Tag Archives: research

The German Presence in the Montreal Region

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.

German Presence in Montreal Feb 1

Tracking Montreal Ancestors: Images of the Past

Many genealogists are aware that the Montreal’s McCord Museum has a large collection of digitized photographs taken in the 19th century studios of William Notman (1826-1891). Although it is best known for its photographs of Montreal’s English-speaking elite, the collection goes far beyond the studio, including pictures of Montreal’s Victoria Bridge, the Canadian Pacific Railway, First Nations people across the country and ordinary Montrealers at work and at leisure.

This is only one image collection of potential interest to genealogists researching Montreal. As you try to try to imagine the people and places that would have been familiar to your ancestors in what was once Canada’s largest city, here are some other resources that might inspire you.

The place to start exploring the McCord Museum’s images is http://www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/en/keys/collections/. This page links to the museum’s online collection of more than 122,000 images, including paintings, prints, drawings and photos. There are documents such as diaries, letters and theatre programs, as well as costumes and archaeological objects. While the museum’s collections focus on Montreal, they include images and objects from the Arctic to Western Canada and the United States. You can search the McCord’s online collection for an individual name, or you can browse time periods, geographic regions and artists.

Montreal from the Mountain
This is a view of Montreal from Mount Royal, near my ancestor’s house, around 1830.

The McCord also has a flickr page, https://www.flickr.com/photos/museemccordmuseum/albums.The historically themed albums on the flickr page include old toys, Quebec’s Irish community and an homage to women.

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is another excellent source of digital images, including photographs, illustrations, posters (affiches) and post cards (cartes postales) from the past. To start exploring these collections, go to http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/images/index.html.

There are two collections of special interest to people with Montreal roots. The first is a collection of 22,000 photos taken by Conrad Poirier (1912-1968), a freelance photojournalist who worked in Montreal from the 1930s to 1960. He covered news (nouvelles), celebrities, sports and theatre, and he did family portraits, weddings, Rotary Club meetings and Boy Scout groups. I even found a photo of myself at a 1957 birthday party (fêtes d’enfants). You can search (chercher) the collection by subject or by family name.

The other collection of interest to people researching Montreal is the BAnQ’s Massicotte collection (http://www.banq.qc.ca/collections/collection_numerique/massicotte/index.html?keyword=*). Edouard-Zotique Massicotte (1867-1947) was a journalist, historian and archivist. The online collection mainly consists of photos and drawings of Montreal street scenes and buildings between 1870 and 1920. Some illustrations come from postcards, while others are clippings from periodicals. There are also a few blueprints and designs. The accompanying text is in French. You can search this collection by subject, by location, date of publication or type of image, or you can put in your own search term.

Philippe du Berger’s flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/urbexplo/albums is a gold mine of Montreal images. He includes contemporary photos of the city, including neighbourhoods that have recently been changed by big construction projects such as the new CHUM hospital. There are old photos of neighbourhoods such as Griffintown, Côte des Neiges and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and he illustrates the transformation of the Hay Market area of the 1830s that eventually became today’s Victoria Square. Some albums include old maps to help the viewer put locations into geographic context.

The City of Montreal Archives has uploaded thousands of photos to its flickr page, https://www.flickr.com/photos/archivesmontreal/albums/. They are arranged in albums on various topics, ranging from city workers on the job to lost neighbourhoods, newspaper vendors, sporting activities and cultural events.


James Duncan. Montreal from the Mountain, 1830-31. M966.61, McCord Museum. http://collection.mccord.mcgill.ca/en/collection/artifacts/M966.61?Lang=1&accessnumber=M966.61

This article is also posted on writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca


German Churches and Cemeteries of Western Quebec and the Upper Ottawa Valley

This compilation is designed to help researchers find German-speaking ancestors in Western Quebec and the Upper Ottawa River Valley area of Ontario. It identifies several books that cover the topic, the towns where German-speaking immigrants settled, the Lutheran churches that served their spiritual needs and the cemeteries where they were buried. It also lists repositories where the archives of these institutions can be found and genealogical societies in these areas.

The German Churches and Cemeteries in Western Quebec January 12, 2016


Genealogy Societies of France

Genealogy Societies in France

If you are interested in joining a genealogical society in France to pursue your research, the information found within this list may be very helpful.

The document contains a comprehensive list of 95 departments and their genealogical societies.

The following information is noted for each of the societies.

  • location,
  • number of years in existence
  • email address
  • internet addresses
  • cost of membership

Right Click and choose  open in a new window:  Genealogy Societies of France.

The Germans in Quebec – Their Churches

Their Churches from 1759 onward

Among the Germanic people who emigrated to Québec, we find those who fought with the Imperial Army during the British Conquest of 1759 plus those who fought for the British during the wars of the American Revolution and of 1812. An appreciable number of these Germanic soldiers settled into Québec once their tours of duty were concluded. Other German  immigrants who spoke some forms of the German language originated from various principalities, dukedoms, electorates, counties, landgraviates, margraviates of Germany, but also from surrounding kingdoms such as Prussia, Silesia, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, United Netherlands, Austrian Netherlands, Switzerland, Palatinate, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

Hessian Soldier Illustration Click the following link                The Germans in Québec

The Europeans in Quebec and Their Churches

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.

Click the link:

The Europeans in Québec

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

French Canadian Research tips

To look up French-Canadian Catholics:
1. Plug in the name of your ancestor in to the BAnQ archives directly (refer to our link for the right address): no need to know the church or village name.
2. Remember that in Quebec, women are listed under their birth family name in records, from birth to death, regardless of whether they married or not. There may ‘’wife of’’ or ‘’widow of’’ also included.
3. To make it even easier, parents are listed on marriage records.
You can use the Drouin collection of books, one for men and one for women, with marriages 1760-1935, or online Drouin or Ancestry or Family Search at home or at the Quebec family History Society or at numerous other sources.

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


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



Learn How to Research French Archives

One of the most experienced researchers in the Quebec Family History Society is also one of the group’s most generous members. Jacques Gagné, who has researched the records of the Protestant churches of Quebec, Scandinavian genealogy, the Huguenots, Loyalists, Acadians, Aboriginal families and other ancestral groups, has recently turned his attention to France. Now he is willing to train other members of the QFHS to research their ancestors in France. This is a unique opportunity, not only for anyone with French Canadian roots, but for those who want to expand their genealogical skills and to give back to the genealogical community.

Jacques has compiled links to the archives of 92 out of 95 departments of France into a single pdf document, which you can download from this link: Master copy 10 12 13 Les Archives départementales en France. Also included are maps so that you can figure out which modern department holds the historic records you need to find.

Updated dates: Jacques will be volunteering at the QFHS library on May 20 and May 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are interested in researching your ancestors in France, come to the library on one of those days to learn how. Once you have experience in researching your own ancestors, Jacques hopes you will be willing to pass on that knowledge to others.