Place:Lac-Mégantic, Beauce, Québec, Canada

Alt namesLac-Meganticsource: from redirect
Méganticsource: former name of village
Agnèssource: Family History Library Catalog
Agnessource: anglicized spelling
Lac-Méganticsource: Family History Library Catalog
Morinvillesource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates45.583°N 70.883°W
Located inBeauce, Québec, Canada     ( - 1912)
Also located inFrontenac, Québec, Canada     (1912 - 1982)
Estrie, Québec, Canada     (1982 - )
See alsoLe Granit RCM, Estrie, Québec, Canadaregional county municipality in which it has been located since 1982
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Lac-Mégantic is a town in the Eastern Townships or Estrie administrative region of Québec, Canada. It is located on Lac Mégantic, a freshwater lake after which the town was named. Situated in what was the township of Ditchfield in the former Frontenac County, and before 1912 in the county of Beauce, Lac-Mégantic is the seat of Le Granit Regional County Municipality and of the judicial district of Mégantic.

Lac-Mégantic is a tourist destination and a producer of forestry products, furniture, Masonite doors, particleboard and architectural granite.



The municipalities of the villages of Mégantic and Agnes, respectively erected in 1885 and 1895, were to merge in 1907 to form the town of Mégantic whose name was modified in 1958 to Lac-Mégantic, to reflect more its geographical position. Lac-Mégantic boasts a magnificent lake 16 km long by 2 km wide and shares with neighboring municipalities some 80 km northeast of Sherbrooke, in a wooded corner of the country. The origin of the name Mégantic can most reliably be traced to the Abenakis (a First Nation band). In 1884, the Abenaki chief Jos. Laurent actually drew it from the word "namakottik" or from its still more ancient variant "namagwottik" meaning "place where there is lake trout". Megantic became the name of the county (formerly Ditchfield), that of the Megantic Road, and that of the settlement route, the Megantic Trail.

Father Druillettes went there in 1646 to go to the Abenakis and Benedict Arnold's troops marched there in 1775, en route to Québec City. The first settlers cleared the land around 1850, coming from further north in Beauce or Lingwick, depending on whether they were French Canadians or Scots. The Quebec and Megantic Land Company made great efforts to ensure the settlement of this territory, with an area of ​​89,034 hectares in 1838, which was offered for about 30,000 [English] pounds, with each share being 50 pounds. The sale had little success with the British and it was mostly French Canadians who bought the land. This attempt was none the less one of the last ones whose stated objective was the anglicization of the Eastern Townships, of which Lake Mégantic was considered the border in this part of the country. The city was first developed in two nuclei separated by the Chaudière River, Mégantic and Agnes, and then a railway centre was built, a commercial and industrial city with a regional dimension, oriented towards Quebec City, Sherbrooke and Maine, making it the tourist capital of the eastern part of the Eastern Townships. Over the years, Lac-Mégantic has become a regional center for services related to education, health and government administration. Nowadays, the local economy revolves around the plywood industry, clothing, wood and construction.
(From TOPOS sur le Web, website of the Quebec Commission for Toponomy, translated into English with the aid of Google Translate.)

Research Tips

Maps and Gazetteers

  • Library and Archives Canada Electoral Atlas of the Dominion of Canada (1895) for Beauce. This shows the electoral sub-districts in 1895 which are closely equivalent to the townships and parishes of the time. This map is a PDF. Over the series the compass-north-point on these maps does not consistently point to the top of the page!
  • 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.
  • The CanGenealogy page for Quebec. An overview of available online sources with links written by Canadian genealogist Dave Obee.
  • 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.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Lac-Mégantic. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.