|Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step by Step
Chapter 9: Acadian-Cajun Genealogy Online
When this book was first written (1992), the
Internet was in very few homes. Now (2000), the internet is being
used more and more each day. It is estimated that Internet use doubles
every 100 days. Over half of the U.S. population is expected to be
online by 2005. Since a major feature of the internet is the sharing
of information, it makes for a fantastic tool in the area of genealogy.
|I've got Acadian-Cajun roots,
and I just got online ... now what?
The first thought you might have is to look for pages
on your surname. But if you enter a surname, for example Boudreaux,
into one of the popular search engines, it will give you hundreds or thousands
of hits ... most of them with no relation to genealogy. You can refine
the search by adding key words, such as genealogy,
to the search. A search for Boudreaux
genealogy should give you a reasonable list of pages to look
at. Also, you can go to a surname link page. There is one at
that links to Acadian-Cajun surnames that specialize in a surname, or surnames.
You will also want to check to see if there's a website for an family association/organization
for your surname. The Fédération des Associations de
Familles Acadiennes [FAFA] <http://fafa.cea.umoncton.ca/>
and the Confederation of Associations of Families Acadian Inc. [CAFA]
<http://www.cafa.org/> maintain links to association websites.
If you are new to genealogy, there are a number
of general genealogical resources. For material specific to Acadian-Cajun
genealogy and history, it would be best to go to Acadian-Cajun.com <http://www.acadian-cajun.com>.
There are subsites specifically devoted to Acadian Genealogy and Cajun
Genealogy, as well as hundreds of pages of associated material. For
example, a couple of popular locations are pages with all of the extant
Acadian censuses and pages with the passenger lists of the seven ships
bringing Acadians to Louisiana in 1785.
To get an overview of the website, look for a site
index page. The site index lists and links all of the pages included
in the website. Some sites also have search engines just for that
You may also want to connect with other people online.
The first step would be to look at forums or bulletin boards. People
have posted questions and answers on all sorts of things, including genealogy.
There is a general Acadian-Cajun
at Rootsweb. You will probably want to check surname and location
forums related to the names and places in which you are interested.
Continue reading for more information on forums in the Webtools section.
The next step would be to sign up to a mailing list.
When someone sends an email to a mailing list, a copy is sent to all members
on the list. You can send out a question, and perhaps one of the
hundreds of subscribers will have an answer for you. You will probably
want to sign up to a general Acadian-Cajun mailing list, surname mailing
lists (for names you are working on), and location mailing lists (for the
areas in which you are working). Continue reading for more information
on mailing lists in the Webtools section.
At this point, you may want to look further into some
of the websites. Some sites, though not specializing in your surname,
might have useful information buried with the genealogy of other Acadian-Cajun
names. Also, it may be of interest to check out the information on
the history and culture of Acadian and Cajun people. This will help
you to understand the setting for the genealogy of your ancestors.
The largest and most comprehensive site on the subject
is at Acadian-Cajun.com <http://www.acadian-cajun.com>,
the website created and maintained by the author of this book. This
website has over 700 pages with sections on every aspect of Acadian and
Cajun genealogy, history, and culture. Everything in this chapter
(including the complete text of the chapter <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/howto9.htm>) is located at this site.
Links to hundreds of Acadian-Cajun sites can be found at the links
page <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/genlink.htm>. More details
on this site and others are found in the Websites section of this chapter.
The best of those sites are listed, but you'll want to spend some time
looking through as many as possible.
BEWARE OF MISSING LINKS
The Internet is a very fluid medium.
Just because something is there today doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow.
Between the first and final drafts of the writing of this chapter, several
significant Acadian-Cajun websites just disappeared (and a few good ones
sprang up). If you find something that has information you need,
you might want to takes notes then and there. The next time you try
to visit it might be gone. Now, sometimes it just changes addresses,
in which case you might be able to find it again if the old site left a
forwarding address or the new address starts showing up in a search engine.
