All posts by Jacques Gagné

The French Canadians in Western Canada



The Archives nationales du Québec in Montréal on Viger Avenue are the repository of a wonderful and unique collection of books of marriages, baptisms, deaths of French Canadian families who left the Province of  Québec between 1840 and 1930 for destinations in Western Canada, especially in Alberta and Manitoba.

Monsieur Daniel Olivier,  former archivist at the Bibliothèque de la Ville de Montréal on Sherbrooke Street East, the latter no longer in operation, referred to for years as Salle Gagnon was responsible with the assistance of his associates for the acquisition of many of the books of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and burials outlined in this research guide.

Madame Estelle Brisson, former archivist at the Archives nationales du Québec on Viger Avenue East in Montréal with the assistance of her associates was also responsible for the acquisition of many of the books of marriages, baptisms, deaths, and burials outlined in this research guide compiled by Jacques Gagné.

Click on the link            The French Canadians in Western Canada

French Canadians in Ontario

French Canadians in Ontario

This compilation “French Canadians in Ontario” consists of lists of the many of the churches throughout Ontario where our French Canadian ancestors migrated and explains where the document of births, marriages and deaths are located for the many parishes.

This compilation is a useful tool for those who may not know exactly where these records are now located. Many can be found at BanQ, the national archives located on Viger Street in Montreal, Quebec.


Highlight the file below and right click to open link in a new window

The French Canadians in Ontario

Acadian research guide contains hundreds of resource links

On this 259th anniversary of the Acadian deportation, those researching their Acadian heritage might find the research guide, Acadians of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland of interest. It consists of Acadian Parish Registers under the French and British regimes in addition to the modern-day period under Confederation.

Click on this link, Acadians of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, to see a 162-page downloadable document that will help you find your family’s name in community parish records, etc.

2014 Acadian Congress
The Acadian Congress takes place August 8 to 24, 2014. The map below indicates the areas where many of the Congress activities will take place.


“Then uprose their commander, and  spake from the steps of the altar. Holding aloft in his hands, with its seals, the royal commission. “You are convened this day,” he said, “by his Majesty’s orders… Painful the task is I do, which to you I know must be grievous. Yet must I bow and obey, and deliver the will of our monarch; Namely, that all your lands, and dwellings, and cattle of all kinds, forfeited be to the crown; and that you yourselves from this province be transported to other lands. God grant you may dwell there. Ever as faithful subjects, a happy and peaceable people! “

“Prisoners, now I declare you; for such is his Majesty’s pleasure!”

Silent a moment they stood in speechless wonder, and then arose louder and ever louder a wail of sorrow and anger. “

Source: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Évangéline and other selected poems Penguin Books, 1988.

The Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec

St. Brendan Parish in Rosemont
St. Brendan Parish in Rosemont


Here’s a guide to the Irish Catholic Churches of Quebec.

Use this guide to find out where the documents you want to find are located. You can also find photos of the church parishes your ancestors attended.

See: the-irish-catholic-churches-of-quebec

This compilation was edited on Nov. 21, 2018. A new version will be coming in 2019.


Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Québec

Oatmeal and the Catechism Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Québec Margaret Bennett
QFHS # HG-153.99 B65
345 pages

Oatmeal and the Catechism is the story of emigrants from the Outer Hebrides to Québec in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Most were crofting families from Lewis who had suffered the severe effects of the potato famine of 1846-51. As a solution to the increase pressure on landlords and government relief bodies, they were offered free passage to Lower Canada and given land grants in the Eastern Townships and more precisely within Compton County. To this day place-names such as Stornoway, Tosta, Ness and Dell in Canada testify to the strong links these communities kept with their homeland.

An article in The Clansmen News of 1970, based on local interviews and entitled ‘The Scottish Highlands of Quebec: Gaidhealatachd Chuibeic’, states:

At the time of the first Great War there were approximately two thousand five hundred Gaels in Marsboro (Marston) alone. We were talking with a man who was born in Milan, who told us that he did not know that there was any other language in the world but Gaelic until he was seven years old.

In Compton county, in the Eastern Townships of Québec in the years of 1851 to 1891, the language distribution in the following towns and villages could convincingly be reconstructed as follows:

> Marsboro – Gaelic (c. 75%), French (c. 20%), English (c. 5%)
­> Milan – Gaelic (c. 95%), French (c. 5%), English (c. 0%)
> Scotstown – Gaelic (c. 50%), French (c. 25%), English (c. 25%)
> Springhill – Gaelic (c. 50%), French (c. 25%), English (c. 25%)
> Stornoway – Gaelic (c. 95%), French (c. 3%), English (c. 2%)
> Red Mountain – Gaelic (c. 75%), French (20%), English (c. 5%)

…. a grasp of the history and folk culture of Gaels from the Outer Hebrides who settled this comparatively small area of Canada will contribute to a better understanding of the Eastern Townships and of Québec.
Margaret Bennett
Winner of the 1999 CLIO Award of the Canadian Historical Association

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble

The Trail of the Huguenots in Europe, the U.S.A and Canada

The Trail of the Huguenots in Europe, the United States, South Africa and Canada
Author: G. Elmore Reaman
QFHS #UEL-REF HG 010.01 R4 1972
Total pages: 318
From page 137 to page 205, this section of the book address the Protestant families in Nouvelle France (New France)
Being a book owned by the United Empire Loyalist’ Association of Canada, it cannot be taken out of the library.

