It was fun to watch the day turn to night and the morning dawn in Montreal even though my window was a bit small in my hotel room.
Today I was going over to Viger Street to explore the BAnQ or if you prefer the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales Du Quebec. (I don’t do the accents).
I headed down St. Denis (south-east) and stopped at one of the cafes to buy a sandwich. I crossed Avenue Rene-Levesque and had to decide which direction to go because they had Rue St. Denis barricaded from this point on. So I turned left (northeast) and headed to Rue Berri which was also barricaded, with one lane left for cars, but I was able to get across it to the other side and I turned right (southeast) and headed down that street to Viger Street.
I was expecting the BAnQ to be on the right side of Viger (south-east) but it was not. It was on the left side (northeast) and as I was walking I noticed this building seemed very familiar. It is actually on the corner of Rue Labelle and Avenue Viger. http://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/#
I was very early so I sat on the side area up the steps and waited and was just getting comfortable when a lady came up the steps and went inside. It was cool outside and maybe about to sprinkle so I followed her through the door and it opened up into a large foyer. I spotted the security guard on the left and walked over to him. He had me sign in, took my $2.00 coin and gave me a locker key. He gave me directions to the locker room which was around the corner through the two big doors. He told me I could wear my jacket but not take my computer bag inside.
It took me a while to find my locker and it was very generous in size, not all are. I prepared myself for my time at this archive and in the locker room area there is a little kitchenette with tables, machines with food and bathrooms. I headed out to the stairs which were silver metal (yes you make noise when you walk on them) and walked up them to the next level which was filled with tables. It was very wide open with a high ceiling. I turned up some more metal stairs to the lobby area where there were these enormous statues guarding the lovely door to the archives.
They had nice comfy chairs to sit in while the researches gathered at the door waiting for it to open at 9 am. One man was standing with his laptop in tucked under his arm and he was apparently impatiently waiting. Most of the researchers talked quietly in French.
They have done extensive remodeling so the interior is very modern yet you feel comfortable.
Once the door was open the other researchers disappeared quickly…probably to upper floors. I turned right into the main room. I found a table and proceeded to explore the area and the stacks. It was where the genealogy stacks were housed and they had various Drouin collections, church records and more. It was beautiful in this room for they had retained the old style of it. It had a high ceiling and you could see the upper levels. Their was lovely scroll work and columns. It was all in white.
The librarian was very kind and friendly. He spoke good English. He answered my questions readily. I told him about my bad experience at the Gatineau branch and he explained that they had the original records but most was on microfilm. So I could do notarial research there at this main branch. I was very happy to hear this.
He would have to prepare a researcher card for me because the microfilm was housed elsewhere in the building. I was not going to be there that long so I declined.
I then asked him about land records and he referred me to the Registre foncier website. We chatted about this site and that I could sign up to obtain land records. I knew about this site. I had been to the Palais de Justice in Campbell’s Bay for Pontiac County and she only was able to go back to late 1800’s on the land records. He mentioned that there had been fires and other things which I cannot remember now. This is the site: http://www.registrefoncier.gouv.qc.ca/Sirf/
We talked about notaries and he said the online version is still being added too. I showed him my copies of the list of notaries and he said that it was a good thing I had that because it was from the book that lists all the notaries throughout Quebec. I was on the right track. Quebec does things by French law and a notary is like a lawyer and they do all the legal things like deeds, mortgages, estates, wills, and even marriages and a whole lot more. Anyway, they are organized by notary name and years not by the subject or instrument. Some day they may be to this point of being able to research by keyword. So you have to know the name of the notary and where he was located and his time frame.
Online at the BAnQ: http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/index.html
Source that I had copies from:
I was starting to feel a whole lot better about my Quebec research. He said that he was there during the week and if I had questions I could call. They only speak French in Gatineau at least the man behind the counter but I figured he could read it and he did.
Unfortunately, my time was short and I had to head back to the Hotel St. Denis to check out by 12 noon. I think I just might have to come back to Montreal and now that I know a little more about this city, the archives there, I just might do that. I wonder if I could stop there on my way to New Brunswick??? Giggle…
The security guard wanted to check all my stuff at the door before he would let me leave. This was before the locker room.
My time was very short but I was okay with that. I had really just wanted to see these two archives and get a feel for what they were about. I am a very visual person so this has helped greatly. I also feel that I have plenty of research to do which I can do online so I am not too concerned; however, I am considering going back to Montreal.
This looks interesting, perhaps a tour of the harbour? http://www.oldportofmontreal.com/