Category Archives: Quebec

Quebec Windmills and Seigneuries 

Find an old windmill (moulin) in Quebec and you will find a trace of an old seigneury, or estate.

In 2005, a heritage society in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Claire was looking into restoring the local windmill, built in 1710, but realized no-one had the knowledge to repair it. So, the Société pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine de Pointe-Claire (SSPPC) formed a partnership with Quebec’s national archives, the BAnQ Vieux-Montréal, to do some research.  A team of archivists, librarians and clerks compiled hundreds of notarial acts dealing with windmills in Nouvelle France, and in Quebec after the British Conquest of 1759.

The old windmill in Pointe-Claire, overlooking Lac Saint-Louis. Claire Lindell photo.

The resulting document, “Actes notariés transcrits sur les moulins du Québec,” (see link below) reveals a great deal about the history of Quebec’s moulins-à-vent (windmills) and moulins-à-eau (watermills,) and about the seigneuries where they were located.

It includes transcriptions of acts made by notaries concerning windmills. These documents, such as leases, sales, inventories and various contracts involving millers, shine a light, not only on windmill construction, but many other aspects of their use. Some of these notarized agreements date back to the 1600s.

Until the 20th century, Quebec’s economy was based on agriculture, with corn and various grains being the most common products. Most windmills produced flour, although some powered sawmills or tanneries.

In New France, in Quebec under the British, and during the Lower Canada period, the majority of windmills were owned by the seigneurs, the owners of seigneuries, or large estates of farmland and forest. The seigneurial system of land ownership, tenancy and feudal-based obligations was officially abolished in 1854, but it took many years before it completely disappeared.

Here is the link to “Actes notariés transcrits sur les moulins du Québec” https://www.banq.qc.ca/documents/archives/genealogie/outils/moulins.pdf

Most of the transcriptions in this large PDF are in French, but you can copy and paste sections that are of interest to you and make use of online translation services such as Google Translate or DeepL.

Built around 1730, this former mill in Verchères is a museum. Joann Egar photo.

Some windmills were owned by censitaires (tenants), but these private windmill or water-powered mill operators had to pay annual fees to their seigneurs. The fees were based on the number of tonneaux (wooden barrels) of farine (flour) and grains they produced on a yearly basis.

Most windmills in New France measured their capacity of production of flour, grain and corn by the number of wooden barrels they could produce per day or week.

If you look at biographies of settlers posted on Fichier Origine (www.fichierorigine.com) or P.R.D.H. (https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/accueil) or within the René Jetté books of pioneers, you will encounter the word tonnelier, a carpenter who specialized in making wooden barrels for operators of windmills, seigneurs and farmers. Most seigneuries in New France had their own tonnelier and/or windmill operator and/or operator of a water-powered mill.

Recruiters of families from France in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially within the northwest regions of France — Normandie, Poitou, Perche, Bretagne, Maine, Aunis, Anjou, Touraine, Beauce — would always recruit one or two tonneliers and one or two operators of windmills or operators of mills powered by water among the citizens who boarded sailing ships from La Rochelle and other seaports, destined for the French colonies of America.

The Fleming Mill in LaSalle is designed in Anglo-Saxon style. Janice Hamilton photo.

To learn more:

Most of the province’s many windmills have disappeared, however, several remain in the Montreal area, including in Pointe-Claire, LaSalle and on Île Perrot.

Liste des moulins à eau du Québec:  https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_moulins_%C3%A0_eau_du_Qu%C3%A9bec

This is a less extensive list of windmills in English:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_windmills_in_Quebec

René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec: des origines à 1730, Montréal: Gaetan Morin, 2003.  No longer in print but available at the BAnQ and at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal. Also available at many university libraries in Canada and at most French-language genealogical societies in Quebec, Ontario, and New England. Major libraries in Canada would also have a copy.

Gilles Deschênes, Quand le vent faisait tourner les moulins: Trois siècles de meunerie banale et marchande au Québec, Québec: Septentrion, 2009, https://www.septentrion.qc.ca/catalogue/quand-le-vent-faisait-tourner-les-moulins

Article on the seigneurial system in the Canadian Encyclopedia: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/seigneurial-system

 

 

Golf in Dunany

The Dunany Country Club will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2022. This nine-hole golf club, located north-west of Montreal in the lower Laurentians, near Lachute, has been of prime importance to my family and our history. My parents met in Dunany.

The Dunany area was settled in the mid-1800s by the Irish. These immigrants tried to farm the rocky Laurentian Shield carving small farms out of the forests. The area had already been logged but still, trees were everywhere. Small patches of land were cleared but it was subsistence farming at best. A post office was established in 1853 and it was called Dunany. The name came from a point of land in County Louth, on the east coast of Ireland. The four small lakes brought fishermen and cottagers to the area early in the 20th century.

My paternal grandparents, William and Minnie Sutherland first travelled to Dunany to visit friends, the McRobies. The long journey from Montreal, needed a car, train and horse and cart to complete, so one stayed a few days. Grandfather Sutherland enjoyed the country and so he bought some property and built a cottage on Boyd Lake. For them, it remained a long journey but he was said to be the first person to drive a car in from Lachute.

