52 Ancestors: Week 30 – Using the Drouin Collection

The prompt for week 30 of 52 Ancestors is \”Easy\”. Contrary to how it looks on genealogy shows, researching your ancestors is not easy. Don\’t get me wrong, I\’m a huge fan of these shows. I just wish they would let people know how much research time went into making these hour long shows. Because of this, I was having a hard time coming up with a record set that made for easy research. The closest thing I could find to easy in my own research experience is the Drouin Collection.

Those of us with Catholic ancestry, especially French Catholic, know what a treasure this collection is. Covering the years 1621-1967, this collection holds millions of baptismal, marriage and burial records. You can find records from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, and parts of the United States. They also cover Acadia, of which present day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were a part of. They don\’t just contain records of French Canadians. They are also records for those with British, Italian, Irish, and Polish roots. Don\’t have Catholic ancestors? You should still look at the collection. There are non Catholic records mixed in among the collection as well. While the majority of records are in French, there are English language registers as well. This amazing record set is named after Joseph Drouin, the founder of the Drouin Genealogical Institute. Through the work of him and later his son, it now contains over 3.6 million microfilmed images of the registers kept by the clergy. They also have collections of notarial records, obituaries, and genealogies.

So where can you find this amazing collection online?

Of course Ancestry has some of the goodies in their databases. If you\’re an Ancestry subscriber, you\’ll want to check out what they have:

Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 – This fully indexed collection contains images of the registers sent to the government. Since in Quebec these served as civil registration records, you will find non Catholic records as well.

Quebec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection), 1647-1942 – The notary was an important figure in Quebec. They handled wills, marriage contracts, property transactions, and inventories, just to name a few. This collection contains the repertoires and indexes of the individual notaries.

Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1757-1946 – The contain the registers of the clergy in what used to be Acadia. It also covers post deportation records from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I know from experience that while the majority is indexed, some pages are not. If you can\’t find what you\’re looking for, make sure you also use the browse feature.

Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1967 – The collection contains the registers for French Catholic parishes in Ontario. I\’ve just recently found a French Catholic line in my tree that settled in Ontario. I\’ve only just started using this collection, so I\’m not sure how well indexed it is as of yet.

U.S., French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954 – This collection contains French Catholic parish records from 11 US States. My new found Ontario Catholics spent a lot of time migrating between the Cornwall area of Ontario and the Fort Covington area of New York State. This is another collection I\’ve only just started delving into, so I can\’t say as to how well indexed it is.

U.S. and Canada, Miscellaneous French Records (Drouin Collection), 1651-1941 This collections is a hodge podge of genealogies, jounals, letters, registers of notaries, acts, manuscripts and topographic dictionaries. I haven\’t delved into it as of yet, so I can\’t say how well indexed it is.

Genealogy Quebec
If you don\’t have an Ancestry subscription, you might want to look at subscribing to Genealogy Quebec. Of course, some of us have subscriptions to both. While Ancestry has a lot, this website has what Ancestry doesn\’t. It is the website of the Drouin Genealogical Institute, so it gives you access straight from the horse\’s mouth, so to speak. There are 3 subscription options:

  • 24 Hour Access- Unlimited searches and the ability to view 75 images. Cost is only $5.00
  • Monthly subscription – Unlimited searches and access to 75 images per day. Cost is $13.00 per month
  • Annual Subscription – Unlimited searches and access to 1050 images per week. Cost is $100 per year

Prices are in Canadian dollars. Taxes are extra for Canadian residents. No taxes apply if you live outside of Canada. Besides the Drouin Collection itself, here\’s what they also offer:


  • All Quebec Catholic baptisms and burials 1621-1861
  • All Quebec Catholic marriages 1621-1918
  • All Quebec Protestant marriages 1760-1849. 1850-1861 will be available soon
  • A partial collection of Catholic baptisms, marriages and burials from 1862-2008
Each indexed transcription (certificate) also includes links to the original register image.

2.Marriages and Deaths 1926-1997
This Collection has most marriage and death information from all areas of Quebec. Marriages also include the ability to see the original document. This collection is not limited to Catholics. They cover all regious denominations, and civil marriages as well.
  • Internet Obituaries – 1999 to present day, covering all of Canada. Updated daily.
  • Newspaper Obituaries – 1860 to present day, covering all of Quebec
  • Death cards – 1860 to present day, covering all of Quebec. Indexed by Name and Date
  • Tombstones – 1850;s (ish) to present day, covering all of Quebec and parts of Eastern Ontario. Indexed by name and text on stone, these have photographs
4.Drouin Institute\’s Great Collections
This is an indexed database of several of the publications the Institute was involved with. There are 13 publications listed. In the interest of space, I\’m inserting a screen shot of what the collection offers:

This collection provides birth marriage and death information compiled from genealogical Socities working in partnership with the Institute. It covers parishes in Quebec, Ontario and the United States. It covers the years from 1727-2011, and does not contan links to original records. However, you can use the information obtained from this collection to narrow your search in their other collections.
6.Connolly File
A collection of Quebec baptism, marriage and burial records. There are both Catholic and Protestant records, and cover the years 1621-2018. These are compied from original sources, and I do not think they include original images.
7.Drouin Institute\’s Family Genealogies
A collection of 203 Family Genealogies produced by the Institute during the 20th century. They contain information in them from 1621 to their date of publication. most of these of Quebec based. Not all the books that they have produced have been digitized, and they are always looking to hear of any out there not listed.
  • Quebec 1881
  • Quebec 1901
  • Ontario 1881
This is a transcription database. There are no images attached.
9.Notarized Documents
This indexed database contains images for noarized documents throughout Quebec from 1800-1980. You can search by name, by notary, by date and by document type.
Over 250,000 postcards have been digitized and indexed. You can search by sender and recipient. They cover the years 1980-2002, and deal mostly with Quebec.
There are over 96,000 family files of Acadian families in this collection. Covering 1621-1849, it includes BMD information. There are links to original records, and in some cases birth entries will include links to subsequent marraige and/or burial entries for the family. It can be searched by name, parish and date.
12.Druoin Institute\’s miscellaneous Collections
This is a mixed bag of several different sources. There are digital images. Here is a screenshot showing what sources are in the database

13.BMD Cards
This is a collection of index cards showing baptism, marriage, and burials. The database shows you the image of the index card, but not the original documents. They cover 1621-2000, and were provided by the Quebec Family History Society. They cover Quebec, Ontario and United States.

14.City Directories
If your ancestors lived in Montreal or Quebec City, you\’ll want to delve into this collection. They are fully digitized, but not fully indexed. The Lovell directories for Montreal cover 1843-2000. The Marcotte directories for Quebec City and the surrounding area cover 1822-1904. However, it does not have all years.

Look at what you get for only $100 per year! Even if you don\’t want to commit to a year, the daily and monthly options are also extremely affordable. 

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