20 November 2019   Click here to View this email in your browser 

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Members' Forum

Burial records for Marguerite Belanger and Marie Briere

I have uncovered the baptismal records for Marguerite Belanger and her daughter Marie Briere. However, I cannot locate their burial records. I don't even know their dates/locations of death.

If anyone knows of the death dates for Marguerite Belanger and Marie Briere, that would be a tremendous help.

Here is what I know about them:

1.) Marguerite Belanger.
Born January 25, 1808 in Lavaltrie, Québec, Canada.
Parents: Joseph Briere (Born April 14,1787 in Cap-Santé, Québec, Canada, and Died March 3, 1854 in St-Simon (Bagot), Québec, Canada) and Archange Herpin Poitevin (Born April 4, 1782 in Contrecoeur Ste-Trinité, Québec, Canada, and Died July 19, 1877 in St-Simon Bagot, Québec, Canada).
Marguerite Belanger married Joseph Briere (Born May 27, 1806 in Ste-Trinite, Contrecoeur, Quebec; Death date unknown) on January 30, 1827 in Lavaltrie, Québec, Canada.

2.) Marie Briere.
Born December 5, 1828 in Contrecoeur, Quebec, Canada.
Daughter of Marguerite Belanger and Joseph Briere (see above).
Marie Briere married Andre Dubreuil (also spelled Dubreuille) who was born on April 11, 1825 in St-Hyacinthe, Montérégie, Quebec City, Quebec (Urban Agglomeration), Quebec, Canada; Death date unknown. Marie and Andre married on October 8, 1844 in St-Simon, Québec, Canada.

To comment on this post, please go to the Members' Forum page on our website and post a Reply.

Fenians in the Neighbourhood


Date and Time: Thursday, 28 November 2019 - 19:00 EST

Presenter: Heather Darch

Missisquoi Museum curator and a projects director for the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network, Heather Darch will discuss the community of Missisquoi County that lived close to the border during the Fenian Raids of 1866. While attention has been given to the Fenian soldiers, the Canadian and British militia units as well as the home guards during the Fenian Raids conflict, the citizens of the border region were also involved and directly affected by the military action that took place in what was a relatively quiet region in Quebec. From court documents, letters and diaries, the voices of those who lived along the border add another element to a fascinating local story and an important part of Canadian history.

Click here to register:

New Member Orientation


Date and Time: Monday, 9 December 2019 - 19:00 EST

Presenter: Johanne Gervais

This webinar is scheduled for the second Monday of every month. Join us to help familiarize yourself with all the features of the eSociety including using the Resource Links, Members' Forum, and the PRDH, BMS2000, and Fichier Origine databases.

To register for this webinar, go to our Upcoming Webinars page on our Website.

Don't forget our Past Webinars page on our website has recorded webinars that you can view at your leisure.

Resource Links
Administrative Region 10 - Nord-du-Québec


Nord-du-Québec is the largest, but the least populous, of the 17 administrative regions of Quebec. With nearly 750,000 square kilometres (290,000 square miles) of land area, and very extensive lakes and rivers, it covers much of the Labrador Peninsula and about 55% of the total land surface area of Quebec, while containing a little more than 0.5% of the population.
It is bordered by Hudson Bay and James Bay in the west, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay in the north, Labrador in the northeast, and the administrative regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, and Côte-Nord in the south and southeast.
The Nord-du-Québec region is divided into three territories:
  • Kativik (or Nunavik) north of the 55th parallel. This territory is the ancestral ground of the Inuit People. Prior to 1980, this area was called New Quebec. In 1988, New Quebec was renamed Nunavik meaning “the land where we live” in Inuit.
  • Eeyou Istchee non-contiguously enclaved within Jamésie (with one community in Kativik), predominately Cree
  • Jamésie south of the 55th parallel
The most populous community overall is the city of Chibougamau, which is in Jamésie. The most populous community in Eeyou Istchee is Chisasibi and the most populous community in Kativik is Kuujjuaq.
Below are the resources added over the past week to the Resource Links page of our website. If you know of any websites related to Nord-du-Québec that could help with family history research, please let us know.
Cemetery Transcriptions

Having trouble finding information about the death of your ancestors? Gravestone transcriptions are a very valuable source of genealogical information as they frequently include dates of birth and death as well as the names of spouses, children and other family members.

