Author Archives: Jacques Gagné
Genealogists tend to visit a lot of cemeteries, so if those are beautiful places, the experience can be a pleasure. Anyone with Montreal ancestors in either Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (Catholic) Cemetery or in the non-denominational Mount Royal Cemetery can consider themselves lucky: both cemeteries are located on the slopes of Mount Royal, both are filled with trees and wildlife, and both have services to assist genealogists find their relatives.
These cemeteries were opened in the middle of the 19th century after the city’s population expanded, putting earlier burial grounds too close to residential areas. Hygienic concerns became particularly important when cholera epidemics swept the continent.
In fact, because of epidemics, poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water, many of the city’s dead were children.
Since Mount Royal Cemetery opened in 1852, more than 300,000 people have been buried there. To check the location of a grave in Mount Royal Cemetery, go to https://mountroyalcem.com/index.php/en/our-services/genealogy-menu.html. The Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) sells a book of 4600 monument inscriptions from Hawthorn-Dale, Montreal’s second-largest Protestant Cemetery and an affiliate of Mount Royal Cemetery. See http://www.qfhs.ca/forsale.php.
Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, the largest graveyard in Canada, has been in operation since 1874. To find a grave there go to http://www.notredamedesneigescemetery.ca/en/research/locate.htm and click on locate deceased.
When the older cemeteries were closed, people were told they could move the remains of their relatives, but that did not always happen. Every now and then, human remains turn up when repairs are done to Dorchester Square, a former cemetery that is now a park in the heart of downtown. And in addition to proper cemeteries, there are some unusual burial places in the city. Priests and nuns were buried in the crypts of Catholic churches and other religious buildings. Some 6000 Irish immigrants who died of ship fever in 1847 are buried in a mass grave, marked with a commemorative stone, near the Victoria Bridge.
Because so many of the city’s old cemeteries were closed and eventually built upon or used for other purposes, anyone who comes to the city looking to find the grave of an ancestor who died before the mid-1800s will probably be disappointed.
For a list of 110 Montreal cemeteries, current and closed, including crypts and military cemeteries, see http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/ListerCims.asp?MP=E3&TY=M&SS=52
To find out about Jewish burials, see the following article posted on the Jewish Genealogy Society of Montreal website: http://jgs-montreal.org/burials.html
The QFHS has a number of publications related to cemetery histories and monument inscriptions in its library. Go to http://www.qfhs.ca/libraryRecords.php and put cemetery in the keyword space.
Following is a list of old cemeteries primarily used by the city’s English-speaking community. Most of them no longer exist. The links will tell you their locations and other information.
Montreal General Old Cemetery http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=2148
Montreal Old Negro Cemetery – St-Jacques Street at St-Pierre Street in Old Montreal http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=826
Dufferin Square Cemetery – Dorchester Boulevard at St. Laurent Boulevard http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=828
Montreal Old Military Cemetery – Papineau Street at Lafontaine Street in Southeast Montreal http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=831
St. Mary’s Anglican Burial Ground – Malo Street and Bordeaux Street in Southeast Montreal http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=837
St-Hélène Island Old Military Cemetery http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=846
St. Stephen’s Old Anglican Cemetery Lachine http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=2081
Goose Village Ancient Irish Cemetery http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=2717
Field of Honor Military Cemetery Pointe Claire http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=858
Lakeview Memorial Gardens Pointe Claire http://www.leslabelle.com/Cimetieres/AfficherCim.asp?MP=E3&CID=861
Research: Jacques Gagné
Additional writing: Janice Hamilton
Between the early 1600s and 1755, a community of French-speaking farmers known as the Acadians thrived in Nova Scotia.
In 1755, war between France and Britain spilled into North America. When the Acadians refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the king of England, the colony’s British governor ordered the Acadian people deported. By the fall of that year, some 1,100 Acadians had been forced to board ships and were being transported to the American colonies including Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. By 1758, most of the Acadians who lived on Île St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island) had also been deported. Some of the Acadians who escaped deportation died of starvation or disease.
