|~ GENEALOGY ON THE MOVE IN MONTREAL ~|
I discovered genealogy about 25 years ago. I remember the first time I visited the National Archives of Québec (ANQ) in their
old building. There were many shelves with repertoires. It was the first time for me to use this kind of tool while building my
genealogical tree. An impression still strong in my memory is when I opened the book with the marriages of Shefford County, and
found that my grandparents were listed there. It was a bit more complicated to get the subsequent generations - no Blue Drouin, no
computer databases. Since then so many new genealogy resources have appeared, but many resources were removed to other
The old Archives, in the old Court House of Montréal, was first moved to a school in the Pointe Saint Charles Ward with easy parking
and every resource on the same floor. But recently, they moved again to a new building on Viger Street with four floors. The
reference books and the old microfilm drawers are on the first floor. Next floor has the microfilm viewers and the Drouin microfilm
collection. The last floor has the original records. Most vital records were microfilmed, so it is more likely that you will request the
notary records. The new building is on Viger Street and has limited parking. It is downtown Montréal, a few streets from the
Berri-UQAM Metro station.
Another place I discovered in the 1980s was the Salle Gagnon - a basement with so many repertoires.
They purchased nearly all the genealogy books they could. It was the place to get the Blue Drouin; the Drouin microfilms; the vital
records from many New England states; and indexes of many US censuses. That building was somewhat old. In the 1990s, they
had to close it because of the threat of collapse – fortunately that never happened. They moved to a temporary building across the
street with a smaller collection, then moved back to the renovated old building when it was finished. Recently, however, the Salle
Gagnon was closed and most collections were moved to the National Archives building. Some books are at the Grande Bibliothèque
du Québec (GBQ). (See below.)
While visiting those places, someone told me there was more to see at the courthouse but to go there,
I needed to be a member of a genealogical society. That is why I originally became a member of the Société Généalogique
Canadienne Française (SGCF) and, in the next year, a Life Member. I knew by this time I was bitten by the genealogy virus! The SGCF
was located on Saint Denis Street at this time. They were genealogists, so guess what? They moved to another place on Rosemont
Street, and again to Sherbrooke Street where they filled the basement of a church.
In the 1980s, one could go to any courthouse in Quebec and copy all the vital records up to the previous year.
Later, the vital records were transferred to about 45 courthouses in February each year. I visited them, and took each register in
hand to look for any new Beauregard or Jarret. I then copied them to my laptop. At the end of 1993, all the vital records were moved
to two new buildings in Montréal and Québec City. With that move, they changed the law so genealogists could no longer see the
recent vital records.
Another place to do genealogy in Montréal was the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec (BNQ).
It was located on Saint Denis Street too, but in the south of the town, far from the old location of SGCF. The collection was less
important, but some books were only at that location. Now Quebec law says that when a new book is published, you must send two
copies at the BNQ. One is for the internal collection but the other must be available to the visitors of the library.
When the BNQ moved, the mission remained the same but the collections came under the same authority as the ANQ.
The new building, called La Grande Bibliothèque du Québec (GBQ), is on Berri Street. While there were only few visitors to the old
building, this new one is usually crowded. The genealogy collections of the previous ANQ, BNQ and Salle Gagnon were merged and
most books, microfilms and computers are at the ANQ building while some books are at the BNQ building. The computer catalogue
of the BNQ has the listing of all resources.
To summarize, nearly all places where you could do genealogy in Montreal only five years ago were moved to new locations, closed
or merged with other collections.
The places to go now are:
1. Archives Nationales du Québec (ANQ)
535, avenue Viger Est,
Montréal (Québec) H2L 2P3
Web site (Same as GBQ): http://www.banq.qc.ca/portal/dt/accueil.jsp?bnq_langue=en
Use the genealogy tab on the 2nd line
Click here for map
2. Grande Bibliothèque du Québec (GBQ)
475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est,
Montréal (Québec) H2L 5C4
Web site is the same as the ANQ above Click here for map
3. Société Généalogique Canadienne Française (SGCF)
Montréal (Québec) H1W 2Z5
Web site: http://www.sgcf.com/en/ Click here for map