Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History

Acadian Genealogy

The True Acadian Period: 1604-1755

    There were several censuses of Acadia: 1671, 1678, 1686, 1693, 1695 (St. Jean River area only), 1698, 1700, 1701 (partially nominal), 1703 (heads of families), 1707 (heads of families), 1751/52 (mainly the isthmus area; heads of families), 1714 (partially nominal), and 1752 (isthmus area only; heads of families).  Nominal means that it contains names of all family members. Heads of families means that it gives his (or her) name, if a spouse is present, and the number of children.  Some censuses are partial, meaning that it only covered a part of Acadia.  Actually, every census left out a number of Acadians.
     Some of these can be found in published books and periodicals. For example, Acadians in Exile (Hebert) contains the 1671, 1686, and 1714 censuses.
Acadian Censuses
La Roque's 1752 census of Ile St. Jean is at The Island Register.
Photocopies of the 1671 census can be found in Hebert's book, as well as in Genevieve Massignon's Les Parlers Français D'Acadie.  Winston DeVille compiled the 1686 census in Acadian Families in 1686. The most complete publication of Acadian censuses is Charles Trahan's Acadian Census, 1671-1752, which includes censuses from 1671, 1686, 1693, 1695, 1698, 1700, 1701, 1703, 1707, 1714, 1732, and 1752. Material on the 1671 census can be found in the following periodicals: Acadian Genealogy Exchange #2.11 p.1, #5.4 p.118, #6.1 p.7, Acadiana Profile #8:4 p.118.  Material on the 1678 census can be found in: Acadian Genealogy Exchange #8.2 p. 41, French-Canadian and Acadian Review #7.1 p. 47, Memoires de la Societe Genealogique Canadienne-Francaise #22.4 p. 226.  Information on the 1686 and 1714 censuses can be found in: Acadian Genealogy Exchange #8.4 p.118.
     Microfilm containing a copy of Acadian censuses (C-2572) can be found at the Public Archives of Canada.  It contains the 1671, 1686, 1693, 1695, 1698, 1700, 1701, 1703, 1707, 1714, 1732, and 1752 censuses.  You may want to borrow a copy through interlibrary loan or purchase your own copy.
     Once Acadia become 'permanantly' British in 1713, the only list of Acadians done by the government was the one done by Winslow in 1755 of Acadians deported at Grand Pre.  Certain areas did conduct censuses. The remaining French territory of Ile Royale and Ile Saint-Jean did have several censuses. There were heads of family censuses done in Ile Royale in 1713, 1715, 1716, 1717, circa 1720, 1724, 1726, and 1734. There were heads of family censuses done in Ile Saint-Jean in 1728, 1730, 1734, and 1735. Nominal censuses were also taken for Ile Royale (1749) and Ile Saint-Jean (1752). The 1752 Ile Saint-Jean census was published in the Report Concerning Canadian Archives for the Year 1905, Vol. 2 (Ottawa, 1906).  It was reprinted by Rene Babineau in the book Voyage du Sieur de La Roque. Dave Hunter of PEI's The Island Register has recently put the Isle St. Jean part of the census on-line (and in English).
     As with any census, there will be errors and omissions.  Please be aware of this.  Ages were often an approximation.  Names sometimes took on different forms.  Sometimes a person might go by a middle name or nickname (dit).
     Sometimes a person would take on another name, based on where they were from, their job, a friend's name, etc.  One case in which this happened is with Emmanuel Hebert, son of Etienne & Marie Gaudet.  He was sometimes called Manuel.  Some of his descendants used the name Hebert dit Manuel (ie. Jean Hebert dit Manuel).  Somewhere down the line, some of his descendants used the Manuel and just disregarded the Hebert part.  Bob Quintin wrote a book on the subject, The "Dit" Name: French-Canadian Surnames -- Aliases, Adulterations, and Anglicizations in 1993.  It covers 33,000+ dit names.  It also talks about how some French names were turned into their English equivalents ... LeBlanc became White, Doiron became Gold, etc.
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Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert