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Article posted: November 21, 2001
From Ryan's Genealogy Notebook
By: Ryan Taylor, Biography and Archived Articles
Ancestry.com, the giant genealogical database provider and publisher, has recently added a very useful Canadian resource to its list. It includes a number of early Quebec Protestant church records.
Finding the English in pre-1850 Quebec can be frustrating, since the counties where they lived (outside Montreal) are well known. That still leaves a great area to be covered. Many people only know that their family 'came from Vermont' or were Irish immigrants.
The new Ancestry.com database is called Huntingdon, Beauharnois & Chateauguay Protestant Parish Registers Online and information about the records can be found at websites.epidirect.com/~chateauguay/sources.htm. The database is at www.ancestry.com. Most of their databases are fee-based, but this one is free.
These areas should not be confused with the Eastern Townships, another English-speaking area in Quebec. The Beauharnois district's first settlers came after the American revolutionary war.
The original church records are in the Archives nationales du Quebec, but they have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are available in their manuscript form through the Family History Centers worldwide.
The new database transcribes and indexes these records. In addition, the transcribers went back to the originals to see if anything was missed during the filming. Large numbers of records were found to be missing on the LDS microfilms, which is alarming. Some of these have been restored in the Ancestry.com database. In this case, it is especially important to use the index but then to check with the original as well. In this case, perhaps the check should be with the originals at the Archives nationales.
Anyone who wants to obtain copies of the microfilms themselves for more extensive searching can obtain them on loan at an LDS Family History, or can purchase them from La Fédération des Familles-Souches Québéquoises Inc., Case Postale 6700, Sillery QC G1T 2W2, telephone (418) 653-2137, fax (418) 653-6387. This organization is the official agent for the Quebec archives and makes many other microfilms and book publications available. A catalogue can be found at their website, www.ffsq.qc.ca. They also offer interesting conferences on Quebec genealogy. The conferences, and the website, are in French.
Another new development at Ancestry.com is that all of the American census' are now available and searchable online. This includes all states from 1790 to 1920. Not all are indexed, so you may have to do some searching to find what you want, but please remember that many of them have been indexed in book form or Soundex. With those references, you can find the exact page on Ancestry.com.
It is amazing to think that the company were able to complete this massive task on time, to the tune of more than ten million images.
Online census searching does seem to be the wave of the future, as the British government forges ahead with its plans to release the 1901 British census online on 2 January 2002. According to a recent news release, the project is on time and working.
Meanwhile, Canada struggles with the idea of making its 1911 Census available at all. It does make us seem a little Ruritanian, doesn't it?
The good news about Canadian census is that the LDS' CD of the 1881 census, similar to its inexpensive CDs of the British 1881 census and the 1880 US census, will soon be for sale, and, we hope, easily accessible to all who want to use it. If it compares to the British and US counterparts, it will include its own software, be easily installed, searched and read. I heard that it will come out in late winter.
When the British 1901 census and the Canadian 1881 census are available, I will give you the details here.
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