Drouin Genealogical Institute

History of Drouin Genealogical Institute

Created in 1899 by Joseph Drouin, the Drouin Genealogical Institute (Institut genealogique Drouin in French) was first known as the company Les Généalogies Drouin enr., before taking its definitive trade name in 1913. Nobody should reduce the important role of Joseph Drouin in the development of his company. From 1899 to 1937, the lawyer sold more than 1,500 family genealogies.

The Drouin Institute reached its peak under the management of Gabriel Drouin, the son of Joseph.  From 1938, he gave himself the goal of microfilming most of Quebec Vital Records for all religions. Due to the success and growth of his Institute, Gabriel Drouin felt the need to form a team of contributors. This team put on index cards the data that were accumulated over the years.  The results of this huge undertaking are now available on several formats: the Kardex, the series of 2366 microfilms, the Dictionnaire national des canadiens-français (the Red Drouin or the National Dictionary of French Canadians) and the two series known as the Masculine (the Men Series) and the Feminine (the Women Series) (also known as the Blue Drouin, presented by men and by women).

Despite the lack of public funding, the Drouin family created an important genealogical resource that became a good return on their investment of time and effort.  The creators of Drouin Institute never wanted to put their large collections in public libraries, archives, and other organizations.  They preferred to limit their data to their paid customers instead of releasing it to everybody.  Consequently, they had a virtual monopoly on genealogical asset of great value for a very long time.

When Gabriel Drouin died in 1980, except for the remarkable actions of Claude Drouin, his heirs found they could not continue the business.  They had to sell a part of the family assets to Americans.  The genealogist Jean-Pierre Pepin got involved at that time.  He restarted the Drouin Institute to reclaim its credibility in an effort to keep most of Drouin data in Quebec.  His on-line catalogue enumerates all the data products of the Drouin creators and also some select recent genealogists.

The whole Drouin set, including at least eleven large parts, are named in the catalogue.  Each part has a supplement the reader will find under the "More about" link.  The first part is named the Drouin Genealogical Files. It includes first hand material found before 1960 by Joseph and Gabriel Drouin associated with the completed family genealogical cases.  The following ones, the Kardex and the series of 2366 microfilms, are a gathering of data about most French-speaking families of Quebec, Ontario, Acadia and United States.  The works of modern genealogists like René Jetté are presented separately in other parts, like the Little Drouin and the Histor Files.

It is with a great pleasure that Jean-Pierre Pepin invites you to learn more about the ancient and recent archives of the Drouin Institute, a patrimony that is unusual for many reasons.

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