Over the following years, the Acadians scattered. Some ended up in Louisiana and the Caribbean. Others sought refuge in New France, settling mainly in the Quebec City region, including Île d’Orléans and along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Today, some of their descendants are still living in the province of Quebec while others have scattered across North America and around the world.
You can read an overview of the Acadian deportation, including a list of suggested books in English and French at http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/the-deportation-of-the-acadians-feature/
The best place to research the Acadians who settled in Quebec is at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). You can make telephone or email inquiries in English to the BAnQ in Montreal and to regional branches. For contact information about the Montreal branch and other regional branches, see: http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/entrez_archives/centres_archives/
You should get a reply in English within a week to 10 days. These are free services available to anyone anywhere, in Canada or elsewhere. Similarly, you can email or telephone your question in English to the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal (the main branch of Montreal’s public library) or to the Collection nationale within the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.
Here are two lists of books available on the subject, mostly in French, some in print, others digital:
Here are some other resources available at the BAnQ:
Here are some other links to information about the Acadians:
For each of the towns and villages of Quebec in which Acadians settled between 1755 and 1775, you will find posted below the web address of the regional repository of BAnQ, the address of the local Catholic parish and a listing of local cemeteries.
The regional repositories of BAnQ contain documents about the Acadian families who settled nearby. Some of the content of files stored at various branches of BAnQ across the province are listed within the Pistard search engine at www.banq.qc.ca however, most family lineage researchers are intimidated by the complex research process involved.
>> Bastiscan – Champlain
>> Bécancour – Nicolet
>> Becquets (Saint-Pierre les-Becquets) – Nicolet
>> Berthier – Lanaudière
>> Cacouna – Lower St. Lawrence
>> Champlain – Champlain
>> Gentilly – Nicolet
>> Îles-de-la-Madelaine – Gaspé
>> Joliette – Lanaudière
>> Kamouraska – Lower St. Lawrence
>> L’Acadie – Upper Richelieu
>> L’Assomption – Lanaudière
>> Louiseville – Maskinongé
>> Maskinongé – Maskinongé
>> Montcalm – Lanaudière
>> Nicolet – Nicolet
>> Pointe-du-Lac – St-Maurice
>> Rivière-du-Loup-en-haut (Louiseville) – Maskinongé
>> Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu – Lower Richelieu
>> Saint-Esprit – Lanaudière
>> Saint-Jacques-de-Montcalm – Lanaudière
>> Saint-Ours – Lower Richelieu
>> Saint-Sulpice – Lanaudière
>> Trois-Rivières – Trois-Rivières
>> Yamachiche – Maskinongé
Etiennette Alton, the ancestor of Genealogy Ensemble contributor Tracey Arial, was married to Marin Hurtubise in Montreal on January 7, 1660. Their union is among the earliest Catholic marriages in Montreal that are detailed on the French-language website Fichier origine (www.fichierorigine.com). Established under an international partnership between the Quebec-based Fédération québécoise des sociétés de généalogie and the European-based Fédération française de généalogie, it has been available for free on-line since 1998.
The list of 900 people who married in the early days of Montreal is available at http://www.fichierorigine.com/recherche?nom=&commune=&pays=&mariagerech=Montr%C3%A9al
You can find a wealth of information about each person within the couple, including the name of the conjoint (the husband or wife). Fichier origine tells us Etiennette’s date of baptism in 1635, her place of origin in France before she came to Canada, the names of her parents and siblings, and her date and place of death (Montreal, 1722) (http://www.fichierorigine.com/recherche?numero=240043). The information about her husband is equally revealing.
To read more about this particular couple, refer to Arial’s story at: https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/10/03/etiennette-alton-a-marriageable-woman/.
