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My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Notaries, A Friend Gives an Explanation.

All Saints Anglican Church, Dunham, Quebec
taken by Barbara Poole, 2000



Recently, I have been going through old research papers, and one had information about a service Pennie Redmile was offering to those doing research in Missisquoi Co., Quebec, Canada. I used her service, and we have remained friends since before 2003. Recently, I asked her if she would write a few paragraphs about Notaries. I believe my readers doing Canadian research will be interested in learning about them. Pennie is no longer doing this work, but she was willing to write about Notaries as a guest writer. Thank you, Pennie.



Notaries

Unlike other places, notaries in Quebec were responsible for many many transactions. Even to today, a will drawn up by a notary  does not need to be probated. --- Aside from wills, notaries were responsible for many  other transactions. It wasn't uncommon for a notary who worked for 40 years to have  over 100,000 documents. Aside from wills, there were marriage contracts, estate inventories (a complete list of holdings when a person died), indentures & apprenticeships, protests, (disagreements over anything from estate matters to business partnerships) all land transactions were handled by notaries, "gifts"  could be another, a father giving land or possessions to a son or daughter, or it could be a son promising to care for his parents for their lifetime. When  a person bought or sold an item -- even a horse or carriage --there likely was a   "sale".. When the army bought beef for the soldiers, there was a contract .Only once did I ever see an adoption carried out by a notary. The list is quite endless. There were many many hundreds of notaries in Quebec-- which makes finding the  records for a specific family quite daunting a task. The Montreal Archives have posted some notary indexes or repertoires to their website. An index was an alphabetical  day to day  listing of  each  transaction. However to locate a specific person , one must check the entire  listing for that letter of the alphabet. If a man had a marriage contract drawn up  & 40 years later had a will drawn up -- the two documents will be found in the time frame they were contracted.  A repertoire was a different book kept by the notary & was a day to day  chronological  listing of the events.  

Also --especially in rural areas , one will find  tutorships & curatorships in with the notary records. These are  court documents & was another fantastic provision  (not mandatory) that people could  benefit from.  When a  spouse died , the surviving  spouse could petition the court  for  a "tutor" & "sub tutor" for the minor children. The person would go to court & give  the name of the deceased  (maiden name if it was the mother)  & occupation & residence. They give the names of all minor children  & often their ages or dates of birth. If married outside Quebec, it will often state where the couple was married..  The petitioner  asks the court to appoint 3-5 men to choose the tutor. The names of the men are cited, their relationship to the minor children , their occupations & place of residence. These men  will choose a "tutor" (caregiver for the children) & it was usually the surviving parent. Then a "sub tutor" would be chosen from the men  & he would be  instantly responsible for the care of the children should the  "tutor" become ill  or die or etc.

The tutorships carry a great deal of genealogical information  & they are  held in the  nearest archives to the region  & are known in French as "tutelles". The curatorships are much the same idea-- but there are voluntary & involuntary curatorships. Some man who inherited money might request one --to have help in dealing with the  money. An involuntary  one could be a  a person who couldn't care for himself  being taken to court by family to see that he was properly cared for. It was usually family  who took on these responsibilities  when the need arose. The "curatorships" in French are called "curetelles" .


See: 
How to order a notary record from the Quebec Archives after finding it in an index on Ancestry on Gail Dever's Post dated Sept. 1, 2017, link shown below.
http://genealogyalacarte.ca/?p=20640

2 comments:

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Perhaps this is part of the Napoleonic code? I've noticed that many documents I've found in Spain used notaries, and we had to use notaries in both Spain and Puerto Rico when my father-in-law died, to settle his estate in both places. Everything required multiple notarizations (seals and stamps) and it took a long time to get all the paperwork in order.

Barbara Poole said...

I don't know the origin of notaries, but am very glad they existed. They have the Canadian ones at NEHGS, but I'm not sure if they are online...I should look. If they are, I'll put in the link.