Monday, March 21, 2011

Another source for early French Canadian contracts

From someplace or another I found that there were two more files to look up -- both were supposedly at Library and Archives Canada.
These were:
1. Ermatinger Estate Fonds, MG 19 A2 -- Contracts for voyageurs in west Canada 1773-1780, vol.2; and
2. Quebec, Lower Canada & Canada East Licences in fur trade, 1763-1790, vols. 110-115, Reels H-1096 to H-1098.

These are old numbers in Library and Archives Canada (LAC) -- the new number for these latter reels (H-1096, H-1097, and H-1098) is RG 4 B28, vol. 110, vol. 111, vol. 112, and vol. 113, folis 208 to 1842.
LAC identified these documents as being Bonds, Licences and Certificates, 1763-1867, and said:
"The fur trade licences (volumes 110-115) were reorganized in 1978, to restore the original numerical order, and were repaired.
"Several items with unusal postal markings and seals were placed in the vault (leaving photocopies for reference purposes).
"The trade licences presented several problems for microfilming.
"Ink bleed-through has been severe, affecting legibility to some extent.
"The necessity of laminating most pages in order that broken folds could be repaired and some strength could be given to the paper also inhibited legibility.
"Some inks had faded badly and would not give sufficient contract with the paper."

Now you know why its so darn hard to find voyageurs contracts!
I did not have any good fortune in finding anything relevant to me on these reels, but you might.
'Fonds' is the word that archives uses to identify certain collections of papers; 'folios' means pages.

I was more successful with the Ermatinger Estate fonds.
My scrap of paper tells me that the new number for the Ermatinger Estate fonds is R772-0-7E, and that the old number is MG19 A2.
It identifies the Jacobs-Ermatinger estate as a series, part of Ermatinger estate fonds, 1758-1862.
"Series consists of the Jacob-Ermatinger estate papers which constitute a collection of primary importance for studies of the economic history of Lower Canada, the fur trade, and business in general.
"Included are all manner of business records: day books, journals, ledgers, waste books, cash books, vouchers, bills of exchange, receipts, engagements, correspondence, statement of account, wills, powers of attorney, proces-verbaux and various other legal papers relating to court settlements ...."
"Volumes 1-27 are available on microfilm reel C-1337 to C1342...."
I knew from my source I needed volume 2, and so ordered reels C1337 and C1338.
I actually found a Beaulieu in this collection....
Folio 568, with handwritten date 11 May 1769, said: "I Joseph Beaulieux chez Pierre fortin ....."
It's written in French and obviously Joseph Beaulieux signed the document.
Thus we presume that this is not our Joseph Beaulieu......but it was a great find anyway.
You never know, though.
Maybe 'our Beaulieu' had a family member -- father or uncle -- who was literate and who signed up voyageurs for the fur trade.

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