Fichier origine includes the very first marriage celebrated in Montreal: that of Mathurin Meunier and Françoise Fafard on March 11, 1647. (http://www.fichierorigine.com/recherche?numero=242904). It also has information on more than 5000 other people who immigrated to Quebec from France, from the founding of New France until 1865.
In those times, marriage was probably more of a partnership and an agreement to start a family than it was about romantic love. Nevertheless, on Valentine’s Day, it is interesting to recognize these weddings. These couples are the ancestors of thousands of people spread today across Quebec, Canada, the United States and the world. Perhaps your ancestors are among them.
The fur trade was a key part of Canada’s history and hundreds of people were involved in it from the late 1600s to the early 1800s. One way to research an ancestor who was a fur trader is to find the contracts he signed, contracts thwere generally prepared by notaries in Montreal, Quebec or Trois-Rivières.
The notaries who handled fur trade contracts in the 18th and 19th centuries were:
Louis Chaboillez – Montréal 1787-1813 – 9,346 bibliographical records
John Gerbrand Beek – Montréal 1781-1822 – 5,277 records
Jonathan Abraham Gray – Montréal 1796-1812 – 3,258 records
Jean-Baptiste Adhémar– Montréal 1714-1754 – 3,151 records
Louis-Claude Danré de Branzy – Montréal 1738-1760 – 2,784 records
François Simmonet – Montréal – 1737-1778 – 2,139 records
Joseph Desautels – Montréal 1810-1820 – 1,638 records
Antoine Foucher – Montréal – 1746-1800 – 1,056 records
Henry Griffin – Montréal 1812-1847 – 952 records
Pierre Panet de Méru – Montréal 1755-1778 – 824 records
François Leguay – Montréal 1770-1789 – 814 records
Nicolas Benjamin Doucet – Montréal 1804-1855 – 609 records
Henry Crebassa – Sorel 1795-1843 – 555 records
Joseph Cadet – Québec 1784-1800 – 276 records
Charles Claude Pratte – Trois-Rivières 1801-1817 – 236 records
Louis-Joseph Soupras – Montréal – 1762-1792 & 1809-1832 – 150 records
Pierre Ritchot – Montréal 1821-1831- 117 records
Joseph Gabrion – Montréal 1780-1804 – 54 records
Jean-Baptiste Desève – Montréal 1785-1805 – 15 records
One of the busiest of these notaries was Louis Chaboillez, who practiced in Montreal. Summaries of the more than 9000 fur trade contracts he handled can be found online on the website of the Societe historique de Saint-Boniface (SHSB) at http://archivesshsb.mb.ca/fr/list?q=Louis+Chaboillez&p=1&ps=20
The SHSB in Winnipeg has a special interest in the history of the fur trade and the people who were involved. You can learn more about the SHSB heritage center at http://shsb.mb.ca/en/about_us. This society can also help with genealogy research, especially if you have Metis ancestry. See http://shsb.mb.ca/en/Collections_and_Research.
Diane Wolford Sheppard of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan has done extensive research on the fur trade during the French Regime, especially in the Detroit region of Michigan, the Mississipi River in Illinois and the Green Bay region of Wisconsin. This includes Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinac Island & Mackinak County, Michigan) 1683-1754; Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit – Fort Détroit (Detroit, Michigan) 1701-1760; Fort de Chartres (Mississipi River in Illinois) 1718-1731; Bay of Sauks (Ouisconsin) — Fort Winnebago; (Green Bay, Wisconsin) 1640s-1763.
The notaries in New France who handled fur trade contracts for destinations in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin were:
Antoine Adhémar – Montréal 1668-1714 – Trois-Rivières 1668-1714
Claude Mauque – Québec 1674-1682 – Montréal 1677-1696
Hilaire Bourgine – Montréal 1685-1690
Pierre Raimbault – Montréal 1697-1727
Michel Lepailleur de Laferté – Québec 1700-1715 & Montréal 1701-1732
Jean-Baptiste Adhémar – Montréal 1714-1754
Henri Hiché – Québec – 1725-1736
François Simmonet – Montréal – 1737-1778
http://www.habitantheritage.org/french-canadian_resources/the_fur_trade This article on the website of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan links to a variety of resources about the fur trade in the 17th century.
http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Women_and_Their_World_-_for_website.275153906.pdf This article by Diane Wolford Sheppard lists some women who were involved in the fur trade or liquor trade in the 17th century.
http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Outdoor_Activities.27051652.pdf This article mentions the names of some of the men who were present in Detroit around 1715.