As sites move or shut down, the information will
be updated at the online version of this chapter <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/howto9.htm>.
| There are five basic types of Acadian-Cajun websites
that will be helpful in your work with Acadian-Cajun Genealogy. They
are:constructed genealogy pages, raw data, historical data, links,
and combination sites. Though some sites overlap two or more of
these categories, I've placed some of the major sites into their most appropriate
category as examples.
|1) The constructed genealogy page is the online version
of a paper pedigree chart. Some may be only one page long, while
others can be large and encompass numerous pages. Sometimes, a GEDCOM
is offered for you to download. They are often within a family page, though
there are a few sites that specialize in just pedigree charts. A
few sites offer large amounts of genealogy on numerous surnames.
The three best websites specializing in Acadian-Cajun constructed genealogy
A number of pages only concentrate on a single
surname (though other surnames are naturally included). A list of
them is kept at Acadian-Cajun Surnames & Researchers <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/surnamr.htm>. Some of these
At some point, the Centre
d'etudes acadiennes <http://www.umoncton.ca/etudeacadiennes/centre/cea.html>
plans to put the basic genealogy of Stephen White's Dictionnaire online for a subscription fee. At present, there are several pages <http://www.umoncton.ca/etudeacadiennes/centre/white/sha.html>
with varying amounts of genealogy on selected Acadian surnames (that originally
appeared in a 1994 issue of Les Cahiers).
- Ancestry World
While not specifically Acadian-Cajun, Ancestry.com accepts
pedigree files (GEDCOMs) and allows full access to the information online.
It includes thousands and thousands of Acadian-Cajun entries, and you can
download complete GEDCOMs for free. For example, a search for the
Acadian surname HEBERT in 2002 found
over 100,000 records ... with 80% of those in the free section!
This site, part of the Acadian
Memorial in St. Martinville, LA, contains the basic genealogy (parents,
children) for those Acadians who immigrated to Louisiana. It provides
the best online information for those original Acadian immigrants to Louisiana
and their immediate families. It includes references and a good bibliography.
- Steve's Ancestry<http://www.erols.com/someday/Steve.html>
by Steve Fleming
Steve has several databases, each concentrating on a
separate surname. Some of the Acadian-Cajun databases are: Arsenault,
Babin, Bergeron, Blanchard, Bourgeois, Broussard, Brou, Doucet, Dugas,
Fontenot, Forest, Gaudet, Gauterot, Hebert, Heidel/Haydel, Huber/Oubre,
LeJeune, LeMire/Mire, Mayer, Melanson/Melancon, Petitpas, Richard, Rommel/Rome,
Roussel, Schexnayder, Schaaf/Schoff/Choffe, Theriot, Trahan.
|2) Raw data consists of church records, civil records,
census data, passenger lists, etc. Usually these have been transcribed
by a private individual, though some sites are official. There is
not a lot out there at the moment, but plans are underway to put more and
more data online. Here are three sites with raw data; though one
of them is actually a collection of hundreds of sites.
Chambres des Notaires du Quebec has a site about their
business ... notaries. A section of the site interests genealogists,
is a database of 30,000 notarial acts dating back to 1635. You will
find many Acadian records. Though it is in French, you can get the
basic information if you understand a few French words. Or, you can
use a translation service such as Alta Vista's Babel
- Poitou, Acadie, Bretagne
<http://perso.wanadoo.fr/froux/> by Francois Roux (French)
Though this site has constructed genealogy on the Boudrot,
Guillot, and Daigle families, it's high point is the data on the Poitou
settlement, the Belle Isle en Mer settlement, and the lists of movements
of Acadians into (ship lists from England) and around (the 4 convoys from
Chatellerault) France ... some of it not found elsewhere online.
- USGenWeb <http://www.usgenweb.com/>
There are sites for every parish/county in the country.
There are several special projects that involve putting raw data such as censuses and cemetery listings online. There is an Archives <http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/> that keeps thousands of pages of
data. For Acadian-Cajun research, you should check out the Louisiana
and New England area especially. There's also a WorldGenWeb <http://worldgenweb.org/>. You may want to check the sites for Canada <http://www.rootsweb.com/~canwgw/> and/or France <http://francegenweb.org/>.
|3) Historical sites offer an insight into the history
that was going on around our ancestors. It is sometimes helpful to
know the history of their location to help determine their movements.
