Quebec: Genealogy resources

​​Are you researching ancestors who lived in Quebec? On this page, you will find information about records held at Library and Archives Canada and at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. There are also links to online resources and other institutions, societies and government agencies.

Quebec was one of the four original provinces that founded the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.

Before that:

  • The first peoples were Indigenous, including Abénakis, Algonquins, Huron-Wendat, Innu, Inuit and Mohawks.
  • European settlement began in the 1600s with the arrival of French explorers, fur traders and colonists.
  • From 1663 to 1763, Quebec was a French royal colony known as New France.
  • In 1763, New France became a British possession under the Treaty of Paris and was called the colony of Quebec.
  • In 1791, the colony was divided to create Upper Canada (today Ontario) and Lower Canada (today Quebec).
  • In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada were united to form the Province of Canada. Upper Canada was renamed Canada West and Lower Canada was renamed Canada East.

Civil registration (birth, marriage and death records)

Civil registration is a provincial jurisdiction.

  • Beginning in 1621, the records were Catholic parish registers that recorded baptisms, marriages and burials. The earliest Protestant registers date from 1766.
  • From 1679 until 1993, churches and other places of worship were required to send a duplicate copy of their registers to the local court. Those copies are considered civil registration records.
  • Civil registration in Quebec officially began in 1994, but starting in 1926, events could be registered with the government without a church record.
  • Civil registration records less than 100 years old are held at the office of the Directeur de l'état civil.
  • Records more than 100 years old are transferred to the provincial archives, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
Where to find the records

For records less than 100 years old:

For records more than 100 years old:

  • These are held at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ). Many of the records are digitized online. They are not indexed by name, but you can browse the images.
  • See the following web pages for more information, research help and access to the records held at BAnQ. Note that the web pages are available in French only, but some of the registers were written in English.
  • Many of the original records and civil copies were microfilmed. The microfilm has been digitized and is available online. There are also other indexes available. See the list of resources below.

Drouin Collection

The Drouin Genealogical Institute microfilmed the civil copies of many Quebec church records of various religious denominations. The records date from 1621 to 1967, but records are not available for every year for every place. The Drouin Collection has been digitized, and it is indexed on the following subscription websites.

FamilySearch

FamilySearch is a non-profit family history organization that holds microfilm and digital copies of genealogical records from many countries, including Canada. The website is free, but you need to sign up for a free account to use the databases. Use the Catalog to find records for a specific place.

These resources are not databases. You can browse the digitized images.

Indexes to marriages and deaths, 1926 to 1996

The Société de généalogie de Québec produced nominal indexes to marriages and deaths (French only) called “Index consolidé des mariages (1926-1996)” and “Index consolidé des décès (1926-1996).” Those indexes were also published on CD-ROM. Copies of the CD-ROM are available at many genealogical societies and libraries. The indexes can also be consulted in the Genealogy room at Library and Archives Canada, where the CD-ROM has been installed on one of our public access computers.

Other indexes

BAnQ has the following online databases. They are only available in French.

The following are subscription databases, but they offer some free searching.

The Société de généalogie de Québec indexed the BAnQ collection of Licences de mariage, 1872-1969. The index and the digitized images are available on CD-ROM at some libraries. The subscription website BMS2000 includes the index in its database.

Many church records have been indexed by name and published in books. Use Library Search to search for books held at Library and Archives Canada and in other libraries. Try subject keywords such as the word genealogy or généalogie and the name of a place.

See also Other resources.

Adoption records

Official adoption began in Quebec in 1924.

Before 1924, you might find references in guardianship records.

Divorce records

Before 1968, the Quebec civil code made no provision for divorce. Divorce could be obtained only from a private act of the Parliament of the Government of Canada. However, legal separations between spouses were made by notaries. See notarial records.

Starting in 1867, a judgement in Separation from bed and board could be obtained from the Cour supérieure du Québec. A notice of action was published in the Gazette officielle du Québec. The search page is in French only, but some of the records are in English. Each notice includes the names of petitioner and spouse, the name of the court and district and the cause number.

Divorce records after 1968 are in the custody of the regional courthouses.

More resources

Courts and criminal records

1608 to 1760

From 1608 to 1663, private companies governed New France. No justice records for that period are known to exist. When New France became a royal colony in 1663, courts of justice were created.