If you had an ancestor who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, take a look at this article from the Alberta Family History Society on researching family history at the archives of the HBC: http://afhs.ab.ca/aids/talks/notes_mar98.html. The Hudson’s Bay Company records are at the Manitoba Archives, https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/.
Library and Archives Canada has many records of people who worked in the fur trade; for example, http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/genealogy/topics/employment/Pages/fur-trade.aspx
The McCord Museum in Montreal has records of the North West Company, one of the major players in the later years of the fur trade. Some of its photos and documents have been digitized; see http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/scripts/search_results.php?keywords=North+West+Company&Lang=1
Notarial records including fur trade contracts from prior to 1800 can be found on the Parchemin database; see https://genealogyensemble.com/2017/01/01/finding-quebecs-early-notarial-records/
The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is slowly digitizing its collection of notarial documents, but most can be consulted on microfilm at the archives in Montreal and other branches across Quebec.
The Société de généalogie de Longueuil (http://www.sglongueuil.org/), just south of Montreal, also has an extensive collection of notarial records on microfilm; see http://www.sglongueuil.org/cadres/texte/greffes.html.
Have you heard a family story about an ancestor who was a voyageur or coureur des bois? These were the men who canoed across the interior of North America to trade with the indigenous people for beaver pelts and other furs and bring the pelts back to Montreal.
The fur trade thrived in the 17th and 18th centuries and the early years of the 19th century. Setting out from Montreal, the voyageurs’ destinations included what is now western Canada, Ontario, Michigan and Illinois. Some had wives and children in Quebec and some fell in love with aboriginal women and were the ancestors of Canada’s Métis people.
Before they set out on their travels, the voyageurs signed contracts with fur trading companies or their agents. These contracts specified where they were to go and for how long, and how much they were to be paid. Notaries, most of whom resided in Montreal, Lachine or Ste-Anne-du-Bout-de-l’Ile (now known as Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue), prepared the contracts and kept them on file. As a result, more than 34,500 of these contracts have survived.
The notarial records themselves are stored at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) along with all the other contracts, wills, leases and other documents these notaries prepared.
In addition, the information in many of the voyageurs’ contracts is available online, thanks to La Société historique de Saint-Boniface (http://shsb.mb.ca/en). St. Boniface is a traditionally French part of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and its Centre du patrimoine (heritage center) specializes in the history of the francophone community of Manitoba, and in the heritage and genealogy of the Métis people.
http://archivesshsb.mb.ca/en/list?q=Notaires+de+Montr%C3%A9al&p=1&ps=20 This link takes you to the database of contracts. You can search in English, but the data is mostly in French. There are various ways to search the database, but if you know your ancestor’s name, you can put that into the search box. There is a small box for each result, and clicking on “more detail” opens it up. Included in the details is the date the contract was signed. For example, 18090503 indicates May 3 1809. You can use Google translate or a similar online translator if you need help understanding the text.
http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Fur_Trade_Contracts_during_the_French_Regime.29095438.pdf This article by Diane Wolford Sheppard of Michigan is a collection of representative contracts drafted during the French Regime, including engagé (hiring) contracts, partnerships, partnership settlements, obligations and invoices for fur trade purchases. They have been translated into English.
http://www.habitantheritage.org/french-canadian_resources/the_fur_trade For more in-depth background, images and documents about the fur trade in the Great Lakes region, see this page posted by the French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan.
