Tag Archives: QFHS

Tribute to Joan Benoit

With great sadness, we recently learned of the death of Joan Benoit of Pointe Claire, Quebec in late 2022. Joan was a devoted genealogist and volunteered and helped run the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) for over thirty years. Ever patient, she helped both the experienced and novice genealogist in their research. She was the “go to” person when anyone had a question. In the words of Claire Lindell:

“It was spring of 2012 when I walked in to the QFHS. Joan greeted me with a smile and made me feel welcome. She offered to help me with my quest for ancestors. She took Rene Jetté’s big blue dictionnaire from the shelf and asked me the names of those I was searching. Within minutes I found my mother’s ancestral family … Claude Jodouin who arrived in Ville Marie in the mid 1600s. I was off to the races and have never looked back, thanks to Joan.”

Ruth Dougherty (left) and Joan Benoit (right) chat in front of Earl John Chapman who is seated at the table speaking with Oskar Keller during Military Roots Day, 2012, at the QFHS.

Joan’s extensive knowledge, accompanied by a warm smile, has helped numerous researchers over the years. Many of her fellow genealogists became her friends. As well as being an avid researcher, she also had a vision of what was needed to promote genealogical research and always accepted the challenge to do what was needed. For approximately twenty years Joan was a well-known visitor to the Archives nationales du Québec on Mullins Street in Pointe-Saint-Charles and later the Archives nationales on Viger Square in Old Montreal. She researched hundreds of family lineages.

Jacques Gagné and Joan Benoit enjoyed a friendship of many years, which Jacques says can best be described in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In other words, good friends bring out the best in one another and enhance each other’s strengths.

Joan’s quiet presence, always supportive, will be sorely missed.

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

QFHS has its Certificate of Continuance

The Quebec Family History Society obtained its Certificate of Continuance from Industry Canada on March 6 of this year, according to Industry Canada’s website, https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/cc/CorporationsCanada/fdrlCrpDtls.html?corpId=2362252&V_TOKEN=1405560793699&crpNm=Quebec%20family%20history%20society&crpNmbr=&bsNmbr.

Meanwhile, QFHS members in good standing (meaning those who have paid their dues) are invited to a special general meeting on September 13. There are two items on the agenda: “approval to obtain our Certificate of Continuance” and “discussion for possible future changes to our Constitution.” The certificate of continuance allows the society to continue to exist as a not for profit corporation under the new federal NFP Act, and the bylaws have to be revised to be in compliance with the new act.

Members did not approve the executive decision to obtain the certificate and were not informed by the executive that the certificate has been issued. It is not clear whether the bylaws have already been revised.

If the bylaws have yet to be revised, the society is now operating under the Default Rules provided by Industry Canada. See http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/cs04967.html.

In either case, there is still an opportunity for members to respond to the invitation to suggest changes to the bylaws, in writing, by August 13.

To read more about this issue, see Societies – Are they Changing, on genealogycanada.blogspot.com, posted July 20, http://genealogycanada.blogspot.com/2014/07/societies-are-they-changing.html, and the previous article on Genealogy Ensemble, QFHS Invites Members to Submit Recommendations on Bylaw Changes, posted July 8, https://genealogyensemble.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/qfhs-invites-members-to-submit-recommendations-on-bylaw-changes/


QFHS invites members to submit recommendations on bylaw changes

If you are a member of the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS), this important article is for you:

The QFHS will hold a special general meeting of its members on September 13, 2014 for approval to obtain a Certificate of Continuance, a document that grants the organization continuance as a federally incorporated not-for-profit society.

Also on the meeting agenda is a discussion of possible future changes to its constitution. Members have been invited to submit written recommendations for changes to the bylaws, which were written in 1992. The deadline for these submissions is August 13.

The meeting is open to all members in good standing. The official notice of the meeting was included in the Summer 2014 issue of Connections and can also be found on the society’s website, www.qfhs.ca. The society’s current bylaws can be found in the members-only section of the website.