BAnQ holds many collections (fonds) of court records. Here are three examples. The fonds descriptions and the actual records are available in French only.

On each of those pages, follow the links under “Naviguer dans le fonds” to see the digitized documents. You can also do a search by a person’s name in “Explorez l'offre de BAnQ” (French only). In the drop-down box, select “Patrimoine québécois.”

You can also search by name in the Advitam database (French only).

After 1760

British common law was introduced in 1760. In 1774, French law was reinstated for civil matters, while criminal matters remained under the British system. New justice courts were created.

See also

Land records

The province was originally organized by “seigneuries.” It was later divided into counties. In less populated areas, there are districts instead of counties. Districts and counties were divided into townships (cantons). The current administrative system includes regions, regional county municipalities (RCMs) and municipalities.

Seigneuries

Land distribution was originally based on the seigneurial system, which was established in 1627 and used until 1854.

  • Seigneuries were granted by the king to members of the "bourgeoisie," who were members of important families or former military officers.
  • The “seigneur” had privileges from and obligations to the king or his representative.
  • The seigneur granted parcels of land (concessions) on his seigneury to tenants called “censitaires.”

The granting of land by the seigneur produced a notarial act. This was a contract that showed the following:

  • the names of the parties
  • the dimension and locality of the land
  • the obligations of the censitaire

For more information about seigneuries, see:

Maps showing seigneuries:

See also the sections below on Land records at Library and Archives Canada, Land records at BAnQ and Notarial records.

Find records at BAnQ using Advitam.

Find records at Library and Archives Canada using Collection Search.

Cadastres abrégés

The Seigneurial Act of 1854 ended the rights of the seigneurs and gave tenants the option of buying out their contracts so they could own their land. A report was commissioned to evaluate the properties and rents so the seigneurs could be compensated. The report, or Land Survey Register Summary, was published in several volumes called “Cadastres Abrégés.” These include the names of the tenants.

There are copies in the Genealogy room at Library and Archives Canada (call number FC312 C26).

Some copies are available online.

Townships and land grants

Starting in 1763, new lands were granted according to the township system. In 1891, a list was published of Crown land grants and sales. It is arranged by county and township and includes an index of grantees. That publication is available online.

List of lands granted by the crown in the province of Quebec from 1763 to 31st December 1890

The list provides details that identify a document; for example, Book Z Grants, page 175; or Book AG Sales, page 79.

Land registration

In 1841, the government created regional registration offices, which today are called “Bureau de la publicité des droits.” Records of land transactions following the original grant or purchase of a property were kept in those offices. The registers are arranged by lot number, and they contain property plans and documents prepared by land surveyors.

The records are now at the Land register of Québec, which is administered by Foncier Québec.

See also:

Land records at Library and Archives Canada

Land petitions and related records of the Executive Council of the Province of Lower Canada (RG1 L3L)

This series contains petitions and administrative records concerning land in Quebec when it was known as the Colony of Quebec and then as Lower Canada. It also includes some documents before 1792 that relate to the part of the colony that later became Upper Canada (present-day Ontario). Most of these records are searchable by name.

Database: Land Petitions of Lower Canada, 1764-1841

Gaspé Land Commission, 1819-1825 (RG1-L7, volumes 79 and 80)

The Gaspé Land Commissioners were appointed in 1819 to hear applications for land grants in the Gaspé District. These records include proceedings, reports, newspaper announcements and land grants. The records are searchable by name.

Database: Gaspé Land Commission – names of claimants, 1819-1825

Land grants and sales. Entrybooks of the Provincial Registrar for Quebec, Lower Canada and Canada East, 1788-1867 (MG8-A26)

These are microfilm copies of the patents for Crown land grants and sales held at BAnQ for the years 1788 to 1867. In our description of the Entrybooks collection, see the Scope and content section for more information about the records.

How to search these records:

  1. Go to the section on this page called Townships and land grants.
  2. Consult the list or other indexes as explained in that section.
  3. If you find a reference to a land grant or land sale, make a note of the reference (Book and page number).
  4. Find the Book in the following list to see which microfilm it is on.
  5. The records are not digitized. You can visit Library and Archives Canada to view the microfilm on site or order a copy.

