If you’re looking for your Canadian ancestors, there are a number of materials out there that can help.

1. The Drouin Collection is now available through Ancestry.com. It comes from the work of  Joseph Drouin, who founded the Drouin Genealogical Institute, and captures more than 25 million French-Canadian and English vital and church records, starting in 1621 and ending in 1967.

2. The PRDH (Research Programme in Historical Demography) is also a database, with personal histories of 17th and 18th century Quebec ancestors of all French-Canadians, produced by the University of Montreal. Access is subscription-based.

3. The Loiselle Marriage Index, on FamilySearch, has more than 1 million marriage records from Catholic dioceses of Quebec, Madawaska and eastern Ontario.

4. Genealogy research site CyndisList has a separate category just for Canada and is not to be missed.

5. Each province has its own archives, and contact information is available through Library and Archives Canada.

You can find many more resources at the Maine State Library. You’ll find provincial censuses, many published vital records compiled by Jean-Guy Poitras, a sizeable collection of parish marriage records, and some genealogical periodicals.

Here are some highlights:

6. Bona Arsenault’s “Histoire et Genealogie des Acadiens,” published in Quebec in 1978. (It’s in French but has supplementary guidance material.)

7. Noel Montgomery Elliot’s “The Atlantic Canadians, 1600-1900: An Alphabetized Directory of the People, Places and Vital Dates,” published in 1994.

8. New Brunswick Genealogical Society’s “New Brunswick Vital Statistics from Newspapers,” going back to the 19th century, published in 30 volumes from 1982 to 2004.

9. Youville Labonte’s “200 Family Trees, 1590-1979: from France to Canada to U.S.A.,” 70 volumes, published by the author in Auburn from 1979 to 1993.

The library also lends state residents the following handbooks to assist people in their research:

10. Sherry Irvine’s “Finding Your Canadian Ancestors: a Beginner’s Guide,” 2007.

11. Betterway Books’, “The Family Tree Guide Book: Everything You Need to Know to Trace Your Genealogy Across North America,” 2003

12. Angus Baxter’s “In Search of Your Canadian Roots: Tracing Your Family Tree in Canada,” 2000.

13. Althea Douglas’ “Tools of the Trade for Canadian Genealogy: A Guide for Family Historians Researching in Canada,” 2000.

14. Take a look at “Miller’s Manual: a Research Guide to the Major French-Canadian Genealogical Resources, What They Are and How to Use Them.”

15. Look up historian Cyprien Tanguay, who wrote a genealogical dictionary of French-Canadian families from the years 1608 through 1760.

16. Rene Jette’s genealogy research deals with Quebec families from about 1621 to 1730.

Search our online catalog for whatever place or family you’re looking for by clicking here. And feel free to ask for a copy of our handout, “Genealogical Resources for Eastern Canada.”


Emily A. Schroeder is staff genealogist at the Maine State Library.