FRANCOGENE: Acadian genealogy.

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A bit of history.

Acadia's name originates from Arcadia, a district in Ancient Greece. Named thus by a navigator who was impressed by its pastoral setting and beauty. According to a less reliable source, its name originated rather with the word `Cadie' designating the little houses in which the Acadians lived; but this hypothesis seems unfounded as the name `Acadia' was used long before Acadia was settled. Note that the name `Acadian' was transformed into `Cajun' in Louisiana. The English pronunciation of "Acadien" explains its spelling (Acadien - Acadjunn - Cajun).

The colonization of Acadia starts just a bit before Quebec's, with the founding of Port Royal in 1605. Except for some short periods of British occupation, Acadia remained French up to 1713. Up to 1713, Acadia was made up of the present Atlantic provinces of Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island then known as Ile St-Jean and some parts of Newfoundland. In 1713, a part of Acadia is definitely ceded to Britain, that is Nova Scotia with the exception of Cape Breton where was situated the fortress of Louisbourg. What corresponds to New Brunswick is claimed by both France and England, but remains under French control until 1755.

The Acadians continued to work their farms in the region until 1755, when a British governor decided to give the farms to British settlers and, in consequence, ordered the Deportation of the Acadians (le Grand Dérangement). In 1755, 7,000 Acadians are put on ships and sent to American colonies. Some authors estimate that half of those Acadians did not survive to exile. 10,000 others were able to run away to French Acadia but when French Forts were defeated, many of them were killed.

There was a period of disorder. Many Acadians are scattered in England, then in France from where many of them sailed to Louisiana (most did so in about 1785) or Îles St-Pierre et Miquelon. A part of those use run away thru the lands were found later in Québec. The main concentration is in Northern New-Brunswick.

Very few parish registers survived the " Grand Derangement ". Thus, Acadian genealogy is rife with "unknowns" : many of the links in Acadian "dictionaries" are really hypothetical assumptions.

Resources (include review of some of them)

FrancoGene Home Page
Links - See Acadie
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Last update: November, 19th, 1999