In 1795, Alexander Ellice (or Ellis), a wealthy English merchant, purchased the Seigniory of Beauharnois, the largest in french Canada. It was this seigniory that became the County of Beauharnois and the largest part of the County of Châteauguay. He and his descendants held possession of this huge tract of land during most of the next 60 or more years. It was during this period when large numbers of the expanding French-Canadian population and immigrants from the British Isles (mostly Scotland) settled the virgin lands. The Ellice family also acquired, through grants and purchases, large tracts of land in the Godmanchester and Hinchinbrooke Townships of neighboring Huntingdon County as well as lands in the "Eastern Townships" of Quebec, east of the Richelieu River.
During the course of their activities, the Seignior of Beauharnois and his agents amassed a massive number of documents, mostly concerning land transactions and financial deals with the settlers. It also included legal documents from the numerous court cases involving delinquent debtors and squatters especially the infamous "Russelltown Dispute". They document the important decisions and movements of the settlers and are a valuable source of historical information about the people who settled the Châteauguay Valley. These documents were purchased from the Ellice family by the Scottish Archives in Edinborough where serious researchers can access them. The National Archives in Ottawa also have microfilms of these documents and there is some evidence that the Ottawa films contain documents not in the ANQ set. More research will clarify this.
The Archives Nationales du Quebec (ANQ) has a collection of 10 rolls of microfilm that record more than 4000 of these documents. Some years ago, they prepared a subject or title index of most of these documents that comprised two books totalling over 200 pages. There are two problems with this index. First, it is indexed in the order that the documents appear on the films. In order to search a particular name, one must search through all 200 pages of the index books. To solve this problem, I have prepared an alphabetic surname index. Secondly, the interpretation of the names on the document titles is full of errors, both in the french and the english or scottish names. In order to improve this situation, I accessed each document and tried to verify the name. The old handwriting and various spellings made this difficult and I am sure that I did not catch all the errors. Nevertheless, the following surname index should be a big improvement over the original title index. Important: Please read the Disclaimer.
This surname index lists all the principal names (other than those mentioned below) shown on the title of the document. However many documents are entitled "...to John Smith et al" and the body of the document may contain one or more relatives, partners or associates to the transaction documented. In some cases where it was necessary to scan the document itself to verify the title name(s), these additional names were noted and added to the index. They are by no means complete. In addition most all of the titles contained the name of the seignior or one of his agents. These names have generally not been indexed. Also not included are the names of officials (sheriffs, judges, notaries, attorneys, etc) and corporations (municipal and private).
The Surname IndexA B Bo C Ci D E F G H I J K L Le Lf M Mc Md N O P Q R S T U V W X Y
For the purpose of simplifying this web page, the types of documents indexed have been grouped together into five classes.
- 1 - Land Transactions
- Sales (both notarial documents and private (Sous Seing Prive) arrangements), Promise of Sales, Concessions, Commutations, Leases, Transfers, Exchanges, etc.
- 2 - Financial Transactions
- Loans, Acquittances, invoices, receipts, etc.
- 3 - Legal Documents
- Complaints, Summons, Subpoenas, Testimony, Petitions, Judgements, Writs, etc.
- 4 - Correspondence
- Letters and other correspondence between the Seignior and his agents, between settlers and the agents, etc.
- 5 - Misc
- Anything not included in the above classes.
The original ANQ title index was divided into two (2) books. Book I listed Notarial documents, grouped by the notary's name in alphabetic order and within each notary's group, listed in chronological order. Book II listed all other documents, grouped by general class. For your convenience, these groups are listed in the following tables.