List of books and microfilm numbers:

Book

Page numbers

Years

Microfilm

Land Grants AA

1 to end

1851-1854

M-8162

Land Grants BB

1 to end

1854-1857

M-8162

Land Grants CC

1 to end

1856

M-8162

Land Grants DD

1 to end

1856-1861

M-8162

Land Grants EE

1 to end

1857

M-8162

Land Grants FF

1 to end

1857

M-8162

Land Grants GG

1 to 36

1857-1859

M-8162

Land Grants GG

37 to end

1857-1859

M-8163

Land Grants HH

1 to end

1859-1860

M-8163

Land Grants JJ

1 to end

1860-1863

M-8163

Land Grants KK

1 to end

1863-1865

M-8163

Land Grants LL

1 to end

1865-1866

M-8163

Land Grants MM

1 to end

1866-1867

M-8163

Land Grants A

1 to end

1788-1803

M-8164

Land Grants B

1 to end

1803-1806

M-8164

Land Grants C

1 to end

1806-1812

M-8165

Land Grants D

1 to end

1812-1819

M-8165

Land Grants E

1 to 67

1819-1823

M-8165

Land Grants E

68 to end

1819-1823

M-8166

Land Grants F

1 to end

1823-1824

M-8166

Land Grants G

1 to 280

1824-1828

M-8166

Land Grants G

281 to end

1824-1828

M-8167

Land Grants H

1 to end

1828-1831

M-8167

Land Grants K

1 to 452

1831-1832

M-8167

Land Grants K

453 to end

1831-1832

M-8168

Land Grants L

1 to end

1832

M-8168

Land Grants M

1 to end

1832-1833

M-8168

Land Grants N

1 to 303

1832-1834

M-8168

Land Grants N

303 to end

1832-1834

M-8169

Land Grants O

1 to end

1834-1835

M-8169

Land Grants P

1 to end

1835

M-8169

Land Grants Q

1 to 347

1835-1836

M-8169

Land Grants Q

348 to end

1835-1836

M-8170

Land Grants R

1 to end

1836-1837

M-8170

Land Grants S

1 to end

1835-1838

M-8170

Land Grants T

1 to 209

1838-1840

M-8170

Land Grants T

210 to end

1838-1840

M-8171

Land Grants U

1 to end

1840

M-8171

Land Grants W

1 to end

1840-1842

M-8171

Land Grants X

1 to 490

1842-1845

M-8171

Land Grants X

491 to end

1842-1845

M-8172

Land Grants Y

1 to end

1845-1849

M-8172

Land Grants Z

1 to end

1849-1851

M-8172

Land Sales A

1 to end

1831-1836

M-8173

Land Sales B

1 to end

1836-1839

M-8173

Land Sales C

1 to end

1839-1841

M-8173

Land Sales D

1 to 223

1842-1844

M-8173

Land Sales D

224 to end

1842-1844

M-8174

Land Sales E

1 to end

1844-1847

M-8174

Land Sales F

1 to end

1847-1848

M-8174

Land Sales G

1 to 145

1848-1851

M-8174

Land Sales G

146 to end

1848-1851

M-8175

Land Sales H

1 to end

1851-1853

M-8175

Land Sales I

1 to end

1853-1854

M-8175

Land Sales K

1 to end

1854-1855

M-8175

Land Sales L

1 to end

1855-1856

M-8175

Land Sales M

1 to end

1856-1857

M-8176

Land Sales N

1 to end

1857

M-8176

Land Sales O

1 to end

1857

M-8176

Land Sales P

1 to end

1857-1858

M-8176

Land Sales Q

1 to end

1859

M-8176

Land Sales R

1 to end

1859-1860

M-8176

Land Sales S

1 to end

1860

M-8176

Land Sales T

1 to 105

1860-1861

M-8176

Land Sales T

106 to end

1860-1861

M-8177

Land Sales U

1 to end

1861

M-8177

Land Sales V

1 to end

1861-1862

M-8177

Land Sales W

1 to end

1862

M-8177

Land Sales X

1 to 215

1862

M-8177

Land Sales X

216 to end

1862

M-8178

Land Sales Y

1 to end

1862-1864

M-8178

Land Sales Z

1 to end

1862-1863

M-8178

Special Grants, Beach Lots I

1 to end

1831-1839

M-8178

Special Grants, Beach Lots K

1 to 203

1839-1847

M-8178

Special Grants, Beach Lots K

204 to end

1839-1847

M-8179

Special Grants, Beach Lots L

1 to end

1847-1857

M-8179

Special Grants, Beach Lots M

1 to 154

1854-1867

M-8179

Special Grants, Beach Lots M

155 to end

1854-1867

M-8179

Special Grants, Water Lots N

1 to end

1861-1867

M-8180

Special Grants, Beach Lots O

1 to end

1861-1867

M-8180

Special Grants, Beach and Water Lots P

1 to end

1862-1866

M-8180

Land Sales AA

1 to end

1862-1863

M-8181

Land Sales AB

1 to end

1863

M-8181

Land Sales AC

1 to end

1863

M-8181

Land Sales AD

1 to end

1863-1864

M-8181

Land Sales AE

1 to end

1864

M-8181

Land Sales AF

1 to end

1864

M-8181

Land Sales AG

1 to end

1864-1865

M-8182

Land Sales AH

1 to end

1865

M-8182

Land Sales AI

1 to end

1865

M-8182

Land Sales AK

1 to end

1865-1866

M-8182

Land Sales AL

1 to end

1866

M-8182

Land Sales AM

1 to end

1866

M-8183

Land Sales AN

1 to end

