Quebec Notarial Records

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Parchemin[edit | edit source]

The Parchemin database is a tool that finds notarial records from Québec's past compiled by the Société de recherche historique Archiv-Histo. It provides a complete inventory of notarial minutes produced in Canada from 1626 to 1799, totalling 442,402 deeds. The information was entered in the language of the original document. The written form of the names of individuals and locations was respected. Each record informs researchers of the following data regarding a deed: deed type, name of the notary, intervening parties, their trade or profession, marital status, place of origin and place of residence. Presently the period of the documents in the database is 1635 to 1800, but the Society’s own data bank holds millions more, and they will assist you:
Société de recherche historique Archiv-Histo
2320, rue des Carrière
Montréal, Québec H2G 3G9
Telephone: 514-763-6347

BAnQ (Archives of Quebec)[edit | edit source]

Several databases that can help locate marriage contracts or estate inventories are available online.

Notarial Records[edit | edit source]

  • A notarial record is a private agreement written by a notary in the form of a contract. Some of the most common ones are marriage contracts, wills, estate inventories, leases, and sales contracts.
  • In Québec, notaires (notaries) have registered contracts since 1626.
  • The persons involved in the contracts received the originals. The notaries kept copies called "minutes."
  • Each document in a notary's minutes gives at least the name of the notary, the date and place the document was prepared, the names and addresses of the persons involved, and the names and addresses of the witnesses. The ages and relationships of the witnesses and the persons involved are sometimes included.
  • Notarial records are usually listed by the name of the notary and the dates he functioned. They are not normally indexed by the names of the persons involved in the contract.
  • Notarial records are first sent to the judicial archives, but they are eventually deposited in the branches of the Archives Nationales du Québec BAnQ).

Types of Notarial Record[edit | edit source]

There are many types of notarial records. They include property deeds and related documents. In early Québec, wills and marriage contracts were the most common notarial records. After the mid-1800s, marriage contracts were much less common. The most useful notarial records for family history research are:

  • Contrats de mariage (marriage contracts). These may describe the bride's dowry and the division of property if the marriage is dissolved. They often include names and places of residence of the spouses' parents. This information is important if church records are missing or incomplete.
  • Inventaires après décès (inventories of the estates of deceased persons). These are similar to English probate records.
  • Partage (settlement or share-out papers). Partage records list family members who will receive a share of the estate.
  • Tutelle et curatelle (guardianship papers). These are records about orphans and the conservation of their property.
  • Donations entre vifs (donation records). Some elderly parents make "early wills." While living, they divide their property among their children. Donations entre vifs are records of these donations. Some donations are to unrelated persons. The conditions to be fulfilled by those receiving the property are listed.
  • Engagements (indenture records). These are labor contracts. French men contracted to labor in Canada for a specific length of time in exchange for compensation. Notaries in French ports such as La Rochelle drew up the earliest engagements.

Finding Records[edit | edit source]

Records Before 1800[edit | edit source]

The Parchemin database is a tool that finds notarial records from Québec's past compiled by the Société de recherche historique Archiv-Histo. It provides a complete inventory of notarial minutes produced in Canada from 1626 to 1799, totalling 442,402 deeds

Records Before 1900[edit | edit source]

  • Earlier notarial records are held by the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ).
  • Library and Archives Canada holds copies of some records in the collection, Fonds des greffes de notaires du Québec. You can also use the advanced archives search to look up the name of an individual or a notary. The complete inventory of ANQ holdings is computerized or in microfiches: Finding Aid
  • One research challenge is determining likely notaries who worked in the area where your ancestors lived.  In the FamilySearch catalog, the judicial district where a notary worked is not identified.  The following lists may help you find notaries close to where your ancestor lived: “Notaries of Quebec and Lower Canada, 1760-1848” identifies notaries known to have non-French clients and identifies the Judicial District where they worked.
    “Alphabetical list of notaries, 1634-1899“ arranged by surname,  then dates of records, and judicial district.
    Chronological list of notaries, 1634-1899  arranged by years covered, then name and judicial district.
    Popular Early Notaries of Quebec  (Notaries with the biggest or longest practices.)  Arranged by Judicial Districts.

Records After 1900[edit | edit source]

Notarial records after 1900 are only available to the person involved or the person's legal representative, who may request copies from the judicial district office that has the records. Addresses of the judicial district offices are given in Marthe Faribault-Beauregard, La Généalogie: Retrouver ses ancêtres (see Quebec For Further Reading). Current addresses of the district offices are listed in annual editions of the Canadian Almanac and Directory. See Canada Directories.

Finding Aids[edit | edit source]

Because notarial records are filed under the name of the notary. Finding aids help identify where a particular notary kept records. Names of deceased notaries and the localities they served are included in both of the following:

Indexes or inventories of some notaries' records are in: Instruments de recherche des registres notariaux (Finding Aids for Notarial Records). [Sainte-Foy, Qué.]: Archives nationales du Québec, [1981–1984]. (On 2,548 Family History Library fiche beginning with fiche 6333604.) WorldCat.Most of the inventories are in French.

Abstracts and partial indexes of some notarial records before 1760 are in: Archives nationales du Québec. Inventaire des greffes des notaires du Régime Français. (Inventory of Notarial Records of the French Régime.) 27 Volumes. Québec, Canada: Éditeur officiel du Québec, 1943–1976. (Family History Library book 971.4 N3q.) WorldCat. Text in French. Includes the records of 81 notaries in the province before 1760.