to Acadian genealogy.
Version April 2008, Roger Hétu, Grand-Pré
To a genealogist, "first things first" means to compile all written and oral information that can be obtained from his own family. Usually we know our parents and grandparents. These are our first six ancestors. We should now find out their dates and places of birth, marriages and death if deceased.
Our living grandparents can give information on their parents and grandparents. There! Without setting foot in a library we have already gathered information on nearly thirty ancestors.
If our parents and grandparents are deceased then we should consult our uncles, aunts, great-uncles, great-aunts and cousins. They share our ancestors. If we are lucky one of them has already collected genealogical information.
So the family is the first source of genealogical and bibliographical information on nearly thirty ancestors or five generations.
There is an estimated ten to twelve generations between us and our Acadian ancestors who came to the New World in the 1630's. Information on the first settler and three to four generations thereafter is easily found in published reference books. Therefore the genealogy challenge will be the four generation gap between what your family knows and what the reference books have.
You now have in your file about thirty ancestors. The next step would be to join a local genealogical society. You will then have access to primary sources (original and/or microfilmed records) and secondary sources (printed or digital transcriptions). Most importantly you will, by your membership, participate in the creation, conservation and publication of these documents. Furthermore the genealogical society will teach you the right way to record your ancestral information, to use resources and the tools available. You will find addresses of genealogical societies on genealogy portals (described below). Many family associations have planned their reunion in New Brunswick in 2009. Check them out on the Congres Mondial Acadien 2009 portal at http://www.cma2009.ca? . Consult also the family association list on the "Centre de la Généalogie Francophone d'Amérique" portal at http://www.genealogie.org/sites/clubs.htm
Most genealogical societies offer beginner courses on genealogical research. You will learn the importance of identifying and qualifying the source. There are usually 3 categories of sources:
Primary source: The original record, usually handwritten in a register or a microfilmed copy of the same. The quality of the primary source depends on their clarity. Physical deterioration of the original, the language, and the strange handwriting are responsible for hypothetical interpretation that may lead to errors.
Secondary source: This is a primary source transcription. The alphabetized repertoire published by a genealogical society and the research centre dictionary are much easier to read and search. The quality of a secondary source depends on the reputation of the author and the correction publications that have followed.
Other sources: The information from a newspaper clip, other’s database, exchanges with a correspondent, family tradition, etc.
No matter what the source, there is always room for errors. The priest himself sometimes wrote incorrect entries in the church register. Academic research centres subsequently publish corrections to their publications. It is of the utmost importance to assign to each bit of information their origin, the category of the source, and their quality.
New information form.
The genealogy software is usually a database program structured to compile and search our ancestor's information. Make sure to choose genealogy software that can import and export GEDCOM files. GEDCOM is a format that lets you share and send information to others no matter which computer or software they have. Ask your local genealogical society which software most of their members use. Having the same software makes it easier to get help when needed.
Some genealogy software are freeware. PAF is an example: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/default.asp.
Others are shareware like BK: http://www.bkwin.org/ .
Genealogy software, costing between 50 and 150$ can be bought from software stores.
A) The most
important work is Le Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles
Acadiennes by Stephen White. The first part, published in
two volumes, is the reconstruction of the Acadian families of 1636 to
1714. This book is published by the "Centre d'Études Acadiennes
de l'université Moncton", NB.
(Out of print since 2006)
An English Supplement
to the Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes providing
a translation of the major texts is also available at
You will find these books in most genealogy
The second part , in the works, will cover the years 1715 to 1780.
Histoire et Généalogie des Acadiens, Bona Arsenault. Six
C) Le grand arrangement des Acadiens au Québec, Adrien Bergeron. Eight volumes. Genealogy of Quebec Acadian families. Available in most Quebec genealogy libraries. (However this unfinished masterpiece was not then summited to a rigourous verification now available with computer technology. Hence it contents many errors)
D) Le PRDH . Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique de L'Université de Montréal. All the records of Old Quebec from 1621 to 1799.. Particularly interesting for the Quebec Acadian families from 1755 to 1799. Available in most Quebec genealogy libraries. Also available for a reasonable fee, on-line. http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/acces.htm
E) Fiche acadiennes du Fonds Drouin, par Jean-Pierre-Yves Pepin. Accumulated information of the Institut Drouin (a professional genealogy venture) used to write the customer's genealogy. Often available where the Drouin microfilms are available. http://drouininstitute.com/acadian/index.html
F) Microfilms Drouin. More than 2000 microfilms of Quebec records from the beginning to 1940. It covers Acadia, Ontario and some USA registers. Available in these libraries (at least): CAM-ANQ, BANQ and SGCF in Montréal, SGQ in Québec city, CGL in Longueuil, SGL in Joliette, AFGS in Woonsocket, RI and NEHGS in Boston, MA. Some research centres have a computerized version to facilitate the searches. http://institutdrouin.com/microfilms/MF-Acadie.pdf
G) Microfilms des Mormons. Catholic records from the beginning to 1876. Available in most LDS Family history centres. Also available in major research centres and genealogy libraries.