No one thought about golf until Katherine “Kit” McRobie challenged a friend to a game around the pastures and fields and so golf came to Dunany. A group of 20 people, including my grandfather, contributed money to buy land and in 1922 the Dunany Country Club was born.

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Wilson Sutherland putting on a sand green 1924
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Golf course equipment circa 1925
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Rocks and Rough Greens 1927

When my maternal grandfather Rene Raguin was interested in buying a country house in 1931, he too looked in Dunany. He knew of the area because his wife’s sister, lived in Lachute and she and her husband had a place at Lake Louisa, near Dunany. One evening, the Sutherlands visited the Raguins at their new cottage as Mrs Raguin and Mrs Sutherland knew each other from the United Church Women’s group. My mother was ten and she and her sister were sent to bed but spied on the visitors and their 15-year-old son Donald. With the age difference, Dorothy and Donald didn’t see much of each other until they met again after the war at a dance at the clubhouse. Two years later they married.

Everybody in the families at least tried golf. My grandmothers were not taken by the game but most other family members persevered. Some actually became very good players. The rough pastures and sand greens gradually evolved to smoother fairways and grass greens. The course grew from a couple of holes to a full nine. The layout of the course kept evolving. Then even sand traps were added. The trees have grown and some fixture trees have had to be cut down. The fairways are still not perfect but it is a country course played with preferred lies.

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The Golfer 1959

My father always lamented that he didn’t have proper lessons as his father taught him so he made sure we all had lessons with the visiting pro. My mother often took the four children over to the club so she could play. The well-behaved children could hit balls while those misbehaving had to sit on a bench and wait for the hole to be completed.

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The Sutherlands on the 1st green 1960

Four members of the family have had holes-in-one at Dunany. William Sutherland aced a hole that is no longer in play. He stationed his brother on a hill with a view of the green so he wouldn’t lose his ball and after he hit, all Wilson said was, “It’s in.” Isn’t that the point of the game! My mother Dorothy’s ball went into the hole after my father said, “Your mother just doesn’t hit the ball like she used to.” Her ball landed at the side of the green, bounced on and rolled in. My brother Don and I have also each aced a hole.

There are many trophies played for at the club. The Sutherlands have won a number. The Parkes Culross trophy is one that many family members have won. It is a low net competition played for on Labour Day weekend. Eight family members have their names engraved on this trophy.

The club continues to be the centre of the community. There are now plans for the log clubhouse to be renovated. Those who don’t play golf still attend the many functions, from dinners and bridge to music fests and art shows, sports nights and other junior activities. Mine isn’t the only family who found love in Dunany and so most people are related to somebody. Children who grew up and moved away have now returned and bought their own cottages. When you meet someone new you ask, “Whose house do you live in?” They think it is theirs but the spirit of all the old Dunanyites lives on.

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9th Green Grass & Sandtrap 2011

Notes:

Hammond Eleanor Hamilton, A History of Dunany. Printed in Canada by Zippy Print, Brockville, Ontario. 1990.

Eric Dauber, The Story of the Dunany Country Club, 1967.

Beth Sutherland Van Loben Sels, As I Remember Dunany.

Family winners of the Parkes Culross are Rene Raguin, Dorothy A. Sutherland, Donald W. Sutherland, Mary Sutherland, Donald J. Sutherland, Dorothy I. Sutherland, Sharon Leslie and Scott Ritchie.

A Trip to England in 1842

When Stanley Clark Bagg (SCB) and his father, Stanley Bagg, of Montreal, visited England in 1842, they were combining business and pleasure. The business involved selling property that SCB’s maternal grandfather had owned in Durham, England, and the pleasure involved a whirlwind tour of London, Scotland, Ireland and France, as well as visits with various great-aunts and great-uncles who still lived in England.

It was a good time for a trip: SCB had just finished a four-year apprenticeship with a notary and could now practice as a notary himself. It made sense to travel before he opened his own office.

A few months after his return to Montreal, SCB wrote to his cousin in Philadelphia, outlining the trip. Unfortunately, he did not include any details or impressions of their adventures, but the list of places they visited sounds exhausting. Passenger rail services were expanding in England at the time, but much of their travel would have been done by horse-drawn coach.

Crossing the Atlantic, however, was fast. The age of the trans-Atlantic steamship had arrived in the 1830s, and SCB wrote, “We made the passage to Liverpool from Halifax in the incredible short space of nine days and six hours, which was I believe the shortest passage ever made across the Atlantic. From Liverpool we went to London, thence to Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, York Darlington, Durham, Stockton, Sunderland, Newcastle, Shields, Tynemouth, Otterburn …. ”1

As they moved north to Scotland, they passed though many small towns, including Lesmahagow, and they explored both Glasgow and Edinburgh. On the way back to London, they stopped in Carlisle, in the north of England.

After a few days in London, they crossed the Channel to France, where they visited Boulogne, Paris, Versailles, Le Havre and several other spots before returning to London. SCB wrote, “We left London shortly afterwards for Ireland, and having visited Kingstown, Dublin and Kilmainham, returned to Liverpool, where … we embarked on board a steamship and after a boisterous passage of 14 days arrived at Boston exceedingly gratified with our tour.”2

Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral (jh photo)

Anchor-maker William Mitcheson, brother of SCB’s grandmother Mary Mitcheson Clark, lived in London, and the Baggs visited him there. While in County Durham, they visited more Mitcheson relations, including Mrs. Dodd (Mary Mitcheson’s sister Margaret) near Ryton, and Mrs. Maugham (Mary’s sister Elizabeth) at Sunderland.

