Birth, Marriage, Death Records in Quebec
Up to 1759, the non-native population in Quebec was predominantly Catholic, since no Protestant churches were permitted, and nearly 95 percent of our European immigrant population at the time came from France.
Since 1765, the part of the population that is considered French or Francophone has maintained itself at 80 to 85 percent Catholic. The other ethnic groups generally kept their religions. This is an important point because up to 1993, Quebec's official vital statistics are classified by religion.
The vital statistics of Quebec were maintained by the Catholic Church (for the Catholics), and after 1765 (for the non-Catholics) by the ministers and rabbis. Civil marriages have only been permitted since 1969. This all changed in 1993 with changes to the Vital Statistics Act.
On one hand, we have the Catholic registers where the marriages are almost always present and complete and are often found indexed in an assortment of repositories. On the other hand, the early non-Catholic registers are often missing the names of the parents, at least up to the 20th century.
The principal tools used by Quebec genealogists are those of the Catholic Church's marriage records, mostly in repositories that have been classified by county. Some databases, such as the Loiselle and the Drouin, contain between 500,000 and one million names.