If your Loyalist ancestors settled in the Missisquoi Bay area of Quebec, including towns such as Frelighsburg, Philipsburg, Saint-Armand and Pigeon Hill, the files of notary Louis Chaboillez might help you learn something about them.
This area, located just north of the Vermont border near Lake Champlain and the Richelieu and Pike Rivers, has a long history. The shore of Missisquoi Bay was once the site of an Abenaki village, but in the mid-1700s, the governor of New France divided the land into vast estates called seigneuries. Two of the seigneuries in this part of Quebec were the St. Armand and the Foucault Seigneuries. The first owner of the Saint-Armand seigneury was a Quebec City man who built ships for the King of France, and later, this seigneury was owned by a senior British colonial administrator.
Although New France became the British colony of Lower Canada in 1763, the seigneurial system of land ownership remained in effect until 1854. But long before 1854, many new settlers began to arrive in the area, and they wanted to own their own property.
Thousands of Loyalists who had been loyal to the British during the American Revolution left the United States for Canada in 1784. In the Missisquoi Bay area, they built homes, farms, flour mills, schools and churches. The government of Lower Canada had to find a way to sort out titles to properties in this and similar areas, and it gave this responsibility to certain notaries. The man who undertook this task in the Missisquoi Bay region was Louis Chaboillez. A notary who practiced between 1787 and 1813 in the Judicial District of Montreal, he was assigned to legalize the allotment of lands in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and in the Richelieu River Valley. He served families in the Eastern Townships until the arrival of notary Léon Lalanne in the spring of 1799.
You can find the collection of notarial acts written by Louis Chaboillez between 1787 and 1813 at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) in downtown Montreal. The acts are on microfilm under Cote (Fonds) # CN60,S74 (1787-1813). The original fonds (collection) includes 14.67 metres of documents and one map. It appears that all documents written by Chaboillez were reproduced, with the exception of the map, on microfilms # 3291, 3292, 3293, 3294, 3295, 3296, 3297, 3298, 3299, 3300, 3301, 3302, 3303, 3304, 3305, 3306, 3307, 3380, 3496, 3497 and 3733. A few additional acts were reproduced on Cote (Fonds) #ZQ601.
As of October, 2016, the notarial acts of Louis Chaboillez were not available on the BAnQ’s website (http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/).
The main Montreal branch of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec is located at 535 avenue Viger Est, Montréal, QC H2L 2P3; Tel : 514-873-1100 #4 or 1-800-363-9028; email: email@example.com. The archives is open from Tuesday through Saturday every week; please verify for actual opening hours and legal holidays. See www.banq.qc.ca/archives/entrez_archives/centres_archives/ca_montreal.html.
Louis Chaboillez’s notarial acts can also be found in the Parchemin collection, compiled by Archiv-Histo, under cote # 06010074 (1787-1813). The Parchemin collection is available at libraries throughout Canada and the United States. Archiv-Histo is an associate society of the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
The collection of notarial acts on Parchemin is the largest and most precise in Quebec. Not all of the documents produced by Quebec notaries between 1663 and 1900 are available at BAnQ repositories across the province. Parchemin tells you where notarial acts (minutiers) are kept, and which ones were destroyed by fire. To learn more, see https://www.archiv-histo.com/EN/index.php.
Compiled by Jacques Gagné firstname.lastname@example.org 2016-10-16