Quebec Notaries – Sigh!

The other part of Quebec genealogical research is consulting the notaries. They are considered members of the legal profession in Quebec.

This article was rather helpful in explaining the difference between notaries in Quebec versus a notary public which most of us in the US are more familiar with:

What’s in a Namehttp://www.tradulex.com/Actes2000/StAubin.pdf

The notaries did the day-to-day legal business of the people of Quebec and kept logs of their transactions.  You will find various legal documents or instruments used:

1.  wills (testaments). The Notary can administer and estate without the formality of probate.

2. partage (family who will receive a share of the estate),

3. guardianship papers

4. donations (early wills)

5. engagements (early contracts – indentures)

6. deeds, mortgages, land transactions, transfers, leases

7. contracts

8. inventories

9.  marriages (early Quebec but not as much after 1800) contrats de mariage

10. and more…

Notary records are an important part of Quebec’s Civil law which resembles French Civil law.

The person involved in the transaction with a notary kept the original document while the notary made copies. The copies are called “minutes.”  The individual notaries archives are termed his “greffe.” If he goes out of business he sells his greffe to another notary or it is filed with the Prothonotary of the Judicial District where he served.  As time went on the Quebec government decide to collect them and they are supposed to go to the ANQ (Archives of Quebec/BAnQ) and to be placed in the branch ANQ that serves the appropriate judicial district.

These notarial acts are listed by name of the notary and the dates he functioned and not by the person involved in the contract.  Therefore, you have to identify the notary that was in the area you are researching and the dates he was active.

As you know counties changed and jurisdictions changed so you have to research the history of the area. Pontiac county was under Ottawa County in the early years and then under the Montreal district even earlier based on the Letters Patent that I have collected and studied.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_District

There are several publications that can be of help.

Here is the title page of a copy of an index I obtained of the notaries in the Pontiac area at the BAnQ in Gatineau in 2012.  The librarian at the BAnQ on Viger street in Montreal said it was good I had these pages.

Notaries listed

Notaries listed

Source:  Index des Lieux, et des Notaires 1621 to 1991, Jean-Marie Laliberte fc., Montreal, 1991.  The older version was Index des greffes des notaries decedes, 1645 to 1949 comp. Jean-Marie Laliberte (Qubec. B Pontbriand 1967).

Source:  Quintin, Robert J. The Notaries of French Canada, 1626–1900: Alphabetical, Chronologically, by Area Served. Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA.: R. J. Quintin, 1994. (Family History Library book 971.4 N3n; film 1750788 item 120.)

Here is short summary of other options for finding Notaries:

1. The Online database at the BAnQ in Montreal is not complete.  It is an index with names and some of the documents for all regions of Quebec up to 1933.  For our purposes Hull and Pontiac are featured. You do have to browse.  It most indexes and some actual acts.

Database:  Archives des notaires due Quebec des origines a 1933, under Outaouais has the District of Hull, District de Pontiac and District de Labelle. Here is the link.

http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/index.html

For Pontiac there are two listed:

Mackay, Stephen-Alexandre no dates  CN702,S1 – Index only.

Pellerin, J.-Desire 1907-1924 CN702,S2 – Index only.

Hull had more names (18) and dates and the earliest are listed here:

Barsalou, Charles 1869-1895 CN701,S21 – Index and acts

Beaudin, Jean-Baptiste-Alphonse, 1874 to 1905 CN701,S2

Brayer dit Saint-Pierre, Julien, 1867-1913, CN701,S17, Repertoire chonologique and Index des noms.

Mackay, Francois-Samuel, 1845-1892, CN701,S10

I looked up these notaries in the BAnQ Pistard catalogue under Genealogy on their website and there are some with images of the indexes and more. This Pistard catalogue gives a detailed description of the holdings and where the notary operated.  The CN numer is the Pistard catalogue designation.

http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/recherche_simple

2.  You might have to go to the BAnQ Centre in Gatineau to look at the documents. The librarian at the BAnQ in Montreal that they were all on microfilm but I am not sure about that?

https://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/entrez_archives/centres_archives/ca_outaouais.html

It has its own website:  Centre regional d’archives de L’Outaouais.

http://www.craoutaouais.ca/

I visited this archive in 2012 in Gatineau and if I was to go again this is what I suggest.  You can find my comments in my post about my visit there, just remember I was not happy.  I was also not as prepared as I am now.  I know a lot more.