It is clear that the visit to Durham was the highlight of the trip, but not because of the business they finalized there. In fact, SCB did not mention it at all in his letter. When SCB turned 21 in December, 1841, he gained control over the properties in Montreal and Durham that he had inherited from his grandfather John Clark (1767-1827). (He was just 14 when Clark died, so his father acted as executor of the estate until SCB became an adult. The property in Durham was generating rental income, but SCB wanted to sell it. In a notarized document dated after their return to Montreal, SCB’s father listed the sales of three properties in Durham.3

Meanwhile, SCB was interested in ancient legends, old coins, Norman castles and the like, and was enthralled with Durham. More than 20 years later, he presented a lecture to the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal on “The Antiquities and Legends of Durham.”4

He described the legend surrounding the founding of Durham city by 9th century monks. When Danes attacked England’s northeast coast, the monks fled their monastery on the Island of Lindisfarne with the miraculously well-preserved body of their former bishop. Eventually they built an abbey at the future site of Durham city and buried him there. Today, that bishop is remembered as Saint Cuthbert and pilgrims still visit the abbey church, Durham Cathedral.

In his 1866 lecture to the Numismatic Society, SCB opened up about his feelings on the trip. He recalled, “The first time I had the privilege of attending a divine service in Durham Abbey, I was enraptured with the sweet and masterly chanting, unsurpassed in the empire. My father and I obtained seats in the choir. The service was exceedingly impressive, so much so, that …. whenever the portion of the Psalter chanted upon that occasion recurs in the services of the church, it carries me back in imagination to the first service I attended in the venerable abbey of my mother’s native city.”4

This article was also published on Writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com

See also:

Janice Hamilton, “A Freehold Estate in Durham,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 3, 2019 http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-freehold-estate-in-durham_92.html

Janice Hamilton, “Mary Mitcheson Clark,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 16, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/05/mary-mitcheson-clark.html

Janice Hamilton, “Mary Ann (Clark) Bagg,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Nov. 29, 2013,   http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2013/11/mary-ann-clark-bagg.html

Janice Hamilton, “The Mitcheson Family of Limehouse,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 21, 2015, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-mitcheson-family-of-limehouse.html

Janice Hamilton, “Stanley Bagg’s Difficulties,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 10, 2014  http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/01/stanley-baggs-difficulties.html

 Sources

  1. Letter from Stanley Clark Bagg to Rev. R. M. Mitcheson, Dec. 6, 1842, probably transcribed by Stanley Bagg Lindsay; Lindsay family collection.
  2. Record in a passenger list of Stanley Bagg and S.C. Bagg travelling from Liverpool to Boston aboard the Acadia. Boston Courier (Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, Sept. 19, 1842, issue 1921;) 19th Century Newspapers Collection, special interest databases, www.americanancestors.org (accessed April 18, 2019.)
  3. Joseph-Hilarion Jobin, “Account and mortgages from Stanley Bagg Esq to Stanley Clark Bagg,” 8 October 1842, notarial act #3537, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
  4. Stanley Clark Bagg, “The Antiquities and Legends of Durham: a Lecture before the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal,” p. 21, Montreal, 1866. https://archive.org/details/cihm_48731/page/n4 (accessed Dec. 27, 2019)

 

The Future of Asbestos

Asbestos Part 3

In August 2019 my genealogy friend, Marian and I drove to Asbestos, a mining town among the gentle rolling hills of the Eastern Townships. We took the scenic route, admiring the lush farms as we drove along secondary roads, away from the hustle and bustle of the major highway between Montreal and Quebec City. The town is approximately a two-hour drive from the city.

location of the town of asbestos

Our family had moved to Asbestos in 1945. Our house was very close to the Jeffrey Mine, perhaps about 300-400 yards from the largest open pit in North America.

Jeffrey Mine, 1952
Jeffrey Mine 1952 with St. Aime Church #3 visible.

When we arrived in Asbestos on that warm summer day, we began our visit in what was once our very modern St. Aime Parish Church, that still maintains the beautiful Casavant organ where there are occasional organ recitals. The church is now transformed into the town hall, a local library, and a mining museum. The young lady librarian was knowledgeable and helpful with information and some suggestions, one of them being to make certain we visit the lookout.

It was in the museum section that I took a careful look at the huge diorama and noted the many identified expansions of the pit. It was difficult to comprehend all the changes that had taken place over a span of nearly 75 years, from my earliest memories when we first arrived in Asbestos. The large diorama indicated where our home once was. All the childhood visions came to the forefront. This  created a deep feeling of loss, one that permeated most of that day.

We left the library and drove around looking for places and landmarks that might be remotely familiar. There were no traces of childhood haunts. They were long gone! Our house, our neighbour’s homes, the Main Office, the hospital, the school at the end of our street, the movie theatre, the bowling alley, the outdoor skating rink, the hardware store and so many other buildings along the main street have become a part of the history of the town now only to be seen in photographs! They are forever etched in our data banks, along with multitudes of childhood memories.

New areas were built away from the open pit as it grew and expanded.