It also adds color to the basic lineage. For example, knowing how,
why, and under what conditions your ancestors sailed across the sea is
much more interesting than just stating that they did so.
Acadian Odyssey <http://collections.ic.gc.ca/acadian/english/toce/toce.htm>
by the Acadian Centre at St. Anne University
There is a short history of the Acadians, along with
a few graphics. It gives you the story in less than 2 dozen pages.
- Histoire du Canada et de l'Acadie <http://pages.infinit.net/lej/> (French)
No graphics, but lots of great information on the people
and history of Acadia (as well as New France) arranged chronologically.
- Histoire du peuple Acadien<http://www.cyberacadie.com/>
by Daniel Robichaud (French)
This site contains a variety of pages on Acadian history.
It is also a good place to find links to French Acadian-Cajun sites.
- History of Nova Scotia <http://www.blupete.com/History.htm>
by Peter Landry
Mr. Landry maintains a well-documented and detailed history
of Acadia/Nova Scotia. He also has biographies of all major persons
in the history of Acadia and Nova Scotia.
- Il était
une fois l'Acadie <http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/yoyo/index.html>
by Robert Duguay (French)
Robert's site is a nice graphical presentation of the
Acadian saga. The details are few, and it is in French; but you owe
it to yourself to take a look. He also has a good section on old
|4) Some sites primarily consist of links to other sites.
The links may be on one area, or many. They often contain some pages
of data, but the focus of the site is to provide links to related areas.
- Acadian Genealogy Homepage<http://www.acadian.org/>
by Yvon Cyr
Sponsored by the producers of the "In Search of Acadian
Roots" CD, you'll have to endure a number of ads for CDs. But this
longtime Acadian links site includes a couple hundred external Acadian-Cajun
links and several hundred pages at the site itself.
- Acadian GenWeb<http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Acres/2162/>
by Michele Doucette
The GenWeb project is spreading around the world.
It is designed to get every country, state, province, county, etc. online.
Though most of the sites are based on geographical boundaries, the Canadian
GenWeb graciously allowed for a special site to be set up for Acadians.
There are several hundred external links and several dozen pages at the
|5) Most sites (including some already listed) are actually a combination of the above types. These sites will have each of the types
of information already listed and more. A good example of this is:
The largest site on Acadian-Cajun genealogy and history is by the author
of this book. It offers a large amount of material organized into
several sections to completely cover the area of Acadian-Cajun Genealogy,
History, and Culture.
- Our Acadian and French Canadian
Ancestral Home <http://www.acadian-home.org/> by Lucie LeBlanc
Lucie started simply but has added a number of items
and now has over 100 pages. As with any good site, she continues
to add new information regularly.
- Acadian-Cajun Genealogy &
History <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/> by Tim Hebert
The most comprehensive website on the subject, consisting
of over 700 web pages and continually growing. A printed version
of the site would be thousands of pages.. Some of the major
sections of the site include:
This is the most detailed history of the Acadians on
the web ... with maps, a timeline, and images from the best Acadian-Cajun
artists. It begins with their origins in the Old World, continues
with their time in Acadia, and follows them through their resettlement
after the Exile.
- Acadian Genealogy
The genealogy of the Acadians is covered in two periods;
data in this section includes the Acadian censuses of 1671, 1678, 1686,
1693, 1698, 1700, 1701, 1703, 1707, 1714, 1751/52, 1752. There are
pages about the church records, notarial records, and compiled works.
There are also pages devoted to each of the Acadian surnames ... with basic
information, beginning genealogy, and links to related pages.
- Cajun History
This includes the transition of Acadians into today's
Cajuns ... from their first days in Louisiana in the 1760s to the present
day. It also outlines other cultures that became incorporated into
the Cajun culture.
- Cajun Genealogy
This section includes passenger lists for the seven 1785
ships that brought 1600 Acadians to Louisiana. It also contains a
listing of ALL other 18th century Acadian immigrants to Louisiana.
Information on tracing Cajun genealogy through the 18th, 19th, and 20th
centuries is included.
