Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History

Acadian Genealogy

     Assembling the genealogy of Acadians before 1755 is a mixed blessing. We do have some census records and church records ... which are pretty much all in print.  And in the 17th century, you are only dealing with several hundred people.  But there are also many gaps.  Most of the church records, especially of the 17th century, were lost or destroyed.  Much of the work of piecing people together has been done.  When Stephen White's Dictionnaire is completed, the genealogy of this period will be more or less assembled ... though more information comes to light regularly.  Your task is to connect your own family with the raw data and use the resources prepared by others. 
     The genealogy of Acadians during the Exile gets a bit complicated.  In same cases, good records can be found.  Some have been abstracted, while some may still sit in churches and courthouses waiting for a volunteer to find them.  In some cases, you may hit a brick wall.  Due to the migrations and presence in other cultures, there was a variety of information produced. 
     After the Exile, Acadians were assimilated into local cultures to varying degrees. In some cases, the Acadian identity "disappeared." But in some areas (e.g. Louisiana), the culture remained fairly intact. The genealogy of Acadians who settled in Louisiana is covered at this website in Cajun Genealogy. The genealogy of Acadians who settled in other areas is not covered at this time, but such pages may appear if I see that there is sufficient interest. For now, if you had Acadian ancestors who settled in a specific region and merged into the culture, look up that area.  For example, if your Acadian ancestors moved to Quebec, look up material on Quebec.
Genealogy of the Acadians before they left France       Religious registers start appearing about 1334, but it marriages don't really start till 1539.  In early records (in Latin), the acts are incomplete and baptisms, marriages, and deaths are kept separately. 
     Beginning with Francois I (1515-1547), official records were recorded in French instead of Latin.The ordinance of Villers-Cotterets started the offical keeping of records.  Item 50 specifies that the chapters, high schools, monastères and cures must hold a register of the burials of certain people.  Item 51 requires priests to keep a register of baptisms with the date and time of birth.  But not all areas began records (or many have been lost); the north, for example, began earlier in some cases.  In 1563, another order was made that godfather's names also be kept.  We find that a number of departments began records in 1563.
   In order of Blois (May 1579), item 181 states that registers of baptisms, marriages, and deaths must be kept.    They were concerned (and even had a death penalty) relative to minors (under 25) involved in "clandestine" marriages.  But not every priest in every parish started keeping records in 1579; and many records may have been lost. 

  • GENEALOGY FORMS ... for several blank forms you can print out and use.
  • BOOK LIST ... for a listing of books that will help you with Acadian-Cajun Genealogy.
  • FRENCH TERMS ... collection of words commonly encountered in genealogy, including occupations

I wrote a book called Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step by Step that covers this in more detail.  Information on that publication can be found at this website.

Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert






Websites with the Most On-Line Acadian Genealogical Information
The best of these are no longer online.
Check out the Acadian-Cajun Links page for more.