27 January 2020   Click here to View this email in your browser 
Membership News



The annual membership fee for the Québec Genealogical eSociety will be increasing to $50, effective 1 February 2020.

Already a member? Your shop-early purchase reserves your membership renewal @ $45 instead of $50, regardless of when your membership renewal is due. For example, if your membership is due in June 2020 and you renew before 1 February 2020 @ $45, your membership expiration date will be June 2021.
If you choose to wait until your 12 month membership renewal is due, $50 is still great value for your money.
You can renew your membership at any time by logging on to the Québec Genealogical eSociety website at and, under the Account  main menu, clicking on the Membership Renewal sub-menu. 


New Member Orientation


Date and Time: Monday, 10 February 2020 - 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.

The Scots in Montreal and Quebec


Date and Time: Thursday, 13 February, 2020 - 19:00 EST

Presenter: Dr. Gillian Leitch

The Scots have played an important role in the development and history of Quebec since the advent of British control of the region after 1759. This presentation will provide an overview of the settlement of the Scots in the province (with an emphasis on Montreal), the development of their own cultural institutions such as the Presbyterian Church, voluntary associations such as St. Andrew’s Societies, the Sons of Scotland, and sports clubs organizing curling, golf and shinty. There are a number of resources available to the family researcher, looking for information on their Scottish-Quebec ancestors. These will be discussed, including the use of private or associational archives such as the St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal.

Click here to register:


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

If you would like to share your genealogical interests or expertise in a webinar, please let us know. We are looking for speakers for our 2020 webinar series.
Resource Links
Administrative Region 13 - Laval

Laval is a city that also forms its own administrative region of Quebec. Laval was founded in 1965 when 14 municipalities were amalgamated to form the City of Laval: Chomedey, Duvernay, Laval-des-Rapides, Laval-Ouest, Pont-Viau, Sainte-Rose, Auteuil, Fabreville, Îles-Laval, Laval-sur-le-lac, Sainte-Dorothée, Saint-François, Saint-Vincent-de-Paul and Vimont.
Laval is located on Île Jésus, north of Montréal and is separated from Montréal by the Rivière des Prairies and from the mainland to the north by the Rivière des Mille Îles.  The history of its territory goes back nearly 400 years, when, in 1636, Île Jésus was granted to the Jesuit missionaries who played an important role in the history of New France. The city is named after François de Laval, the first Roman Catholic bishop of Quebec (1674-88) and onetime seigneur (1675-80) of Île Jésus.
There are reminders of the old, rural character of Île Jésus throughout Laval, including 26 roadside crosses, riverside parks and heritage village centres. Some former villages include churches dating back to the mid-1850s, such as those found in Sainte-Rose and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. Saint-Vincent-de-Paul is also well known for its fortress-like federal penitentiary, built in 1873.

Below are the resources added over the past weeks to the Resource Links page of our website. If you know of any websites related to the Laval region that could help with family history research, please let us know.

Births, Marriages, Deaths

Non-Catholic Parish Registers, 1849-1875 - Laval

This FamilySearch resource link for Laval includes the Church of England only. You need to scroll through image by image to access an 1849-1875 index of baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as the original church record.

Note: When you click on the resource link on our website, you must log in to FamilySearch to access the records.
Cemetery Transcriptions

Having trouble finding information about the death of your ancestors? Gravestone transcriptions are a 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. Some websites also include biographical information on the deceased that could help with your research.

Find A Grave

The Find A Grave database includes cemetery transcriptions for 10 locations in the Laval region. 
Below is a cemetery transcription and biography from the Saint-Francois-de-Sales Ancient cemetery. This was the location of the original cemetery for the parish of Saint-Francois-de-Sales, which was located on the extreme north east end of Île-Jesus. 

Wondering why your ancestors may have died young or suddenly? Perhaps a natural disaster affected their lives.



Montreal, June 16. -- The village of St. Rose, a fashionable summer resort, was entirely annihilated yesterday by a cyclone, the debris being deposited in the fields around about.
WILFRED ONIMET, aged 7, JULIA JOLY, aged 6, STANLEY DAUBIEN, aged 8, were killed and about twenty severely -- four fatally -- injured.

This storm is listed as the ninth deadliest tornado in Canadian history.


Laval's History and Heritage website
  • This website, in French only, will provide you with the history of Laval, including the origins of Île Jésus; an interactive and audio guide of Laval's heritage timeline; and a description of Laval's historical buildings, material, and preserved areas.