H) Acadian Descendants, Janet Jehn. 15 volumes of Acadian family genealogies. http://www.acadiangenexch.com/pub.htm
I) Census, registers, transcriptions of Acadian parishes available in local research centres. Such as, The compilations of Baie Ste-Marie by Leonard Smith. The compilations of South Louisiana Records, Southwest Louisiana Records by Donald Hébert; The Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records. Also available in some LDS family history centres.
Centre d'études acadiennes de l'Université
Provincial archives of New-Brunswick
B) Nova ScotiaLe Musée acadien et archives (Pubnico-West)
Argyle Township Court House & Archives (Argyle)
Centre acadien de l'Université Ste-Anne. (Church Point)
Kings Historical Society (Kings County Museum, Kentville)
West Hants Historical Society (Windsor)
The Pomquet Historical Society
Centre Les Trois Pignons, Société St-Pierre (Chéticamp)
PANS (Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management). (Halifax) http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/
Le centre de recherches acadiennes http://www.teleco.org/museeacadien/
BANQ. Bibliothèque et Archives
Nationales du Québec
SGCF in Montréal http://www.sgcf.com/
SGQ in Québec http://www.genealogie.org/club/sgq/plan_du_site.htm
SGL in Joliette http://www.sgl.lanaudiere.net/
SGL in Longueuil http://www.sglongueuil.org
Library and Archives Canada http://www.collectionscanada.ca/04/0415_e.html
Family History Centres (LDS) http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp
University of Louisiana, Lafayette http://library.louisiana.edu/Spec/genealogical.shtml
American French Genealogical Society, 78 Earle St. Woonsocket, RI http://www.afgs.org/
The American Canadian Genealogical Society, 4 Elm Street, Manchester, NH http://www.acgs.org/
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury Street, Boston MA. http://www.newenglandancestors.org/
Family History Centres (LDS) http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp
The five basic methods to search genealogy on the internet are: web site search engines; on-line databases; message boards and mailing lists; personal emails; portal web sites.
1) A web site search engine such as «google.com» and «altavista.com» can help you find informative web pages on a given ancestor. However a simple search usually yields hundreds if not thousands of unwanted results. So it is essential to learn how to use the "advanced search mode" of the search engine to restrict the number of results. Each search engine has its own "advanced techniques" and usually explains them on its home site.
The farther back an ancestor is on your family tree the more numerous are his descendants. Consequently, the greater is the probability that one of them put data on the web. Mind you that search engines do use different "web spider robot software". It is therefore sometimes necessary to use more than one search engine to get the desired results. To learn about other search engines see (http://www.rootsweb.com/~canqc/ressources.htm#search)
2) Searching an on-line database is usually the most successful method. Databases are sites that have a great quantity of structured data. Databases have their own search engine. Some are completely free while others ask for a subscription. For example to use the PRDH genealogy database of The University of Montreal (baptisms, marriages, deaths of the Quebec population before 1800) one has to prepay a determined number of hits over an undetermined period. (http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/main.htm)
On the other hand the WorldConnect genealogy database (over 480 million entries) is free for all to use. http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi . WorldConnect is a co-operative database to which one can contribute by uploading a Gedcom file (genealogy data). Once published on the net we get many new rewarding contacts with others researching the same ancestors.
Above is the advanced WorldConnect search engine. When I type "Melancon Charles" only, I get 1170 hits. If I add the marriage year ranging from 1720 to 1760 the search engine gives 109 hits. If I add part of the father's name the number of results goes down to 39. When I checked "Has Sources" only 7 hits show up. Those seven are worth looking at.