We ventured over to the lookout and we both gasped at the enormity of what lay before us. Once this giant hole was active with several 200-ton trucks moving in and out along paved roads carrying tons of crushed asbestos rocks containing fibres up to the mill for processing.  There were no more trucks or roadways. Today, the pit is simply referred to as “the hole” by the townspeople, silently, slowly filling with water.

Jeffrey Mine
Jeffrey Mine 2019
Photograph by Claire Lindell

At one point the mine was the largest single source of asbestos fibres in the world. Today the size of the pit is now close to 2 kilometres across and 350 meters in depth. Oh! so much bigger than in 1945.

The company ceased all operations in 2012 and the consequences were devastating for the industry and community. The production of Asbestos was banned throughout North America and Europe, noting that asbestos is a carcinogen causing cancer of the lungs and chest wall.

Over the last few years the town has been working toward attracting and developing new enterprises, creating new business opportunities.  One of the main companies to invest in the town is Alliance Magnesium. They are extracting magnesium from the residues. of 400 million tons of tailings from the mine, accumulated over a period of more than one hundred years.

Magnesium Ingot

Magnesium is a light weight mineral that is used in everything from medical implants to electric cars.  It is 34% lighter than aluminum. It will lighten the weight of automobiles. making them more efficient and better for the environment. At the museum we were able to handle one of the first ingots produced by Alliance Magnesium.

Hemp Insulation

Hemp farming has been introduced to the area with the intention of replacing various insulations made of fibreglass, plastic and foam. Hemp is eco-friendly and non-toxic, among its many other attributes.

Brome Lake Duck has invested $30 million to setup a processing plant raising Peking ducks, to meet the high export demand while creating 150 new jobs.  

A microbrewery, Moulin 7, named after the last working mill, has gained recognition through their award-winning beers. We had a delicious lunch in the pub. The décor has a mining theme and the beers have names such as La 1949. References to the strike and “White Gold”

…and the winner is

Another interesting tourist attraction is the Slackline that spans the width of the pit. There is an annual Slackline Festival attracting people from around the world. Last summer a young lady from British Columbia crossed without incident from one end to the other, the entire 1.66 kilometres in :58 minutes creating a new world record.

This record was broken on July 27, 2019, by Mia Noblet of British Columbia and Lukas Irmler of Germany. Both managed to cross a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) slackline suspended more than 200 metres (660 ft) above the open-pit Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec, during Slackfest, a slackline and highline festival. Noblet completed her crossing in 58 minutes.

Marian and I took one more quick drive around town and were pleasantly surprised at how businesses appear to be thriving. Success seems to be on the horizon.

We drove back to Montreal late in the afternoon, with a sense of satisfaction knowing that  my hometown has survived several setbacks over the years and now appears to be heading for success in new business ventures and perhaps a name change, or a new identity.

It will be interesting to follow the possibilities that lie ahead for Asbestos.

Sources:

Ducks

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/duck-production-1.3731001

Hemp

https://www.ecohome.net/guides/3342/hemp-insulation/

https://hemplogic.blogspot.com/2018/03/hemp-insulation-comes-to-north-america.html

Identity

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/asbestos-quebec-change-name-1.5375703

https://www.asbestos.com/news/2016/11/07/asbestos-mining-town-canada-new-identity/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/five-years-after-asbestos-mine-closure-quebec-town-seeks-new-identity/article31569391/

Magnesium

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8352298-quebec-town-built-on-asbestos-may-find-new-life-in-byproduct-of-deadly-mineral/

Beatrice Bruneau Quiet Perseverance

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Rene Raguin & Beatrice Bruneau Wedding Day 1912

I am always looking through my files, searching for something I knew I had. Recently, I came upon a letter addressed to Miss C. Beatrice Bruneau, my grandmother.

“ In changing your profession to that noblest of all professions you have shown your elders a good example.” She left teaching to get married. “May that quality of quiet perseverance, which has marked your work among us go with you and crown all the enterprises of your life with success.” This one sheet of paper indicated a lot about her.

She was definitely my quiet grandmother, sweet and gentle. Grannie never raised her voice although sometimes she used firm words. My sister thought she had eyes in the back of her head, behind the two buns she always wore, so we couldn’t get away with anything. She always kept her hands busy, knitting socks or crocheting fancy potholders.

Although of French Canadian descent, Cecile Beatrice Bruneau (1889- 1967 ) was born in Green Bay Wisconsin. There, her father Ismael Bruneau, a French Presbyterian Minister, served a congregation of Swiss Protestants. Her mother Ida Girod, from the French part of Switzerland, had taught school in Baltimore, Maryland before getting married.

French Protestants were few and far between so the family moved a lot, from Wisconsin to Holyoke, Massachusetts, to Quebec City, and then Montreal.

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Some of the Bruneau Children; Sydney, Helvetia, Beatrice, Herbert, Renee, Edmee, and Gerald – Montreal 1907.

My grandmother did most of her schooling in Montreal. The family lived over the French Presbyterian Mission on Dufferin St (now De La Roche). The Mission was just north of La Fontaine Park, between Marie Anne and Mount Royal in an area now known as Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Beatrice, the oldest girl didn’t have an easy life, being a minister’s daughter, one of nine children and protestant in a catholic province. A minister didn’t make much money and the family relied on handouts from the church community. Two other protestant families lived on the block and according to her brother Sydney that marked them as an “unloved minority.” The sisters played happily with the neighbours but Sydney had a hard time. Small in stature the bullies followed him around.

