesterdays, Montreal Yesterdays, Canadian Yesterdays, Oldest McGill.
  42. Montréal Metropolis 1880-1930, editors Isabelle Gournay and France Vanlaethem (Toronto: Stoddard Publishing for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1998). This book was prepared in conjunction with an exhibition shown at the Centre for Architecture (Montréal) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). If it is not in your usual reference library, look for it in the Architecture section of university libraries, and art gallery libraries.
  43. Douglas, Althea. "Québec English Communities in Montréal (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  44. An examination of life in the "Square Mile", and Westmount, is given by Margaret W. Westley, Remembrance of Grandeur: The Anglo-Protestant Elite of Montreal 1900-1950 (Montreal: Libre Expression, 1990).
  45. Quotations from Mark Abley, "Montreal on the Move", Canadian Geographic, Vol. 116 No. 4 (July-August 1996) pages 48-51.
  46. Leacock, Stephen, Montréal, Seaport and City (New York: Doubleday, Doran and Co., Inc. 1942) page 216.
  47. Jenkins, Kathleen, Montréal Island City of the St. Lawrence (New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc. 1960) page 423. See also Angus, Fred, "The Saga of the Cote des Neiges Street Car Line", Canadian Rail, No. 480 (Jan.-Feb. 2001), pages 7-25.
  48. Those that exist are listed in Douglas, Althea and J. Creighton, Canadian Railway Records: A Guide for Genealogists (Toronto: OGS, 1996).
  49. Employee figures for 1955 are given in Section Twenty-Two "Industrial and Business Concerns" in The Arts in Montréal: Report of a Survey of Montréal's Artistic Resources (Montréal, 1956). This book lists just about every group, church, club, institution and company, their facilities and programmes in every type of art, as well as all publications they produced.
  50. Douglas, Althea. "Québec English Communities and History in Montréal (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  51. J. Clarence Webster, An Historical Guide to New Brunswick (Fredericton, New Brunswick, revised edition, 1944) page 113.
  52. Douglas, Althea. "Québec British Military Settlers (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  53. The Loyalists of the Eastern Townships of Quebec (Stanbridge East, Quebec: Sir John Johnson Centennial Branch U.E.L. Association, 1984) Index to The Loyalists..., Privately printed November 1992. Linda Corupe, U.E., 210 Allan Drive, Bolton, Ontario L7E1Y7.
  54. Michel Brunet "French Canada and the Early Decades of British Rule", Readings in Canadian History..., op. cit. page 212
  55. Dresser, op.cit. page 93.
  56. Allan Greer, Peasant, Lord and Merchant: Rural Society in Three Quebec Parishes 1740-1840 (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 1985) page 199.
  57. Eleven Exiles: Accounts of Loyalists of the American Revolution, editors Phyllis R. Blakeley and John N. Grant (Toronto and Charlottetown: Dundurb Press Ltd., 1982).
  58. Douglas, Althea. "Québec American Loyalist Settlers (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  59. Burns, Patricia, The Shamrock and the Shield: An Oral History of the Irish in Montréal (Montréal, Vehicule Press, 1998). Hustake, Alan, Saint Patrick's of Montréal: The Biography of a Basilic (Montréal, Vehicule Press, 1998).
  60. O'Gallagher, Marianna, Grosse Ile: Gateway to Canada 1832-1937 (Ste. Foy: Carraig Books, 1984).
  61. Jenkins, Kathleen, Montréal, Island City of the St. Lawrence (New York: Doubleday and Co. Inc, 1966) page 512.
  62. Weintraub, William, City Unique: Montréal Days and Nights in the 1940s and '50s (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Inc., 1996) gave that title to Chapter 8.
  63. Jenkins, Montréal, page 372.
  64. Weintraub, City Unique, page 123.
  65. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Jewish, Black, Chinese, First Nation Settlers (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),,_Black,_Chinese,_First_Nation_Settlers_%28National_Institute%29.
  66. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Records of Non-French in the Library and Archives of Canada (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  67. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Non-French Settlers Further Reading (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),
  68. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Further Reading on Non-French Settlers (National Institute)," National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),