Colonial Records of the French and Spanish in the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi
French colonization of the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi area from 1673 to 1720 was discussed in the Louisiana section. While never a major colony, a number of records exist for this region during its French occupation, which ended in 1763 with the transfer of the Great Lakes region to British control and the Mississippi River area to Spain. French records from this area can be found at the Burton Historical Collection in the Detroit Public Library, as well as in archives in Quebec and the Archives d’ Outre Mer in Aix en Provence, France. Several local libraries in Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri maintain collections of records for this area as well. An excellent overview of research in French Canada, including work in the colonial period in the Great Lakes region before 1763, can be found by reading John P. DuLong’s French-Canadian Genealogical Research. Also consider visiting DuLong’s web page for Acadian and French Canadian genealogy at http://habitant.org/ and that of the French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan at http://fchsm.habitant.org/index.htm. A comprehensive guide to researching French-Canadian roots is found in French-Canadian Sources: A Guide for Genealogists.
The following chart identifies the known census records for the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi regions during the French and Spanish periods and tells where the original census records or microfilm copies can be found. Where possible, a citation to an archive or library in the United States has been preferred, even though that library may only hold a microfilm of the original. In cases where no such copy exists, the foreign archives holding the original copy is identified.
Censuses of the Great Lakes
|Detroit and Mission Bois Blanc||1743||ACJ|
|Ft. Saint Joseph||1780||PAC|
|S. Louis||1771–1773||AGI, Cuba|
|S. Louis||1779||LGR 27:367–368|
|S. Louis||1795–1796||AGI, Cuba|
|Wayne County, Michigan||1796||OHS|
Information concerning the early Detroit and Michigan censuses was taken from Michigan Censuses 1710–1830: Under the French, British and Americans, ed. Donna Russell (Detroit, Mich.: Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, 1982).
- ACJ: Archives de la Compagnie de Jésus in St. Jerôme, Quebec, Canada.
AGI, Cuba: The Papeles de Cuba section of the Archivo General de las Indias in Seville, Spain.
ANFP: Archives Nationales de France, Paris.
BML: Haldimand Papers, British Museum, London.
CTFCL: Charles R. Maduell Jr., The Census Tables for the French Colony of Louisiana from 1699 Through 1732 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1972; reprint, Clearfield Co., 2000).
DPL: Burton Historical Manuscript Collection at the Detroit Public Library.
HSP: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
LGR: Those found in the historical manuscripts section of the Library at Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana.
OHS: Ohio Historical Society.
PAC: Public Archives of Canada at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
UMI: Gage Papers, William L Clements Library, University of Michigan. Six- or seven-digit numbers with no other reference are film numbers from the collection of the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, available through the local Family History Centers.
Catholic Church Records of Colonial Upper Louisiana Territory
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- John P. DuLong, French-Canadian Genealogical Research (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995).
- Patricia Keeney Geyh, Joyce Soltis Banachowski, Linda K. Boyea, et al., French-Canadian Sources: A Guide for Genealogists (Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2002).