There were no French Protestant schools available to them. The Catholics refused to have any Protestants in their schools and so English was the language of their schooling. After attending Mount Royal elementary school Beatrice went to The High School of Montreal. The five eldest children all earned scholarships from the lower schools so their parents didn’t have to pay fees.

The Bruneau children all received a good education. Beatrice went on to McGill’s Normal School, the Teacher’s College, where she received her teaching diploma. This program later moved from the downtown campus to MacDonald College in Saint Anne de Bellevue. She came 23rd out of 61 students and won the Superintendent’s prize in French. She received elementary and first-grade staff certificates and passed in cardboard work. Beatrice later earned her French Specialist certificate from the Protestant School Board. At that time, as they could only hire Protestants to teach in their schools, native French speakers had no problem finding a position. In 1907 Beatrice was hired by the Protestant Commissioners as a teacher without experience.

When Ismael and Ida made another move, this time to Cornwall, Ontario, Beatrice and two sisters, Herminie and Helvetia stayed in Montreal teaching in public schools. They all gladly left the crowded quarters over the mission hall to lodge with a fellow minister, a friend of their father’s.

The 1912 letter indicated that Beatrice had been teaching at Mount Royal School on St Urbain Street in Montreal, the same school she had attended. Her teaching career lasted only five years. She married Rene Raguin that July and never taught again. She quietly persevered in her family life looking after her husband and raising their five children.

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Notes:

Grannie told us one joke. I now realize it was connected to the area where she grew up. A woman was riding the bus up St Lawrence Blvd. The driver called out Rachel, the bus stopped and a woman got off. He then called out Marie Anne and another woman got off. The woman then went up to the driver and said my name is Suzanne, when do I get off?

Walking with God in Duquen, A. Sydney Bruneau 1960s, transcribed by his granddaughter Virginia Greene in 2017. A copy with the author.

The Gazette, Montreal Quebec, Canada. May 29, 1907, page 8. Downloaded Nov 16, 2019.

The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. June 14, 1907, Page 12. Downloaded Nov 16, 2019.

Cardboard Work was part of the manual dexterity training in elementary schools. The children used cardboard to make boxes and made other things of raffia and plastic material while the high school students did woodwork and metalwork.

There is a church structure on De La Roche between Mount Royal and Marie Anne. According to the Montreal Tax role it was built about 1912, so after the Bruneaus left. It is now two residences.

Rene & Beatrice 1961
Beatrice & Rene Raguin 50th Anniversary 1962

For a story about Beatrice’s father Ismael Bruneau see: https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/1237

For a story about Ida Girod, Beatrice’s mother see: https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/3674

Searching for Loyalist Orphans in Quebec

The Loyalist Orphans of Quebec under British Military Rule and Lower Canada

United Empire Loyalists were people who remained loyal to the British during the American Revolution (1765-1783), and settled elsewhere in British North America after the United States became independent. In Quebec, the Loyalists settled in various places from the Mauricie to the Gaspé, but primarily in the Eastern Townships, southeast of Montreal and near the American border.

Most of these families were poor and had gone through very hard times fleeing their homes. The difficulties involved with rebuilding their lives, clearing lands and erecting barns and houses in Quebec often resulted in the early deaths of parents. Their orphaned children were usually assigned to other families in the three regional Judicial Districts of Montreal, Quebec City and Trois-Rivières.

If you suspect you had Loyalist ancestors who came to Quebec, but it appears they simply vanished, notarial acts dealing with these orphans might help you break through your brick walls. The notarial documents known as tutelles and curatelles (guardianships of minors) are most likely to be helpful.

The attached compilation is a list of notaries who served during this time period and these places, and whose tutelle and curatelle acts might shed light on the lives of the Loyalist orphans. Click here: Searching for Loyalist Orphans in Quebec

Thank you to the Heritage Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada for this info, passed on in a 2014 conversation with a member of the executive.

Key Terms:

The following are notarial acts or notarial expressions used in official documents which you might want to consider in your notarial searches of your ancestors in Québec and Lower Canada (Bas-Canada).

Curatelle – Judicial acts – Authority given to an adult individual by the Justice system (Regional Court House) or by an assembly of family members in order for the selected person to be the administrator of all assets, funds, capital for those who are not capable of managing their assets.

Testament – Wills and testaments

Tutelle – Authority given to a person by law or by the wishes of a testator or by an assembly of family members in order for said person selected to be the guardian of said emancipated minor and for said chosen person to be the overseer and administrator of all assets, funds, capital obtained through a will from his or her parents.

See also: Jacques Gagne, Genealogy Ensemble, Feb. 10, 2019, “Quebec guardianship records can help resolve brick walls,” https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/02/10/quebec-guardianship-records-can-help-resolve-brick-walls/

Some Geographic Background:

The first Loyalist families under British Military Rule arrived in Québec in 1777.  Loyalists from the Mohawk Valley appear to have been the first to arrive, settling along the shores of the Richelieu River near the town of St. Johns (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu) and in Montreal.

