The an archive page of
Prince Albert Branch
Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
Box 1464 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan S6V 5T1
Tracing Quebec Origins
The January meeting on Quebec research highlighted special actions when applying the tried and true genealogical strategy of working from the known to the unknown. For example, when collecting information from living relatives find out what parishes your church-going ancestors may have resided in. Then, write to the parish with a SASE and a donation. Church records usually state the names of the parents of the individual giving you your next step. Joining a genealogical society in the area you are researching is recommended as their assistance, at a small cost, may prove invaluable. The Vital Statistics of Quebec may also be part of your search. It does have fees.
When you reach the mid 1700's, marriages, births and deaths may be found in these books:
Tanguay Dictionary (7 volumes, 2 volumes corrections/additions)
Drouin Red Book (1765-1921) (3 volumes)
Drouin Blue Book (1621-1935)
Births, Marriages and Deaths and Census of Early Quebec (1621-?) (47 volumes, requires name of parish, detailed, notes all witnesses attending)
These books, as well as others, may be found in the Regina SGS Library, The Saskatoon Public Library or the University Library.
Search the parish, census and the Loiselle Marriage index, a very worthwhile tool, through the local LDS Family History Center and order in the microfilms.
The internet is bulging with genealogical information but NEVER accept it without obtaining documentation from a primary source such as a Vital Statistics or a church. A great place to start is http://www.cyndislist.com with its extensive well-organized categories.
Be aware of "dit" names. An individual surnamed "Sauve dit LaPlante" may have descendants taking just "LaPlante" or just "Sauve". Then, the French name "LeBlanc" may be Anglicized to "White" or "Fournier" to "Fuller".
The parishes in Quebec have probably received many silent prayers of thanks from genealogists tracing their ancestors. Interesting note: if you spot the abbreviation ROC in your Quebec research it means "rest of Canada."
At the February meeting, Drew Gray, by illuminating the role of a funeral director, shed light on a funeral home's potential for genealogical research.
A funeral director documents the death to the Saskatchewan government. This Registration of Death must be signed by a doctor or coroner. Information about the cause of death cannot be released to anyone by the funeral director. The family must contact either the doctor or coroner who signed the document. Neither will the Department of Vital Statistics release the cause of death information.
The Registration of Death form files the following information:
full name-- no initials allowed
date of death-- signed by doctor or coroner
place of death-- legal land description
marital status-- common law relationships not recorded
names of parents of the deceased
deceased's birth place
whether burial or cremation
Every Registration of Death form goes to the City Clerk's office and is mailed to Regina each week on Friday.
A coroner is called if a person has been under a doctor's care for less than 72 hours. If under a doctor's care for more than 72 hours, the family may request an autopsy.
Funeral directors are now integrating the Internet. For example, for $150 you can put up two pages of text with four photos for a full year at: www.memorialsforeternity.com/
Mr. Gray has set up a computer database within the last year that can be searched by date of death, first name, surname or date of birth. There is no fee for this search. For years prior to the database a physical search of records must be made. Any information in these records can be released legally.
Court of Queen's Bench Records
David Sinclair, Registrar of the Court of Queen's Bench, gave a concise overview of the Court's records at the March meeting and then wisely opened the floor for specific questions from members.
Any record pre-dating 1907 is most likely in Regina but at the courthouse on Central, between the hours of 10 to 4 pm week days, you may check out probates and court records. The Court's district stretches to the North West Territories from Wakaw, and spans between Shell Lake and Kinistino. Other Courts of Queen's Bench are Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Yorkton, Estevan, Battleford and Melfort. (The Battleford Court holds an poignant probate, the fender of a tractor. After the tractor rolled over on him, the farmer managed to scratch out his will on the fender.) Personal visits to the other Courts are not necessary as correspondence works well with all Courts of Queen's Bench. Assinaboia, Weyburn and Humbolt files will in all likelhood be sent to archives as these courts have been closed.
The coroners' reports will give the date and cause of death. Where there is a suspicious or unexplained death a full Coroner's Inquest is held and a Jury of six people make a finding as to the cause of death. Family and adoption records are open only to those who were party to the action and, in the case of an adoption record, you must persuade a judge to gain access to the file. Divorces would be part of the family records. Marriage records, even if performed at the courthouse, are located in Regina.
In the case of criminal records, applying to a judge in a letter stating a legitimate reason, may open the record.
Handwritten wills are valid if there is someone to swear in court to the handwriting. If you decided on a fill-in-the-blank will, make certain that two people physically present witness your signature and the witnesses sign as well. If the will is not probated within two years, a debtor can move to have the court appoint a probator. There is also a curious dance with land titles. The land title must be transferred from the deceased to the executor and then to the beneficiary.
The records of estates and wills are open to the public but require a fee for the index search. If the record is within the past five years, the fee is $10. Earlier record searches are $20. The indexes are thick books that span a year or two so accurate dates are economical. There is a photocopier available at 50¢ a copy. Also, the last two years are now in their computer.