Place:Hull, Québec, Canada

Alt namesOttawa (county)source: name between 1855 and 1917
TypeHistorical county
Coordinates45.433°N 75.75°W
Located inQuébec, Canada     (1855 - 1970)
See alsoLabelle, Québec, Canadasection of county detached in 1897
Gatineau (county), Québec, Canadasecion of county detached in 1930
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

Hull, formerly known as Ottawa County, was a municipal county of Québec, Canada that existed between 1855 and 1st January 1970. It takes its name from the English city of Hull, located in the East Riding of Yorkshire (now East Yorkshire). It was located on the north shore of the Ottawa River in the present (since 1982) administrative region of Outaouais. The County of Hull carried the name Ottawa County from its creation in 1855 until March 17, 1918.

In 1897, the entire eastern half of the county was detached in order to form the County of Labelle. In 1930, the northern part of the county, in fact its entire area except the city of Hull and its surroundings, was detached to form the County of Gatineau. (Source: The FamilySearch Wiki which credits Wikipedia, but Wikipedia on County of Hull now omits this section.)

the text in below is based on a current article in Wikipedia

Since 1970 the county is roughly rectangular, bound in the north by the Township of Portland in Papineau County (45 degrees N 41', 12 km), in the east entriely by the Township of Buckingham in Papineau County (75 degrees W 33', 22 km), on its northwestern corner by the Township of Wakefield in Gatineau, and on its west by the Township of Hull in Gatineau County. Across the entire length of its (southern) Ottawa River border is the Township of Gloucester in Carleton County, in Ontario. The entire county is the same as the former Township of Templeton. The township-county comprised several communities, namely Templeton, Gatineau, and Pointe-Gatineau which have been merged since 1982. In terms of topography, about two-thirds of the county in the north contain landscapes typical of the Canadian Shield, while the lower third is gentler valley terrain.

The historic Towns of Gatineau and Pointe-Gatineau were often thought of as being in neighbouring Gatineau County however they were in Hull County. Likewise the former township of Hull (although the city itself was in Hull County) was to the west in Gatineau County. The County seat of Hull County was located in Hull.

In the early 1990s, following the abolition of Quebec's counties ten years earlier, a Regional County Municipality system was installed and northern Hull County became Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais Regional County Municipality and the southern half was transferred into the "Outaouais Urban Community" (renamed the City of Gatineau in 2002).


Research Tips

Maps and Gazetteers

  • Library and Archives Canada Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) for Wright. This electoral district was equivalent to the County of Ottawa at the time. The electoral sub-districts in 1895 are closely equivalent to the townships and parishes of the time.
  • Official Transport Quebec Road Map. From a province-wide map showing the administrative regions you can click to an overview of a region. Responding to the "cliquez" on this map brings up a standard road-map of the area which will blow up to readable magnification. The whole website is in French, but the only words you need are "cliquez" and the name of the administrative region.
  • Commission de toponymie Quebec--Quebec's data bank of official Québec place names, commonly known as "TOPOS sur le Web". The website is in French and paragraphs can be translated with Google Translate.

French names for places

Because French is the one official language of Québec, WeRelate employs the French names for places within the province. Many placenames will be similar to their counterparts in English, with the addition of accents and hyphens between the words. The words "Saint" and "Sainte" should be spelled out in full. Placenames should be made up of four parts: the community (or parish, or township, or canton), the historic county, Québec, Canada. You may find placenames red-linked unless you follow these conventions.

Local government structure

The Province of Québec was made up of counties and territories. Counties in Québec were established gradually as the land was settled by Europeans. Each county included communities with some form of local governement (often church-based). Territories referred to the undeveloped sections under the control of the government in charge of the whole province at the time. The communities included townships and/or cantons, depending on the English/French makeup of the county concerned, and also included ecclesiastical parishes with somewhat different boundaries which could overlap with local townships or cantons. Ecclesiastical parish registers have been retained and are available to view (online through Ancestry). Since the 1980s many small townships and parishes are merging into larger "municipalities", often with the same name as one of their components.