The notice that appeared in Connections did not explain the need for this special meeting. The federal government has written a new law, called the NFP Act, governing federally-incorporated not-for-profit corporations such as ours. The society must revise its bylaws to obtain its Certificate of Continuance.

The deadline to obtain a Certificate of Continuance is Oct. 17, 2014. All corporations that don’t meet the deadline will be automatically dissolved.

With its wonderful library and charitable tax status, the QFHS is a valuable part of the English-language community in Quebec. Recently, it has also begun serving people with ancestors from France, northern Europe, Italy and other places. We need to ensure that the society not only survives, but continues to thrive.

Last winter, about a dozen concerned QFHS members, including myself, met monthly to discuss concerns about the society. In January, we sent a petition to the QFHS board, requesting a special general meeting of the membership to discuss changes to the bylaws. The meeting planned for September – almost nine months after the petition was sent — is a response to that request.

The members of our group love the society, but we are concerned about the lack of transparency and would like members to have more say about how the organization is run. This meeting call is a perfect example of our frustrations. Most members don’t know why it is being called or what steps the board has taken to meet the deadline to comply with Canada’s new NFP Act. Many organizations have already completed the transition process and, as far as we know, we have not even begun it.

We are also concerned that members won’t have much time for discussion during this meeting because a special guest speaker that we’d all like to hear will present at the same time.

We intend to prepare our own list of suggested bylaw changes. The QFHS bylaws are neither long nor complicated, and there are just a few key changes we would like to see, such as voting rights for members who do not live in the Montreal area, but who make up almost half the society’s membership. We would also like to see a limit on the number of times a director can be re-elected.

All members should take this opportunity to look at the bylaws in the members-only section of the website and send in their recommendations.

Also, more members should consider stepping up and running for election to the board of directors. For an organization like ours to thrive and improve the society for its members, there should be a rotation of new board members after each term. This rotation will bring in new expertise and ideas.

The special meeting will take place at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 13, Briarwood Presbyterian Church Hall, 70 Beaconsfield Blvd., Beaconsfield, QC. Please be there.

Written recommendations for changes to the bylaws should be mailed to: QFHS, P.O. Box 715, 15 Donegani Ave., Pointe Claire, QC, H9R 4S8. Attention: Robert Poole. The deadline is Aug. 13.


For more information:

The following link has a summary of the features of the new act and what societies need to do to meet its requirements. http://www.csae.com/Resources/ArticlesTools/View/ArticleId/1771/Navigating-Canada-s-Not-for-Profit-Corporations-Act.

For an introduction to the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFP Act) prepared by Industry Canada, see http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/cs04958.html

This page explains, “The corporation must replace its letters patent, supplementary letters patent (if any) and by-laws with new charter documents. This means that you need to submit articles of continuance to obtain a Certificate of Continuance as well as create and file new by-laws. The articles and by-laws must comply with the NFP Act.”

It adds, “Corporations that do not make the transition by the deadline will be assumed to be inactive and will be dissolved. For registered charities, dissolution could lead to the revocation of their registration as a charity, which would result in the corporation having to pay revocation tax equal to 100% of the value of their remaining assets.”

Another page describes the transition process: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/h_cs04954.html

And this page is helpful because it explains mandatory and default rules: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cd-dgc.nsf/eng/cs04967.html

Finally, the QFHS is not alone in having governance issues. Here is a link to a series of articles prepared by the Federation of Genealogical Societies in the U.S. to help organizations meet challenges such as developing marketing and communications strategies, managing volunteers, understanding parliamentary procedure and running elections: http://www.fgs.org/cpage.php?pt=55

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

Jacques Gagné’s book review

M Jacques Gagné est un chercheur en généalogie, bénévole depuis plus de dix ans à la Quebec Family History Society.  Il a compilé plusieurs dizaines de listes de ressources pour les chercheurs.  On en retrouve en ligne,  dans la section des membres de la QFHS, certaines de ses nombreuses compilations.  On en nretrouve en bibliothèque aussi à la société.  Il a travaillé, entre-autres, sur les actes manquants des églises protestante du territoire que couvre le Québec contemporain pour la période 1759-1899.  Il a travaillé sur maints projets, dont les églises des missions des premières nations, sur les Huguenots, tant en Europe qu’en Amérique, sur les missionnaires itinérants, sur les ressources disponibles sur les Acadiens, les Canadiens- Français et en ce moment  sur les départements français.

