MSS-031-The Québec Family History Society

Episode 031-April 14, 2015

Coming up this summer at McGill University in Montreal is the largest English-language conference in Québec. Hosted by the Québec Family History Society, this conference has generated quite a buzz here in America. Gary Schroder, president of the QFHS, tells us all about his society and the upcoming conference.


In Language Tip #31, we learn about the sound of /OU/ in a medial and final position. We already covered the sound it makes at the beginning of a word in Language Tip #17.

French-Canadian News

From the Drouin Institute

Very exciting news from the folks at the Drouin Institute:

A year ago, the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) of the Université de Montréal proudly announced that the Drouin Institute (IGD) was now the editor for the public use of the PRDH data put together for the needs of University research. We had then written that this new development, qualified as “a welcome marriage between genealogy and university research,” would certainly lead to new initiatives, favourable for both researchers and the general public.

Here is a striking example of what we meant! We are adding today to the Repertory of Vital Events on our site the 1 700 000 baptisms, marriages and burials for the period 1800-1849 obtained from the IGD who did the data extracting for the baptisms and burials and of the Protestant marriages and made it available for university research, the marriages coming from the Balsac project at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. Thus, the Repertory now contains nearly 2 400 000 acts, a 250% increase! Furthermore, the displays now include a link to the original document on the IGD site allowing those who subscribe to that site to obtain immediate access to the original. As a matter of fact, new subscribers or current subscribers when renewing to the PRDH site will receive an extra 10% of hits if they are also members of the IGD site.

And this is just a start: the PRDH is currently working on bringing its unique reconstitutions (Genealogical Dictionary and repertory of Couples) from 1799 to 1849, a major endeavour which should be completed in early 2017. Meanwhile, the IGD has undertaken the extraction of data for 1850-1861, and so on and so forth. More than ever, the PRDH-IGD team is strengthening its status as the best resource for French-Canadian genealogy.

The American-Canadian Genealogical Society in Manchester, NH

Annual Spring Conference, May 2, 2015, from 8 AM-4 PM at their library at 4 Elm St. Registration is from 8-9, followed by three speakers:

  • Gerry Savard- ‘Genealogical Research: Databases and Commonly Used Resources’
  • Pauline Cusson- ‘Circumventing Brick Walls in French Canadian Research’ and after lunch,
  • Janine Penfield (featured in episode #11)- ‘Flesh on the Bones.’

The library itself will be open all day for research. The conference is free, but they are offering a bagged lunch for $10 and the deadline to order that is April 24th.

The Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society

Upcoming classes at the Vermont Genealogy Library:

  • ‘Using Drouin’s LaFrance website and its Databases’ with Tom DeVarney on April 18th
  • ‘Finding Your Ancestors in Print at’ with Joanne Polanshek on April 25th
  • ‘Beyond Pension Files! Discover Your Civil War Veterans in Federal Publications with Connie Reik on May 2nd.

The Franco-American Centre in Manchester, New Hampshire

April 15th, 6:30- 9:00 PM at the Dana Center Lecture Room in Manchester- another evening of Cinéma Français with a WWI film called A Very Long Engagement (English translation). The film has English sub-titles and all discussions are in English.

April 25th, from 6-11:30 PM at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge 2226 in Salem, NH- a Comedy Show Fundraiser. Comedian Dave Russo of NESN’s Dirty Water TV will host a great night of comedy to raise awareness of French Heritage and the programs preserving French culture available at the Franco American Center. Advance tickets are $20; $25.00 at the door.

The French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Tolland, Connecticut

Spring membership meeting, 1:00 PM, April 26th at the Fellowship Hall of the Union Congregational Church on the Green in Tolland. Caren Kimenker will speak on how to organize all your photos, especially now with digital cameras. We all have thousands of digital photos. What do we do with them so they will be preserved for future generations?

The Quebec Family History Society- Roots 2015 conference

The largest English-language conference in Québec from June 19-21, at McGill University in Montreal. Early-bird registration ends April 30th.

MSS Survey Results

QUESTION: When you are working on your French-Canadian ancestry, what’s the biggest problem you face?

MSS Survey Results

Language Tip #031- The Sound of /OU/

The French OU makes the /OO/ sound you hear in ‘mood.’ In English-language records, you will find it spelled several ways besides OU, usually U, OO, or UE.

