Monday, March 31, 2014

Top 5 Books I Use for French-Canadian Genealogy

When I research my French-Canadian ancestors, I have a few go-to books I like to use. These are books in my personal library that I refer to over and over again, because I always learn something from them. They range from how-to texts to genealogical works to surname guides.

Map of Quebec

Here are the top 5 books I use for French-Canadian genealogy (in no particular order):

1. Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes, 7 vols., by Cyprien Tanguay (1871–1890, reprint, Montréal: Editions Elysée, 1991).

– This 7-volume publication was considered unique and remarkable for its day. Father Cyprien Tanguay used original records to compile the genealogy of French immigrant families that settled in the province of Quebec. It has its share of errors, but is useful as a starting point for French-Canadian research.

2. Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec des origines à 1730, by René Jetté (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1983).

– This indispensable genealogical reference work can be thought of the natural successor to Tanguay’s dictionary.

3. Traité de généalogie, by René Jetté (Montréal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1991).

– There’s a good review of this how-to genealogy book at Traité de généalogie on the Acadian and French Canadian Genealogy website.

4. Inventaire des répertoires de baptêmes, mariages et sépultures (BMS) et des recensements disponibles aux: Société de généalogie de Québec, Archives nationales du Québec (Québec), Archives nationales du Québec (Montréal), 2e edition, by Jacques Daigle, (Sainte-Foy, Québec: Société de généalogie de Québec, 2005).

– This inventory is useful when I need to know if a certain baptism, marriage or burial repertory exists for Quebec and other Canadian provinces, as well as the U.S.A. and France. It also mentions selected newspaper obituary collections, monumental inscriptions, and censuses.

5. Répertoire des noms de familles du Québec: des origins à 1825, by René Jetté and Micheline Lécuyer (Montréal: Institut Généalogique J.L. et Associés Inc., 1988).

– This two-part book contains alphabetical lists of French patronyms (surnames) that appeared in Quebec marriage records from the early 1600s to 1825 shown with their equivalent or dit name(s) and the year(s) they first appeared. For example, in part one, I learn on page 64 that my original family name Janvry has two dit names: Bélair and Desanvry and that they appeared in 1761 and 1792, respectively. When I search in part two, I find on page 131 that my current family name Belair is one of sixteen Bélair names, and that its original patronym Janvry first appeared in 1761.

Do you have favorite books you often use when doing research?

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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