Friday, 15 August 2014

Généalogie Québec

Yesterday Library Archive Canada blogged about Quebec being a "genealogist's paradise" due to the volume and content of the records available. Well, a big part of that "paradise" for us is the Drouin Collection, started by Joseph Drouin, farmer's son turned lawyer, who had a profound interest in genealogy.

If you have ancestors from Québec (or perhaps you have a branch of your family that immigrated to Quebec) and you have never subscribed to the Généalogie Québec website, you are missing out on a lot of important information. They not only hold the BMD records from the churches in Quebec, they also have some catholic records for Ontario, Acadie, and some for the United States where French people migrated to. The site is bilingual, though of course French records are in French. Add to that some Notarial records, family genealogies, Red River Manitoba Census 1831-1849, records of the Prévôté de Québec (the first courts) - to name only a few in a long list, and you have a treasure trove of information!

Besides the Drouin Collection, the Généalogie Québec website provides access to many other collections and records. One of those being Marriage and Death records 1926-1997. Another section is Obituaries - newspaper, online, death cards and tombstones.

You can look around the Généalogie Québec website to see what is there, you just cannot access the records without a subscription.  Let's talk about that for a minute....

Like most people beginning to look into their family history, I started with Ancestry.  The taller my tree grew and the more branches it acquired, the more excited I got. But there was still a lot of information missing.  Some records were unreadable, some I couldn't find at all, although I knew from censuses that a person was born a particular year. Being on a limited income I didn't want to pay for another subscription. Then it happened... I belonged to a Facebook group for Quebec genealogy, and there one day Sébastien Robert, co-owner and project manager for the Institut généalogique Drouin, offered a limited time free access to all the records at the Généalogie Québec website. To not waste time I gathered together all the Quebec ancestors for whom I was missing information and signed up for my free access.  What a gold mine! The people at the institute had re-digitized some records that were previously hard to read and transcribed the few that did not come out very well in the process. The records are all sorted by year, so I also found some ancestors that I couldn't find on Ancestry because the transcribers misspelled the names. It does not stop there and neither does the Institute. There are so many records to explore that I extended my subscription for another month.  And you know what?  I still keep it up. They are continually adding more records to the site.
Also, the Institute made access to the Obituary online collection free for all.

A subscription to Généalogie Québec starts at only $13 a month (or $100 for the year), so compared to other pay sites and for all you get access to, it is extremely reasonable.  Note:
"The site gives you access to a daily limit of images to view or download (usually 75); this daily limit varies according to your subscription. Access to the search engines within the site is unlimited and search requests are not added to your daily image count. The Obituaries section is unlimited and does not affect your daily image limit."
So if you have ancestors from or had immigrated to Quebec, I urge you to check it out.

Généalogie Québec website

Drouin Institute

Quebec Obituaries

History of the Drouin Institute (English, short) 

History of the Drouin Institute (French, long)

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