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
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
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
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.