Genealogy, New France, Quebec, Social history

Seigneuries, Notaries and Cemeteries of the Montreal Region

This post is an update from an earlier version. In the attached 161-page research guide to the seigneuries, notaries and cemeteries of Montreal, I have enlarged the content of the notaries.

Here is the link to the updated compilation (as a PDF): Seigneuries Region of Montréal rev

If you had ancestors in Quebec before 1854, chances are they lived on a seigneury. The seigneur (the owner of the seigneury) granted the land to tenants, who were usually called habitants or censitaires. The seigneurs and the habitants owed certain obligations to each other. The system, based on a feudal one, dates back to the mid-1600s when the government of France was trying to ensure its colony of New France would be settled in a systematic manner.

Seigneurs were usually people of noble backgrounds, military leaders or civil administrators, or they were religious institutions. Some seigneuries were well run, other seigneurs were absentee landlords or excessively demanding. In 1854, the seigneurial system was abolished and the tenants were allowed to acquire the land they farmed. The seigneuries had a lasting impact on Quebec society and geography and the names of many seigneuries and seigneurs live on in the names of towns and streets.

In the days of New France, Montreal was a small city on the shores of the St. Lawrence and the rest of the Island of Montreal was rural farmland. For many years, the priests of Saint Sulpice were the seigneurs of most of the island. The seigneurial system began to disappear from the Montreal region before it did elsewhere because it held back development of the growing city.

The compilation in the attached PDF includes links to a variety of articles related to seigneuries and seigneurs who lived in the Montreal region, both on and off the island. Some articles are in English, others are in French. If you cannot understand the French, copy and paste the text into a translation app such as Google Translate. Included in the compilation are links to articles from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography about some of the leading figures in the history of Montreal, as well as background information about the seigneuries, Catholic parish churches and cemeteries in the region.

This compilation provides links to information on the many seigneuries, fiefs, arrière-fiefs on the island of Montreal and in nearby areas. Various historians work have described these fiefs under different names. For example, from various sources in the City of Saint-Laurent in 1720, the following seigneuries and fiefs were named: Seigneurie Saint-Laurent, Côte Saint-Laurent, Côte Notre-Dame-des-Vertus , Notre-Dame-de-Liesse and Côte-du-Bois-Franc.

In 1854, the Assemblée nationale in Québec issued a decree which halted new seigneuries from being created in the province. However, in order to satisfy the concerns of many of the existing seigneurs, the censitaires, or tenants, continued to pay rents on an annual basis. Finally, in 1935, the Assemblée nationale du Québec issued a new law. The first URL address on the attached research guide links to the rent abolition act which facilitated the freeing of all lands from constituted rents. From 1854 to 1901, the government of Québec issued payments to large land owners (seigneurs). These payments were referred to as Créanciers de rentes.

Up to 1935, notaries were involved in the creation of new documents addressing lands. This is the main reason I have extended the content of this compilation: to include notaries during this late period of time.

The largest portion of this revised research guide refers to notaries. In this update, I verify the notaries whose dossiers were digitized and are available on the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) database of notaries http://binnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/. Additional notarial acts can be found online on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and Généalogie Québec (Drouin Institute).

In the regions served by the BAnQ Gaspé, BAnQ Gatineau, BAnQ Rimouski, BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, BAnQ Saguenay, BAnQ Sept-Îles, BAnQ Sherbrooke, BAnQ Trois-Rivières, about 70% to 80% of the acts written by local and regional notaries can be accessed online at BAnQ, Ancestry, FamilySearch and/or Drouin online.

The BAnQ Montréal and BAnQ Québec (City) are the two largest repositories of the Archives nationales du Québec, and they get the most visitors. With regard to notarial acts being accessible through the BAnQ online database, probably only 40 percent of the notaries who served within the judicial districts of these two cities have had their files digitized as of 2018.

Furthermore, I have noticed over the years that the BAnQ Montréal and BAnQ Québec have not included many of the Royal Notaries (Notaires royaux), either under the French Regime of Nouvelle-France or under British military rule prior to the Lower Canada period of 1791, in the BAnQ database. However, some of the acts of Royal Notaries in the Montreal and Quebec City Judicial Districts, can be found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Other notaries can simply not be found online at all.

Here is an overview of the contents of this research guide:

p. 1 Seigneurs, governors, religious and civic leaders of Montreal

p. 7 Seigneuries of the Montreal region, including those owned by religious orders. The seigneuries include Lachine, Riviere des Prairies, St. Anne de Bellevue, Ahuntsic, St. Leonard, Chateauguay, Boucherville, St. Rose, Longueuil, Ste. Therese, Mille-Iles, Vaudeuil.

p. 7 Regional cemeteries

p. 45 Notaries who worked in the area from the beginning of settlement until 1954, and where to locate their acts.

p. 157 Repositories for archival material and other resources, such as books and databases.

p. 159 Authors and online historical resources.