Many people living across North America today had ancestors in the colony of New France or in the British colony of Quebec prior to 1800. The legal documentation of their business transactions, property transfers, wills and marriage contracts were prepared by notaries.
Notarial acts written after 1800, plus a few from the late 18th century, are available on microfilm at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and are in the process of being digitized. You can search the BAnQ website (http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaries/), while a growing number of notarial documents can be viewed on familysearch.org (https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Quebec_Notarial_Records) and on Ancestry.ca (http://search.ancestry.ca/search/db.aspx?dbid=61062&geo_a=r&o_iid=41015&o_lid41015&_sch=Web+Property).
But most acts of notaries prior to 1800 are only available through a database called Parchemin, and you will have to visit a branch of the BAnQ or go to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa to consult this database.
Parchemin is a collection of hundreds of thousands of records prepared by the notaries of early Quebec, from the first French settlement of North America until December 31, 1799. During this two-century period, more than 275 notaries practised in New France and in Quebec following the British conquest. The collection of original documents takes up hundreds of meters of shelf space, and is mainly preserved at the BAnQ.
The Parchemin database was built with software designed specifically for notarial documents. It displays like a computer directory, providing access to personal data, as well as to other information regarding the nature of the transaction.
The Parchemin database was developed by Archiv-Histo with the financial support of the Chambre des notaires du Québec, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, and other government programs.
You can search the Parchemin database at the LAC archives in Ottawa, Ontario, and at various BAnQ locations across Quebec (see list below). Parchemin is also available at some municipal and university libraries in Quebec which are not listed here because they are accessible to residents and students only.
Future posts will identify many of these early notaries and describe the work they did.
Where to access Parchemin by Archiv-Histo
- Bibliothèque et Archives Canada – Library Archives Canada
395, Wellington Street. Ottawa (Ontario) K1A ON4 – email:
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
80, boulevard de Gaspé, Gaspé (Québec) G4X 1A9
1-800-363-9028 poste 6573 – emaill : firstname.lastname@example.org
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
855, boulevard de la Gappe, Gatineau (Québec) J8T 8H9
(819) 568-8798 – email : email@example.com
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
535, avenue Viger, Est, Montréal (Qc) H2L 2P3
(514) 873-1100 – email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Société généalogique canadienne-française
3440, Davidson, Montréal (Qc), H1W 2Z5
(514) 527-1010 – email : email@example.com
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec – Pavillon Louis-Jacques-Casault – Campus de l’Université Laval – 1055, avenue du Séminaire, Québec (Québec) G1V 4N1
(418) 643-8904 – email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
337, rue Moreault, Rimouski (Québec) G5L 1P4
(418) 727-3500 – email : email@example.com
- Société de généalogie et d’archives de Rimouski
110, rue de l’Évêché est, Rimouski (Québec) G5L 1X9
(418) 724-3242 – sghr.ca/fr/contact
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
27, rue du Terminus Ouest, Rouyn-Noranda (Québec) J9X 2P3
(819) 763-3484 – email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
930, rue Jacques-Cartier Est, bureau C-103, Saguenay (Québec) G7H 7K9 – (418) 698-3516 – email. email@example.com
- Le Centre d’histoire de St-Hyacinthe
650, rue Girouard Est, St-Hyacinthe (Québec) J2S 2Y2
(450) 774-0203 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Société d’histoire et de généalogie de Salaberry
16, rue Saint-Lambert, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield (Québec) J6T 1S6
(450) 763-2398 – email : email@example.com
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
700, boulevard Laure, bureau 190, Sept-Îles (Québec) G4R 1Y1
(418) 964-8434 – email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
225, rue Frontenac, bureau 401, Sherbrooke (Québec) J1H 1K1
(819) 820-3010 – email : email@example.com
- Société généalogique des Cantons de l’Est
275, rue Dufferin, Sherbrooke (Québec) J1H 4M5
(819) 821-5414 – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- BAnQ – Archives nationales du Québec
225, rue des Forges, bureau 208, Trois-Rivières (Québec) G9A 2G7
(819) 371-6015 – email : email@example.com
Pierre Panet de Méru was an important notary in Montreal between 1754 and 1778, a period that included the years immediately after New France was conquered and transitioned into a British colony. If your ancestors lived in Montreal during this period, Panet may have drawn up wills for them, or helped them purchase property or make business agreements.
