346 years of Quebec vital records searchable online for the first time â€“ largest collection
- Largest collection of French-Canadian records in existence
- Famous names descended from those listed include Celine Dion, Madonna, William Shatner and John Labatt
- Original images available
(Montreal, QC â€“ April 8 2008) Ancestry.ca, Canadaâ€™s leading family history website, today announced the online launch of the fully searchable indexes for the historic Drouin Collection, which contains Quebec records spanning 346 years from 1621 to 1967.
Starting with 29 million names for the years 1850 to 1967, the indexes willÂ include 37 million names in baptism, marriage and burial records, and also a compilation of church records from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and various New England states, when complete in mid-2008.
Included in The Drouin Collection are the ancestors of some of Canadaâ€™s most famous French-Canadians and Quebeckers such as Pierre Trudeau, William Shatner, John Labatt and Henri and Maurice Richard. (original images available)
Family history enthusiasts can also trace their lineage back to the founding families of Quebec and Acadia, which includes that of Zacharie Cloutier, a common ancestor of distant cousins Celine Dion, Madonna and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. (Cloutier family tree / original images available)
From the early 1600s, the Catholic parishes of Quebec kept meticulous records of their membersâ€™ baptisms, marriages and burials. The Quebec Government soon required the Catholic Church to provide it with copies of all its records and in doing so became the central holder for Quebecâ€™s vital records.Â
In 1899 a lawyer named Joseph Drouin founded The Drouin Genealogical Institute, using Quebecâ€™s vital records to research and sell family genealogies. His son Gabriel assumed stewardship in 1938, dedicating himself to microfilming and indexing Quebecâ€™s vital records; this important work formed what became the Instituteâ€™s principal reference collection.
The collection remained the property of the Institute until Gabrielâ€™s death in 1980, after which it was sold to the genealogist Jean-Pierre Pepin who created The Drouin Institute, which was dedicated to preserving the collection intact and in Quebec.
Recognising its historical significance, Ancestry.ca secured the right to host the collection online.Â It launched the original images â€“ more than 12 million in total â€“ in 2007, and in partnership with The University of Montreal has now indexed the collection to make it searchable online for the first time.
The Drouin Collection can be searched in French or English language by name, date, place, church or institution, and religion. Continue reading