As in other parts of Quebec, German-speaking immigrants, including some Loyalists with German roots, integrated well into life in the Eastern Townships and surrounding regions. This compilation describes the towns and villages where some of these people have lived from the late 1700s to the 20th century. It names the churches they attended and the cemeteries where they were buried, and it helps the researcher locate these records.
The first German-speaking families probably came to Montreal around 1700. While this community has never been large, it has been well-organized: the German Society of Montreal was set up in 1835 and St. John’s Lutheran Church was established in 1853. Many families of German origin attended Protestant and Catholic churches along with their English, Scottish and French Canadian neighbours. This compilation lists many of the city’s churches and the repositories where their birth, marriage and burial records are kept.
Among the first European settlers who came to Quebec in the 1600s were some 300 Protestants, most of them fleeing religious persecution in France. If they hoped to find religious freedom on this side of the Atlantic, they were disappointed: the Catholic Church controlled all religious matters in New France and Protestants could not even baptize their children or buy land.
Many quietly gave in and became Catholic, and families forgot that their ancestors had been Calvinists or Huguenots. Those who maintained or adopted Protestant beliefs were discriminated against by both their English-speaking neighbours and by French-speaking Roman Catholics. Many of them left Quebec. For those who remained, their churches became the centers of their lives.
This compilation includes a list of books and articles about the history of French-speaking Protestants in Quebec and a list of Protestant churches, chapels and missions in Quebec since 1600. It tells you where to find the records of these institutions and how to contact the archives of the Anglicans, Presbyterians and other denominations.
Early Sunday morning, dressed in our special t-shirts, we left in plenty of time for the morning church service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods. The greeter welcomed us warmly, and we asked if there might be any Haningtons at church that day. She beckoned down the aisle to her husband who then introduced himself as Allen Hanington. Overjoyed, we threw our arms around our surprised distant cousin and snapped a commemorative photo. And so our journey began.
My 3x great grandfather, William Hanington, was the first English settler in Shediac, New Brunswick, in 1785. He was an amazing fellow who emigrated from England at the age of twenty-six, built a whole community, set up lumber exports, built ships, married a PEI girl and had a family of thirteen. Later in life, in 1823, he donated a piece of land and built St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church, where he was buried in 1838.
This past July, my sister and I decided to go on a one week “sister pilgrimage” to explore our family history in Shediac from 230 years ago. We ordered our specialized t-shirts and planned our family-and-friends-fun-filled trip to the Maritimes. A very special trip for us both. We hadn’t travelled together before and my sister, recently widowed, was embracing a “carpe diem” attitude.
Peggy’s Cove was our first tourist attraction and we enjoyed a stroll around the lighthouse and its spectacular rocks overlooking the ocean. The quaint little shops were charming and the local afternoon tea was delicious.
On our way to Shediac, NB, we visited my sister’s friend Helen who was new to the area and provided us with a hearty lunch. We checked into our B&B in Shediac, and set off to explore the delightful little town. On the waterfront, we climbed onto the famous giant lobster to pose for the ultimate tourist photo. Afterwards, while strolling along the boardwalk, we came upon a historical monument dedicated to our 2x great grandfather Daniel Hanington, a famous politician in his time. What a terrific surprise!
Hopewell Rocks was our second tourist attraction with its incredible change in tides. That morning, we walked along the “beach”. Then we lunched nearby at the Apple Blossom Café, run by three retired schoolteacher spinster sisters. What a hoot they were! After lunch, we returned to find high tide had completely transformed the whole bay. Amazing!
The next morning, our GPS helped us find our way to tiny Clairville, NB, to visit my friends Carol and Bruce. Their cozy place was beautifully perched up on a hill overlooking a vast field. After a tour of their house and garden, we had a delicious lunch and then set out for Charlottetown, PEI.
While driving across the spectacular Confederation Bridge, it was difficult to imagine how William and his Indian guides paddled across the Northumberland Strait in 1792 to claim his bride in Summerside, PEI (then known as Ile-St.Jean).
We checked into our B&B in Charlottetown and headed off to meet Anne of Green Gables, our third tourist attraction. Luckily for us, there weren’t many visitors that day and she was able to personally fill us in on all the latest town gossip.
On our last day, we visited our mother’s best childhood friend. who is living with her son and family just outside Charlottetown. Our mother passed away when we were very young, and “Auntie Jean” has been a precious source of their childhood tales. It was such a thrill to see her again.
Later on that Sunday after the morning service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods, we visited with Allen’s charming sister Lillian, the family historian who knew our exact location in the Hanington family tree!
And just down the lane from the church, off Hanington Street, was our grandmother’s summer cottage. Our grandfather, Canon Lindsay, would fill in as their pastor from time to time over the summers and several people at church that morning remembered him fondly.
