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Online Databases for French-Canadian Ancestry

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There are quite a few databases and digital record collections available online for researching French-Canadian ancestors back into the early 1600s. Some of these online French-Canadian databases are free, while others are only available by subscription.

1. Quebec Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900

These Catholic Parish registers from Quebec, which have been digitized and placed online for free browsing and viewing by the Family History Library, contain christening, marriage and burial records for most parishes of Quebec, Canada, from 1621 through 1900. Free!

2. The Drouin Collection

In Quebec, under the French Regime, a copy of all Catholic Parish Registers was required  to be sent to the civil government. The Drouin collection, available on Ancestry.com as part of their subscription package, is the civil copy of these church registers. The collection also includes a number of other church records related to French-Canadians in both Canada and the U.S.: 1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967   2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967, 3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954, 4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946, 5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942, and 6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941. Indexed and searchable. Subscription

3. PRDH Online

The PRDH, or Le Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique, at the University of Montreal has created a huge database, or population register, encompassing the majority of individuals of European ancestry residing in Quebec through about 1799. This database of baptism, marriage and burial certificates, plus biographical data and records extracted from early censuses, marriage contracts, confirmations, hospital sick lists, naturalizations, marriage annulments, and more, is the most comprehensive single database of early French-Canadian family history in the world. Databases and limited results are free, although there is a fee for complete access.

4. Le Dictionnaire Tanguay

One of the major published sources for early French-Canadian genealogy, the Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes is a seven-volume work of the genealogies of early French-Canadian families published by Rev. Cyprian Tanguay in the late 1800s. It's material begins about 1608 and extends to material at and shortly after the Exile (1760+/-).

5. Loiselle Marriage Index (1640-1963)

This important resource for French-Canadian ancestry includes marriages from 520+ parishes in Québec and a few parishes outside Québec where there were large settlements of French Canadians), indexed by both bride and groom. Because the index entries also include parents' names for both parties, as well as the date and parish of marriage, it is a very helpful source for tracking French-Canadian families. Available on microfilm at the Family History Library, Family History Centers and many Canadian and Northern U.S. libraries with large genealogical collections.

For further Canadian genealogy resources that aren't specifically geared toward French-Canadian ancestry,  please see Top Online Canadian Genealogy Databases

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