M Gagné a écrit une série de critiques de livre dont voici la première que nous vous présentons.

Members of QFHS know him, and in the members only section of the QFHS you find some of his compilations.  Many of his works are available at the QFHS library.  He has been working hard for years to provide tools to help us look up and find genealogical information on French, Huguenots, First Nations….

”Jacques Gagné has been a volunteer genealogical researcher at the Quebec Family History Society for the past ten years, handling a wide variety of genealogical cases. For several years, Jacques has conducted in-depth research on the missing Protestant Church Registers for what is now the province of Quebec, from 1759 to 1899. To date, more than 1,000 churches are listed. Now he has provided an extensive guide to Family Searches on the Internet.”

Here is one of a series of book reviews he has prepared for the French Research Group at QFHS.

Marcel Trudel
Catalogue des immigrants 1632-1662
569 pages
QFHS #REF HG-150.99 T7


Marcel Trudel (1917-2011) was a longtime professor at the Université Laval in Québec City and at the University of Ottawa. Recipient of many awards during his lifetime as an historian. In 1971 he was made Officer of the Order of Canada – In 2004 he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Québec.

Within this 569 pages detailed research guide, Marcel Trudel has addressed 3,000 immigrants from 1632 to 1662 who had settled in Nouvelle France.

Monsieur Trudel in comparison to Marcel Fournier and René Jetté has taken a different approach in his work.

All three historians in my opinion are offering a different perspective to the research process of one’s ancestor in France.

I have never taken the time to compare the results posted by Marcel Trudel or by René Jetté or by Marcel Fournier, but in my opinion, all three have researched and compiled superb material.

Marcel Trudel as part of is excellent dictionary has spent considerable time in offering his readers, precise details such as the age of an immigrant, the type of work he or she did in France, from where they came from, were these immigrants capable of signing their names to documents such as acts of baptism, marriage, death or notarial records and what type of work they did once they settled into Nouvelle France.

Jacques Gagné



French and French-Canadian resources at QFHS

L’association Quebec Family History Society, à Pointe -Claire dans l’ouest de l’ile de Montréal, a une groupe de recherche francophone en plus de toutes les activités orientées vers les recherches anglophones.  M Jacques Gagné, un membre de la société et chercheur chevronné du côté de la recherche française, nous offre quelques mots et conseils:
” En plus de posséder un des plus grands dépôt de revues et publications anglophone des iles britanniques et du Canada, à part de celui du BAnQ sur Viger  à Montréal, la société reçoit plusieurs publication en français.  Le plus importantes étant:
>> Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française
>> L’Ancêtre de la Société de généalogie de Québec
>> L’Entraide généalogique de la Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’est
Les membres de la QFHS qui désirent devenir des experts en recherches d’ancêtres de France, devraient commencer par les publications à la QFHS.
C’est en fait comment j’ai débuté il y a plusieurs années”
Jacques Gagné
La QFHS a même un spécial pour nouveaux membres jusqu’en juillet 2014

The Quebec Family History Society in Pointe-Claire (West Island of Montreal) has a wonderful library that is opened quite a few hours a week, and from which members from out of town may even borrow books by mail.