Beginning in 1979 the historic counties of Québec were replaced by administrative regions and regional county municipalities (abbreviated as RCM in English and MRC in French). Regional county municipalities are a supra-local type of regional municipality, and act as the local municipality in unorganized territories within their borders. (An unorganized area or unorganized territory is any geographic region in Canada that does not form part of a municipality or Indian reserve. There is a list in Wikipedia.) There are also 18 equivalent territories (TEs) which are not considered to be RCMs. These are mostly large cities with their suburbs, but include 4 very large geographical areas where the population is sparse.

The administrative regions (above the RCMs in the hierarchy) are illustrated on a map in Wikipedia. The regions are used to organize the delivery of provincial government services and there are conferences of elected officers in each region. The regions existed before the change from historic counties to regional county municipalities.

The above description is based on various articles in Wikipedia including one titled Types of municipalities in Quebec

NOTE: WeRelate refers to Québec communities as being within their historic counties because this is the description which will be found in historical documents. FamilySearch and Quebec GenWeb follow the same procedure. However, it is always wise to know the current RCM as well in order to track these documents down in local repositories and also to describe events which have taken place since 1980.

Because the former or historic counties and the modern regional county municipalities can have the same names but may cover a slightly different geographical area, the placenames for Regional County Municipalities or "Territories Equivalent to regional county municipalities" are distinguished by including the abbreviation "RCM" or "TE" following the name.

Historic counties (which were taken out of use in about 1982) were made up of townships or cantons. The two words are equivalent in English and French. Eventually all the Québec cantons in WeRelate will be described as townships. Many townships disappeared before 1980 with the growth of urbanization.

If the word parish is used, this is the local ecclesiastical parish of the Roman Catholic Church. Parish boundaries and township or canton boundaries were not always the same.

The WeRelate standard form for expressing a place in Québec is township/canton/parish, historic county, Québec, Canada,
or local municipality, administrative region, Québec, Canada for places established after the changes of the 1980s.


Censuses were taken throughout the 19th century in Quebec (or in Lower Canada or Canada West before 1867). Surprisingly most of them have been archived and have been placed online free of charge by the Government of Canada (both microfilmed images and transcriptions). All can be searched by name or browsed by electoral district. The contents vary. Those of 1825, 1831 and 1841 record only the householders by name, but remaining members of each household were counted by sex and by age range. From 1851 through 1911 each individual was named and described separately. The amount of information increased throughout the century, and in 1891 people were asked for their birthdate and the year of immigration to Canada. Unfortunately, enumerators were required only to record the birthplace province or country (if an immigrant). Specific birthplaces have to be discovered elsewhere.

The links below are to the introductory page for the specific census year. It is wise to read through this page first to see what will be provided on a specific census, and what will be lacking. Links to the records follow from these pages.

The 1921 census is available through and is also free of charge.

Other Sources

  • FamilySearch Wiki Information for the province and for indivdiual counties, and places within counties.
  • The Drouin Collection: explaining its history and purpose in a FamilySearch Wiki article
  • The Drouin Collection provided by and (pay websites).
  • Genealogy Quebec in French, the website of the Drouin Institute. (also a pay website) with more databases than are on Ancestry.
  • Quebec GenWeb (English version--for the most part)
  • The Quebec Familiy History Society is the largest English-language genealogical society in Quebec. Most of their services are members only, but their Bulletin Board has useful tips for everyone. These may change from time to time.
  • La Mémoire du Québec online. Édition 2017. "Le dictionnaire des noms propres du Québec." In other words, an up-to-date gazetteer of places in Québec organized as a wiki. Each entry is a timeline.
  • Eastern Townships of Quebec Connector. A blogpost with links to many websites dealing with Quebec genealogy, particularly for those who don't speak French well. All parts of Quebec are mentioned.
  • Google "translate French to English" for those words and phrases you can't quite remember from schooldays.