Database links are found on genealogy portal web sites
3) Surname Message boards and mailing lists, once archived, become like text databases where the elements are messages containing the keywords. The messages are usually genealogy queries and answers or arguments confirming or destroying hypothetical solutions. As an example see the ancestry message board at http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?htx=board&r=rw&p=surnames
Message boards links are found on genealogy portal web sites
4) The lookups service where a volunteer makes a lookup in a specified reference book or church parish records gives enormous help to anyone who lives far from city research facilities. As an example the QuebecGenWeb volunteer team offers to do lookups in 1000+ church parish records. http://www.rootsweb.com/~canqc/lookups.htm
On the LanaudiereGenWeb, a volunteer will do lookups in the Stephen White Dictionary.
On the Avoyelles lookups in Louisiana, you can contact Mike at
Again you will find Lookups links on most genealogy portal web sites
If cost is no obstacle then you can contact a professional researcher who will do the work for you (taking away all the fun of finding it by yourself). Their emails are sometimes printed on genealogy portals. Be sure to select a certified researcher.
5) A genealogy PORTAL is a gateway web site that will offer information on all available genealogy resources. Some genealogy portals have global range while others are restricted to a particular ethnic group or a geographic region. « http://Francogene.com » and « http://Genealogie.org » are francophone genealogy portals. « http://Cyndislist.com » is a worldwide genealogy portal with more than two hundred thousand categorised genealogy links.
The site « http://CMA2009.ca » is the event portal of the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2009.
GenWebs (Genealogy on the Web) are geographically structured genealogy
portals. The purpose of the GenWeb Projects is to create a global library
for genealogy research on the Web. First created in USA in 1996 (UsGenWeb.com)
this model was used right away in Canada with the CanadaGenWeb at http://www.rootsweb.com/~canwgw
Today «WorldGenWeb.org» show global resources and links to the continental GenWebs. The latter do the same with the national GenWebs. Then a national GenWeb like the CanadaGenweb links to the provincial Genwebs. At the end of the tree, county Genwebs, like the LanaudiereGenweb http://www.rootsweb.com/~qclanaud/ give the most information. Once on a Genweb site you may surf up to a more general GenWeb or down to a more particular one. That way the GenWeb projects cover every part of the world. All information offered is free. In fact this is a volunteer co-operative project to which you are invited to participate.
One of the challenges in doing a genealogy search is to find how the surname was written in the records. Searching for example for a Therriault, you might have to look up Terriot, Theriau etc. Our French ancestors used often nicknames and "dit names”. Those added "distinctions" came from a military alias, a place of origin, an occupation, a physical particularity, etc. To know more about "dit" names see http://www.francogene.com/quebec/ditnames.php .
You will find alias correspondence tables at (http://www.rootsweb.com/~canqc/ressources.htm#aliases)
Another difficulty in researching Acadian ancestors come from the usage of repetitively naming siblings with the same given name. The eldest added to his given name the distinction "L'aîné" or "Le vieux" . The younger used "Le cadet" or "Le jeune". When the brothers live in different communities they omitted the added distinction, making it hard for a genealogist to know who is who. Here is an illustration of this situation:
1) Bernard Pellerin (son of Étienne and Jeanne Savoie) married 27 November 1713 in Port-Royal to Marguerite Gaudet (daughter of Pierre and Marie Blanchard)
2) Bernard Le vieux Gaudet (son of Pierre and Marie A. Blanchard) married about 1696 Jeanne Terriot (daughter of Claude and Marie Louise Gauterot).
After having collected those marriages we would be tempted to conclude that Marguerite and Bernard Gaudet are siblings
A bit more research shows us that the parents of Bernard are: Pierre L'Aîné Gaudet (son of Denis and Martine Gauthier) and Marie Anne Blanchard (daughter of Jean and Radegonde Lambert). While the parents of Marguerite Gaudet are Pierre Le Jeune Gaudet (son of Denis and Martine Gauthier) and Marie Blanchard (daughter of Jean and Radegonde Lambert). So Bernard and Marguerite Gaudet are not siblings but their fathers Pierre L'Aîné and Pierre Le jeune are brothers. Marie Blanchard and (Marie) Anne Blanchard are sisters.
The above situation shows that you will sometimes have to go back in the genealogy tree and correct errors. Don't be embarrassed, even academic dictionaries like those of Bona Arsenault and Stephen White constantly need to be corrected. Correction publications are numerous.