Jacques Gagné, one or our members for quite a few years, our local French research expert supports the  France Research Group at

QFHS.  Here’s his two cents worth about starting some French Quebec research:

”Periodicals at QFHSOver the years under the leadership of Claire LindellMary Plawutsky, Daphne PhillipsBruce HendersonTed Granger, Diane Bissegger, the QFHS Library has been a primary repository of periodicals from the British Isles and from most provinces of Canada.To my knowledge, only the Archives nationales du Québec on Viger has a larger collection of genealogical magazines.This article will only address the aspect of research tips dealing with France.

Three periodicals in Québec, all three kept at the QFHS Library are superior to others in regard to the French Canadians and Acadians;
>> Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne-française
>> L’Ancêtre de la Société de généalogie de Québec
>> L’Entraide généalogique de la Société de généalogie des Cantons de l’est

Others revues (periodicals) dealing with the French Canadians and Acadians are also stored within the shelves of the QFHS Library.

QFHS members who wish of becoming experts in the research process of ancestors in France, should begin their expertise journey with the French language periodicals kept at the QFHS Library.

This is basically how I started a number of years back.”

Jacques Gagné

The QFHS is even having a new-members special until July 2014

Researching Your Ancestors in France

Map of France 1740
Map of France 1740

 Are you researching your ancestors? Do you want to know what part of France they came from;  where they began their journey to New France?  If so, you might be interested in the new group formed by members of the Quebec Family History Society (QFHS).

The France Research Special Interest Group meets every 4th Sunday of the month at 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the QFHS Library and Center at 173 Cartier Avenue in Pointe-Claire, Quebec  just off of Highway 20 (opposite the CLSC).

QFHS members are welcome  to join  these monthly meetings.  Together, in a friendly and informal setting, new and experienced genealogists gather to discuss our French ancestors. The focus of the group is to share researching techniques available on the Internet. France has a wealth of free websites containing numerous databases and extensive archives  for each of the 95 departments dating back in time to  the 1500s.

If you are not a member and are interested in joining the group or want know more about QFHS, visit the website at www.qfhs.ca.

Writing Your Family History

For some people, genealogy is enough. BMDs, children’s names and extended family trees keep them busy. But some of us want more. We want to learn the details of our ancestors’ lives, find out what historical events affected them – and then write about them.

Once a month a group of us meet at the Quebec Family History Society library to share our ancestor’s stories, try to improve our writing skills, and learn from each other. There are two rules: articles are limited to 500 words, and we must list our sources. It isn’t always easy, but it is fun.


This month Claire wrote about her great-grandfather François Evariste Fortin, a merchant and contractor in Pembroke, Ontario who lost and then rediscovered his Catholic faith. Barb’s story was about her grandfather James Rankin Angus, a Scottish carpenter who worked on the construction of the ocean liner Lusitania, then spent 20 years running a book store in Quebec City.

Lucy has been writing about the Hanington family, the first English settlers in Shediac, New Brunswick. Janice’s subject was Robert Hamilton, a Scottish weaver who took up farming in Scarborough, Upper Canada. Mary told the story of great-grandfather Ismael Bruneau, a French-speaking Protestant minister.

Dorothy wrote about Norman Nicholson, her husband’s great-grandfather, an ordinary man who had one extraordinary habit: for five decades he kept track of every aspect of his life, from business expenses to a dating diary.

Oskar focused on Abraham Martin, from whom his granddaughter is descended. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was fought on his land, but consensus about Abraham’s life ends there. Some stories say he was a farmer, others call him a river pilot. Some accounts say he returned to France for several years, others say he stayed in Quebec. Oskar clarified the confusion even if he didn’t resolve the conflicts.

Ruth wrote about her search for John Morrison. This being a common name, she couldn’t figure out which John Morrison in the 1861 census of Scotland was hers. John’s mother’s name was the less common Robina, and his daughter was also Robina, so she looked for Robina and found John in Illinois.

Next month some of us may do rewrites and others will tackle new subjects, but we are all making progress on writing our family histories, 500 words at a time. To learn more about this Special Interest Group, go to http://qfhs.ca/cpage.php?pt=90.