The son of Jean-Nicolas Panet and Madeleine Françoise Foucher, he was born in Paris in 1731. He moved to New France in 1746 and settled in the capital city of Quebec, where his brother Jean-Claude Panet served as a notary from 1744 to 1775. Panet married Marie-Anne Trefflé-Rottot in Quebec City on October 2, 1754, and he was appointed a notary in the jurisdiction of Montreal two months later.
Following the British victory in 1759 at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City and the surrender of Montreal to the British in 1760, many notaries, court clerks and other notables left New France and returned to Europe. Panet was not one of them. From the beginning of the British regime, he learned to live and work with the new authorities.
He was one of the first notaries in Montreal to work closely with the English-speaking merchants, civil servants, military officers and soldiers who now resided in the region, assisting them with marriage contracts, wills (testaments), after-death inventories, guardianships, property transactions and business agreements.
In addition to being a notary, Panet served as a judge and a justice of the peace. He died June 15, 1804. For more details of his life, see http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/panet_pierre_5F.html
As of December, 2016, the fonds (collections) of notarial acts of Pierre Panet de Méru are not available in any online databases, nor are they on microfilm at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). These notarial acts are only available from Parchemin, a database of notarial acts of Québec owned by Archiv-Histo, a division of the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
The notarial acts acts written by Pierre Panet can be found in the Parchemin collection under Cote # 06010308 or under Saphir # 6009308 (1755-1778). See https://www.archiv-histo.com/EN/.
You can consult the Parchemin database at the BAnQ in Montreal and several other locations in Quebec, and at some public libraries elsewhere.
BAnQ Montréal – Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec 535, avenue Viger Est, Montréal, QC H2L 2P3 – Tel : 514-873-1100 #4 or 1-800-363-9028 – email : firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on notarial records see the following links:
The 1759 Battle of the Plains of Abraham, in which General Wolfe’s British invasion force defeated General Montcalm’s defending army, is the most famous battle in Canadian history. After the British also conquered Montreal the following year, New France became history and a new British colony in Canada was born.
Thousands of people took part in these events. British historians say that the fleet that sailed up the St. Lawrence River in the spring of 1759 carried between 10,000 and 12,500 British sailors and soldiers, while the book Combattre pour la France en Amérique lists 7,450 French soldiers.
Finding out whether your ancestor fought in this campaign is not easy, but the PDF attached below, Finding British Regiments in Quebec, 1759-1760, may help you make a start. This compilation lists the British regiments that fought at Quebec City and Montreal, and it identifies the places British regiments were posted during the 1759-1760 campaign.
The Canadian government website of The National Battlefields Commission www.ccbn-nbc.gc.ca/en/ describes the historical context of the Seven Years War (also known as the French and Indian War), while the searchable page www.ccbn-nbc.gc.ca/en/history-heritage/battles-1759-1760/soldiers/ lists the names of 7,279 British soldiers and 4,079 French soldiers who took part.
Marcel Fournier and a staff of about 30 researchers in Montreal and France identified 7,450 soldiers and officers who fought for France in New France, plus the names of another 1374 soldiers. These findings were published in Combattre pour la France en Amérique by La Société généalogique canadienne-française, Montreal, 2009 (in French only).
If you are interested in the soldiers who fought in British regiments, you should consult the two-volume In Search of the “Forlorn Hope”: a Comprehensive Guide to Locating British Regiments & Their Records (1640-WWI) by John M. Kitzmiller II, published in Salt Lake City by Manuscript Publishing Foundation, 1988. You will probably find it in a large library. This book is the source of the information complied here.