List of Historic Places in Laval
Resource links have been added to our website for the following historic buildings identifying Laval's rich and diversified heritage:

André-Benjamin-Papineau House - This Laval residence was built in 1820 for André Papineau (1765-1832), who bequeathed it to his son André-Benjamin (1809-1890) in 1832. He lived in the house from 1832 to 1886. Cousin of the leader of the Patriot Party Louis-Joseph Papineau (1786-1871), André-Benjamin Papineau is an important figure in the history of Île Jésus.

Charbonneau House - In 1711, the Séminaire de Québec granted land to the Charbonneau family. The property is part of the Saint-François-de-Salles parish, founded in 1721 on the eastern tip. This parish then included a seigneurial manor, a mill and a church. The Charbonneau family built the house during the 18th century. A stone marked "1736" suggests that it was built that year. Until 1878, the property belonged to the Charbonneau family and then, from 1885 to 1972, to the Chartrand family.
Joseph-Labelle House - This residence was probably built between 1735 and 1743 for Michel Charles, a prosperous inhabitant. The house takes its name from the owner responsible for modifications made in 1845.

Pierre-Paré House - This house was built in the first half of the 19th century by Pierre Paré. The elongated plan suggests a double occupation and one of the doors may have originally given access to Pierre Paré's blacksmith shop. The Paré family remained owners of the house until 1894.
Therrien House - The Therrien house was built around 1722 on a lot belonging to the Beauchamp family and served as a home for this family of farmers. The residence and several adjacent farm buildings were acquired by Charles Therrien in 1846. The Therrien family owned the house for 140 years.

Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary - Laval's historic sites would not be complete without the penitentiary in Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. Opened in 1873 as a correctional facility, this severe looking, uninviting stone prison was the second largest federal penitentiary in Canada and the only French-speaking correctional facility in the country until its closure in 1989. 

Links to four digitized newspapers have been added to the Laval region.
  • Echo Laval 1967-1968
  • L'Algonquin 1955
  • L'Observateur de Laval 1971-1972
  • Le Carabin Laval 1941-1969
Stay tuned for our next issue where we will be concentrating on administrative region 14 - Lanaudière !

If you have found an interesting resource link that is not on our website, please let us know and we will add it.
Did You Know?

Quebec's First Cemetery

Did you know that the site of Quebec's first cemetery is in an adjacent lot north of the Côte de la Montagne in Quebec City, halfway to the top? 

The Côte de la Montagne Cemetery in Old Québec was used from 1608 until 1688. Some 300 people are buried there. They were either originally from France or were Aboriginal people who converted to Christianity.

Today, a single wooden cross marks the cemetery's location. There was a time when several small crosses indicated gravesites.


In the News

Questions arise over dating of Quebec City archaeological discovery

However, the archeological firm that unveiled its find to the public to much fanfare is standing its ground about that discovery.

Excavation work at a site on Sainte-Ursule Street in Old Quebec uncovered a wooden stockade in the fall of 2018.

The stockade's location coincided with historical evidence found on a map, dating back to 1700, which shows the Beaucours palisade was built in the same spot.

At a November 2018 news conference to present the findings, they were described as "a major discovery" by Premier François Legault.

But an analysis of two pieces of wood from the structure done recently at Université Laval has called into question the theory that they're part of the first fortifications, suggesting the structure may not date all the way back to 1693.

Geography Prof. Martin Simard did a dendrochronological analysis — which dates the wood based on its tree rings — and found "beyond a reasonable doubt" that one sample dated back to 1751 and the other to 1775.

"Frankly, our results surprised us. We weren't expecting that at all," Simard said.

"Considering the strength of the message that the wall dated back to 1693, we were extra careful. We checked and double-checked to be sure."

Firm defends original theory

Simard's report was included as part of a 326-page document the archeology firm Ruralys submitted to the Quebec Ministry of Culture in early January.

The executive director of Ruralys, Dominique Lalande, said she was surprised to see this small section of the report spark such debate over the weekend, after it was reported by Radio-Canada.

"Specific analysis isn't always consistent with other archeological data," she said.

Lalande said the full report included historical maps and ground analysis, as well radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the trees that were chopped down to make the wooden beams.

The carbon tests, carried out in a laboratory in Miami, Fla., indicated the trees were cut down during the 17th century, in tune with the conclusion reached by Ruralys.

Asked about the discrepancy between the carbon-dating report and his findings, Simard said the dendrochronological analysis is far more precise and was, in fact, used by scientists in the development of carbon-14 dating to calibrate the carbon-dating method and check its accuracy.