- Acadian-Cajun Genealogical Periodical
The complete text of this book, which Tim Hebert compiled
in 1990, is online. It includes 5000+ articles related to Acadian-Cajun
- Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step by
This section describes this book you are now reading.
It is an expanded table of contents for the book, including a new (2002)
chapter on Acadian-Cajun Genealogy Online.
- Acadian-Cajun Links
This links page contains hundreds of the best sites for
genealogy, history, tourism, etc. relative to the Acadian and Cajun people.
It includes brief comments on most of the sites
- Congres Mondial Acadien
There is an entire section on the history and events
of the gatherings held in Canada and Louisiana, with an extensive section
on the 1999 Louisiana Congres.
- The Hébert Family
This is a surname site with information about Acadian
Héberts before the Exile, and a great deal of information on them
afterwards ... especially in Louisiana; it includes a constructed
genealogy of the first 6 generations of Heberts in Acadia.
Some of the other pages at the site (though there are
hundreds more) include:
• Acadian-Cajun Book List
- a list of books over the past 200 years
that tell the Acadian-Cajun story
• Acadian-Cajun Places to Visit
- descriptions and links to Acadian-Cajun
places in Louisiana, Canada, and elsewhere
• Acadian-Cajun Surnames &
- links to forums and websites on Acadian
and Cajun surnames
• Acadian-Cajun Supply Store
- links to sellers of Acadian-Cajun materials,
as well as items offered by Acadian-Cajun.com
• Acadian-Cajun Art Gallery
- the most prominent Acadian-Cajun artists
have given their permission for their works to be used at this site to
illustrate the story of the Acadian-Cajuns
• Acadian-Cajun Articles
- articles on Acadians and Cajuns collected
from numerous sources
• Encyclopedia of Acadian Life
- alphabetical listing of topics from architecture
• Encyclopedia of Cajun Life
- alphabetical listing of topics from architecture
|General Genealogy Websites
There are literally thousands of websites
related to genealogy, covering just about possible aspect.
Even though a website doesn't specialize in Acadian-Cajun material, you
will usually find information that you can use. You may have a number
of lines that aren't Acadian-Cajun.
Also, there are sites that specialize in certain
locations. You'll want to check out those sites that cover the areas
of your ancestors.
And there are general sites, such as census
information, that will be of help no matter what type of ancestry you have.
Here are some of the best general genealogy websites.
• Ancestry <http://www.ancestry.com/>
it is a commercial enterprise, there is also a lot of free information.
As previously mentioned, the World Tree contains millions
of names accessible for free.
Unlike the FTM user-contributed information only available on CDs, Ancestry's
World Tree is free.
genealogy site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
• Genealogy.com <http://www.genealogy.com/>
site was acquired by A&E Television and includes the former Family
Tree Maker site <www.familytreemaker.com>. It offers some
free information, but there's not as much as Ancestry.com. For example,
you can search for people on the FTM disks, but you have to purchase the
CDs to access the information.
• RootsWeb <http://www.rootsweb.com/>
started out hosting many genealogy sites and continues to do so on a major
also contains thousands of forums and mailing lists.
• USGenWeb <http://www.usgenweb.com/>
site has already been mentioned. It has a site for every parish/county
in the country.
are also sites for other countries at WorldGenWeb <http://worldgenweb.org/>.
Barrel of Genealogy Links <http://cpcug.org/user/jlacombe/mark.html>
List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet <http://www.CyndisList.com/>
Genealogy Home Page <http://www.genhomepage.com/>
Resources on the Internet <http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cgaunt/gen_web.html>
• GenGateway <http://www.gengateway.com/>
Genealogy Toolbox <http://www.genealogytoolbox.com/>
Surname Web <http://www.surnameweb.org/>
Journeys in Time <http://www.genealogicaljourneys.com/>
Search engines visit websites
and index them. When you enter a word (or words), it will tell you
which pages contain that information. They are not foolproof.
Some sites may not be in their database. Sometimes the genealogy
site you want is number 9998 out of 10000 hits.
Most search engines look
through their entire database for information. So if you enter a
name, looking for genealogical information, you may get thousands of other
hits from sites that have nothing to do with genealogy.
