Quebec Documents – general comments

I finally sent away for my remaining Quebec documents last week. If you are a Quebec resident, you can order vital records online via DEClic!. The benefit is that they are much cheaper! (for a copie d’acte, $37 ordered online vs. $52 through mail) Unfortunately, I am not a Quebec resident. I asked the appropriate official parties, and there is apparently no way they are willing to let you use the online system if you do not pay taxes through Revenue Quebec. Oh well.

The good news though is that they are surprisingly fast. The website lists a 10 day processing time (for regular, non-expedited requests). I Xpresspost-ed my request package late last week, so it should have arrived in their office on Monday; by Wednesday, they had already charged my credit card. (No idea if they’ve retrieved the documents yet, but taking my money is a good start.)

02/05 UPDATE: I have been denied! When ordering other people’s documents, Quebec asks that you justify your interest with a legal document. There is no applicable legal document for the jure sanguinis process, so last time I sent in a list of requirements off the consulate’s website — which worked. This time, it did not work. I don’t exactly understand why, so I’ll chalk it up to individual differences in the staff (or maybe I was making too many requests at once?).

To salvage the operation, I got my mum to make the request for her own birth & marriage certificates and my grandparents’ marriage certificate. According to the website, she is legally entitled to these documents without justification. Fingers crossed for better luck this time.

02/10 UPDATE: I received my grandparents’ marriage certificate. Many typos… requesting corrections. Very not impressed.

At least they’re not as bad as this mistake.

Grandparents’ Italian Passports

I can’t believe I forgot about these — they’re two of the most important documents I have!! I got very lucky. My uncle had both Nonna & Nonno’s original passports from Italy in his possession, and right away he sent me a photocopy. The passports prove that my grandparents were Italian citizens when they arrived in Canada. They also have a stamp from Canadian immigration showing the date of landing, which I think is also helpful.

Original passports from 1953/54…wow!

I still needed to show either the original passports or certified copies to the consulate where I was applying. The passports were in Quebec, and I did not want to bring them back to Toronto and risk losing/damaging them. So I brought them to the consulate in Montreal and had the photocopies certified (with about 5 different stamps and signatures — very official 🙂 )

My documents

Finally, the easiest part! …sort of. I have my passport, birth certificate (which I will have to reorder; same reason as above), driver’s licence, proof of address, and anything else they want to look at. Only a couple of documents in this category require effort:

Marriage certificate & licence (USA)

The only unfortunate part about this is because my state uses two separate documents (the licence and the certificate), I need to produce them both. Actually I suspect this is pretty standard as far as the States goes. I acquired my two documents from the county easily, and have sent them to [my state’s] Secretary of State for apostille. Actually, most of the credit for this goes to my mum. 🙂

Husband’s birth certificate (China)

I only needed a photocopy of this (which I already had). This is fantastic, since his birth certificate is 4 pages long and half Mandarin/half English. I would NOT want to have to get that translated again.

Parents’ Vital Records – USA

Divorce decree (USA)

This step was far less complicated than it sounds. It certainly helped that they did not care whether this document was official. My mum got me an official stamped-by-the-state copy, but at least I don’t have to get apostille! Woooo! Done.

Mum’s green card (USA)

My mum is a permanent resident of the U.S. The consulate requested a photocopy of my mum’s green card to show that she had not become a citizen of the U.S. I think this is important is she ever wants to apply to be recognized as an Italian citizen. There’s a part of the U.S. citizenship oath that specifically states that you renounce all other citizenships. While they can’t do anything about her Canadian citizenship, this could get in the way of her claim to Italian citizenship.*

*don’t quote me on that. Also, I am not a lawyer.


Parents’ Vital Records – Canada

My parents were both born in Quebec. They got married in Quebec, and later moved to the U.S. and got divorced. But this does not really complicate the process. After getting the grandparents’ documents sorted, this will be a breeze.

Birth certificates (Quebec)

Super easy. Both can be ordered straight from the Directeur de l’etat civil (English equivalent = registrar?). In fact, if my father had a birth certificate lying around, I could submit a photocopy of it. They even accept photocopies of the wallet-sized version (which I did even not know existed; is that useful??).

Attempt #1

*sigh* I screwed up. The consulate specifically asked for the “Copie d’acte de naissance” (Copy of an act of birth). The problem is that in English, the website asks for the “Long form” of all official birth certificates. This is the most you can get from other provinces (including Ontario), so I understand. But I got confused and ordered the long form instead of the copie d’acte. I had it certified too.  Oh well, mistakes happen. This will be easy to rectify.

Marriage certificate (Quebec)

I haven’t ordered this yet. But it’ll be a boring process (yay).

Grandparents’ Canadian Vital Records

Almost done with the grandparents’ documents…I just have two more categories.

Death Certificates (Quebec)

Having to repeatedly see my grandparents’ death certificates is a bit difficult (even more so for my mum and uncle). 😦 But such is life. You will inevitably be reminded of many things, pleasant and unpleasant alike, when sifting through mountains of your family’s personal documents.

My uncle had an extra copy of Nonna’s death certificate, which he gave to me. He gave me an unofficial copy of Nonno’s death certificate, which is fine. I am applying through my grandmother, so a photocopy of my grandfather’s certificate is enough.

Side note: if a death is already registered in Italy, you do not need to provide official documentation supporting it. You can tell by looking at the Italian birth certificate – it will be listed under notes. (Ask your consulate anyway just to be safe.)

Marriage certificate (Quebec)

I haven’t ordered this yet. Oh well, NEXT….

Grandparents’ Immigration Records

Here is the part where I attempted to collect immigration records (I shouldn’t say attempted — I was successful!). I thought this would be the most difficult part of the process. In fact, I had doubts that I could even obtain the documents I needed.

My fears were stupid. The process, while different for each grandparent, was surprisingly streamlined. I only hit one little snag, which definitely wasn’t my fault and was quickly resolved.

Citizenship & Immigration Records (Canada)

The first thing I did was ask my mum what she knew about her parents’ citizenship. From her I learned that my grandmother became a Canadian citizen at some point, and my grandfather never did, “probably.” I had to submit two different types of request – not due to the differing statuses of my grandparents, but because they had both passed away at different times.

Nonno passed away more than 20 years ago, so I was able to submit a record search request via Access to Information [info here]. I paid $5 (not bad) and received an email confirming that there were no records indicating that my grandfather was ever naturalized as a Canadian citizen. This might be acceptable, but the problem is that you need to search every possible name and birth date that may be associated with your person of interest, and then somehow show that you did so. I say somehow because the email shows only the name you specified, not the birth date you supplied or any other information. FYI, I have no idea how you would go about doing this (ask your consulate). So to be safe, I also requested my grandmother’s records.

Nonna passed away much more recently, so I had to instead request a record of citizenship status [link here]. This was $75 (not as nice), and took quite a while to get to me: I ordered the document in August and received it in November. To my dismay, it also contained several clerical errors (passed away in 2012, but received citizenship in 2015? Hmmmmm….). Thankfully, after sending the document back with a letter, they quickly processed it again and Xpresspost-ed me a correct version.

If your ancestor was naturalized somewhere in the range of 1915-1951, have a look here…you might get lucky and save some money and effort.