In 1779, Governor Frederick Haldimand assigned Captain Daniel McAlpin with the King’s Royal Regiment to oversee the establishment of the Loyalist refugees in British Quebec.

In the Montreal region, Loyalist families settled in Pointe-Claire, Lachine, and Montreal.

Along the shores of the Richelieu River, in addition to St. Johns, Loyalist refugee camps were organized in Chambly, Sorel, St-Ours, Sorel being the largest refuge in the region. A few miles away in Yamaska, a small group of Loyalist families were present.

Across the St. Lawrence River from Sorel, in the townships of Berthier and Yamachiche, a much larger group of Loyalists families were given temporary lands. The hamlet of Yamachiche became known to Loyalist families as Machiche. It became the largest temporary Loyalist settlement in Quebec. The settlement of Machiche was organized from two seigneuries which were the property of Conrad Gugy, secretary to Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Trois-Rivières and later Governor of Quebec.

The seigneuries owned by Conrad Gugy were the Seigneurie de Grosbois-Ouest, also known as Petite-Rivière-Yamachiche. In 1771, Gugy purchased a second seigneury, Seigneurie de Dumontier, which adjoined the Seigneurie de Grosbois-Ouest where the Loyalist camp of Machiche was organized.

South of Quebec City, in present day Beauce County, there was a small and short-lived Loyalist refuge referred to as Nouvelle-Beauce. It was along the banks of the Chaudière River near present-day St-Georges-de-Beauce.

Just north of Montréal, in the townships of Terrebonne and St-Eustache, a few Loyalist families settled on farms alongside former German mercenaries who had fought with British Regiments during the American Revolutionary War.

A few Loyalist families also settled in the Lower Laurentians in hamlets such as Lachute, St. Andrews (St-André-d’Argenteuil) and more to the east in St-Gabriel-de-Brandon, within the present-day district of D’Autray in the County of Berthier.

In 1784, a large group of Loyalist families settled in the Gaspé Peninsula and organized communities such as New Carlisle, Bonaventure, New Richmond, Carleton, Port Daniel and the Matapedia region.

Finally, the largest group of Loyalist settlers in Quebec were the families who were highly instrumental in establishing the Eastern Townships and of the communities on the Upper Richelieu River at Bay Missisquoi.

Loyalists were present within the Eastern Townships in St. Armand, Stanbridge, Dunham, Sutton, Farnham, Granby, Shefford, Stukely, Bolton, Brome, Potton, Stanstead, Magog, Hatley, Oxford, Ascot, Eaton and Clifton townships and also Foucault, Bay Missisquoi and Noyan on the shores of the Richelieu River at the U.S. – Canadian border.

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gugy_conrad_4E.html

http://gaspesie.quebecheritageweb.com/article/loyalists-gaspesia-1784-1984

uelac.org/SirJohnJohnson/eastern-townships.php

Protestants in Quebec

Recently, the news media reported that Quebec Premier François Legault stated that “all” French Canadians are Catholic. While it is true that, historically, almost all francophone Quebecers were Catholic, today many are lapsed Catholics while others are atheists. There are also those who, for a variety of reasons, switched from the Catholic Church to a Protestant religion.

In my own case, I became a Protestant in my mid-forties. My father, Lionel Gagné, was also a Protestant. At a young age, he lost both his Catholic parents and was placed in a Catholic orphanage in east-end Montreal. At about the age of seven or eight, he was taken in by a Huguenot teacher and his wife, a Presbyterian from Massachusetts, who were teachers at a bilingual Protestant College in Pointe-aux-Trembles. This college was operated and financed at the time by McGill University and the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Like many people, Premier Legault is probably not aware that a small minority of French Quebecers had Protestant ancestors, many of whom were forced to give up their religion when they settled here. Genealogist Michel Barbeau has estimated that about 320 Huguenots, or French-speaking Protestants, settled in New France between 1634 and 1763. See the database of names he identified as Huguenots: http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/fichier/index.htm). You can read more about the history of the Huguenots on Barbeau’s website Our Huguenot Ancestors, http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/huga/index.htm

Many of these people came to North America to escape from persecution in Europe, however, they did not find life much easier in New France. Many were forced to abjure, or renounce, their religion and others became Catholic after marrying in the Catholic Church. Those who remained Protestant were banned from certain trades, while some had their possessions confiscated.

Here are links to two of my research guides to the Huguenots of New France:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2014/04/02/huguenot-refugees/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/02/03/register-of-abjurations/

The following article describes the early Protestant churches of Quebec City:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/02/03/the-protestant-churches-of-quebec-city-1629-1759/

In addition to being a list of French-language Protestant churches and their ministers, the research guide below includes an excellent article by Réne Péron about the lives of Protestants in New France, a list of books and authors who have written on the subject, and contact information for the archives of Protestant churches where you can find church registries:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/11/22/french-protestant-churches-in-quebec/

The following research guide is a list of villages, towns and townships across Quebec where people from a variety of origins, including Huguenots, settled:

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/04/08/british-irish-scottish-loyalist-american-german-scandinavian-dutch-huguenot-families-in-lower-canada-and-quebec-1760/

In 2020, I will be posting a series of articles about the Huguenots in Europe. The first will focus on the Protestants of Paris and surrounding region in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Notaries in Lower Canada

The Notaries of Quebec who Served among Loyalist, British, Scottish, Irish, Germanic and American Families during the British Military Period in Lower Canada

Beginning with the French regime (1635) and continuing after the British conquest (post Plains of Abraham,1759,) the people of Quebec were privy to a judicial system that guaranteed the setting down in writing of marriage contracts, wills and testaments, after-death inventories, business engagements, leases, sales, purchases of houses or farms, etc. Transactions of all types were recorded by notaries within the three judicial districts of New France: Quebec City, Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

Many of the post-conquest documents are available at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) online or on microfilm.

