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1.   Immigration is entering a country where you are not a native to take up permanent residence. Emigration is leaving a country where you have been a citizen to take up residence elsewhere.
2.   Some early immigrants to New France can be found on migrant lists on the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRHD) database:
3.   Sources that may provide information about the arrival of your ancestor include the 1901 Canada Census, land petitions, church records, Upper and Lower Canada sundries, local histories, county atlases, and newspapers.
4.   If your ancestor came from Britain, look at British newspapers published around the time your ancestor emigrated.
5.   Researching the ship on which your ancestors travelled can provide information about the length of the voyage, number of passengers, and other relevant details.
6.   From 1819 to 1836 when the Steamboat Company was operating, new immigrants may have travelled from Quebec City to Montreal on the St. Lawrence River.
7.   Until 1865, Quebec City was the official port of entry to Canada.
8.   Almost no passenger lists for ships arriving at Canadian ports before 1865 have survived.
9.   From 1865, the vast majority of immigrants to Canada arrived via the port of Quebec at Quebec City. Quebec had a shipping season of about 24 weeks because the St. Lawrence River was closed during the winter months. During the winter, immigrants arrived via the ports of New York, Boston, Portland, and later to Halifax, and Saint John.
10.   The port of Quebec at Quebec City was the first Canadian port to archive passenger lists, starting in 1865.
11.   In 1865, because there were excellent rail connections and inward passage on lake and river steamers from Quebec City, many thousands of immigrants destined to the US midwest and elsewhere arrived via Canada. In later years, immigrants also arrived through the ports of Halifax and Saint John.
12.   Many immigrants to Canada sailed from Europe to American ports on their way to Canada. So, look for your ancestors arriving in the ports of Baltimore, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia before they travelled to Canada.
13.   Prior to April 1908, people were able to move freely across the border from the United States into Canada, and no record of immigration exists for those individuals.
Quebec Church Records
1.   Until 1926, Quebec church registers were the provincial government's only official records of a person's birth or death.
2.   Marriages could not be legalized outside of a church until 1969. Afterward, it was made possible to register a person's birth, marriage or death through non-religious records methods, such as through the Justice of the Peace.
3.   Church registers were accepted as the legal record for civil registration until 1994 with the creation of the Directeur de l'état civil (Registrar of Civil Status).
4.   Each church was required to keep two copies of the register: one copy to be kept permanently at the church; and a second copy to be sent annually to the district protonotary. The protonotary copies over 100 years old were eventually sent to the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
5.   In 1925, the Congregational, Methodist and some Presbyterian churches formed a union, which resulted in the formation of the United Church of Canada.
6.   A typical baptism record includes father's first and last names, mother's first and last names, the village, township or parish where the parents resided, name of the child, child's date of birth, date of baptism, and name of the witnesses. Sometimes these records also include the mother's maiden name, father's profession, and the relationship of the witnesses to the parents or child.
7.   A typical marriage record includes name of the groom and bride, the village, townsip or parish the groom and bride were from, groom's marital status (bachelor or widower), bride's marital status, date of the marriage, names of both sets of parents, including maiden names, and names of the witnesses. Sometimes these records also include the names of the parents of the groom and/or bride, and the age of the groom and bride.
8.   A typical burial record includes the name of the deceased, date of their death, date of the burial, the township, town or parish where the deceased resided, and the names of the witnesses. Sometimes these records also include the age of the deceased, name of the spouse, cause of death, and the cemetery.
9.   A valuable source for locating Quebec's baptism, marriage and burial records prior to 1800 is the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) database:
Quebec Land Records
1.   Quebec has had three different land registration systems – Seigneury, Township, Cadastre. Therefore, three separate sets of land records exist, so it is important to determine the applicable system to search.
2.   Land records contain a lot of personal data, such as marriage contracts, wills, tutorships, etc., as many events in ancestors’ lives could have affected property ownership
3.   The Seigneury System system stems from the French Regime, beginning around 1626, when land was granted to seigneurs (land owners), who in turn conceded use of portions of it to tenants (censitaires).
4.   Seigneuries were created mostly along major waterways. Their records and supporting notarial documents are held at Quebec’s archive centres, with those documents prior to 1795 summarized and searchable by ancestor name/keyword in the Parchemin Notarial Database 1626-1794.
5.   Many resource centres, including QFHS, hold the "Cadastres Abrégés des Seigneuries 1854" volumes, which contain the location and value of seigneurial land lots, as well as tenants’ names.
6.   The Township System stems from the English Regime, beginning in 1763, when townships were created in areas other than seigneuries, as it did not replace the Seigneury System.
7.   Interested parties applied and the resulting Lower Canada Land Petitions are searchable at Quebec’s archive centres or on the Library and Archives Canada website. /
8.   Many resource centres, including the QFHS Heritage Centre and Library, hold the "Lands Granted by the Crown in the Province of Quebec from 1763 to 31st December 1890" volumes, which contain listings of those to whom "Letters Patent" (final grant confirmations) were issued, with original Township System documentation held at the Quebec City centre of the Archives du Québec.
