37 million records spanning 346 years now open to all Canadians in celebration of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day
Montreal, QC (June 22, 2010) Ancestry.ca, Canada’s leading family history website, today announced that in honour of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, it will be offering Canadians three days of free access to the fully searchable indexes for the historic Drouin Collection. This is the most comprehensive collection of French-Canadian and Quebec historical records in existence, spanning 346 years from 1621 to 1967.
The indexes include 37 million records in baptism, marriage and burial records, and also a compilation of church records from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and various New England states.
The collection also contains confirmation records which often list the child’s mother’s maiden name, an often hard to obtain family history detail.
In addition to finding one’s own ancestors, the Drouin Collection contains records for many famous French-Canadians, and their ancestors, including Pierre Trudeau, Celine Dion and Henri and Maurice Richard. (original images available)
Family history enthusiasts can also trace their lineage back to the founding families of Quebec and Acadia, which includes that of Zacharie Cloutier, a common ancestor of distant cousins Celine Dion, Madonna and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. (Cloutier family tree / original images available)
The Drouin Collection can be searched in French or English by name, date, place, church or institution, and religion.
The History of the Drouin Collection:
From the early 1600s, the Catholic parishes of Quebec kept meticulous records of their members’ baptisms, marriages and burials. The Quebec Government soon required the Catholic Church to provide it with copies of all its records and in doing so became the central holder for Quebec’s vital records.
Joseph Drouin founded The Drouin Genealogical Institute in 1899, using Quebec’s vital records to research and sell family genealogies. His son Gabriel assumed stewardship in 1938, dedicating himself to microfilming and indexing Quebec’s vital records; this important work formed what became the Institute’s principal reference collection.
Many of these original records have been destroyed or lost while access to the remaining documents is nearly impossible, making the microfilmed copies available in the collection rare and valuable.
Recognizing its historical significance, Ancestry.ca secured the right to host the collection online.
Karen Peterson, Managing Director, Ancestry.ca comments: “More than five million Canadians have French ancestry so the Drouin Collection is of huge national relevance, not to mention the significance of the collection to millions of people worldwide that have French-Canadian family ties.”
The Drouin Collection will be free to access from June 24-26.
Officially Canada’s leading website for family history resources*, Ancestry.ca has 126 million Canadian records in such collections as the complete Historical Canadian Censuses from 1851 to 1916, Ontario and British Columbia vital records from as early as 1813, Quebec vital Records (The Drouin Collection), Canadian Passenger Lists and U.S. / Canada Border Crossings.
Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains five billion records. To date more than 17 million family trees have been created and 1.7 billion names and 35 million photographs and stories uploaded. (Figures current as of June 1, 2010)
The Ancestry global network of family history websites - www.ancestry.ca in Canada, www.ancestry.com in the US, www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.de in Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.fr in France, www.ancestry.se in Sweden and www.jiapu.com in China.