After the British conquest of 1759, Governor James Murray at Quebec City, Thomas Gage at Montreal, and Ralph Burton at Trois-Rivières began the process of interviewing notaries who had been previously appointed under the French regime by Governor Pierre de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal.

The majority of French-born notaries elected to return to France while most of the native-born notaries decided to stay. These native-born notaries were interviewed once again by the Chief Justice and Attorney General.

This research guide to British military period notaries in Lower Canada will guide you directly to the relevant BAnQ webpages containing biographies of these individuals, along with descriptions of the contents of their respective fonds.

Click here to see the attached pdf research guide: Notaries Loyalists British Scottish research guide

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Here are some of the many expressions you will encounter among notarial acts written in the French language:

Abandon – Action in which one renounces, relinquishes, or dispenses with a property, farm, house, barns, farm equipment, farm animals.

Acceptation – Action in which one agrees to accept the final transfer of rights or assets

Acte de dernières volontés – (final wishes) See Testament

Acte soussigné privé – Agreement reached by two parties (persons) without the intervention of a court official (public officer)

Adoption – Adoption

Contrat de mariage – Marriage contract

Curatelle – Judicial acts – Authority given to an adult individual by the justice system (Regional Court House) or by an assembly of family members in order for the selected person to be the administrator of all assets, funds and capital for those who are not capable of managing their own assets

Inventaire – After-death inventory

Jugement – Acte judiciaire – Judgement, verdict, decision, ruling, pronouncement

Partage – The allocation to a group of people (family members, in most cases) of assets, funds, capital, lands, farms, houses, barns, farm animals

Testament – Wills and testaments

Tutelle – Authority accorded to a person by law or by the wishes of a testator or by an assembly of family members in order for that person to be the guardian of a emancipated minor and for the chosen person to be the overseer and administrator of all assets and funds obtained through a will from the minor’s parents.

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Please note:   Some of the notarial acts can be viewed online, others can be accessed on microfilm or microfiche at various repositories of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). At the BAnQ, all files downloaded are free. All dossiers requested by email are also viewed for free. See details at the conclusion of this research guide.

In addition, some notarial acts of Quebec can be viewed online at Ancestry.ca (Ancestry.com), Généalogie Québec (Genealogy Quebec) or FamilySearch.org. The latter is free to anyone who completes the online membership request, giving access to all databases stored there.

The notaries included in the attached research guide are those who, throughout their careers, dealt with Loyalist, French, British, Irish, Scottish, German, Scandinavian and non-Loyalist American families in various regions of Quebec and Lower Canada. The selection process was carried out at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, the Collection nationale du Québec (Bibliothèque nationale du Québec) and BAnQ Vieux-Montréal (Archives nationales du Québec).

You may encounter a Restriction de consultation (legal restriction) to certain notarial acts. Legal access restrictions are usually found among the notaries who served the elite families of Quebec during the British military period or the Lower Canada period. For example, if you count the fur barons of Montreal among your ancestors, you may encounter legal restrictions on many of the notarial acts that refer to them. Many of these restrictions were still in effect in 2019 and only direct family lineage descendants can access some of these notarized documents, such as wills (testaments), business transactions, after-death inventories and estate settlements. Over the years, some family members might have lifted such restrictions imposed when the acts were first recorded.

An asterisk after a notary’s name denotes an association with, or professional services rendered to, British governors such as Jeffery Amherst, James Murray, Guy Carleton, Frederick Haldimand, Lord Dorchester (Guy Carleton), or with British generals,  British administrators, Lieutenant Governors or Chief Justices. These include Conrad Gugy, Thomas Dunn, William Gregory, William Hey, George Suckling, P.A. Irving, Hector Theophilus de Cramahé, Henry Hamilton, Henry Hope, Alured Clarke, Adam Mabane, Walter Murray, Samuel Holland, François Mounier, James Cuthbert, Benjamin Price, Francis Massères and others.

 

The Wedding Trip

The itinerary of my grandparents’ 1906 honeymoon sounds more like a business trip than a romantic get-away, nevertheless, they both seemed to enjoy their trip to Chicago, Toronto and Montreal.

The bride and groom were Dr. Thomas Glendenning Hamilton 33, a Winnipeg physician (usually known by his initials, T.G.,) and Lillian May Forrester, 26, a nurse. Lillian trained at the Winnipeg General Hospital, graduating in May, 1905, but she resigned from nursing when they became engaged.

The bride, Lillian Forrester
Lillian on her wedding day.