Lebel-sur-Quévillon Cemetery - Baie-James

This website displays an alphabetical list of names that you can click on to see the gravestone.

Find A Grave

Includes cemetery transcriptions for six Nord-du-Québec areas including 102 memorials transcribed from St. Philip's Anglican Cemetery in Fort George.


Chapais, QB Fire At Lions Club Party, Jan 1980

One of the worst disasters in the Nord-du-Québec region. The link to this article on our website includes many names of people who were injured or who had died.

Chapais, Quebec (AP) -- A young man was arrested after a fire at a Lions Club New Year's Eve party killed at least 42 revelers. "It is definitely a criminal matter," police said.
The 21-year-old was toying with a cigarette lighter near Christmas decorations that burst into flames near the club's entrance, survivors told investigators.
Constable RENE FORTIN of the Chapais municipal police told reporters he did not know when the charges would be lodged. The suspect was not immediately identified.
Police said many of the bodies were stacked against a rear door of the club, the Opemiska, and that 50 other party goers suffered serious burns and smoke inhalation as the fire roared through fir branch decorations.
Police said there were approximately 350 persons in the club when the fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Thirty children lost parents in the blaze, and one family lost five relatives.
One of the survivors, NORMAN BEDARD, said when the fire broke out many of the guests continued dancing. Then there was panic, and people fleeing through the blazing front door "were like walking torches as their nylon clothing burned," he said.

Atuaqnik - The Newspaper of Northern Quebec 1979-1980

Fort Chimo - Northern Star 1963-1965


Stay tuned for our next issue where we will be concentrating on administrative region 11 Gaspésie- Îles-de-la-Madeleine !

If you have found an interesting resource link that is not on our website, please let us know and we will add it.
In the News

From Pascal to Noël: The impact of the calendar on your ancestors’ names


In French Canada, the religious calendar punctuates daily life until the 20th century. This influence is also conspicuous in the first names given to children.

The baptisms recorded in Quebec between 1621 and 1849, available on PRDH-IGD, account for this phenomenon. Christmas babies named NoëlNoëlla or Marie-Noëlle are the best-known example. This blog post will track religious and other seasonal events in French Canada via baptismal records.

The year begins with a very appropriate name: unsurprisingly, half of baby boys named Janvier between 1621 and 1849 are baptized in January. The Three Kings’ Day, or Epiphany, also leaves its mark as 22% of children named Épiphane or Épiphanie are baptized within two days of January 6th.

Lent, which spans from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, and Eastertide, which lasts until Pentecost, are of great importance in the catholic calendar. As a result, 43% of Pascals are born in March or April. It is customary that marriages are not allowed during Lent. “Dispensations from the prohibited time” have to be delivered by the bishop.

The analysis of French-Canadian baptisms highlights a few changes in the catholic calendar. For example, Saint Benedict’s Day is celebrated on July 11th since the Second Vatican Council. However, it is on March 21st that Benedict of Nursia is commemorated in French Canada, and 21% of Benoîts (French form of Benedict) are baptized within two days of this date.

The effect is also perceptible for very common names, like Jean-Baptiste, inherited from John the Baptist, who is the patron saint of French Canadians since 1908. However, the celebrations of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Saint John’s Day, which coincide with the summer solstice, date way further back. The Jesuit Relations report a ‘Saint John’s fire’ in Quebec as early as the night of June 23rd, 1636. This feast bears a political meaning in Quebec since at least the 19th century. On June 24th, 1834, the patriotic song Ô Canada! Mon pays, mes amours (‘O Canada! my country, my loves’) is performed for the first time. It should not be confused with current Canadian anthem O Canada, although it was also composed for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day as a French-Canadian patriotic song a few decades later, in 1880. Jean-Baptiste is a common first name all year long, but a peak is observed in the days surrounding June 24th.