1866-1867

M-8183

Land Sales AO

1 to end

1866-1867

M-8183

Land Sales AP

1 to end

1867

M-8183

Land records at BAnQ

BAnQ holds many records relating to land. You can try searching in the Advitam database using the keyword “terres” and a place or name.

BAnQ holds land grants (“concessions de terres”) and land sales (“ventes de terres”). See the section above on Townships and land grants.

See also the following databases (French only):

Land records in other institutions

The Québec Municipal website has online assessment rolls: Rôles d'évaluation (French only)

Notarial records

A notarial record or “acte” is a private agreement or contract written by a notary, who was a legal professional. Some of the most common notarial records are marriage contracts, apprenticeships, wills, estate inventories and land transactions.

It is helpful to know which notaries were practising in the area where your ancestor lived. The Chambre des notaires du Québec website lets you search for past notaries. On the Find a notary page, click on “Non-practising notary.” Enter a place. For each notary, it tells you where the records can be found.

For more recent records, click on “Find a notary in private practice.”

Where to find the records

Notarial records are held by BAnQ. The records are organized by notary.

Some notarial records are also available on other websites.

Library and Archives Canada holds copies of some notarial records from Montréal, Trois-Rivières and Québec. Our collection is called Fonds des greffes de notaires du Québec (MG8-A23).

Wills and estate records

The administration of wills and estates is a provincial jurisdiction. In Quebec, wills and estate records were made by notaries. See Notarial Records.

Other resources

Library and Archives Canada

Colonial records

Library and Archives Canada holds many records dating from the French colonial period, including copies of records from government departments in France. Many of those records have been indexed by name and/or subject. You can search for references in Collection Search. For records that are not digitized, find out how to access the records.

Here is an example of a record found in our collection:

Some of our French colonial records are indexed and digitized in New France Archives.

Quebec Gazette Index

The Quebec Gazette includes some references of interest to genealogists.

  • An index for the years 1764 to 1850, 1854 to 1855, and 1864 are found in RG 4-D1. The Quebec Gazette record information includes links to the digitized finding aid, which consists of alphabetically arranged index cards. For example, there is a card indicating that Pierre Basinet was appointed bailiff for L’Assomption in 1773. Another card indicates that Robert Basket was a passenger on board the ship Dorset in 1808.
  • The card index is also digitized on our partner website Héritage. Each index card gives the date and edition number of the Quebec Gazette.
  • Digitized copies of many editions of the Quebec Gazette can be found on the Google news archive.

To find out about other types of records for genealogy research, visit our Genealogy and Family History pages, including Topics.

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ)

BAnQ holds many resources for genealogy research. The following web pages are available in French only. For many of these pages, you must click on “Accéder” to access the collection.

Other websites

Find a library in Quebec.

There may be a genealogical society, historical society or archives in the area where your ancestors lived. You can find lists of archives and societies on the following websites.

For help with French vocabulary, see the FamilySearch guide French Genealogical Word List.

Published sources

Library and Archives Canada has copies of these books and many more in our Genealogy room at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. You can contact your local library to find out if they have a copy.

Search for other Quebec genealogy books in our Aurora catalogue. Try keywords such as the word genealogy or généalogie and a place.

The seven volumes of the following genealogical dictionary are digitized.

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