Those of us researching French-Canadian ancestry have long used the Drouin Collection, previously available as printed books and (in a very few places) as a computer database. Both lacked indexes, however. The result was a huge resource with a lot of valuable information that was hard to use. You typically had to know the name, parish, and approximate date before you could find the record(s) you wanted. Now the Université de Montréal and Ancestry.ca have announced a partnership to index the 37 million French-Canadian names in the Drouin Collection.
Here is the announcement:
ANCESTRY.CA PARTNERS WITH UNIVERSITÉ DE MONTRÉAL TO INDEX THE DROUIN COLLECTION OF FRENCH-CANADIAN VITAL RECORDS
More Than 12 Million Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records for French Canadians from 1621 to the 1940s; New Collection Includes Oldest French-Canadian Family History Records
Provo, Utah - Ancestry.ca, the largest Canadian family history website, today announced a partnership with the Université de Montréal to index the complete Drouin Collection, long considered by the genealogical community to be the best resource for French-Canadian family history records. The Drouin Collection contains nearly 12 million records from 1621 to the 1940s, and includes 37 million French-Canadian names and 3.6 million images. The collection represents all vital records from Quebec-including baptism, marriage and burial-as well as a compilation of church records from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and various New England states in America. Images from the Drouin Collection are now digitized and available on Ancestry.ca and are expected to be fully indexed by the end of 2007.
"Providing Canadians with online access to the Drouin Collection will be a major milestone for family history research to help everyone from professionals to beginners research their French-Canadian roots," said Tim Sullivan, CEO, The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.ca. "Examining a cross-section of Ancestry.ca's record collections, you can see the multicultural heritage and history of Canada, which includes people of English, French, Scottish, Irish and African heritage."
The Drouin Collection contains six separate databases: Quebec Vital Records, Ontario French-Catholic Church Records, Acadian Catholic Church Records, Early U.S. French-Catholic Church Records, Quebec Notarial Records and various other French Records. Experts at the Université de Montréal will assist in classifying records based on their location and will ensure that the French names and dates are properly transcribed.
"The partnership between Ancestry.ca and Université de Montréal is a significant accomplishment for demographic research in Quebec, to make available precious French-Canadian civil records which have never before been indexed," said Bertrand Desjardins, Senior Researcher, Demography Department, Université de Montréal. "The Université de Montréal is working closely with Ancestry.ca to verify and transcribe the collection. For the millions of people across Canada and North America with French-Canadian ancestry, indexing these records will allow access to information which was previously extremely difficult to obtain and search."
In the 1930s, Gabriel Drouin, an entrepreneur and capitalist, created what has come to be known as the Drouin Collection by tracking down and duplicating local church records in French-speaking areas, including parts of Maine. For nearly a century, the Drouin Genealogical Institute was the largest genealogy research company in Quebec, producing family trees for those of French-Canadian heritage, and the only location to offer access to the records. Ninety-five percent of the records are from the province of Quebec and are written in French.
Ancestry.ca is in the final stages of developing a French interface enabling native French speakers access to the more than 5 billion names found in its entire collection of historical records.
Ancestry.ca is the leading online site for Canadian family history records, with the first and only online collection of vital records for Ontario and the only fully indexed 1851, 1901, 1906 and 1911 Censuses of Canada. Ancestry.ca is operated by The Generations Network, the leading online network connecting families across distance and time. The Generations Network' tools, content and community empower individuals to find the people most important to them-and discover and share their unique family stories. In addition to Ancestry.ca, The Generations Network of properties includes MyFamily.com, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.co.uk, Ancestry.com.au, Ancestry.de, Genealogy.com and RootsWeb.com. The Generations Network also publishes Family Tree Maker® (No. 1 selling family tree software), Ancestry Magazine, over 50 book titles and numerous databases on CD-ROM. For more information on Ancestry.ca, visit http://www.ancestry.ca
About the Université de Montréal
Deeply rooted in Montreal and dedicated to its international mission, the Université de Montréal is one of the top universities in the French-speaking world. Founded in 1878, the Université de Montréal today has 13 faculties and together with its two affiliated schools, HEC Montréal and École Polytechnique, constitutes the largest centre of higher education and research in Québec, the second largest in Canada, and one of the major centres in North America. It brings together 2,400 professors and researchers, accommodates more than 55,000 students, offers some 650 programs at all academic levels, and awards about 3,000 masters and doctorate diplomas each year.