My visit:  Ottawa and Gatineau, June 7, 2012

1.  Find a researcher who speaks French and go with them to this archive. This is an option.

2.  The person behind the counter did not speak English only French and he panicked when I visited.  I realized that he could read English so I wrote down what I wanted.  It worked.

3.  When you first enter you will be greeted by a volunteer who probably is with the genealogical society of the area.  Their focus is French Canadian genealogical research not English Quebec research.  If you have an English Quebec ancestor who married a French Canadian you could trace them and see what comes up?  The man who was there said he did all his research online and when I told him my ancestor was English he didn’t have a clue.  About 2 hours later another man came and he gave me a tour. So in all fairness they can be helpful.

http://genealogieoutaouais.com/

4.  I suggest that you take the control and ask them to show you where the lockers are, get you set up for parking permit and then show you the holdings by taking you around the research area and pointing out where things are and what is there.  It consists of their societies holdings and the BAnQ’s holdings.  Books are out in the research area.

5. Before you go study the BAnQ Pistard catalogue.  It has the holdings listed online by location and give you more details.

http://pistard.banq.qc.ca/unite_chercheurs/recherche_simple

6.  This archive is over along Hwy 148 off in Gatineau between Blvd. Greber and Blvd. de L’Hopital.  So make you look at the BAnQ website before you and get the correct address and do not Google it or you will get very confused and get the old Hull address.

7.  Ancestry.com has a searchable database: Quebec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection) 1647-1942 but I am have not figured out how to use it and it is browse only.

8.  Family history library as a how to but be careful I believe some of the links are out of date.

https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Quebec_Notarial_Records

9.  Library and Archives has some in their collection: Fonds des greffes de notaires due Quebec you will have to decide if they are what you need.

http://thediscoverblog.com/2014/08/21/notarial-records/

10.  For the oldest notarial records 1635 to 1784 consult the Parchemin database available at BAnQ and some public libraries. The focus for indexes has been on the earlier years in Quebec covering the 1635 to about 1784.  The area of Pontiac was probably not settled till about 1830 per the newspaper article I shared in the post about the Ottawa Lumber kings.

Here are some books but they are getting old and so far I have not found an up-to-date guide on genealogy in Quebec, why is that?

 1.  The book French Canadian Sources, A Guide for Genealogists, Ancestry 2001 has a chapter on Notaries on page 167 which is more of an overview.  This book is helpful but focuses on the Quebecois and you need to know about this because a lot of our English (British Isles) married French Canadian. There is a nice list of French legal terms and definitions in the Notary chapter.  I found a copy at the Ottawa Public Library in 2012.  I now have my own copy.

 2.  Finding Your Ancestors in English Quebec by Althea Douglas, MA, CG (C), Heritage Productions Book HC02, 2001.

 http://www.genealogystore.com/eng/gstore.html  

 This book is geared to the search for English in Quebec.  It is not very expensive and should be easy to get copies. I have seen these for sale at conferences. The Heritage Quest Research Library in Sumner, WA has these books and maybe they will sell you one?  http://www.hqrl.com/contactus.html

As I learn more about Quebec genealogical research I will continue to share my discoveries on this blog. There are a couple of websites I want to explore that I have learned about on my last trip there in 2012, see the Quebec Links on the right side of this blog.

There are other ways to learn about this subject and one is to go to the genealogical societies in the area and see if they can help.

UPDATE:  I have fixed the numbering system of the different suggestions sorry for the inconvenience.

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Centre Régional D'Archives De L'Outaouais (CRAO), Gatineau, Montreal, Quebec Genealogical research tips, Société de généalogie de l'Outaouais (SGO), Trip to Ontario & Quebec 2012 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Quebec Notaries – Sigh!

  1. Byrna Klavano says:

    Very interesting about the notaries. Must be tough to find transactions for a specific person. Byrna

    Like

    • BJ MacDonald says:

      They are getting them up on the web at the BAnQ website but that is not all. They are supposed to be on microfilm according to the librarian at the one in Montreal. It is getting better and I am sure that the genealogical societies have databases that one can access. I am still learning and what I wrote was my attempt to get my brain around it all. When you do find something or look at the online version it can be very hard to even read them. I am struggling with ones that were obtained for me. Still trying to read them and figure them out. It is slogging work.

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