The following is an excerpt from this superb book by G. Elmore Reaman.

It is a generally accepted point of view in Canada that Frenchmen have always been Roman Catholics and that Protestantism has had little or no reliationship with France. It has been further accepted that there was no connection between Protestant French and the exploration of Canada by the French. A careful study of both of these points of view will show that they are untenable. It may come as a surprise to learn that historians of this period state on good authority that, if it hadn’t been for the business enterprise of Huguenots in France and their desire to found a colony where they could remain loyal to the King of France and yet enjoy freedom of worship, it is doubtful if there would be many French in Canada today. Furthermore, it is quite possible that had the French allowed Huguenots to migrate to Canada in the seventeenth century, England would have stood a slim chance of conquering Canada.

Such information does exist in authentic sources, but few persons in Europe or America—and that includes Canada—have any knowledge of it. French Roman Catholics have naturally advanced their point of view and Protestants have never thought it worth while to investigate it. Huguenot Societies in France, England, and the United States are not aware that from 1534 until 1633 Canada was practically Huguenot controlled nor do they know that many of the earliest settlers in Upper Canada (Ontario) were descendants of émigrés from France, some of whom first went to the British Isles, then to the United States, and finally to Ontario.
G. Elmore Reaman

G. Elmore Reaman (1889-1969) was born in Concord, Ontario, he received his education at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, Queen’s University, Cornell University.

Dr. Reaman’s materials are found at the University of Waterloo Archives.

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble

Marriage Contracts in New France 1635-1765

Contrats de mariage du Régime Français 1635-1765

Typical marriage contract during the French Regime in Nouvelle France from 1635 to 1765
Please note, the text below has been reproduced precisely in the French language as it was written from 1635 to about 1765.

Pardevant le greffier et notaire de lisle de Montreal et temoins soubzsignez furent presant en leurs personnes sieur Anthoine Athanville marchand bourgeois demeurant de presant au Montreal fils de deffunt sieur Nicollas Athanville marchand bourgeois de Paris et de Marie Leducq ses peres et meres demeurans en la rue de la pelleterie proche le pallais a Paris paroisse de Saint Jacques la Boucherie d’une par et Jeanne Gadois fille de Pierre Gadois maître armurier et bourgeois de ce lieu et de Jeanne Begnard sa femme…
Référence: le 2 janvier 1683, Claude Maugue, notaire, Montréal

Translation of a same marriage contract during the French Regime in Nouvelle France

In the presence of the court clerk and notary of the Island of Montréal and witnesses listed below being present at said reading, Sieur Anthoine Athanville merchant and member of the middle class of Montréal, son of the late Sieur Nicollas Athanville, merchant and member of the middle class of Paris and of Marie Leducq his father and mother whom resided on de la Pelleterie street, near the Palace in Paris within the parish of Saint Jacques la Boucherie in the first part and Jeanne Gadois, daughter of Pierre Gadois, master gunsmith and member of the middle class of this city of Montréal and of Jeanne Begnard, his wife…
Reference: January 2 1683, Claude Maugue, notary, Montréal

At the QFHS Library, one will find 6 volumes of indexes of marriage contracts written by notaries during the French Regime of Nouvelle France from 1635 to 1765.

A total of about 27,000 marriage contracts are listed in about 1,800 pages.

QFHS books #GN-150.3 R6 – Vol 1 to 6
Inventaire des Contrats de mariage du Régime Français – Archives judiciaires du Québec

A typical index will read as follow:
> Gagné (Gasnier), Pierre, et Louise Faure (Auber, 28 octobre 1668)
The latter refers to Claude Auber, notary who served in Québec City from 1650 to 1693

Furthermore in order to determine precisely which Archives nationales du Québec (nine in total across the province plus one research centre), one must determine in which ”district judiciaire” (judicial district) a notary served. For notarial acts prior to 1900 in the majority of cases are stored within the nine Archives nationales du Québec, depending of the location a notary served during the years of his or her practice.

In order to determine precisely where a notary practiced, refer to the following index kept at the QFHS Library.

QFHS book #GS-150.3 L3
Parchemin s’explique Guide de dépouillement des actes notariés du Québec ancien
284 pages

In order to facilitate the access to the above books, they have been moved to the Estelle Brisson cabinet.

