Place:Nicolet, Québec, Canada

TypeHistorical county
Located inQuébec, Canada     ( - 1982)
Also located inCentre-du-Québec, Québec, Canada     (1982 - )
See alsoBécancour RCM, Centre-du-Québec, Québec, Canadaregional county municipality covering part of Nicolet since 1982
Nicolet-Yamaska RCM, Centre-du-Québec, Québec, Canadaregional county municipality covering part of Nicolet since 1982
Drummond RCM, Centre-du-Québec, Québec, Canadaregional county municipality covering a small part of Nicolet since 1982
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
the text in this section is based on an article in the French edition of Wikipedia

Nicolet County' was an historical county of Québec, Canada which was in existence between 1855 and the beginning of the 1980s. The area which it covered is today part of the administrative region of Centre-du-Québec. It comprises the regional county municipalities of Bécancour, Nicolet-Yamaska, and a small part of Drummond. Its place of local government was the municipality of Bécancour.

The county was named in memory of the explorer and interpreter Jean Nicolet (1598-1642), and also, at the beginning, to the Nicolet River. It then served as a name for the seigneurie, the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicolet, and finally for the town of Nicolet.

Nicolet was located on the south bank of the Saint Lawrence River, facing the city of Trois-Rivières.


Lovell's Gazetteer (1895)

  • "NICOLET, a central county of Quebec, comprises an area of 379,320 acres. The Becancour River intersects this county and the St. Lawrence washes its north shore. Capital, Becancour. Pop. 28,735."

Municipalities in Nicolet County

There is a map in Wikipedia showing all the townships in the Eastern Townships, including those that form a part of Nicolet County.

Annavilledetached from Saint-Celestin in 1896, renamed Saint-Celastin village in 1991.
Bécancourformed in 1965 from an amalgamation of Becancour parish, Becancour village and nine othe municipalities.
Gentillymerged with Bécancour in 1965
Larochellemerged with Bécancour in 1965
Lavalmerged with Bécancour in 1965
Nicolet-Sudmerged with Nicolet in 2000
Sainte-Angèle-de-Lavalmerged with Bécancour in 1965
Saint-Édouard-de-Gentillymerged with Bécancour in 1965
Sainte-Gertrudemerged with Bécancour in 1965
Saint-Grégoire-le-Grandmerged with Bécancour in 1965
Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicoletmerged with Nicolet in 2000
Saint-Léonardmerged with Saint-Léonard-d'Aston in 1994
Saint-Léonard-d'Astondétached from Saint-Léonard in 1912, reunited in 1994
Très-Précieux-Sang-de-Notre-Seigneurmerged with Bécancour in 1965
Villersmerged with Bécancour in 1965

Research Tips

Maps and Gazetteers

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 Comté de Nicolet. 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.