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Québec English Language Newspapers (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Quebec Non-Francophone Ancestors  by Althea Douglas M.A., CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

English Language Newspapers[edit | edit source]

More Then Now
On 3 April 1857 the Knowlton Advertiser and Eastern Townships Sentinel announced:

There are thirty-seven English papers and three published in English and French in Lower Canada. Of These, twenty-three are published in Montréal, seven in Québec, and two in Sherbrooke. Three Rivers, Aylmer on the Ottawa, St. John’s, Stanstead, Granby and Knowlton in the Eastern Townships, and New Carlisle in the district of Gaspé have one each. The publication of another English paper is announced; it is to be entitled the Québec Herald and Knowlton Advertiser.

Those that survive contain a great deal of information useful to genealogists. Most reference libraries will have the now out of dateUnion List of Newspapers Held by Canadian Libraries (Ottawa: Library of Canada, 1977; 1983), or theCanadian Newspapers on Microfiche (Ottawa: Library of Canada, 1993). This catalogue list of newspapers available in microform at the Library of Canada, is now available on the NLC website as are listings of the newspapers the library currently receives, and an updated Checklist of indexes to Canadian newspapers, compiled by Sandra Burrows and Franceen Gaudet (Ottawa:Library of Canada, 1987). The Library of Canada receives, through legal deposit, all newspapers filmed after 1 January 1988 for which more than three copies are produced and are attempting to acquire all newspapers filmed commercially before 1988, starting with daily newspapers. The Library has acquired most of the Québec daily newspapers through purchase or legal deposit. The Bibliothèque nationale du Québec through its filming programme with the Archives nationale du Québec makes all the print titles it has acquired available on film.

Québec newspapers, both French and English-language, and their history are dealt with extensively by André Beaulieu and Jean Hamelin, La presse Québecoise: des ori gines à nos jours, 10 volumes, (Québec City: Université de Laval, 1973-1990).

Early Québec Newspapers[edit | edit source]

The second newspaper to appear in what is now Canada was the Québec Gazette or Gazette de Québec founded in 1764 (the Halifax Gazette dates from 1752). The index to the Québec Gazette at the Archives covers the years 1764-1823. It only ceased publication in 1874. The Québec Mercury, founded by Thomas Cary in 1805 was published until 1903 and the Canadien appeared between 1806 and 1893 (except for 1810-1820 and 1825-1831). The Québec Mercury is microfilmed from 1805-1863 and the Québec Chronicle is available from 18 May 1847 to the end of 1873, and from 1879 to 1886; today the English community of Québec City is served by the Québec Chronicle Telegraph. There were English language newspapers in Sorel and Three Rivers in the 19th century. Check the NLC catalogue for titles and dates of the short runs that survive. The Montréal Gazette dates from the late 1700s and the Montréal Herald was founded in 1811.The Montréal Star was founded in 1869.

Know the Readers[edit | edit source]

Aside from dates and survival, other factors also matter when conducting newspaper searches: until well into the 20th century, larger cities in Canada normally had several daily papers; at least a morning and evening paper, often a third that came out - or arrived by train - to be sold at noon. Each paper served a different segment of society, usually holding different political beliefs. In those days remember that the newspapers were violently partisan.[1]  In Montréal, the Gazette and the Herald were true-blue Tories . [2] When English-speaking Montréal had several daily papers and a dozen suburban weeklies, the Gazette was a morning, business paper and its social notices covered the lives and interests of wealthy English-speaking “society”. French-speaking intellectuals are served by Le Devoir, a good source of cultural news. For accounts of local accidents or disasters and other events, the Montréal Star orLa Presse (French language) are far better sources. These larger evening papers also carried many more engagement announcements, accounts of weddings and obituaries.

Similar distinctions will apply in other cities but only local experience or sensitive research will reveal them - and remember that contents and editorial views might change over half a century. In Montréal, the once true-blue Tory Herald, was, when I knew it, a tabloid that came out in the late morning and carried little or no social news. [3]

Rural Newspapers Indexed by Marlene Simmons[edit | edit source]

Someone who has been doing important work in Brome and Mississquoi counties, especially in indexing older Townships newspapers is Marlene Simmons. Aware of the cross-border connections she has publishedIndex to Richford Vermont Gazette and Journal Gazette, 1880-1957: extracts of Canadian genealogical information.[4]

On her webpage Eastern Townships and Québec Genealogy Research she reports both the bad news and the good news for researchers:

There are very few complete runs of newspapers extant, and I have begun indexing what is available on microfilm from the Library in Ottawa as well as the extensive holdings of the Missisquoi Historical Society (MHS) in Stanbridge East. I shall eventually index all the unindexed English language newspapers which served the Eastern Townships which are available on microfilm. This will take years.

She then lists the newspapers she is working on. As you can see, many are held by (MHS) and some of the individual issues or short runs may not be available elsewhere.

