Voyageur Contracts Database

The Voyageur Database is the result of a twenty years labour extracting data from reports of the archivist for the Province of Quebec and from microfilms of the Protonotaire Montréal Greffes de notaires fonds of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec.

Initially Alfred Fortier, executive director of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface (1990-2002), created a database which became the starting point for a more ambitious project undertaken by Dr. Nicole St-Onge of the University of Ottawa and Dr. Robert Englebert of the University of Saskatchewan, assistant director of the project.

The final project became a part of the National Research Initialive of the Métis National Council.

Access the database.  (To select the Voyageur Database exclusively, click on "Advanced Search and Browse" and select Voyageurs in the "Source" menu)

The Voyageur Database includes data from approximately 35,900 fur trade contracts signed in front of Montreal notaries between 1714 and 1830.

It is currently the single largest collection of data regarding the contracts signed by men of the Montreal fur trade. The information collected from the contracts includes: family names, parishes of origin, hiring company, length of contract, destination(s), advancces and wages, supplies, conditions of hire, the name of the notary, date of signing, and miscellaneous notes.

The Voyageur Database provides a valuable new tool for conducting research. Métis and French-Canadian genealogists will find it particularly useful for charting families across time and space, as will labour and social historians.

The database provides information on a group that was mostly illiterate and thus previously difficult to document and write about. The Voyageur Database documents the expansion of a continental system of trade that had a profound effect on peoples and communities, throughout the continent.

ST-ONGE, Nicole. The persistance of travel and trade: St. Lawrence river valley Franch engagés and the American Fur Company, 1818-1840  in Michigan Historical Review, Fall 2008. (Taken from Web findarticles.com)

GODBOUT, Suzanne. Sur la piste du temps avec les voyageurs in Perspectives sur la recherche, Numéro d'automne, novembre 2006.


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