If you use one of the major
search engines, remember to include other words with the surname, such
as "genealogy", a specific location, etc. Some of the major search
engines are Google, Alta
Vista, Yahoo, Excite, WebCrawler,
and Lycos. Some
of them use robots to search the entire web. They produce the most
results, but it can be difficult wading through the large number of websites.
Many search engines also have directories that organize websites.
Directories produce fewer pages but might be easier to use in finding sites
if you aren't familiar with using search engines.
You will want to look at the surname forums for
the surnames in which you are interested. You should also look at
forums for the localities where your ancestors lived. Forums exist
for counties/parishes, states, etc. At a forum, you can see
if there's anything that might be of interest to you and can leave any
questions you have to see if someone else may be able to answer.
You may be able to find others working on the same ancestors, though you
may find that old message have outdated email addresses. The best
thing to do (if an email listing is bad) is to post a request and that
person may see it and contact you.
You may also want to 'connect' with other people online.
The first step would be to look at forums or bulletin boards. People
have posted questions and answers on all sorts of things, including genealogy.
There is a general Acadian-Cajun
Several different forum sites have merged so that
there are two major locations each hosting thousands of forums.
Rootsweb has a much more detailed surname
section <http://resources.rootsweb.com/surnames/>. It allows
you to search for a surname in numerous ways. There are separate
surname forums for queries, Bible records, bios, deeds, obituaries, pensions,
Links to the Acadian-Cajun surname forums
at Genealogy.com/Genforum and Rootsweb/Ancestry can be found at the Surnames
& Researchers page <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/surnamr.htm>
at Acadian-Cajun.com. If a forum doesn't exist for your surname,
you can always ask them to start one.
A mailing list is a subscription service.
When you subscribe, everything that gets sent to the list address gets
forwarded to all members of the list. So if the list has 1000 people
on it, you send your message to one location and it will be sent to each
of those 1000 members. You can send out a question, and perhaps one
of the hundreds of subscribers will have an answer for you.
Some lists are available in digest form. That
means that all of the messages for one day are saved up and sent to you
in one large email at the end of the day. You may not want to get
dozens of emails a day ... which is possible on some of the larger lists.
But if you like to get email, you can sign up to several lists and will
always have something to read when you check your email. In addition,
some lists are archived. That means that all of the messages are
saved at a remote location. If you want to check on a past message,
you can consult the archived messages.
The original Acadian-Cajun mailing list started
(by the author) at Genweb disappeared when Genweb.net went offline.
There is another Acadian-Cajun mailing list at Rootsweb. There are
thousands of surname mailing lists, including lists for many of the Acadian-Cajun
surnames. Check with Rootsweb <http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/surnames/index.html> to see
if there's is a mailing list for the names you are interested in.
Mailing lists are also available for certain areas and
locations. If many of your relatives are from a certain country,
area, state, or parish/county, you may want to subscribe to a mailing list
for that region.
You may also want to use chat software, such as
ICQ, IRC, AIM, to contact others. Several chat sites exist.
Some chat locations that may be Acadian-Cajuns friendly are: Chat
Acadie <http://www.chatacadie.com/> (French) and the
chat page at Acadian-Cajun.com <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/chat.htm>.
Though not a chat room, you may also contact
people through newsgroups, such as alt.culture.cajun. Sometimes news
or information is posted here that is relevant to Acadian-Cajun culture
A web ring is a collection of links on a certain topic.
You can click 'next' or 'previous' to go through the various sites.
You could do the same thing by going to a good links page and picking the
links yourself. But if you have time to spare and would just like
to browse, you might want to look at rings such as the : French-Canadian
and Acadian Genealogical Societies Ring <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~fcsocgenring/>,
Louisiana Genealogy Ring <http://louisianahistory.ourfamily.com/webring/>,
and the Cajun Ring <http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/3785/cajunring.htm>,
There are currently 2 major online genealogy
libraries. Both of them add a number of new books each week.
By early 2002, each of them had over 3000 databases at their respective
You might want to check out the listings of books included for each online
library to determine if one, both, or neither would be the best bet.