These two volumes, plus a supplement, tell you which regiment was posted where from 1640 to 1914. The book does this in reverse: you need to look up the name of a place or campaign and the book identifies the regiments stationed there. The supplement can also help you with genealogical research you might want to conduct in British War Office Records. Once you find your ancestor’s name, you may need to visit the Public Record Office, Kew, near London.
Another book, My Ancestor was in the British Army, by Michael Watts and Christopher Watts, published by the Society of Genealogists in the U.K. in 2009, lists dozens of other archives in England, Wales and Scotland in which military records are kept, including the soldiers and mariners who fought during the Seven Years War in North America. You can also try searching military records on the subscription website Find My Past, www.findmypast.com.
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
Notary Peter Lukin Sr. helped the people of the Upper Richelieu River Valley and Eastern Townships of Quebec sort out land ownership issues between 1790 and 1814. Among his clients were Loyalists and other American-born settlers who had moved north of the border in search of farmland, as well as British, Scottish and Irish-born families.
Although New France was ceded to Britain in 1763 and became the Lower Canada colony, the old seigneurial land-ownership system of New France persisted until 1854. The seigneurial system began in the 1600s as a tool to control the settlement of New France. The king granted large areas of land to influential people including military officers and members of the aristocracy. The seigneurs then rented out farm lots to the habitants, or tenants. The habitants paid rent in cash or grain in exchange for land management assistance and various rights from the seigneurs. This system determined the way rural society in New France developed. When the British abolished the system in 1854, the colonial government had to introduce a means for the tenants to buy their farms.
One area in which the seigneurial system existed was in the Upper Richelieu Valley, an area with very fertile soil that attracted many settlers. The valley stretches next to the Richelieu River, which flows north out of Lake Champlain in northern Vermont and empties into the St. Lawrence River near the town of Sorel. Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Christie acquired five seigneuries in this region following the fall of New France. The Christie Seigneuries remained in his family’s possession long after the seigneurial system was officially abolished.
In her book The Christie Seigneuries; Estate Management and Settlement in the Upper Richelieu Valley 1760-1854 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1992), historian Françoise Noël wrote that seigneurial property rights were used to control access to land, timber mills and other resources in the area for many years.
On May 8, 1790, Peter Lukin Sr., a notary and Justice of the Peace in the Judicial District of Montreal, was appointed as one of several notaries assigned to legalize the allotment of lands in the Eastern Townships and the Richelieu River Valley, including the Christie Seigneuries.
The seigneurial system was never implemented in the Eastern Townships, which was settled in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
The notarial acts of Peter Lukin Sr., 1790-1814, Cote # CN601, S269, can be found on microfilm at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) in Montreal. The BAnQ Montréal is located at 535 avenue Viger Est, Montréal, QC, H2L 2P3; Tel: 514-873-1100 plus option 4, plus option 1; Toll Free: 1-800-363-9028 plus option 4 plus 1; email: email@example.com
A database of the Christie Seigneuries, “The Upper Richelieu Valley Database by Seigneury,” prepared by Françoise Noël can be found at http://faculty.nipissingu.ca/noel/files/2013/01/Christie_Seigneuries_by_Seigneury.pdf
Noël also identified three other early notaries who served in the region of the Christie Seigneuries within the Upper Richelieu River Valley:
Pierre de Mérut Panet – Notary, Judicial District of Montréal 1755-1778
Pierre Lanctot – Notary, Judicial District of Montréal 1809-1850
Pierre Besse – Notary – Judicial District of Richelieu 1811-1813
The Notarial Acts of Pierre de Mérut Panet likely address the British officers who were granted lands in the Upper Richelieu River Valley and perhaps also in the Lower Richelieu River Valley (the Sorel area) who fought with military leaders James Wolfe, Jeffery Amherst, James Murray, Charles Saunders, Thomas Gage, George Townshend and Robert Monckton at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 and at the Conquest of Montreal in 1760.