From the Archives: Finding Your Ancestor in the 19th Century’s Election Polls for the District of Montréal

While perusing on Pistard, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales Québec’s search engine, I came across something really helpful and thought I would share it with you.

If your ancestor was living in Lower Canada in the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s, you certainly know how challenging it can be to find him in the 1825 and 1831 Canadian Census. As only the head of the household is mentioned therein—besides the number of people living in the house broke down by age categories—there is not much you can extract from these censuses.

However, if your ancestor was a resident of the District of Montréal, there might be another way to track him down. I am talking about Election Polls.

These polls provide the following detailed information about the elector: his name, his occupation, the property he owned (and its location) that qualified him to vote, the tenant’s name (as the case may be), the objections made against his right to vote as well as the objector’s name, if any.

sorel-1824Moreover, if you are a politics buff, you may even learn who your ancestor voted for—this could lead to entertaining family discussions—as there was no secret ballot at the time. I was also surprised to see the names of some widows!

Here is a listing of counties along with the election years for which the polls survived:

Berthier1830, 1834, 1841
Deux-Montagnes1830, 1832, 1841
Huntingdon1824, 1827
Leinster1827, 1834
Missisquoi1829, 1834, 1841
Montréal, Quartier Est1820, 1824, 1827, 1832, 1834
Montréal, Quartier Ouest1824, 1827, 1832, 1834, 1841
Montréal, Quartier Saint-Laurent1824, 1827, 1830
Ottawa1834, 1841, 1842
Richelieu1824, 1832, 1841
Rouville1832, 1833, 1842
Shefford1834, 1841
Warwick1824, 1827
William Henry (Sorel)1824, 1827, 1834

Images for almost each county are available online for you to explore. You may start searching by clicking here:

Then select in the drop-down list “BanQ Vieux-Montréal” under the box “Centre d’archives“.


Under the box “Cote“, select “TL Tribunaux judiciaires dont la juridiction est limitée à une localité” in the drop-down list, and type “19” under “Fonds” and “41” under “Série“.

Once you are done, click on “Rechercher“.


This action will bring you to this results screen:


Finally, under the column “Images“, just click on the number appearing on the right-hand side of the county you’re interested in and you’ll be all set to go through the documents.

Enjoy… but don’t stay up too late!

7 thoughts on “From the Archives: Finding Your Ancestor in the 19th Century’s Election Polls for the District of Montréal

  1. Under Cote the TL Tribunaux was not there? My french is bad so I am going strictly by your steps. Thank you for some help.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Sorry about that, you have to scroll down a little bit with the drop-down menu before selecting TL.

  2. Diane, I found my 2nd great grandfather. How do I know what year this is? Or where exactly this place is? What a great find.

        • I just looked at the file. Other counties gave a lot more information. But at least you know for sure he had a land! For some of mine, I didn’t know 🙂

Comments are closed.