Neither are very heavy with Acadian, Cajun, French, or Canadian material.
Ancestry started this concept by offering online access
to hundreds of publications. You can subscribe to different sets
of records for different amounts (quarterly or annually). Their subscription
plans (by quarter or annually) include a U.S. records collection, online
census images, newspapers, and U.K./Ireland records. Subscriptions
prices range from $7.95/month for just the U.S. records collection to $17.95/month
for acces to all four collections [2002 prices].
- Genealogy Library
Genealogy.com/FamilyTreeMaker also has an online genealogy
library over over 3000 databases (with new ones added each day).
You can subscribe to different collections a prices ranging from $49.99
to $99.99 a year [2002 prices]. Collections include the World Family
Tree, U.S. Censuses, passenger lists, family/local histories, and the 1851
These sites also have free how-to information
on genealogy, so you may want to look through those pages if you are just
beginning the hobby. Specific information on Acadian-Cajun genealogy,
however, is better found in this book.
You will find that a number of pages dealing
with Acadian material are in French. If you don't understand the
language, you will want to use a translation program or web page.
There are several good programs (such as Easy Translator and Systran) that you can buy that will translate documents, including
web pages. You can also use an online translation service.
A pretty good one can be found at Alta
Vista <http://babelfish.altavista.digital.com/>. You can
input a web page to translate or paste text into a field to translate.
It will not let you translate more than a couple of hundred words at a
time, though you can get around that by cutting out sections of the page
and translating them one at a time. There is a link on the page if
you'd like to purchase the program that does the translating.
Be aware that it will sometimes make translations
when you don't want them. For example, if you put in "Joseph
Semer, b. Grand Pre", it will translate it as "Joseph
to sow, b. Large Pre".
Own Genealogy Website
Where to Start
are also a number of websites that offer assistance in setting up a website.
One good place to start is at Cyndi's
Genealogy Homepage Construction Kit <http://www.CyndisList.com/construc.htm>.
There is also a webpage with helpful information on starting your own family
page at <http://www.acadian-cajun.com/online.htm/>
that you may want to consult if this is new to you.
Creating Web Pages with Genealogy
program that your are using to maintain your family tree may already have
the tools you need to start. Several of them allow you to create
a website using your database. If you use Family
Tree Maker, for example, it will create a series of web pages from
your file and upload it for you at their site if you are a registered user. Family
Origins will also create a website that you can upload, but you
have to have web space somewhere. That shouldn't be a problem, since
there are many sites that offer free web space. Check out Yahoo's
listing of free
webspace providers <http://dir.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Companies/Internet_Services/Web_Services/Website_Hosting/Free_Web_Pages/>.
Turning GEDCOMs into Web Pages
Even if you don't
have a program that does this for you, you can use one of several programs
that will take a GEDCOM file and create web pages out of them. Some
are free, while others have a small cost. You can go to downloading
sites such as TUCOWS <http://www.tucows.com/>
or ZDNet <http://downloads-zdnet.com.com/>
and enter 'genealogy' in their search engine. This will show you
several dozen genealogy programs available for download. Some of
the programs that will turn a GEDCOM into web pages are: Ged-Gen, Kinship Archivist, GenoPro, and GreatFamily.
can just upload your data to Ancestry's
World Tree <http://www.ancestry.com/share/awt/main.htm>.
They will convert the GEDCOM to web form and it will be accessible online.
You can keep it private ... for your use only ... or you can make it available
What Do I Want at the Website
You might want
to decide what your page will cover. Will it be just your family? Do you want to specialize in one or more surnames ... locations?
Do you have any special information that would help people? You will
have to decide if you will post it once and just leave it up, or if you
will maintain and update the site. I will leave the production of
websites to other books. Following the directions given in this chapter
should allow you to set up your basic genealog online.
The internet is primarily a communications
and information tool. Since genealogy is all about collecting information
from other people/sources, the internet is an ideal medium for learning
and sharing genealogy. It is growing and changing as we speak, so
by next year some of the links in this chapter will be gone and some new
ones will have appeared (check the website for current versions of the