This data bank includes 16,201 entries that can be used to trace the inventories after death available in the notarial records of the judicial districts in and around Montréal from 1791 to 1840. The following districts are covered:
For each inventory listed, entries specify the reference number of the notary at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (the CN number), the name of the notary, the date of the act, the name of the deceased, the name of the spouse, if there was one, and the occupation of the deceased or of the deceased's spouse. Where possible, English names of occupations have been translated into French. The translations are given in parentheses after the English. The other fields cover the place of residence of the deceased and specific comments about the act. It will be pointed out, for instance, whether certain acts in the index are not actually inventories after death, but rather statements of insolvency, inventories of property following an application for separation or for a restraining order against a person, or even, in certain cases, minutes of sale, which we have kept in this index to make up for the absence of an inventory after death for the persons concerned. The note ("Remarques") field may also contain a variety of other information about the deceased or the deceased's spouse's occupation or status.
This online index renders more readily accessible to all researchers the information contained in an index of inventories that is already available, in a print version, at the Montréal centre of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The print index covers just under 7,000 inventories after death that figure in the minutes of notaries in the judicial district of Montréal from 1791 to 1840 (all the notarial records classified under CN 601 at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec). It was produced by a research group at the history department of the Université de Montréal, under my direction, with the help of various partners including the National Archives of Canada and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The extraction of the information in the acts contained in the minutes and the computerization of the data were accomplished mainly by two students of the Université de Montréal who were working at the time as research assistants, namely, Leila Naufal and Madelaine Vallières. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the research group on the history of material culture and levels of wealth, and more specifically Jean-Pierre Wallot. The latter kindly provided access to an index on paper of inventories after death available in the notarial records of the district of Montréal dating between 1792 and 1812. The computerized data entry of our first index was done in the mid-1980s using CDS-ISIS software. The software and the design of the computerized form for data entry were provided by the National Archives of Canada.
The new, online index includes more than 9,000 new entries of inventories after death available in the notarial minutes of the other judicial districts in the Montréal area for the years 1791 to 1840.
The extraction of information from the new acts was done over a period of years by myself and various students employed as research assistants engaged either in individual research projects or in a collective project on pre-industrial Montréal. Its initial purpose was to trace as thoroughly as possible the inventories after death available in notarial minutes in order to better plan prospective research by graduate students and by members of the research group on changing standards of living and social groups in the Montréal area. Given that purpose, the index of acts was not systematically revised. Nor was information written down in a standardized way. For instance, the spelling of names is not uniform in all records of the new, online index. Nevertheless, I enthusiastically accepted the proposal of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec to disseminate the data bank because I am convinced that, despite certain shortcomings, the new computerized index will facilitate the lengthy task of finding inventories for numerous amateur and professional researchers, ethnologists, genealogists and historians.
Université de Montréal