Episode 012-May 20, 2014
After looking at the various finding aids and indexes to the original parish registers, it’s time to delve into the records themselves. Every genealogist’s goal is to get back to the original, and French-Canadians are blessed with an embarrassment of riches. The Drouin, whether microfilmed or digitized, provides us with the documentation we need to fill out family lines. In Language Tip #12 we’ll look at gender clues that can be found in the parish records.
First, a couple of announcements. All comments and feedback are welcome, but if your comment or question could help others, please consider submitting it to the comments section of the show notes so everyone can benefit from the discussion.
In the United States we will be celebrating Memorial Day. How will you honor your French-Canadian ancestors? For listeners in other countries, are there any specific holidays during which you memorialize your French-Canadian ancestors?
And if you’re traveling to Québec this summer, consider taking along your smart phone with the Place-Royale from Today to Yesterday app to guide you through your visit to the Place-Royal. There is both a French and an English version.
Language Tip #12-Gender Clues
In episode #2 we learned that an E added to the end of a word often changes the gender of that noun or adjective from masculine to feminine. The presence or absence of that final E can provide clues.
The priest usually writes in French, “I have baptized [name of the child] born [indication of date]. The French words for ‘have baptized’ are a eté baptizé. If baptizé ends in an E accent aigu, then the child baptized is a male. If baptizée ends in an E accent aigu followed by another E, then the child baptized is female. Another clue in the same record is the word for born. Né means the child is a boy, and née means the child is a girl. If you are not familiar with the child’s given name, you can tell the gender from these words.
- Fils = son
- Fille = daughter
- Fils majeur = adult son
- Fille majeure = adult daughter
- Fils mineur = the groom is not of age
- Fille mineure = the bride is not of age
- Feu or défunt = the male referred to is deceased
- Feue or défunte = the female referred to is deceased
- Veuf = widower
- Veuve = widow
- Époux = husband
- Épouse = wife
Of course, these words may appear in records other than marriage records.
- Inhumé = “buried,” when the deceased person is male [Some priests use inhumé for both males and females.]
- Inhumée = “buried,” when the deceased person is female
- Décédé = the deceased person is male
- Décédée = the deceased person is female
- Agé = “aged,” when referring to a male
- Agée = “aged,” when referring to a female
Ready for a short quiz?
Click here to test your knowledge of gender specific words found in the Drouin records.
The Drouin Collection-Microfilmed and Digitized
From 1679 to 1993, Canada required churches to create a second copy of their records and send them annually to the appropriate courthouse.
Two copies of records:
- Original copy kept in the parish and microfilmed by the LDS in 1976
- Civil copy sent to courts, now held in National Archives of Québec, microfilmed by the Drouin Genealogical Institute in the 1940s
- More than 2,300 rolls of film; more than 61,000,000 records from over 3,000 parishes from Québec, Ontario, Acadia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New York, and Michigan
- Records up to 1947
- Hull, Gatineau, and parts of Ontario may go up to the 1960s.
- Catholic churches only
- Most civil copies of Catholic registers between 1878 and 1899
- Catholic registers from the Diocese of Pembroke, Ontario, to 1910
So if you are trying to read a record filmed by either the Drouin Institute or the LDS church and that record is extremely difficult to read, you can try to locate that same record in the other collection and hopefully you’ll have more luck there.
Where to Find the Microfilm
- Montréal: Bibliothèque municipale de Montréal, Salle Gagnon
- Montréal: La Société généalogique canadienne-française (SGCF)
- Québec : la Société de généalogie de Québec (SGQ)
- Longueuil : La Société de généalogie de Longueuil
- World collection of Ancestry.com or Ancestry.ca
- Based on the Drouin collection, or civil copies
- Six sub-collections (links are for ancestry.com site):
Québec’s vital and church records, 1621 to 1967– includes all church records for the province of Québec no matter the denomination. Included are your baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as other types of records such as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, and so on.
Ontario French Catholic Church records, 1747 to 1967– covers exactly what it says, Catholic parishes in the province of Ontario
Acadia French Catholic Church records, 1670 to 1946– includes records from old Acadia, which covered today’s provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and part of Québec province.
Québec notarial records, 1647 to 1942– does not contain the actual notary records themselves, but rather the repertories and indexes compiled by the notaries. So you need to know the name of the notary that serviced your ancestor in order to use this sub-collection.
Early US French Catholic Church records, 1695 to 1954– includes about 228,000 records from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Miscellaneous French records, 1651 to 1941– covers records mainly from the province of Québec and include such records as topographic dictionaries, family genealogies and histories, journals, letters, manuscripts, registers of notaries, and acts.
If you cannot locate your ancestor in the index but you know the parish, you most often will find that the priest included an index, usually in the back of the volume.
- Québec Catholic Parish Registers, 1621 to 1979
- Québec Notarial Records, 1800 to 1920
- Québec Non-Catholic Parish Registers, 1763 to 1967
- Québec Judicial District Guardianships, 1639 to 1930
- Index links to original record
- Catholic baptisms and deaths in Québec from 1621 to 1849
- Catholic marriages from 1825 to 1912
- Many different collections
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-Notaries A-G
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-Notaries H-W
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-Ontario A-L
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-Ontario M-W
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-Acadia, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-United States
- Drouin Microfilm Inventory-Other
- List of Drouin Microfilms for each parish