A more surprising finding is the concentration of Augustins in the month of August. This phenomenon, which is not of religious origin, rather arises from the etymological link between the month of August (août in French) and Augustin, which both derive from latin augustus. 12% of Augustins are born during that month. This proportion reaches 22% in the French-Canadian elite, such as seigneurs, lawyers, notaries, doctors as well as merchants, for example. The father’s profession can be found on most baptismal records. When provided, this information is generally indicated on the record certificates available on PRDH-IGD.

All Saints’ Day, celebrated on November 1st, also yields a French name, Toussaint (literally ‘All saints’). The five-day period around this date groups one third of all 4279 Toussaints born in Quebec between 1621 and 1849. The influence of the religious calendar on first names is not specific to French Canada: it is also visible among French pioneers. For example, Toussaint Giroux, from whom most Giroux descend, was baptized on November 2nd, 1633 in Réveillon, in the Perche region.

All Saints’ Day paves the way for several major feasts during the months of November and December, which mark the end of the agricultural activities.

Martin is another fairly common first name that draws a large proportion of baptisms to its feast: 21%. Saint Martin’s Day, celebrated on November 11th, is indeed an important day in the religious as well as the agricultural calendar. Lionel Groulx, an important priest and historian, reports in Chez nos ancêtres (‘In our ancestors’ homes’, 1920) a custom that would take place on Saint Martin’s day in many seigneuries. As the harvest is over, land tenants must visit the seigneur in his manor house and pay their annual dues. The event is also described in Philippe Aubert de Gaspé’s Les anciens canadiens, known as one of the first novels of Quebec.

Just like Jean-BaptisteCatherine is a very popular first name influenced by the feast day of its patron saint: over 5% of baptisms are concentrated in a five-day period around November 25th, an important religious and cultural celebration since the time of New France. The famous St. Catherine’s Taffy, which is attributed to saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, a prominent figure in the early development of Montreal, is prepared on that day. This French-Canadian culinary tradition still persists today.

Noël and its derivatives are the archetype of calendar names: almost 40% of 3395 baptisms are celebrated within two days of Christmas. The year comes to an end with Saint Sylvester’s Day, or New Year’s Eve, which sees the birth of 43% of Sylvestres of the time.

* In the case of first names referring to a month, the number in this column indicates the percentage of baptisms recorded during that month.

This exercise, conducted with the exceptionally well-preserved data of the Drouin Collection Records, indexed on Genealogy Quebec and PRDH-IGD, sheds light on the influence of the calendar on given names. By paying renewed attention to the link between names and dates of birth, you will probably also be able to make sense of the names of some of your ancestors.

Marielle Côté-Gendreau


October 27, 2019

Suzanne Galaise - Quebec Certified Genealogist



If you are anything like me, while climbing your family tree up to your earliest known ancestor, you will want to create a family group sheet for each of the couples you will have identified. By doing so, you will be able to list as much genealogical and biographical information as you can about them and their children.

To build up a family group sheet, you must first look for all the children born to the couple you are working on. Once you have found their baptismal records, you go on looking for marriage and burial records. In a few cases, you will soon realize that you have the burial record of a child but not his baptism—or vice versa for the others. Some families are even mostly absent from parish registers.

It is sometimes easy to account for the absence of records: fires, flooding, or lost registers. However, all these causes do not explain why you can't find the burial record of this Angélique who never married or the baptismal record of Jean-Baptiste who died at the age of 20 days. It is indeed possible that the individual may have been baptized under another first name, or even a different surname, between the time of his birth and his death. We have already discussed this issue in a previous post.


Poor Record Keeping

In other cases, carrying on the search might prove useless. If, in her last post, our colleague Diane was appreciative of the parish priest Bélair's meticulous way of handling the registers, all priests were not that keen on thoroughness. Moreover, wasn't Diane complaining about the parish priest Berthelot's work? Could we say that some priests may have committed the sin of omission?