A future posting will deal with the availability online of notarial acts at

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble

Borderland Religion 1792-1852 by J.I. Little

Borderland Religion – 1792-1852 – The emergence of an English-Canadian identity – J.I. Little
QFHS Library #HG-100.44 L5 – 385 pages

In December 1811 ‘A Poor Farmer’ in Shipton Township wrote the following plaintive words to the editor of the Québec Gazette:
Eleven years have elapsed since I first entered these woods, with my family, and seven years since my residence in this Township … On my first arrival in these woods, with my wife, both of us about the age of Twenty, we had one child, at present we have six, and have lost three. Our first care and inquiry was, in what manner shall we have our children Baptized, Educated, and taught the true Religion of Christianity. Hope led us to believe, living under so good a Government, we shall shortly have men placed among us for these purposes. Alas, Eleven years are now gone over, and I dont see the least prospect of these blessings.
With what sorrow do I declare that in the Townships, in this District, it is estimated that near Two thousand Children live without Baptism, upward of Six hundred men and women live together without lawful marriage; and that the greatest part of these people have not, for the last Ten years, heard the Word of God on a Sabbath day; as for our dead, they are disposed of in the same manner that most people dispose of a favorite Dog who dies, by placing him quietly under a Tree.

In the 1831 census the largest cohort in the Eastern Townships declared no religious affiliation whatsoever. By this time, however, British missionary societies had been attempting to fill the religious vacuum for more than a decade. Many who declared affiliation with the Church of England were probably doing so because it was the only one available to provide the basic services of baptism, marriage, and burial.
J.I. Little

Other books by J.I. Little, on the subject of the Eastern Townships of Québec;
> Loyalties in Conflict: A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion, 1812-1840
> The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society
> State and Society in Transition: The Politics of Institutional Reform in the Eastern Townships 1838-1852
> Crofters and Habitants: Settler Society, Economy, and Culture in a Quebec Township, 1848-1881
> Nationalism, Capitalism, and Colonization in the Nineteenth Century Quebec: The Upper St Francis District

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble

History of Compton County by L.S. Channell

History of Compton County in the Eastern Townships of Québec by L.S. Channell
QFHS Library #UEL-REF HG-153.01 C46
295 pages large format – Two copies available at the Library.

Being a U.E.L. Reference book, said books cannot be taken out of the Library.

The history of 400 pioneer families of Compton County plus those in Sherbrooke County and those within the district of St. Francis from the birth of the region in 1782.

At the close of the Revolutionary War in 1782, many thousand United Empire Loyalists were offered lands in Canada by the British Government. A few hundred families came to the townships of Eastern Canada.

There can be no doubt that United Empire Loyalists took up their residence in our Townships before 1792, but the official records of such are missing.

The first settlers are heard of on Missisquoi Bay and Lake Memphremagog. At the head of the Connecticut River in the township of Hereford, Colonel John Pope settled as early as 1792, and there is not much doubt but that settlers were there for several years previously.

In the year 1796 the first lands in Lower Canada were granted in free and common soccage.

In 1803 the courts of Montréal rendered a decision that no right of property in slaves could exist in Lower Canada, and the few slaves in this country were thus manumitted. The people in the Townships were too poor to own slaves in those days, and two only are known to have been in what is now Compton County. They belonged to Colonel John Pope, and remained with him until their death when they were sent back to the old plantation in Massachusetts for burial.

L.S. Channell

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble

Huguenot Refugees

On August 25, 1572, on the feast day of St Bartholomew, thousands of Huguenots were massacred by government forces in Paris and in other regions of France.

From the same year of 1572 a large-scale emigration from France by Protestant familiies began.

Over the next few weeks, I will post web site addresses which are known to many family researchers but perhaps some of you who might be beginners in the field of family searches, some of these web sites might open doors to your research endeavours.

As part of these overviews I will concentrate on web sites which are linked indirectly to Canada and especially to Québec.

Michel Barbeau in his precise and well researched web site Huguenots in Canada has identified 321 Huguenots who settled into Nouvelle France from about 1634 to 1763. You can find this important database online at

Unfortunately, Protestants were not welcomed to Nouvelle France. The majority of Protestant families during the period under the French Regime were forced to abjure (renounce) their Protestant faith, see:

On the subject of abjuration in Nouvelle France, I will address this issue at a later date and indicate where one can obtain copies of acts of abjuration in Québec during the period under the French authorities.

Following the British conquest at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Québec on September 13th 1759 by the Imperial Army under the command of General James Wolfe, French language Protestants were welcomed into the new British Colony of Québec.

And in future postings I will try to identify some of the families who were considered to be Huguenots in Québec.

A limited number of United Empire Loyalists who settled into Québec and Lower Canada were Huguenots, I will also address these immigrants to Québec and Lower Canada.

Subsequent postings to this blog will include shortly research guides dealing with the Huguenot emigration routes through France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the Walloon region of modern-day Belgium from about 1596 onward.

For the time being I have selected a few web addresses which might shed lights on your research process of the Huguenot families who might have settled into Québec (British North America) and Lower Canada from 1759 onward.

> Huguenots of France and Elsewhere
> Huguenot & Walloon Genealogy  –
> Huguenot Surname Index  –
> Huguenots in the Channel Islands
> The Huguenots in France and the Atlantic Diaspora

Much more to follow over the next few weeks.

Jacques Gagné