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15 September 1819|
Quebec City, Lower Canada
|Died||28 April 1902
|Known for||Roman Catholic priest, author, and historian|
He was born at Quebec in 1819 and died in 1902. After a course of classics and theology at Quebec Seminary, he was ordained in 1843. The first twenty-two years of his priesthood were devoted to parochial work, especially at Rimouski, where he greatly contributed to the foundation of the future diocesan seminary. His early taste for genealogical studies fully manifested itself after his official appointment to the Dominion Statistics Department (1867). His whole time was henceforth spent in consulting and compiling parochial and historical records throughout Quebec, the Maritime Provinces, Ontario, and the old French settlements in the United States. He also twice visited France for the same purpose. As the result of his labours he published (1871–90) his "Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes françaises depuis les origines de la colonie jusqu'à nos jours", comprising seven large double column volumes of over six hundred pages: a colossal undertaking, fit for a numerous body of collaborators, which he achieved alone. Although he was unable to realize the latter part of his programme entirely and many inaccuracies have crept into his work, yet on the whole it is highly reliable and almost unique. Every French Canadian by completing from contemporary registers the information supplied by this dictionary can proudly trace back his genealogy to his ancestors from old France. It has proved valuable for the discovery of canonical impediments to marriage through relationship, and has given birth to a copious genealogical literature of less comprehensiveness. In recognition of his labours the author received a prelature from Leo XIII (1887). He likewise published "Répertoire du clergé canadien-français" (1868), "A travers les registres" (1886), and MCLEAN-ROSE Canadian Biography (Toronto, 1886); ALLAIRE, Dict. biog. du clergé canadien-frança (1886).
Works of Abbé Tanguay
Father (Fr.)Cyprien Tanguay, French-Canadian priest and genealogist, is the author of the premier genealogical dictionary of French-Canadian families, Dictionnaire généalogique des Familles Canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours (Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families from the Founding of the Colony to Our Time). A plaque marks the site of the house in which he lived in the Lower Town area of Ottawa not far from the National Art Gallery and the Byward Market.
His original research and extensive publication put French-Canadian genealogy on a solid footing, which has proven a great benefit not only to French Canadians but to the millions of Canadians and Americans and others who have one or more French-Canadian ancestors.
Although his dictionary does contain some errors and occasional speculations on possible relationships for which no evidence was known to Fr. Tanguay, his work is of a high calibre and has withstood the passage of time exceedingly well. Much of Fr. Tanguay’s life was devoted to research in the Archives and Parish records of Quebec and in France where he traced the origins and antecedents of many early Canadian colonists in Normandy and elsewhere in surviving French parish records. Furthermore, his work would have done honour to a large body of collaborators, but was accomplished single-handed.
The Dictionary is a fundamental reference work for French-Canadian genealogy. Its seven large volumes, more than 4,400 pages, have been published in a facsimile edition by Élysées Éditions in 1975, with a bonus volume by l'Abbé Tanguay, À travers les registres. It is also available on CD-ROM for approximately $40.00 Canadian. The CD also contains several other important works including:
Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes
Complement a Tanguay 600 pages - by Joseph-Arthur Leboeuf which reports thousands of errors and omissions of Tanguay. First published in 1957 it had more than 200 pages with another 400 pages added in 1977. This book is included on this CD under special license from the Societe Genealogique Canadien Francaise.
A travers les registres 300 pages - by Cyprien Tanguay, is a work of about 300 pages which contains hundreds of facts that are historically related to ancestors. This information was collected by Tanguay at the time of records perusal.
Repertoire general du clerge canadien 600 pages - This work of Tanguay enumerates Roman Catholic clergy members from the beginning of New France uo to 1880. This book gives historical and genealogical information of all clerical individuals and parishes where they worked.
Abbé Tanguay's work has further been supplemented by the research and publications of others, including Lebouef, above, and Fr. Archange Godbout (Origine des familles canadiennes-françaises) but has never been supplanted. It contains over 2,000,000 births, deaths and marriages with other notes covering the period from the founding of New France to the early 19th century.
- Godbout, Archage, Fr. Origine des familles canadiennes-françaises. Éditions Élysées. Montreal, Quebec. 1979
- Tanguay, Father Cyprien. Dictionnaire généalogique des Familles Canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours. First edition. Eusèbe Senéchal, Imprimeur-Éditeur. Quebec. 1871.
- Tanguay, Father Cyprien. Dictionnaire généalogique des Familles Canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours. Facsimile Edition. Éditions Élysées. Montreal, Quebec. 1975.