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Quebec Court Records

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Court records are seldom used in Québec genealogical research. However, there are other legal records that are useful. Notarial records include wills, deeds, and marriage contracts that often give family information. They are filed in the judicial archives. See Quebec Notarial Records, Canada Court Records, and Canada Notarial Records.

Since the 1760s, criminal law in Québec has been based on the English common law. The civil law is based on French law. Many revisions have been made to the old coûtume de Paris (Custom of Paris), the code of laws in effect during years of French government. Some transcriptions of notable cases during the French régime are useful. They have been published in some genealogical periodicals (see Quebec Periodicals.

Most legal records are notarial and are found in the individual notary’s greffe, which, after 80 to 100 years, is usually in the appropriate regional branch of the ANQ. Here you should also find local court records, and in the computerized or microfiched complete inventory of ANQ holdings, be able to locate other Provincial court records.

Court records date from about 1651 and will give the names and residence of persons who engaged in litigation in the courts: Registres du baillage (Bailiff’s Court),Plaidoyers communs (Court of Common Pleas), and Conseil Supérieur (Superior Court).

The ANQ at Montréal has published two guides: Guide des archives judiciaires, District de Montréal, Vol. 1, Cour du banc du roi 1795-1849 et Cour superieur 1850 - 1932, and Guide des archives judiciaires, District de Montréal, Vol. 2, Cour de circuit 1849-1953. Cour superieur records should include probates.

In The Eastern Townships, the ANQ in Sherbrooke holds the archives judiciaires for the districts of St. Francis, Bedford and Megantic. Presumably the early records for the Judicial Districts of Three Rivers and Québec are in the ANQ in those cities. Geography matters, and it is even more important when looking for land records.

Poll Books, and older tax and assessment rolls should, by now, be on deposit with the appropriate branch of the ANQ. Voters Lists (Federal) are at the Archives of Canada.[1]


  1. Douglas, Althea. "Québec Probate and Legal Records (National Institute)," The National Institute for Genealogical Studies (2012),