Sometimes as a genealogist you\’re forced to pick and choose what sites and societies you subscribe to. If you\’re someone like myself, whose ancestry stretches across several regions and cultural groups, then it can be really difficult to stretch those genealogy dollars to get what you need. My personal ancestry covers PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Recent DNA discoveries have me now looking into New York State as well. I have Acadian and French Canadian ancestry. I also have French Protestant, German, British, Scottish and Irish immigrants from the early 1700\’s right up to the early 20th Century. For me, subscribing to every pay site I need to further my lines amounts to more than my genealogy dollars can afford. Any time I come across a free database to further my research, I jump on it. One such database is Family Search\’s browse only database Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920.
Quebec is unique in several respects to the other provinces of Canada. It is an intriguing combination of French and English law. When it comes to civil matters, they follow the laws of France. As such, the Quebec notary had a much bigger role and presence in the everyday life of the average person than other provinces. Because of their unique role in Quebec society, the records of notaries contain the type of information genealogists get giddy for. Among their responsibilities were:
- Marriage contracts
- Agreements and settlements
- Transfers of property
- Donations (pre-wills)
- Legal documents
- Guardian records
- Indenture records
- Ancestry made a blog post about Quebec notarial records. It includes a handy list of French terms for the types of records they have.
- If you\’re going to be doing a lot of research with notarial records, you\’ll want to bookmark the open access book The notaries of French-Canada, 1626-1900 : alphabetical, chronologically, by area served through Family Search.