Genealogy, my Father and Me

Rene Tourville_nov_1945

René Tourville (1913-1985) – Photo dated November 1945 – From Studio O. Allard Fund, ANQM

If my father was still alive he would turn 100 years old today.

See this picture? Do you know where I found it? Not at home but at the Québec National Archives Center in Montréal.

My father got married when he was over 40. His parents were poor. I only have a few pictures of him, mostly from the fifties. And these pictures are kind of small, not very clear.

A few years back, I was at the Québec National Archives Center in Montréal on Viger Street. I was looking at binders and something caught my eye. The Studio O. Allard Fund.

I know what Studio Allard is. My student card photo was taken by this studio. Intrigued, I decided to look at the microfilms and went directly to the name Tourville. I was so surprised to read the name and address of my father before his marriage!

I went to the counter and asked what was in those files? Negatives they told me. I ordered the file and the clerk opened it before me and said: no negatives but pictures in this one!

I discovered a picture of my father that I have never seen before, that dates back from 1945. He was 32 years old on that photo and I was ecstatic!

We find tons of things on the Internet but nothing compares to a visit to an archives center. My father was no celebrity nor big shot but I did find a portrait of him at the Archives. If I wasn’t into genealogy, I would have never found that picture of him.

The Studio O. Allard contains more than 1 800 000 portraits and shots of Montreal shops ranging from 1930 to 1990.

Wherever you live, a visit to a provincial, state or local Archive Center is worth the trip.