Church records are one of the most important resources when searching for our French- Canadian ancestors. The churches recorded everything from births and baptisms to communions, marriages, deaths and burials. The information in these church records are fantastic.
Birth and baptism records include the date that the child was born as well as the date that they were baptised. Parents of the child are listed as well as godparents and sometimes their relationship to the child. On occasion, the occupation of the father is listed, although this is more common in marriage records.
Marriage records include the date of marriage as well as the whether marriage bans were dispensed. Both the bride and groom are listed as well as each of their parents names, whether they were alive or deceased and the parish to which they belong. These records will tell if any of the subjects are widowed, whether they are minors and if there were any relationship between the bride and the groom (the degrees of cosanguinity. Witnesses to the marriage are also listed.
Communions records for me, have been harder to find as they are usually just a list of individuals and there is no specific date that they were done on.
Death and burial records include the name of the deceased, the date of death and the date of burial. They also list their spouse and whether or not they were widowed. The age at death is also listed as well as any witnesses to the burial.
Since the parents are listed (the women keep their maiden names), it is a lot easier to trace family lines further into the past.
I have included an example of a birth and baptism record as well as a death and burial record of my husband’s great-grandfather.
Paroisse St-Michel (St-Michel, Yamaska, Quebec), Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968, Francois Brouillard, B, folio quarante deuxième [penned]; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Apr 2017)
Le vingt deux Septembre mil huit cent trente
Par nous Prêtre ____ de cette paroisse soussigne a été bap
tise François ne aujourd·hui du lègitime marriage de Fran
çois Brouillard cultivateur du lieu et de Thérése Alexan
dre; parrain Louis Pépin, marraine Marie Alexandre
qui n’ont ___ signer : le père absent.
A _ [C?]. ______[Leclerc?] ____ [Ptre?]
Paroisse de l’Assomption (Maniwaki, Quebec, Canada), Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968, Francois Brouillard, S.51, folio twenty-seven & twenty-eight [penned]; digital images, Ancestry.com, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 APR 2017).
S. 51 [Left Margin]
Francois Brouillard [Left Margin]
Le vingt-huit août mil neuf cent onze [dark smudge]
a été inhumé dans le cimetiere de cette paroisse
le corps de François Brouillard, veuf de
Agnes Vanasse décédé ___ cette paroisse la v [veille?] [dark smudge]
à l’àge de quatre-vingt huit ans. Etaient
présents Joseph Dupuis et Michael Ryan
tous deux de cetter paroisse, qui not [n’ont?] declaré
ne savoir signer. Lectûre faite.
G. Bellemare ptre [superscript] ____
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