Ellice Family Fonds - Index Book I Doc# Range Notary Name Date Range 1 - 9 ADAMS, Louis 1844-1856 10 BARBEAU, Louis 1819 11 - 14 BASSINET, François Clovis 1859-1870 15 BEAUCHEMIN, Joseph 1872 16 BEAUDOIN, C. Gaspard, père 1856 17 - 145 BEAUDRY, Georges Aimé 1852-1861 146 - 150 BEDARD, Charles 1854-1870 151 BEDOUIN, Joseph 152 - 154 BELLE, Joseph 1857 155 - 157 BENOIT, Pierre 1852 158 - 182 BISSON, Alexis Raphael 1855-1877 183 - 184 BOURASSA, Ignace Gamelin 1801-1804 185 BRISSET, Joseph 1839 186 - 847 BROSSOIT, Joachin 1859-1879 848 BRUNET, Hyancinthe 1852 849 BUREAU, Jacques Olivier 1853 850 CARDINEL, J. Narcisse 1831 851 CHARLEBOIS, Jean Alfred 1852 1830 COURSELLES, Gédéon 1830 853 - 854 CRAWFORD, William Nicolas 1834 855 DAVID, Joseph 1847 856 - 864 DEMERS, Louis 1806-1863 865 - 867 DEPAROIS, Louis 1848-1858 868 - 871 DOUCET, Théodore 1847 - 1867 872 - 874 DOUCET, Nicolas Benjamin 1831 - 1844 875 - 876 DUBOIS, Antoine Alexis 1807 - 1825 877 - 881 DUMESNIL, G. Hyacinthe 1853-1854 882 DUPERE, Pierre Henry 1833 883 McDONELL, S.S. 1865 884 D'ESCHAMBEAULT, Guillaume F. 1864 885 GAMELIN, Pierre 1825 886 GARAND, Moïse 1857 887 - 934 GERVAIS, Louis 1852 - 1867 935 - 941 GIBB, Isaac Jones 1842-1855 942 GRIFFIN, Henry 1839 943 - 1032 HAINAULT, Louis 1840-1858 1033 - 1041 HARNOIS, François Xavier 1838-1853 1042 HOULE, Jean-Baptiste 1861 1043 - 1045 HUNTER, James Stewart 1867 1046 HUOT, Charles 1853 1047 - 1049 HURTEAU, Isidore 1841-1850 1050 ISAACSON, John Helder 1861 1051 - 1052 JOBIN, André Damasse 1865-1868 1053 - 1054 LABADIE, J. Augustin 1836-1853 1055 LACOSTE, Louis 1830 1056 LAMONTAGNE, C. Hornudas 1855 1057 LANDRY, J. Prosper 1874 1058 - 1062 LANGEVIN, François T. 1842-1849 1063 LAPPARE, Henri 1843 1064 - 1094 LEBLANC, Ovide 1826-1844 1095 - 1413 LEBRUN, Charles Mentor 1832-1867 1414 - 1605 LEONARD, Joseph 1848-1865 1606 - 1607 LEPAILLEUR, François 1836 1608 - 1655 LERICHE-LASSONDE, Jean A. 1844-1867 1656 - 1684 LIGHTHALL, William Francis 1848-1856 1685 - 1824 LONGPRE, Jean Gualbert 1851-1862 1825 LONGTIN, Moise 1859 1826 LUKIN, Peter, Jr. 1826 1827 - 1837 McDONELL, S.A.S. 1866-1867 1838 McPHERSON, Laughlan T. 1828 1839 - 1840 MANTENT, Nicolas 1840 1841 MARTIN, Louis Seraphin 1845 1842 - 1849 MASSE, J. Abraham 1856-1868 1850 MATHIEU, Pierre 1849 1851 - 1872 MAYER, Joseph 1865-1875 1873 MERCILE, Alexis 1845 1874 - 1876 METRAS, François 1839-1845 1877 - 1879 MEUNIER, Cleophas 1874-1875 1880 - 2036 MARTIGNY, Vite Adelard Lemoyne 1848-1871 2037 - 2044 NORMANDEAU, Pierre Etienne 1863-1867 2045 PAGES, Eustache 2046 - 2047 PAPINEAU, Casimir Fidele 1858-1866 2048 - 2063 PELLETIER, Josime 1843-1859 2064 - 2096 SARAULT, Louis 1822-1848 2097 - 2125 SCOTT, Jean-Baptiste 1840-1862 2126 STUART, Ernest Henry 1867 2127 THOMAS, Daniel 1867 2128 TURGEON, Dominique H. 1799
Ellice Family Fonds - Index Book II Doc# Range Group 1 - 7 Seigniory Titles
Titres de la Seigneurie
8 - 9 Faith and Homage
Foi et Hommage
10 - 14 Laws defining the rights of Seigniors
Lois définissant certains droits aux Seigneurs
15 - 28 Power of Attorney to the Seignior's agents.
Procurations accordée par le Seigneur à ses représentants.
29 - 51 Letters Patent
52 - 397 Letters exchanged between the Seignior and the settlers.
Correspondance échangée entre le Seigneur et les occupants de terres.
398 - 612 Sales Contracts and Notarial documents.
Contrats de ventes ou actes notariés.
613 - 659 Water and Mineral Resources.
Hydrolique et Mines.
660 - 677 Certificates of Search.
Certificats de recherches.
678 - 709 Maps and Designs
Cartes et Plans.
710 - 728 Day to Day Business.
729 - 764 Accounting
767 - 769 Relations with the Municipal Council.
