In a press release announced today, Ancestry.ca, the largest Canadian family history web site, announced a partnership with the Universite de Montreal to index the complete Drouin Collection, long considered by the genealogical community to be the best resource for French-Canadian family history records. The Drouin Collection contains nearly 12 million records from 1621 to the 1940s, and includes 37 million French-Canadian names and 3.6 million images. The collection represents all vital records from Quebec -- including baptism, marriage and burial -- as well as a compilation of church records from Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and various New England states in America. Records of the Drouin Collection are now digitized and available on Ancestry.ca and are expected to be fully indexed by the end of 2007.
"Providing Canadians with online access to the Drouin Collection will be a major milestone for family history research to help everyone from professionals to beginners research their French-Canadian roots," said Tim Sullivan, CEO, The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.ca. "Examining a cross-section of Ancestry.ca's record collections, you can see the multicultural heritage and history of Canada, which includes people of English, French, Scottish, Irish and African heritage."
Ancestry.ca is in the final stages of developing a French interface enabling native French speakers access to the more than 5 billion names found in its entire collection of historical records.
In reporting the story, the Montreal Gazette notes,"While some services are free, Canadian clients can expect to pay $9.95 a month or $47.40 a year for access to Canadian registry alone," but adds, given the right tools, "descendants of French Quebec will easily be able to trace their families back 10 or 12 generations."