Thursday, February 10, 2011

All Things Voyageur

An interview with Robert Englebert will be aired on French CBC programme, Téléjournal Ouest, on February 21st between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

In the interview, Robert discusses the recent launch of The Voyageur Database Project, a database of 35,000 fur trade voyageur contracts signed in front of Montreal notaries between 1714 and 1830 ( This is, to date, the largest collection of data regarding the contracts signed by men of the Montreal fur trade. The information collected from the contracts includes: family names, parishes of origin, hiring company, length of contract, destination(s), advances and wages, supplies, conditions of hire, the name of the notary, date of signing, and miscellaneous notes. This project was a component of the Métis National Council's National Research Initiative.

Robert Englebert in front of a poster display for the project
Over six years, working with Dr. Nicole St-Onge (Ottawa), Robert helped to build the database from the ground up as the project manager in charge of a dedicated team of students during his PhD. Although he left the project when he took up his position in our department, he continued as assistant director of the project, which included using the database for research and promoting the project.

The Voyageur Database is a valuable new research tool. For example, Métis and French-Canadian genealogists or labour and social historians can trace families across time and distance. The database is an important source of information on a largely illiterate group of people, who is otherwise difficult to document.

Congratulations, Robert, on the launch of this exciting new project! We look forward to your T.V. appearance.