Relations avec le Conseil Municipal.
770 - 775 Labor.
776 - 790 Relations with The North American Colonial Association of Ireland.
Relations avec "The North American Colonial Association of Ireland".
791 - 886 Judicial Affairs: Superior Court.
Judiciaire: Cour Supérieure.
887 - 976 Judicial Affairs: Sheriff Sales.
Judiciaire: Ventes par Sherifs.
977 - 1021 Judicial Affairs: Court of Queen's Bench.
Judiciaire: Cour du Banc de la Reine.
1022 - 1024 Judicial Affairs: Circuit Court.
Judiciaire: Cour de Circuit.
1025 - 1140 Promises of Sale.
Actes de promesses de ventes.
1141 - 1190 Land Sales.
Ventes de terres.
1191 - 1808 Private (non notarial) arrangements and sales.
Actes sous seing privé.
Misc documents relating to court cases, especially the "Russelltown Dispute".
Documents judiciaire varié et pour la cause "Russelltown".
As mentioned above, the ANQ has 10 rolls of microfilm showing these documents. Each roll begins with the complete two books of title index and then continues with the documents in order. There are at least two or possibly 3 different identification schemes shown in the index and on the rolls. In the ANQ catalogue they are listed as "M-660/x" where x is the roll number. In the Montreal Archives, their local reel numbers are 4129-4138 inclusive corresponding to M-660/1 to M-660/10. There are also "P-137/x" ID numbers on the rolls but no indication as to what that means. The table below links the Film Roll number to the subject index reference and Montreal reel number.
Ellice Family Fonds Microfilm Designations Film Reel # ANQ
Doc # Range 1 M-660/1 4129 I 1 - 467 2 M-660/2 4130 I 468 - 1000 3 M-660/3 4131 I 1001 - 1413 4 M-660/4 4132 I 1414 - 1850 5 M-660/5 4133 I
1851 - 2128
1 - 51
6 M-660/6 4134 II 52 - 648 7 M-660/7 4135 II 649 - 979 8 M-660/8 4136 II 980 - 1472 9 M-660/9 4137 II 1473 - 1808 10 M-660/10 4138 Not indexed
The surname index presented in this page is by necessity very vague. Consulting the Title Index will give a little more idea as to the content of the document but will not show the details. (Contact the author for a lookup of the title index if you have any question on a particular entry.) Typical Title Index entries are:
Vente: Edward Ellice à Etienne Ross 3 juin 1855 343
Acquittance and Discharge Edward Ellice à Mr Peter Lynch 16 novembre 1866 449
In order to determine the full details, one must read the actual document. Only then can you determine the who, what and where of the deal. After 1850, many of the land deals were farmers buying lots in the newly opened concessions of Jamestown, Ormstown, South Georgetown and Edwardstown. This could have been a desire to move to more fertile areas or a need to acquire woodlots in order to heat their houses since their own farms had been fully cleared of trees.
There are several ways to access the documents. If it is convenient, you can go to an office of the Quebec National Archives and view the films yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Or you can contact the Archives Nationales du Quebec in Montreal directly, specifying that it is in the "Ellice Famille Fonds" and providing the number of the film and the document number. Supplying the film number will help them quickly find the requested document. Their address is:
Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec,
Centre de Montreal
535 Ave Viger Est,
Montreal, QC H2L 2P3
Tel: (514) 873-3065
Fax: (514) 873-2980
web page: http://www.banq.qc.ca/portal/dt/a_propos_banq/renseignements_generaux/centres_archives/centres_archives.jsp
Note:The archive web-pages are part of the new Bibliotheque et Archive Nationales du Quebec portal website. The staff of the ANQ are quite experienced at answering questions in english and will communicate by e-mail. Their charges for copies have been quite modest (25c/page - minimum $2) but may be changed without notice in the future due to the merging of National Library and Archives organization. Their webpage explaining charges is still in a state of flux so it is best to get a confirmation of charges when ordering.
You can also purchase copies of the films from the ANQ distribution agent, La Fédération des Familles-Souches Québécoises Inc.(FFSQ) Their address is:
You can download a copy of the 2006 ANQ catalogue in PDF format at:
or purchase a copy using the pdf order form (Catalogue des microfilms et microfiches produits par les Archives nationales du Québec).
By its very nature, this index still contains a number of errors due to various reasons. The author or the web-master is not responsible in any way for any costs or other consequences that may result from actions based on these errors. In other words, if the copies you get don't resemble the index entry, tough!! I would appreciate however being advised of any errors you find, so that corrections can be made.