Lalande said the science of archeology takes into account a combination of findings and data before going with one theory.

In this case, she said, there isn't any doubt in her mind the structure was indeed the Beaucours palisade.

Wall thought to have protected New France

Josué Dubois Berthelot de Beaucours, a French military engineer, drew the plans for the wooden fortifications built in 1693-94, designed to protect the colony from heavy artillery and cannon balls.

William Moss, who worked for Quebec City as chief archeologist for more than 30 years, pointed out that wall was replaced by stone fortifications in 1745.

Not directly involved in the research, he was nonetheless glad to see a "very enthusiastic, positive response" from politicians in 2018, when the announcement was made.

But holding a news conference, attended by the premier, the mayor and other officials before the final report was ready, was "hasty," he said.

"You have to do your analysis before you start putting information like that out."

Lalande said the timing of the announcement was decided by the Ministry of Culture. 

The final report submitted to the ministry has been "reviewed and approved," said ministry spokesperson Émilie Mercier.

"Everything leads us to believe it is indeed the Beaucours palisade," Mercier told CBC News.

The wooden structure is currently in the hands of the ministry's conservation centre in Quebec City, where the wood is undergoing a controlled drying process.

Mercier said no decision has been made about what will be done with it.

In 2018, Mayor Régis Labeaume called the discovery "huge" because it "reinforces our status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site," but he had little to say Monday about the contradictory evidence.

"Honestly, I have enough things on my plate," said Labeaume. "I won't get involved."

 Autosomal DNA Database Growth

JANUARY 17, 2020

The DNA Geek


New intel on database sizes has rolled in over the past 6 weeks, so it’s time to update the autosomal database growth graph! 

Sources for the new data points are at the end of the post.

23andMe typically reports their database size once a year in the early spring; expect new numbers from them at RootsTech.  If they have continued to grow at their last-reported rate, their database should be around 13.6 million.  However, it’s likely they’ve seen a decline in sales much like AncestryDNA.

Had the databases continued to grow at the rates prior to April 2018, AncestryDNA would have about 26.7 million people, 23andMe 17.8 million, Family Tree DNA 2.3 million, and GEDmatch 2.1 million.  Only MyHeritage has outperformed expectations, with 3.6 million predicted, compared with their latest report of 3.77 million.

  • When GEDmatch announced its sale to the forensics company Verogen, the database had reached 1.3 million.
  • A few weeks later, the estimate of the Family Tree DNA autosomal database on the International Society of Genetic Genealogy wiki was updated to 1.15 million.
  • In their end-of-year blog post, MyHeritage said they had 3.77 million kits in their database.
  • A couple of days ago, AncestryDNA updated the tally on their corporate page to 16 million.

23andMe lays off 100 people as DNA test sales decline, CEO says she was ‘surprised’ to see market turn

UPDATED THU, JAN 23 2020 5:54 PM EST

Christina Farr


  • 23andMe is laying off 100 people, as consumer DNA tests are down.
  • CEO Anne Wojcicki didn’t have a clear explanation for that, but cited a variety of factors, including both recession fears and privacy concerns.
  • Wojcicki said she anticipated that DNA testing would explode when she co-founded the business in 2007, but is now looking ahead to a retracting market.

Home DNA-testing company 23andMe is laying off about 100 people, or 14% of its staff, on Thursday, in the wake of declining sales.

The layoffs include the operations teams, which were focused on the company’s growth and scaling efforts, as well as other teams. In the coming months, the company plans to tighten its focus on the direct-to-consumer business and its therapeutics arm while scaling back its clinical studies arm.

CEO Anne Wojcicki told CNBC she’s been “surprised” to see the market starting to turn.

Wojcicki has theories, but she doesn’t have clear proof for why consumers are shying away from getting tests that reveal their percentage of Irish heritage, propensity for a favorite ice cream flavor, or whether they have a limited set of variants that are associated with breast cancer. Either way, she notes, she’s downsizing because it’s “what the market is ready for.”

“This has been slow and painful for us,” she said.

Wojcicki notes that privacy could be a factor. Fears about people’s DNA ending up in the wrong hands might have been heightened in the aftermath of the Golden State Killer case. Criminal investigations honed in on a suspect involved in a decades-old rapes and murders by running DNA found at the scene through a free online database where anyone who got their DNA tested through a company like 23andMe could upload it. A suspect was found because a distant relative had shared their genetic information -- showing how DNA data, unlike other kinds of data, is unique because it’s linked to and potentially exposes information about family members.

Read more

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