Finding records on FamilySearch Quebec Catholic Parish Registers

+5 votes

Since I don't read French, especially old French handwriting, I didn't find the Family Search collection to be of much value.  It took a while, but I've started using it. At first, I would just look for the dates provided in other citations that did not have the image or came from paid sites. Those training wheels really helped me get started. Now I'm able to find record images by browsing through approximate dates.

The records both confirm (or dispute) collected works by others, and often provide new information (God Parents, Witnesses, etc)

I'm posting this to encourage others to use the collection. Many would be surprised that the can find the records they are looking for, and download them for free. (Linking them to the FS Profile, and WikiTree profile is recommended)

For great advice on how to get started see

Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers Getting Started

For help with the French

French Genealogical Word List

To Search the records

Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers

Clicking the Browse link brings up the Parishes, most are organized into time period collections.

It helps if you know months in French.

for more on using the collection and other resources see

in Genealogy Help by Peter Geary G2G6 Mach 4 (43.8k points)
edited by Peter Geary

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

Hello Peter: Good item. I have been using the FamilySearch, Quebec Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979 for many years, as my paternal heritage is all from Quebec. I can read them fairly well and certainly enough to understand them. If you ever need help, please ask. While Ancestry does have this collection indexed, you really want the FamilySearch copy as they are so much better quality. The Drouin records that Ancestry has copied were filmed in the 1940's, so much lower resolution, than FamilySearch copies.  Ancestry copied these older films, so a copy of a copy. The FamilySearch versions were done much later and directly from the Parish Registers so are very high quality photos, although of course some of the registers themselves are in bad shape, but by and large they are an amazing collection. The Drouin copies and the FamilySearch ones are based on two different copies that the priests made at the time of the event or maybe a year later. I have found very minor differences between some of  them. There are a few cases where only the Drouin copies exist, so you have to use Ancestry or subscribe to the Drouin Institute, GenealogieQuebec.

The GenealogieQuebec site is fully indexed to 1861 for baptisms and burials and to about 1997 for marriages. Another site that has indexed most of the records is BMS2000 (Baptemes, mariages, sepultures - in French). They also include some New England records which you cannot find at Drouin.

Happy searching and be safe. Jim

by Jim LaBossiere G2G6 Mach 2 (22.5k points)
selected by Peter Geary
actually, Drouin and FS search copies are often based on the 2 different copies made originally, but there are a lot of instances where only one survives so then they use the same.  The extra copy is that sent to the central registries per ordinances dating back centuries.

Drouin actually has some records for New England, just not in the Lafrance database.
Hi Danielle:

Yes, sorry. I should have qualified the New England records. As far as I can see, GenealogieQuebec (Drouin) has older U.S. records before 1800, whereas BMS2000  has more recent records mostly from 1800 - 1900

Cheer, Jim
+4 votes
Thank you, Peter. Those will be some very valuable resources. If anyone has a problem reading them we have those wonderful people who are able to read them.
by Laura DeSpain G2G6 Pilot (294k points)
Thanks.  I'll post for help. It's great to know folks are willing to do that.
+5 votes
I encourage anyone working with french records to stick with it, you will learn to recognize the words and patterns.  One tip I am stealing shamelessly from Gisele Cormier (just today in fact) is that she also looks at the entries of the people before and after if one hard to interpret.  Because their own pattern can help you see meaning.  In today's example, the priest said st. Pierre (for the location), then baptize, then Ruffin.  His name was not Pierre Baptise Ruffin!  Even a good translator made that mistake in a book.
by Cindy Cooper G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
Great tip. I'll use it for sure.

One newbie trick I use is to narrow down the range of records I need to look at. By skipping ahead and back to bracket the years, and then scanning the pages only looking at the type of entry (baptism, marriage, death), reading only those of the correct type.

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