Notarial Records

Would you like to know more about the daily lives of your New France and Quebec ancestors? Then you might be interested in looking at notarial records, where you can find a wealth of information about your ancestors’ goods and properties, and any transactions they may have entered into with others. The oldest known notarial record dates back to 1635.

A notarial record is a private agreement written by a notary in the form of a contract. Some of the most common ones are marriage contracts, wills, estate inventories, leases, and sales contracts.

Notarial records are held by the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), but Library and Archives Canada holds copies of some records in the collection, Fonds des greffes de notaires du Québec. You can also use the advanced search to look up the name of an individual or a notary.

Sale made by Nicolas Réaume and Charles-Noël Réaume to their brother Alexis. Notary F. Le Guay, May 9, 1781. Library and Archives Canada, MG18, H-44, vol. 8, 4 pages.

Sale made by Nicolas Réaume and Charles-Noël Réaume to their brother Alexis. Notary F. Le Guay, May 9, 1781. Library and Archives Canada, MG18, H-44, vol. 8, 4 pages. (e000102246)

How to search for notarial records

You can use a variety of tools to search for notarial records. For the oldest records from 1635 to 1784, consult the Parchemin database, developed by the Archiv-Histo historical research society (French only), which provides an abstract of each notarial record (date of the record, name of the notary, names of the parties, etc.). Parchemin is available at BAnQ, and in some public libraries, and archives.

You can also consult several name indexes (French only) for various regions in Quebec. Through a large-scale digitization project, you also have access to online directories and indexes of notaries from all regions of Quebec up to 1933 through BAnQ’s Archives des notaires du Québec (French only).

Once you have found a reference, you can consult the original record on paper or on microfilm. You may even be able to consult it online as BAnQ, in collaboration with FamilySearch, will eventually have all the records available online.

24 thoughts on “Notarial Records

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  4. Of course the wills I need are not online 😦 Index is nice but tells little details 🙂 Hope it does not take long.

  5. I have a relative who lived in Montreal and passed away in the 1990s. Are probate records this recent available online for Montreal/Quebec?

  6. I am trying to obtain copies of Wills recorded in Quebec in 1891 and 1896. I can find a record online that the Wills were recorded, but not copies of the actual Wills. Would someone please be so kind as to let me know what the process is to obtain copies of the Wills? Thank you for your attention to my request.

    • Hello Ms. Nelson,
      I am not 100% clear on your question, but I will attempt to answer it.

      If you go to the BANQ’s Fonds des greffes de notaires du Québec and locate the notary that registered the will, for example, Louis Lavoie and in the left sidebar there will appear a list of the acts that the notary registered. In his case, you can see the acts chronologically or through a name index. It must be noted that the actual text of the acts are only available for some notaries.

      I would recommend that you contact BANQ directly for further guidance. They have an Ask a question form ( which will direct it to the right person.

      • Thank you very much for your reply. This is very helpful and I appreciate the information.

  7. Are there general templates available to help decipher the notarial records for wills, obligations, donations, engagements etc.? I am trying to sift through a Quebec notarial obligation record from 1817 and most of the writing is very difficult to read. As with the parish records , there usually is a general format the clergy followed which really facilitates reading through them.

  8. I am looking for a Will written by a brother. Where would I look? I’m told by an Ontario lawyer that Quebec has a registry.

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