So for the following surnames, you will find some really creative spellings:

Common OU Misspellings

Sometimes when the OU appears in the final syllable, you could see several different combinations of vowels after it. Because there is no E at the end, these vowels do not sound. Take the surname ‘Ledoux.’ The X is silent, so ‘Ledou‘ and ‘Ledoux‘ are pronounced the same.

OUX, OULX, OULT and OUST are all pronounced the same. You pronounce ‘Proulx’ as /proo/.

Remember to check out these alternative spellings in your ancestor hunt.

The Québec Family History Society

I interviewed Gary Schroder, president of the Québec Family History Society. We discussed the following:

Gary has been the president of QFHS for 20 years. Their library in Montréal provides access to over 20 billion records. This collection is not just for French-Canadian researchers, however, but for all Québec immigrant groups.

The Québec Family History Society Heritage Center and Library is located in Pointe-Claire. They are the only major English-speaking genealogy society in Québec. From September through April they conduct a free public lecture series. Convention years, like this year, tend to be a bit different.


They have recordings from over 1,000 cemeteries in their library. Mount Royal Cemetery opened in the 1850s and began as a Protestant cemetery. The QFHS had access to the burial registers for Protestant cemeteries from before the 1850s, before Mount Royal opened, and photographed them. They hope to put this information online for members soon. Some former Catholics are buried among the Protestants. So if you can’t find an ancestor, check there.


One of the society’s goals is to dispel some recurring myths. One such myth is that civil registration started in Québec in 1926. Wrong. The equivalent of civil registration began in New France in the 17th century. Statistical returns of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1926.

Other misconceptions concern reusing burial spaces (not done) and those concerning dit names.


The society’s journal is called Connections. It is published three times a year and contains articles focusing on not only the various immigrant groups but record groups and repositories.

The Library

The library contains many of the work-horse resources we’re used to: the library edition of; the Drouin Institute records; and journals from many French-Canadian societies. They also feature some special collections found nowhere else.

The Norma Lee Collection

(from the QFHS website) “This amazing collection features much historical information on Quebec City, including notarial documents, builders, contractors and surveryors of the time. You may even find a list of all the owners of an ancestor’s house, much of it  back to the 1600s.  Included with many are diagrams of the building itself, plans of the street and the city ward in which it was situated and maps of the area. There are even descriptions of some of Quebec’s historic buildings like homes, churches and mills. See Sharon Callaghan’s article in Connections, Vol 29, Issue 3, Spring 2007 as well as her listing of the Norma Lee Collection in the Members’ Only section.”

Dr. David McDougall Collection

(from the QFHS website) “Researchers will find indexed references to early Gaspé families. The Reverend George Milne Diary (1841-1873) provides a description of everyday life in the time period, as well as references to births, marriages and deaths performed by Rev. Milne. The file includes extensive writings on the shipping industry in the early Gaspé years as well as land claims and census information.”

Volunteers will help any long-distance members of the society. There are hundreds of repertoires, including the rare Protestant Christ Church registers for Sorel.

The library is open to the public with a $10 per day charge for non-members. Hours: M-F, 10-3; Wed evenings, 6:30-9:30; Sundays 1-4. They are also an LDS lending library.


Anyone can access the list of activities and the library catalog on the website. The members-only section also contains valuable articles, databases like the one they’re creating for cemeteries, and various church registers.


As is the case with most societies, the QFHS is on the lookout for volunteers, especially in the following areas: people with technological skills, volunteer librarians, book catalogers, and indexers (can be done from home)

Roots 2015 Conference

Coming up in June, the QFHS will be holding the largest English-language genealogical conference in Québec, held every 4-5 years. With speakers from the biggest publisher of Canadian genealogy magazines to the Canadian consultant from and a historian and archivist from the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec, there will be something for everyone. To wrap it up, you can ask questions of the Meet the Experts panel on Sunday afternoon.

Learn more about the conference speakers on this YouTube video:

Getting in Touch with the QFHS



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2 comments on “MSS-031-The Québec Family History Society

  1. Christine Thiffault

    To answer your question regarding “surveille”, it does mean two days ago. It is the day before “la veille” (on the eve of the eve).

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