Linking Lives across Cultural Communities and Borders: New Developments in PRDH Quebec Family Reconstitution

Lisa Dillon, Université de Montréal
Bertrand Desjardins, Université de Montréal
Marilyn A. Gentil, Université de Montréal
Alain Gagnon, Université de Montréal

Since 1966, the Programme de recherche en démographie historique (PRDH) has worked to create comprehensive genealogical data of the Quebec population based on historic parish registers. Inter-institutional and inter-sectoral collaboration via the 2011-2017 IMPQ project and the Institut Généalogique Drouin (IGD) permitted PRDH record linkers to extend family reconstitution of the Quebec French Catholic population up to 1849. Pushing this family reconstitution forward to the mid nineteenth century has forced the PRDH team to reckon with the increasingly mixed and geographically mobile Quebec population of the nineteenth century. Beginning in 1825, the automatic record linkage procedures which hitherto allowed the PRDH to link at least 85% of baptisms, marriage and burials to family files, produced an increasing number of unresolved cases. Fortunately, access to a set of Protestant parish records from the IGD allowed the PRDH to resolve these cases, connecting Catholic baptisms and burials to mixed Catholic-Protestant couples. Simultaneously, the PRDH received for integration into their repertoire Protestant-Catholic marriages conducted in Quebec from 1760 to 1780; further additions include observations of African-origin and indigenous persons from Marcel Trudel’s dictionary of slaves in New France, as well as identifying midwives and Quebec men who served in the War of 1812. Third, the rising number of Quebec families with gaps between child births reflected migrations back and forth across the Ontario and U.S. border. Once again, access to IGD records has enabled the PRDH to begin integrating cross-border acts into the family reconstitution. Finally, a renewed collaboration with FamilySearch provided the opportunity to integrate census observations into the longitudinal data, beginning with the 1831 and 1852 censuses and eventually incorporating the 1825, 1844 and 1861 censuses. Our proposed paper will address these various initiatives and the way they will facilitate more in-depth consideration of historic life course paths and demographic outcomes.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 3. Ancestry and other Big Data – Collaboration between genealogical organizations and academics