You will notice while perusing a parish register that some parish priests would not record the burial of young children even if they had been baptized. But there is worse. I am thinking here of the parish priest Charles Basile Campeau—whom I just love to hate. He served briefly as a vicar in Verchères, and then as a parish priest in Longueuil. When the Verchères parish priest had to deal with health issues, he was replaced by Campeau who was recording the events—or maybe not. When reading the register page by page, one observes that omissions were numerous during the time period Campeau was officiating. Some pages were simply left blank.


In October 1777, Charles Basile Campeau became the parish priest of Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue in Longueuil and remained there until his death on November 29, 1782. The adjacent table from the PRDH (Programme de recherche en démographie historique) summarizes baptisms, marriages, and burials recorded during Campeau's time. To better illustrate my point, I have also included the two years preceding and succeeding his reign. The numbers speak for themselves. You may now understand my frustration knowing that many of my paternal ancestors lived in this parish. It is absolutely impossible for me to complete numerous family group sheets because of this parish priest carelessness.

Quebec Diocese Ritual

The absence of burial acts in a parish register does not always derived from a parish priest's lack of thoroughness. It may be attributable to the strict application of the ritual.

According to Monsignore de Saint-Vallier in its Rituel du diocèse de Québec, an ecclesiastical burial must be denied:

"1. to Jews, infidels, heretics, apostates, schismatics, and to all who had not taken the profession to the Catholic religion; 2. to unbaptized deceased children; 3. to those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed; 4. to those who killed themselves for reason of wrath or despair; 5. to those killed in duels, even if they showed remorse before their death; 6. to those who didn't fulfill their Easter duties without a legitimate reason; 7. to those who are notoriously guilty of any mortal sins; 8. to public sinners who die unrepentant, such as concubinaries, prostitute girls or women, sorcerers, pranksters, usurers, etc." [translated from French]

Of course, those who showed sorrow or remorse or would die penitent would be granted the right to a Catholic burial. The most meticulous parish priests would leave a note in the register commenting on why such and such person was denied a burial in the Catholic cemetery. However, more often than not, we have to infer that one of our ancestors was not buried according to the rites of the Church. For example, my ancestor Archange alias Julie Daigneau was repeatedly incarcerated for prostitution and disturbing the peace, hence, she was denied a Catholic burial.

Without a doubt, the creation of a family group sheet will set forth the imperfection of parish registers. If their reading makes you appreciative of some priests effort, it is as well indicative of their limits. When you are left wondering what happened to those who left this world without a trace, it will be the beginning of a captivating research and for some, it will end up by the discovery of colourful characters.

A judge said police can search the DNA of 1 million Americans without their consent. What’s next?
By Jocelyn Kaiser Nov. 7, 2019 , 2:40 PM


For the first time, a state judge has forced a public genealogy site, GEDmatch, to allow police to search its entire database of DNA profiles. A detective wanted to find distant relatives of a serial rapist in hopes that their family trees could help him home in on a suspect—even though most of the 1.3 million people who have shared their DNA data with the site haven’t agreed to such a search.

The search warrant, reported this week by The New York Times, raises the alarming possibility of similar police searches of giant direct-to-consumer DNA sites such as and 23andMe that are now closed to everyone except company customers who willingly submit a saliva sample.

Since police tracked down the suspected Golden State Killer in April 2018 by uploading crime-scene DNA to GEDmatch, forensic genealogy has led to arrests in scores of cold criminal cases. But privacy concerns have arisen because users didn’t know their DNA data were being searched, and because relatives who never took a DNA test could come under suspicion. In May, GEDmatch restricted police searches to participants who had given consent, cutting the number of available DNA profiles to 185,000. Then in September, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) eased some concerns by issuing a policy that limits searches by federal law enforcement agencies to violent crimes and DNA profiles with user consent.

The new search warrant, issued by a state judge in Florida in response to a detective’s request, disregards such privacy protections by compelling GEDmatch to open up its full database. ScienceInsider spoke with Natalie Ram, a law professor at the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law in Baltimore, about the implications. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: Is this search warrant really a big deal?