The wedding took place at the Winnipeg home of the bride’s uncle, lawyer Donald Forrester, at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, 1906: According to the newspaper, “The bride, who wore a pretty gown of white net over taffeta and carried bride’s roses, was given away by her father, Mr. John Forrester, of Emerson…. There were no attendants, only the immediate relatives of the happy couple being present.” Following the brief Presbyterian service, the bride changed into a red and grey travelling outfit and they left for their honeymoon on the 5:20 train.

Lillian kept a diary of the wedding trip, leaving out any romantic details. They spent their wedding night on the train to St. Paul and reached Chicago late the following evening. Staying at the 16-story Great Northern Hotel, they visited Marshall Field’s department store, viewed the impressive tower of the Montgomery Ward Building and attended a play. They also visited the 1,400-bed Cook County Hospital which, Lillian noted, treated 25,000 patients a year and did an average of 10 operations per day. They then headed to Detroit for a brief stopover, and Toronto, where they began by exploring the area around Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto.

Niagara Falls was on their honeymoon bucket list. T.G. and Lillian spent a snowy day there, seeing both the Canadian and American falls. They dressed in waterproof clothing to access the back of the falls, and took a cable elevator car to view the Whirlpool Rapids.

After several nights in Toronto with T.G.’s Aunt Lizzie Morgan, they boarded a train for Montreal. Lillian noted some of the towns they passed through en route, including Belleville, where she was born.

It was now early December, and there was a heavy snowfall in Montreal, nevertheless they took the street car to Notre Dame Cathedral, which they found to be “as grand and beautiful as we anticipated.” Lillian ordered 50 visiting cards – she would need them in her new social role as the wife of a busy physician – and she visited several stores “and spent her first pin money.”  She described Morgan’s department store as “the most beautiful store we have ever seen. The art gallery, glass room, electrical room and furniture department are all exceedingly fine.”

T.G. was planning on running for election to the school board in Winnipeg, so he took advantage of the trip to do some research. While Lillian was shopping, he interviewed the Superintendent of Schools.

No visit to Montreal is complete without a trip up Mount Royal. T.G. and Lillian went to the top in a sleigh and enjoyed “a splendid view of city, canal, river and Victoria Bridge.” On the way back downtown, they visited the Royal Victoria Hospital, ”a beautiful, well equipped building” with 300 beds.  The next day they explored the Redpath Museum, had dinner at the Windsor Hotel (one of the city’s best) and took the overnight train back to Aunt Lizzie’s in Toronto.

It was a Sunday so, after church, T.G.’s cousin accompanied them to visit relatives. The following day, T.G. met with the Superintendent of School Buildings in Toronto and with a former principal of Wellesley Public School, said to be the most handsome and modern school building in Toronto.

Over the next few days they visited more family members and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Scarborough, where T.G.’s father and grandparents were buried, as well as the farmhouse where T.G. spent his childhood. On their final day in the city, they attended a lecture on new developments in vaccines.

Finally, they headed west to Chicago and Minneapolis. Back in Winnipeg, Lillian’s brother picked them up at the train station and they went to buy furniture.

The last entry of the trip diary was dated almost a month after their wedding: “Dec. 22. Had tea at 8 a.m. in our own house.”

Note: a slightly longer version of this article is posted on my family history blog, writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

Researching Quebec Loyalists at the BAnQ

Loyalist families settled in Quebec following the end of the American Revolution in 1783. At that time, Quebec was under British rule.

For a complete listings of United Empire Loyalists fonds which can be viewed at various repositories of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), go to the catalogue search page https://cap.banq.qc.ca/fr/ and search for the word Loyalist.

The collection includes books, theses, essays and papers. Some of the items in this collection have been reproduced on microfiche from old documents originating in other archives, libraries or historical societies in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. A fair number of these papers were first published in the 19th century by historians, scholars, archivists and lecturers.

Between 60% to 70% of the material regarding the Loyalists stored at the various repositories of BAnQ in Montreal address Loyalist families who settled in Upper Canada (Ontario), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. I am mainly interested in Loyalists who settled in Quebec

The compilation attached here, “Researching Quebec Loyalists at the BAnQ,” lists 168 books, historical documents and other material available at the BAnQ in Montreal concerning the Loyalists who settled in what is now the Province of Quebec. Quebec Loyalists at the BAnQ

Please note: In order to borrow books or CDs from the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal, one must obtain a BAnQ membership card. It is free to all residents of the Province of Quebec. For researchers residing outside of Quebec, temporary memberships can be issued with limited borrowing options. See my post Genealogy Ensemble dated Nov. 17, 2019, Exploring la Grande Bibliothèque.

Only at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal can a visitor borrow a book or CD.

The other repositories of the BAnQ in the Montreal region are:  the Collection nationale (du Québec) housed within the same building as the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal; BAnQ Vieux-Montréal (Archives nationales du Québec on Viger Avenue in Old Montreal); BAnQ Rosemont La Petite-Patrie at 2275 Holt Street and, opening in 2020, the Bibliothèque Saint-Sulpice at 1700 St. Denis Street near Sherbrooke Street (east). At these repositories, material can only be viewed on location.

   Contents of the compilation

Page 2   Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal

Page 3   Collection nationale

Page 10 BAnQ Vieux-Montréal

Page 11 BAnQ Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie

 Page 11 BAnQ Online Digitized Books

 Page 12 BAnQ – Sir John Johnson and the British Governors during and following the great Loyalist migration.