WORKS: Acadian & French-Canadian
One of the oldest compilations was done by
Placide Gaudet at the beginning of the century. He died before completing
his Acadian Dictionary, but many of his Acadian Notes and Genealogy are available for us to use. Some libraries
may have a copy of his notes in microfilm format (reels C-2238 to C-2241),
which can also be borrowed/purchased from the Canadian
Archives. They were published in the Canadian Archives' Annual Report in 1905. Since Gaudet starting compiling
material in the late 1800's, he was able to talk to people who were only
one or two generations removed from pre-Exile times.
Other genealogists, like Fathers Gallant and
Hector Hebert, compiled numerous notes on Acadian genealogy. These
manuscripts can be found at the Centre
d'Etudes acadiennes, but have not been published.
Histoire et Genealogie des Acadiens by Bona Arsenault comprises 6 volumes and has long considered to be one
of the foremost works in researching Acadian genealogy. The first is a
history of the Acadians (also available in English), while the other 5
list families by location. The volumes cover the following locations:
- Port Royal
- Beaubassin, Grand Pre
- Pisiguit, Cobequid, Chipoudy & Petitcoudiac, Cap de Sable & Pobomcoup,
Riviere St. Jean, Ristigouche.
- Plaisance, Ile Royale, Ile St. Jean
- Iles St. Pierre & Miquelon, Iles de la Madeleine, Bordeaux, Belle
Ile en Mer, Louisiana
Although the work is in French, you can determine the relevant data
by learning a few key words. An index, a dictionary of French terms, and
two books of corrections for this work have been produced, Corrections
... by Janet Jehn and Discrepancies ... by Don Boudreaux
(see the Book list). Mr. Arsenault made
numerous guesses, so please try to find the source (which isn't given)
for the material. Also, note that the page numbers of the original
1960s edition and the reprint edition are different.
Le grand réarrangement des Acadiens by Adrien Bergeron comprises 8 volumes. It covers many families arranged
by surname. It begins with the Acadian progenitors and continues into their
(primarily) Canadian descendants. At the begining of each surname, there
is a discussion of the family. Some surnames have very little, and
some have many pages of this introductory discussion. Even if you
don't read French, the genealogy portion is easy to understand. Like
Arsenault, Bergeron's work has its share of mistakes.
If you are looking for a book plagued with
unconfirmed data ... Familles Acadiennes is a multi-volume
work by Leopold Lanctot that goes into more detail about the first few
generations of many of the early Acadian families. It is only available
in French. Since it is more prose and less names/dates than Arsenault's
work, it is harder to understand if you can't read French. I've found that
it has data not found elsewhere, but that information is not documented;
so be careful. I wouldn't use the information unless documentation
could be found.
Now we go from one of the least reliable sources to
the best compiled work on Acadian genealogy. Stephen White of the Centre
d'Etudes acadiennes, after 25 years of work, has completed his work
on the first part of the Dictionnaire
genealogique des familles acadiennes. Using the work
of his predessesors and all of the resources of the Centre, he has put
together THE definitive reference work on Acadian genealogy.
The first part, released in August 1999, covers
families where the marriage occurred between 1636 and 1714. The second
part covers families, where the marriage occurred between 1715 and 1780, will be released in about 14 volumes. As a volume
is completed (starting with the beginning of the alphabet), it will be
released. The Centre also plans on putting the basic research data
(covering both parts) at some point in the future (for a fee).
Please remember that these works were compiled
by people, and people do tend to make mistakes. Some sources may
be reliable (White's Dictionnaire),
while some are very suspect (Lanctot's Familles). The
others fall somewhere in between. As noted above, Bona Arsenault's
set, which has been around for 3 decades, has enough errors that two books
of corrections have been compiled. Father Bergeron and Placide Gaudet
also have their mistakes. Since many of us do not have access to
the primary documents, we frequently rely upon the work of others.
If they document the data, you can feel more assured of its accuracy.
The best thing to do, if primary documentation is not available to you,
is to utilize as many secondary sources as possible.
Many other books, often focusing on a family
or group of families have been compiled. Please consult the Book
list for additional works.
The three major French-Canadian are Tanguay,
Jette, and Drouin. Since Acadia was considered part of New France
at times, and since many Acadians migrated to New France ... you will find
many Acadians in these works.
Rev. Cyprien Tanguay completed a 7 volume
set of records in the late 1800s called Dictionnaire Genealogique
des Familles Canadiennes. It's material begins about 1608
and extends to material at and shortly after the Exile (1760+/-).
Many libraries in Louisiana, Canada, New England, and elsewhere will have
a copy. A complement to his set was done by Arthur LeBoeuf with corrections
and additions, and is available in print or on microfiche. If you
would like to purchase your own copy of Tanguay's Dictionnaire, Quintin
Publications has it on CD-ROM, hardcover books, and on microfiche. Originis also has
it on CD-ROM.
Rene Jette compiled a Dictionnaire Genealogique
des Familles du Quebec des Origines a 1730. Also available
Publications, this large single volume is often found at libraries
in areas of French-Canadian descendancy. It lists vital records in
Quebec up to the year 1730.
The Drouin, called Dictionnaire National des
Canadiens Francais, contains marriage up to 1760 listed by husband's
name. Only a limited number were produced by the Drouin Institute. The
American-French Genealogical Society purchased the the copyrights
to the Red Drouin (National Dictionary of French-Canadians 1608-1760);
the 49 volume Blue Drouin (the marriages of Quebec from 1760-1940 indexed
by the groom), and the microfiche of the Blue Drouin indexed by the bride.
They are currently offering the red Drouin set on CD-ROM.
Another multi-volume set is Thomas Laforest's Our
French-Canadian Ancestors (20+ volumes). Each volume has
about a dozen or so chapters .. each on a different person. While
it is primarily only French-Canadian people, many Acadians also have French-Canadian
ancestry and they may be useful for you.
There are several other Canadian and French-Canadian
works that include information on Acadians (though not directly aimed at
Acadians), like Olivier's Your Ancient Canadian Family Ties.
Consult the 'Acadians in Canada' on the Book list for these publications.
There are numerous books put out by individuals
on their genealogies. For the most part, they have used the works
above and on the other pages to put their family tree together. Since
so many of these family trees intersect as you go back in time, the chances
are that you will find books that also include portions of your own family
Constructed Genealogies ...
on disks and online
There have been at least 2 CD-ROMs that contain
thousands of GEDCOMs (universal format to store a family tree) with Acadian
ancestry. They are In Search of Your Acadian Roots by Yvon
Cyr and Acadian-Cajun Family Trees by Progeny
Online, there are numerous sites with constructed
genealogies. The two best ones for Acadian research are no longer active online: Acadien
Descendants by Joe Hebert and German-Acadian
Page by Steve Fleming. NOTE: I have found archived versions of the sites in the interent archive: Mr. Fleming's page can be found HERE. Joe Hebert's site is HERE (though most of the data was not saved).
Though it's not specifically about Acadian
lines, you may also check Ancestry.com.
There are many GEDCOMs with Acadian ancestry there. Individuals can submit GEDCOMs to them and they can be searched and downloaded
for free. Family Tree Maker does the same thing, but charges you
to see the data or to obtain it.
| This website added a number of genealogies (6 generations worth) for many Acadian progenitors. They can be accessed from the surnames page.
Please remember the reminder in the 'Acadian
Works' section ... many of these genealogies were done by people just like
you. There are many mistakes. Be sure to verify the data with
the source material and to record the source(s) in your notes.