Finding your Ancestors in the Thetford Mines region of Quebec
If some of your family members worked in Quebec’s asbestos mining industry, they may have lived in the towns of Thetford Mines, Asbestos or Black Lake in south-central Quebec. Thetford Mines was established in 1876 after large deposits of asbestos (amiante in French) were discovered in the area.
However, if your ancestor was an early settler in the area, you may have to broaden your search. Prior to the appointment of permanent Catholic priests in this region, acts of baptisms, marriages and deaths were included in the records of the Catholic Missionary Districts of Trois-Rivières, Nicolet, Drummondville and Sherbrooke. In the Thetford Mines region, this applies to villages located within the surrounding counties of Wolfe, Arthabaska, Nicolet, Frontenac, Drummond and Richmond. In each of the above districts, the records of baptisms, marriages and deaths performed by the missionary priests were integrated with those of local families who attended the regional cathedral.
One such Catholic Missionary Circuit was Les Missions des Cantons de l’Est, which was staffed by Irish Catholic Missionaries from Ireland who settled in the Chateauguay, Huntingdon, Beauharnois and Napierville Counties of Quebec. They were the Catholic version of the Protestant saddlebag preachers, or circuit riders. For more detail on these missions, see pages 65 and 75 of the section on Eastern Townships Catholic Missions, (Missions des Cantons de l’Est), 1826-1846, in the Genealogy Ensemble research guide entitled The Irish Catholics of Lower Canada and Quebec – Their Churches, https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/05/20/irish-catholic-churches-of-quebec/. There may be other information relevant to your search elsewhere in this document.
Prior to the opening of a parish, you should always look at the church records from older villages nearby. If both actions fail (Catholic Missionary Districts and church records from nearby villages), your family members may have been Protestants, or simply non-believers.
Before the establishment of Civil Registers in Quebec in 1926, records for non-believers are a problem, and you should look at notarial records. These will be addressed later this year with series of short articles in regard to the 10 repositories of the Archives nationales du Québec and the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.
Your best hope of finding Anglican, Methodist or Presbyterian ancestors from the Thetford Mines area is to contact La société de généalogie et d’histoire de la région de Thetford Mines and the Société Historique de l’Amiante. They have published a binder of birth, marriage and death records from the area’s Protestant churches that you will not find elsewhere. This binder, researched by local genealogists, is available from the society for $60. Here is the contact information for the society and the list of area churches included:
La Société de généalogie et d’histoire de la région de Thetford Mines
Société Historique de l’Amiante
671, boulevard Frontenac Ouest, Thetford Mines QC G6G 1N1
Stéphane Hamann – Archivist
418-338-8591 ext: 306
Item #4 – The Anglo Protestants of Megantic County – Indexes of births, marriages, burials 1826-1991 – ISBN 2921320029 – Compiled by Robert Boutin & Paul Vachon – $60. CDN + 20% shipping – USA destinations in US Dollars.
The Churches: Adderley Anglican (1948) – Black Lake Anglican (1926-1952) – Inverness Anglican (1859-1970) – Inverness Church of England & Anglican (1848-1954 & 1981-1991) – Inverness Methodist (1853-1925) – Inverness Presbyterian (1856-1979) – Inverness Standard Church in Millfield (1927-1928) – Inverness United (1926-1956) – Inverness Congregational (1848-1849 & 1882-1884) – Inverness St. Andrew’s United (1957-1991) – Inverness Holy Trinity Episcopal (1921-1922) – Inverness Baptist Church (1871-1872) – Ireland Anglican in Maple Grove (1926-1972) – Ireland Church of England (1840-1934) – Ireland Holy Trinity Episcopal & Anglican (1915-1944 & 1981-1991) – Ireland Holiness Movement (1901-1913) – Ireland Methodist (1837-1878) – Kinnear’s Mills Church of England & Anglican (1903-1954 & 1981-1991) – Kinnear’s Mills Presbyterian (1876-1939) – Kinnear’s Mills United (1926-1956) – Kinnear’s Mills- Leeds Church of England (1830-1952) – Leeds Holy Trinity Episcopal (1915-1917 & 1921-1924) – Leeds Methodist (1877-1909) – Leeds Presbyterian in St-Sylvestre (1832-1912) – Leeds St. James Church (1925-1926) – Leeds Anglican (1840-1851 & 1981-1991) – Lemesurier-Thetford Mines Anglican (1947-1948) – Leeds United (1928-1945) – Lemesurier Anglican (1947-1948) – Lower Inverness Protestant Mission (1855) – Maple Grove Anglican (1981-1991) – Nelson Protestant Mission (1855) – Rectory Hill Holy Trinity Episcopal & Anglican (1917 & 1948 & 1981-1991) – St. Sylvestre Protestant Chapel Military Base (1955-1964) – Thetford Mines Anglican (1947-1948 & 1954-1955 & 1981-1991) – Thetford Mines Church of England (1907-1920) – Thetford Mines St. John the Divine (1917-1980) – Thetford Mines Methodist (1911-1927) – Thetford Mines United (1928-1945 & 1957-1991)
The following books are available at the Cégep de Thetford Mines – Département de généalogie
Contact: Stéphane Hamann –Archivist – see above for details.
Leeds 200 Years of History 1802-2002 (971-4575)
St. Jacques de Leeds – Kinnear’s Mills – East Leeds – West Broughton – Crawfordville (13th & 14th Ranges) – Goff’s Hill
– Harvey’s Hill – Kinnear’s Mills – Lambie’s Mills – Leeds Village (Municipality & Parish St. Jacques de Leeds) – Lemesurier – Lipsey’s Hill – Manse Hill (rue des Fondateurs) – Osgood River –
Palmer River – Sunday River – Wilsons’s Mills
From 1809, Origins, Municipal Life, Religious Life, Economic Life, Schools, Social Life (including war heroes, sports) Health, Families & Organisations
The pioneers of Lower Ireland 1818-1980, Marlita Lamontagne-Ouellette
St-Jean-De-Brebeuf 1930-1980, Marlita Lamontagne-Ouellette
Saint-Jacques-de-Leeds 1829-1990 Births, Marriages & Deaths (929-371-4575)
Denise Dion-Ouellette & Daniel Vachon
The Anglo-Protestants of Megantic County 1826-1991 (929-371-4575 R425)
Leeds & St. Sylvester Historical Sketches (971.4575 C9556), Ethel Reid Cruikshank
Kinnear’s Mills 1855-1980, Souvenir Pamphlet
Strolling up and down Kinnear’s Mills (917.14575), Pedestrian Tour
Kinnear’s Mills, James Kinnear
Pioneer families of Leeds Townships, J.G. Kinnear
Megantic County Schools (371-00971457 S M496m)
Megantic Historial Society
Annals of Megantic County (971.4575)
Dugald McKenzie McKillop
Marriages 1815-1879 of St. Francis District (929.37146)
Volume 1 – A – L
Volume 2 K – Z
Births 1815-1879 of St. Francis District (929.37146)
Volumes 1 and 2
Deaths 1815-1879 of St. Francis District (929.37146)
Volume 1 – A – L
Volume 2 K – Z
The pioneers of Inverness Township – 1800-1978 (971.4575)
Saint-Pierre-de-Broughton – 1855-1996 (929-371471 P622b)
Thérèse Bolduc-Boulanger & Denise Dion-Ouellette
Maple Grove – 1918-1988 (971.432 M297)
A history of Megantic County (971.4575 B279h), Gwen Rawlings Barry
Inverness County (971-4575 I62)
Kinnear’s Mills (720.9714575 G882k)
Ex. A and Ex. B (two books)
Leeds Township in 1802 and Saint-Jacques in 1902 (971-4575 L4841 V.1.)
1892- 1992 – 100 Years Courrier Frontenac
Souvenir Issue Thetford Mines Articles 1910 +
Finally, if you plan to visit the area, the Musée Minéralogique et Minier de Thetford Mines (http://www.museemineralogique.com/) might be of interest. The museum’s permanent exhibit features local history and minerals from around the world, and the organization sells French-language books about the area’s history and the asbestos industry; see http://www.museemineralogique.com/publications.html.
See also, “The Presbyterian Churches: Quebec City to Sherbrooke”, Genealogyensemble.com, https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/08/09/the-presbyterian-churches-quebec-city-to-sherbrooke/