A: Maybe. A lot turns on the specifics of the affidavit submitted to secure the warrant. If they said we did some preliminary work before the GEDmatch opt-in policy, so we knew that there were some relatives but we didn’t get enough information to aid our investigation, that would be less panic-inducing. Because it would mean that this is sort of a special circumstance.

But if it says, here’s this article in Science by Yaniv Erlich and colleagues indicating that if you have a database of 1.3 million people, 60% of Americans of European descent will have a third cousin or closer in this database, which makes them trackable, and the police say, “Let us in,” that is quite general. That statement is true for virtually every such American if we include the databases at the big companies.

To me, that is as if the police stop someone because the person was in a bad neighborhood, which the police would say made it more likely that they could be up to no good. Courts have said being in a bad neighborhood on its own is insufficient to support probable cause for a search or seizure. So, if that’s the only thing that warrant says, the warrant would be quite problematic in my view.

Q: GEDmatch is a tiny operation. But if 23andMe or received such a search warrant, would you expect them to challenge it in court?

A: 23andme has said explicitly “If you bring us a warrant, we will fight you on it.” I suspect that their argument would be that merely saying there’s a statistical likelihood that there's a reasonably close relative in the database is not sufficiently individualized to constitute a valid warrant.

If one of these companies declines to comply with the warrant and challenges the basis of it, that may be the most direct route for evaluating whether and how these warrants can and must be worded in order to be valid.

Alternatively, if [the gene testing companies] provide the information, then it’s possible that someone who faces prosecution could raise a Fourth Amendment argument [against illegal searches], which would entail judicial consideration of that warrant.

But it’s complicated. It’s not clear whether the DNA company or a criminal defendant would have the right kind of interest in the DNA and privacy rights at issue to even be able to challenge the warrant effectively. (That is, it’s not clear either has “standing.”) So, we might discover that this is a situation in which, as a practical matter, there is no one who can effectively challenge this warrant. And that’s not a good place for the law to be.

Q: What will happen next?

A: If these kinds of warrants are issued frequently and receive widespread judicial blessing, then I think this is going to be a really big problem for all the DNA sites.

There are a couple of avenues for what could happen. No. 1, if there is a public outcry, that will incentivize database holders to demand more narrowly tailored warrants. Or to challenge the warrant.

No. 2, the antidote to freely issued warrants can be legislation like a bill I’ve been involved in in Maryland [that would ban forensic genealogy searches by state law enforcement agencies].

All of this underscores that regulation like the DOJ interim policy and legislation like the proposed Maryland bill may be the best way to impose enforceable limits on investigative genetic genealogy.

*Update, 8 November, 9:35 a.m.: 23andMe has posted a blog message stating that if the company receives a warrant like the one that allowed police to search GEDmatch, it will “use every legal remedy possible” to challenge the order, as it has successfully done for government requests for data on individual customers.

2019 Upcoming Events

If you know of an upcoming event that could help with Québec
research, please contact us and we will add it here.


Société Historique de Saint-henri

521 Place Saint-Henri, Saint-Henri, Montreal |  514-933-1318


EXHIBITION: “Joie de Vivre”

October 23-November 24, 2019

Featuring 200 images and 150 artefacts pertaining to life in Saint-Henri in Montreal.

National Genealogy Week in Quebec

23-30 November, 2019

This year's theme: Family history

Going on an adventure in your family history means breaking with your past, it means taking a trip back in time: parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbours. All of them have contributed to this story. Family history is the oral tradition that spans generations and places. When you want to compile this tradition, you have to be well prepared.

How can you get involved in National Genealogy Week?

  • Participate in genealogy activities planned in your community.
  • Promote family stories, testimonials, gatherings or services / tools for new genealogy researchers.
  • Use social media to promote genealogy events and activities or to disseminate information, images, videos and comments.
  • Post messages related to genealogy in social media.

We want to hear from you, contact us with your suggestions for future newsletters.

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