FamilySearch adds more than 600,000 Quebec notarial records to its collection

FamilySearch has added more than 600,000 records to its Quebec, Notarial records collection, 1800 – 1920 for a total of more than 4.9 million records available online. The images of notarial records are arranged by locality, then notary, then time period, and you must browse them. Although you cannot search by name or other keyword, I find it much easier to browse these records online than to look at the microfilms at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) where the originals are held. For people who cannot travel to Quebec, these online records are a goldmine.

PenI have found interesting notarial records on microfilm at BAnQ. In some cases, I was fortunate to be able to search through originals that are not available on microfilm.

The challenge, however, has been to know which notary my Montreal ancestors may have hired. The list of notaries that practised in Montreal can overwhelm. I did manage to find a couple of notaries’ names by scouring every legal record I have, including marriage contracts, land transactions, and business records. When I found a notary’s name, I pulled out the microfilms for all of his records for a certain time period and viewed the film, record by record.

If your ancestor lived in a small town in Quebec, I would simply browse all the notarial records in that town and perhaps in nearby towns.

Do not assume your Anglophone ancestors hired only Anglophone notaries. Take a look at the Francophone notaries as well. In my limited experience, I have found records in both English and French. The maternal language of the client often determined the language used in the document.

No one said genealogy is quick and easy, but it sure is fun.

See the FamilySearch announcement for other new records that were recently added.

Copyright © 2014, Gail Dever.

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About Gail Dever

Gail Dever is a Montreal-based genealogist and blogger and a webmaster for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.
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2 Responses to FamilySearch adds more than 600,000 Quebec notarial records to its collection

  1. justinbbmtl says:

    These scans are copies of the ones available online at BAnQ, http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/
    The index at BAnQ shows all the notaries: not just those whose records have been scanned, but also those that haven’t. It is also somewhat easier to use than the listing at FamilySearch.org.
    The collection available online (whether at banq.qc.ca or familysearch.org) is not yet complete. For all records prior to 1851, and many later ones, it is still necessary to consult the microfilms at the BAnQ archive centres.

    • Gail Dever says:

      Good comments. You are right that the online connections are not complete, which is why I still need to do my research in the notarial records at BAnQ. The online records do, however, allow me to eliminate a number of notaries from the list of possibilities.

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