Finally, as we drove down the driveway to visit with Allen and his wife Willa, there they were sitting on the porch swing waiting to welcome us into their home. The afternoon flew by with lemonade and homemade treats and eventually we bid farewell to our cousins with heartfelt promises to keep in touch.
PS The August 2015 family newsletter, the Hanington Herald, just arrived by mail! Included in the comments from the President’s Desk (that would be our cousin Allen!), it says: “We just experienced a lovely visit from the Anglin sisters; Lucy (Montreal) and Margaret (Ottawa) who were visiting in the area and attended morning service at St Martin’s-in-the-Woods Anglican Church on Sunday, July 5th 2015. We had a very nice visit on Sunday afternoon. They are descendents of Daniel Hanington.”
This compilation, prepared by Montreal genealogist Jacques Gagné, covers communities south of Quebec City (on the St. Lawrence River) to the Maine border, and east of Sherbrooke. Hundreds of Presbyterian immigrants from Scotland, as well as from Ireland and England, settled in this area in the early 1800s, attracted by its fertile land for farming, its valuable forests, rolling hills and abundant rivers.
The area includes the present-day counties of Arthabaska, Beauce, Buckingham, Compton, Dorchester, Drummond, Frontenac, Lotbinière, Mégantic, Nicolet, Richmond and Wolfe, and communities such as Saint-Georges-de-Beauce, Drummondville and Thetford Mines.
Jacques briefly describes the settlement of these towns and villages and names the churches and missions that met the spiritual needs of the Presbyterians. Name changes are noted where relevant.
The compilation lists Presbyterian cemeteries, local historical societies, books that discuss the histories of these areas and websites of interest. It also identifies repositories, such as church archives and local resource centres, where the birth, marriage and death records of these Presbyterian communities can be found.
While the historic populations of Quebec City and Montreal were primarily Catholic, both cities have long been home to Presbyterian congregations. The first such churches served worshippers of Scottish origins, while Americans comprised a substantial part of the Presbyterian population in Montreal.
In this compilation, researcher Jacques Gagne has briefly outlined the histories of these churches, including the dates they came into existence, some of the ministers who led them, their locations and name changes over time. Each outline includes links to sources of information about these churches and their records.
Make sure you look at the Repositories sections on pages 14 for Quebec City and 45 for Montreal, as well as the further information links for each congregation. Also, scan the table of contents thoroughly: over the years, a number of churches with the same names (for example, St. Gabriel, St. Andrews and Erskine) appeared, moved or reappeared. Finally, you may find further information on some of these churches by searching Google Books and Google Images.
For more information on the Presbyterian archives of Canada and how to find genealogical information there, see http://www.presbyterianarchives.ca/ and http://www.presbyterianarchives.ca/Interesting%20Facts.html
Thanks to Claire Lindell for editing and formatting this compilation.
The American Revolution was time of flux for many citizens who were loyal to the British. These Loyalists sought refuge in towns north of the border in an area known as the Eastern Townships. They settled and formed communities and built their churches
In this database you will find the locations of births, marriages and deaths of these early settlers.
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Following the War of the American Revolution, those who had remained loyal to the British felt compelled to leave the newly independent United States. While most settled in what is now Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec’s Eastern Townships, some moved to the Gaspé Peninsula of eastern Quebec. This is a region of interior forests and mountains and of fishing villages along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The newcomers settled in towns and villages such as Matapédia, Bonaventure, Percé, Gaspé and New Carlisle. Their neighbours were of French Canadian, Acadian and Micmac ancestry, and most were Roman Catholic. The newly arrived English-speaking, Protestant Loyalists needed their own places to worship and to record their births, marriages and burials.
At first, these needs were met by Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries, but eventually the newcomers built churches of their own. This compilation lists the churches they founded and the ministers who served the English-speaking community. It guides the genealogist to the various places where their records are kept, including government and church archives, and the library of the Quebec Family History Society.
The compilation also mentions the records of the Gaspé residents who came from Jersey and Guernsey, in the Channel Isles, and the early settlers from Scotland. The introduction pays tribute to two individuals who researched and documented the lives of the English-speaking residents of the Gaspé, Kenneth Annett and David J. McDougall, and tells researchers where to find their work.
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The Europeans in Québec Lower Canada and Québec
Churches of the Scandinavian, Baltic States, Germanic, Icelandic people in Montréal, Québec City, Lower St. Lawrence, Western Québec, Eastern Townships, Richelieu River Valley – The churches of immigrants from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia. Lithuania, Iceland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria plus those from Eastern European countries – Churches which were organized in Québec from 1621 to 2005. Also included within this document you will find a number of book titles relating to the subject.
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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.
This compilation was edited on Nov. 21, 2018. A new version will be coming in 2019.