  • Bedford News (Bedford) 6 October 1899, 19 February 1942.
  • ŸBedford Press (Bedford) 6 December 1889.
  • ŸBedford Times (Bedford & St. Johns) 6 January 1882, 14 April 1898.
  • ŸBrome County Register (Knowlton) 26 March, 21 May 1880.
  • ŸCanadian Times (Sherbrooke) 4 January, 27 December 1855.
  • ŸCowansville Observer (Cowansville; later called Cotton’s Weekly) 2 September 1870, 12 August 1909.
  • ŸDistrict of Bedford Times and General Advertiser (Sweetsburg) 24 August 1866, 24 September 1869.
  • Ÿ ŸFarnham Leader and Eastern Townships Advocate(Farnham) January, September 1940 (MHS).
  • ŸGibson’s Monthly (Cowansville) June and July 1899 (MHS).
  • Granby Leader and Shefford County Record (later and Eastern Townships Record) (Granby) 10 September 1891, 25 January 1901.
  • Granby Leader-Mail and Eastern Townships Record (Granby) 7 November 1902, 16 December 1910.
  • Granby Mail (Granby) 2 September 1896, 13 February 1901.
  • ŸKnowlton News and Brome County Advocate (Knowlton) 1 November 1889, 12 December 1935.
  • ŸThe Land (Cowansville) 4 June 1925 (MHS).
  • ŸMissisquoi Record (Stanbridge East) 5 June 1885, 26 April 1888.
  • ŸMissiskoui Standard (Frelighsburg) 8 April 1835, 23 April 1839.
  • ŸPhilipsburg Weekly Gleaner (Philipsburg) 3 October, 26 December 1848 (MHS).
  • ŸThe Richford Gazette(Richford, Vt.) 1880-1957 (Available as a Québec Family History Society publication)Ÿ
  • "St. Johns News and Eastern Townships Advocate(St. Johns) 30 August 1884 (MHS). ŸThe Sutton Pioneer(Sutton) 16 October 1879 (MHS). Ÿ
  • The Township Reformer (Stanbridge) 20 December 1836, 21 November 1837
  • Ÿ Ÿ Waterloo Advertiser(First year at Knowlton, at Waterloo afterwards) 1 January 1856, 27 June 1890—3 January 1902, 27 May 1904— 4 October 1907, 5 October 1923.Ÿ
  • The Record (Sherbrooke) 9 February 1897, 7 April 1903—1 January 1992 to present. Over 20,000 entries

Other Newspapers in Rural Québec[edit | edit source]

Except for the Sherbrooke Record, the list above is almost exclusively newspapers from the western Eastern Townships. The following are a few other Townships newspapers I once used for a term-paper with some notes as to size, frequency or publication, area served, editor, politics, and dates of microfilmed issues. A lot of these are in the Robarts Library at the University of Toronto as well as the Library, and other university libraries may well have unexpected newspaper holdings. What a Library ordered or was given may well depend on an individual Professor’s research project, and have nothing to do with where the library is located.

  • The Stanstead Journal and Eastern Townships Advocate
    4pp. weekly
    serving: Rock Island—Compton and Stanstead Counties, upstate Vermont
    editor: Lee Roy Robinson—conservative
    6 November 1845-1900 [mf. U of T]
  • Stanstead Historical Society has published an index: Vital statistics from “The Stanstead Journal”, volumes 1-6, (1845-1925).
  • The British Colonist
    Stanstead,? pages. Weekly?
    1 May 1823, 4 August 1841 [mf. U of T]
  • Sherbrooke Gazette and Eastern Townships Advocate or
    Sherbrooke Gazette and Shefford Co. Advertiser
    4pp. weekly
    3 September 1837, 18 September 1896 [missing-30/6/94-12/95, mf.U of T]
    editor: (c. 1855) Joseph Soper Walton
  • [The Waterloo Advertiser (above) appeared under several other titles:]
    Advertiser and Eastern Townships Sentinal, Knowlton/Waterloo
    Advertiser and District of Bedford Times, Waterloo
    Lucius Seth Huntington, prop
    11 January 1856, July 1857-Waterloo-1875 [1909] [mf. U of T]
    Granby Gazette and Shefford County Advertiser'
    editor: John Spackman
    2 November 1855, 26 January 1877 [mf. U of T]
  • The Canadian Gleaner, Huntingdon, ed. Robert Sellar
    18 September 1863, 27 December 1900
    [missing 08-09-1866—13-06-1867]

This paper served the Chateauguay valley region and the western townships. Sellar is known for his book, The Tragedy of Québec: the Expulsion of its Protestant Farmers (1907-1916)

  • Shirley Burke Thibault has indexed The Canadian Gleaner 1864-1874…
    (Kanata, Ontario: Thibault, S.B. Thibault, c. 1982)
    Births, marriages and deaths Huntingdon, Québec
    Indexed alphabetically by name
  • Gerald Walsh, compiled an Index to births, marriages and deaths in the “Aylmer Times,”
    Aylmer, Québec
    , 1884-1890 (printed in OGS Ottawa Branch news. Vol. XX, No. 6 (November
    1987), pages 72-73; Vol. XXI, No. 1 (January 1988), pages 12-13; Vol. XXI, No. 2 (March
    1988) pages 20-22.

Reference[edit | edit source]

  1. For help in sorting out the politics of early newspapers , see the "Journalism" entry in The Encyclopedia of Canada, Editor W. Steward Wallace (Toronto: University Associates of Canada, 6 volumes 1940).
  2. Jenkins, Kathleen, Montréal: Island City of the St. Lawrence (New York: Doubleday and Co. Inc., 1966) page 284
  3. Extracted from Chapter 8 of Tools of the Trade for Canadian Genealogy.
  4. Simmons, Marlene, Index to Richford Vermont Gazette and Journal Gazett, 1880-1957: extracts of Canadian genealogical information (Pointe Clare, Québec: Québec Family History Society,c. 1994).


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Quebec Non-Francophone Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

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