9.   The Cadastre System, with beginnings in the 1830s, is the only land registration system currently in effect across Quebec, after having gradually replaced the two previous systems.
10.   Information on the Cadastre System, its online database, the ‘how to’ of, and computer requirements for, records’ searching is provided on, the information website of the Quebec ministry responsible for lands.
11.   Land lot transactions from 1841, and lot indexes resulting from surveying done between 1860s and 1890s when new system lot numbers were assigned, are searchable, including at QFHS, in the online Cadastre System records’ database.
12.   For all three systems (Seigneury, Township, Cadastre), especially the Cadastre System, research must be done to determine the lot identification of ancestors’ lands, in order to search/obtain the majority of records.
Quebec Court Records
1.   With the exception of the New France records, do not expect to walk into the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec to find something. You first need to find information from other sources. It is important to know the date of the event and the district where it took place.
2.   Criminal and court records from New France are the easiest records to find. They have been digitized and are available in PISTARD on the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec's website.
3.   "The Court Structure of Quebec and Lower Canada, 1764 to 1860," written by Université Laval professor, Donald Fyson, provides details about the province's court system.
4.   Library and Archives Canada holds a complete record of everyone who was condemned to death.
5.   Case files generally do not contain transcripts of testimony. They contain very brief sentences and sometimes, in the 20th century, photos.
6.   Montreal homicide records are sealed for 100 years, but little, if anything, is available before the 1920s.
7.   Police reports can sometimes be found in coroners' files.
Canadian Census Records
1.   1831 returns for Lower Canada, with the exception of Montreal, are available at
2.   Returns prior to 1851 are rarely complete for any geographical area. Portions of the 1851 Census have not survived.
3.   Returns for 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 are available for free at
4.   Returns for 1871, 1881 and 1891 are available for free on both Library and Archives Canada's website and at
5.   Returns for the following years are available, by subscription, at 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1911.
6.   The 1901 and 1911 Census returns are available for free at
7.   The 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) is available at
8.   The 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces is available, by subscription, at
9.   Information on people living in New France can be found on three census returns of 1666, 1667 and 1681 on the Programme de recherche en démographic historique (PRDH) database:
Canadian Military Records
1.   If an ancestor served in the military in Lower or Upper Canada before 1871, you may find their records in the National Archives in England. From 1763 until 1871, the British government stationed British army regiments in Canada for its defence. Generally, these forces were garrisoned in fortifications in Quebec City, Kingston and Halifax. Library and Archives Canada has some of these records.
2.   Until 1871, the British maintained a permanent fleet base in Halifax for the Royal Navy.
3.   Pre-WWI Canadian military records mainly consist of muster rolls and pay lists, which contain little or no personal information.
4.   Personnel records for the Canadian military, with the exception of the South African War, were not created before WWI.
5.   Almost all Canadian WWI attestation records are available online on Library and Archives Canada's (LAC) website. The entire file about a WWI soldier can be requested through LAC's website.
6.   Because of access restrictions, there is no online database for World War II military records except for those who died in service.
7.   To request a Canadian WWII personal record from Library and Archives Canada, the veteran must be dead more than 20 years. Proof of death is required.
8.   About 17,000 Canadian served in the British War Service, and the records are located at Library and Archives Canada.
Quebec Notary Records
1.   Quebec notaries are considered members of the legal profession and, as such, can open private legal practices, with their records being a valuable resource for genealogists.
2.   Due to their extensive powers, Quebec notaries produced the majority of day-to-day personal legal documents (acts) requested by ancestors, such as contracts, deeds, and inventories.
3.   Most wills have been written by notaries and, as Quebec notarized wills do not require probate, they will only be located within the records of the notaries.
4.   When notaries cease practice, documents are normally sent for storage at local Superior Courts, then transferred 80 to 100 years later to Quebec’s archive centres and opened to the public.
5.   If the name of a notary used by an ancestor is not known, the best step is to look for records of any notary practicing in the area where the ancestor lived.
6.   The Parchemin notarial database at Quebec’s archive centres contains documents from 1626 to 1794. These records are searchable by ancestor name and/or keyword, but are not available online.
7.   The "Archives des notaires du Québec" is a searchable database (currently up to the 1930s) on the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec's website ( It contains name indexes, date repertoires and some documents (acts) from the archived records of Quebec notaries.
8.   Information on and enquiries about notary records that have not yet been archived should be directed to the Chambre des notaires du Québec (
9.   It could prove worthwhile to conduct research in a Quebec library and society's holdings as their referenced collections might contain notarial listings or even documents.
10.   Notaries are sometimes implicated in records of Quebec’s Civil Court, so court records could contain reference to, or links between, ancestors and particular notaries.