Genealogy

Huguenots – Index of Names

cross

The Cross of Languedoc

Part 1. 

Huguenot Trails

 Is an Index of family names appearing in “Huguenot Trails”, the official publication of the Huguenot Society of Canada, from 1968 to 2003.

“Huguenot Trails” publications are available in the periodicals section of the Quebec Family History Society in Pointe-Claire, Quebec

While many family histories are given at length, and others are mentioned only briefly.

 Part 2

 Huguenots in Nouvelle France – Québec (New France – Quebec)     1604-1763

 Family listings –  2nd compilation

Fichiers huguenots

Michel Barbeau Author, researcher, compiler and consists of

 Huguenots from France (319 pioneers)                 http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/fichier/

Calvinists from Switzerland (21 pioneers)    http://pages.infinit.net/barbeaum/suisses.htm

 Part 3.

 Huguenots in Nouvelle France Québec (New France Quebec1600-1765

Family listings  – 3rd compilation

 Listing of family names obtained from the writings of many authors and  Various Online Sources

Click on the links below to open in  new windows

Part 1

Trails – Family Names

Part 2.

 The Huguenots 2 in Nouvelle France

Part 3.

The Huguenots in New France #3

Quebec

Life in New France Was Fraught with Danger

Montreal,  originally known as Ville Marie was founded in 1642 by Paul Chomedy Sieur de Maisonneuve. At the time there were very few inhabitants. Within the next several years ships arrived and the population grew.

In 1663 the company of Saint Sulpice became the owner of the Montreal Island. They built their Seminary in 1684 and starting in 1685 Montreal became more and more of a military stronghold surrounded by a wooden palisade

In 1665 my 7th great Grandfather Claude Jodouin, born in Poitiers, France,  arrived in Ville Marie,  New France. He was a master carpenter and worked for the Sulpicians. Shortly after his arrival1 on March 22,1666 in Notre Dame Church he married Anne Thomas, a King’s daughter. Over the years they had ten children.

Saint-Henri  des Tanneries  was an non-populated wooded area far removed from the walled section of the settlement which is now referred to as Old Montreal. There the workers would tan hides. The odor from the tasks was most unpleasant, to the point of being quite unbearable. This was the reason for establishing the tanneries far from the population. The area today still bears the name Saint Henri.

While working at the tannery Claude Jodouin’s life came to a fateful end. He was fifty years old.

In the Bulletin des Recherches Historiques2 the following describes his death.

“Le sudit document nous apprend encore que, le 16 octobre 1686, un charpentier nomme Claude Jaudouin employe a la tannerie fut inopinement tue par un autre ouvrier. Nicolas Martin dit Jolycoeur. Celui-ci, ignorant que son compagnon etait au bois entendant un froisement de branches imagina qu’un ours venait a lui. Pris de peur, il dechargea son fusil dans la direction de bruit avec le regrettable resultat que l’on sait.”

Translation:        It was in a wooded section outside the tannery, that a fellow worker thought he heard a bear rustling in the bushes, took aim and shot. So ended the life of Claude Jodouin, the master carpenter.

In the Dictionnaires de genealogies des familles du Quebec3  it indicates that Claude Jodouin was killed accidentally. Little did I know that my first trip to La societe de genealogie canadienne francaise in the east end of Montreal would reveal the manner in which he died.

Anne, Claude’s wife was still a young woman with the responsibility of their ten children.  From all accounts she was sought after by many eligible bachelors. Within a short period of time she remarried.4

Sources:

1      POULIN, JOSEPH-PHILIPPE. “Premiers colons du debut de la colonie jusqu’en 1700.” In Programme Souvenir, Sixieme Congres de la Societe Genealogique Canadienne Francaise, Quebec (Oct. 8-10, 1960), pp. 13-22.  Arrival

 

1      L’Abbe D Tanguay, ADS, Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes Depuis la Fondation de la Colonie Jusqu’a Nos Jours, Cinquieme Volume, Depuis 1608 jusqu’a 1700, Eusebe Senecal, 1888.

2       Bulletin des Recherches Historiques Vol 41: p 39

3      Dictionnaire degenealogie des familles du Quebec, Jette

4       Ibid

http://www.memorablemontreal.com › accessibleQA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Montreal_history

 

Research tips

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 www.banq.qc.ca

Posted by Jacques Gagné for Genealogy Ensemble