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Historical Notes



The Atlas of Canada.

Before 1763, Quebec was known as New France, and from 1763 to 1791 as the colony of Quebec. Following the Constitutional Act of 1791, the colony of Quebec was divided to create Upper Canada (today Ontario) and Lower Canada (today Quebec). According to the Act of Union of 1841, Upper and Lower Canada were united into the Province of Canada. Upper Canada was renamed Canada West and Lower Canada was renamed Canada East. The Province of Canada joined Confederation on July 1, 1867 and Canada East officially became Quebec.

The first European settlement goes back to 1608, when Champlain founded Quebec City. The population increased only slowly until 1760 because of the lack of interest in France in establishing a permanent colony.

In 1763, New France became a British possession under the Treaty of Paris.

By 1791, Quebec had a total population of 160,000, due largely to a high birth rate. About 20,000 of these people spoke English, mostly Loyalists who had come to Quebec after the American Revolutionary War. During the nineteenth century, they would be followed by a rising number of immigrants from Europe, especially Ireland, Scotland and England.

Researchers interested in ancestors who lived in Quebec use the main types of genealogical sources. They will find many research tools, including "marriage repertoires" that provide, in alphabetical order, the main pieces of information on marriage certificates (names of the husband and wife and their parents and date of the marriage).

For more information about the lives of their ancestors, researchers can also look in notarial records, particularly using the Parchemin database, where they might find information about property that belonged to their ancestors.

Provincial Websites

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Bibliothèque de Montréal

Bibliothèque nationale du Québec

Fédération des familles-souches québécoises
[] (Available in French only).

Fédération québécoise des sociétés de généalogie


McGill University Libraries

New France, New Horizon, On French Soil in America

Programme de recherche en démographie historique, Université de Montréal

Quebec Family History Society

Réseau de diffusion des archives du Québec

The official provincial government Web site
[] contains useful information about the province and its historic records.

The Canadian Encyclopedia Online
[] allows you to learn more about the history, geography and people of Quebec.

Many libraries hold reference books, local histories, family histories and other books on genealogy. Library and Archives Canada allows you to Browse Lists of Canadian Library Web Sites and Catalogues by province.

The sections on What to Search: Topics and Genealogy Links of this site can provide more useful information about how to do genealogical research in Quebec. You can also access databases from our Directory of Canadian Genealogical Resources - AVITUS.

To Learn More

You can also consult the following books:

La généalogie : retrouver vos ancêtres, by Marthe Faribault-Beauregard and Ève Beauregard-Malak, 1996. Traité de généalogie, by René Jetté, 1991.