The farther we are from the primary source the greater the occurrence of errors. Unfortunately, the ease and speed with which we reproduce Internet data multiplies the incorrect information making some genealogies very doubtful. Be critical, compare, double check and agree to review your past hypothesis.
Reference publication with a web site.Centre d'études acadiennes de l'Université de Moncton:
PRDH de l'Université de Montréal http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/
The Drouin Institute http://drouininstitute.com/
Acadian Descendants, Janet Jehn.
Lookups, forums, mailing lists
GenWebQuébec lookups http://www.rootsweb.com/~canqc/lookups.htm
GenWebLanaudière lookups http://www.rootsweb.com/~qclanaud/recherches.htm
Book we own project http://www.rootsweb.com/~bwo/index.html
Genealogy Help List Canada http://www.rootsweb.com/~canghl/
Aline Cormier's Genealogy Portal http://www.acadian-roots.com/
Mailing lists http://lists.rootsweb.com/
Forums, Rootsweb message boards http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/script/main/rw
Portal Acadian-Cajun http://www.acadian-cajun.com/
Cyndi's list http://www.cyndislist.com/acadian.htm#General
Digital collection of Canada http://collections.ic.gc.ca
NovaScotia GenWeb http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/
Généalogie d'Argyle http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/argyle/html/egenealogy.htm
Portail Cumberland (Beaubassin) http://www.acadiangateway.net/
Genweb Québec http://www.rootsweb.com/~canqc/index.htm
GenWeb Lanaudière http://www.rootsweb.com/~qclanaud/
Newbrunswick GenWeb http://www.rootsweb.com/~cannb/
The Island Register http://www.islandregister.com/index.html
Acadian-Cajun Genealogy links http://www.acadian-cajun.com/genlink.htm
(Louisiana) LAGenWeb http://www.lagenweb.org/
Louisiana archives: http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/la/lafiles.htm
How to do Genealogy in Louisiana http://www.acadian-cajun.com/howtobk.htm
Centre de généalogie francophone d’Amérique http://www.genealogie.org
Acadian & F-C Ancestral Home http://www.acadian-home.org/frames.html
Aline Cormier's Genealogy
Acadian Genealogy Homepage http://www.acadian.org/
mtDNA Proven Origins http://www.acadian-home.org/frames.html
Bras d'Or First Nation http://www.brasdorfirstnation.com/index.php
Native American Ancestry sources http://www.electroauthor.com/marcotte_genealogy/metissources.htm
GENETIC RESEARCH: DNA
mtDNA Proven Origins http://www.acadian-home.org/origins-mtdna.html
Family Tree DNA http://www.familytreedna.com/
Projet ADN Héritage Français http://www.frenchdna.org/
DNA Worldwide http://www.dna-worldwide.com/
Oxford Ancestors http://www.oxfordancestors.com/
DNA Heritage http://www.dnaheritage.com/
DNA Solutions http://www.dnacanada.com/
mtDNA Founding Mothers of Acadia http://www.acadian-home.org/Founding-Mothers-of-Acadia.html
Family web sites
Retrouvailles CMA2009 http://cma2009.ca
Tim Hebert list http://www.acadian-cajun.com/genlink.htm
WorldConnect (480 million names) http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi
The PRDH (Québec BMS 1621-1799) (For a fee) http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca/en/
Public Archives of Nova Scotia http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/
a fee) http://www.bms2000.org/
Census, Canada 1881, US 1880 and LDS ancestral file
La banque centrale http://www.genealogie.org/login/
Dictionnaire généalogique de l'ancienne Acadie http://www.francogene.com/dgaa/index.php
37 familles Retrouvailles 94 http://www.umoncton.ca/etudeacadiennes/centre/white/sha.html
Fichier Origine http://www.fichierorigine.com/
Tanguay Dictionary http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/dicoGenealogie/index.html
Origins of the Pioneers of Acadia (based on 1767 BIM) http://www.acadian-home.org/acadian-origins.html
Fichier Migrants http://www.francogene.com/migrants/index.php
Racines Rochelaises http://racinesrochelaises.free.fr/
Racines et rameaux acadiens http://perso.club-internet.fr/rrfa/racine.htm
Poitou Acadie Bretagne Origine française de quelques familles acadiennes http://perso.wanadoo.fr/froux/
Acadiens de PLEUDIHEN SUR RANCE http://perso.wanadoo.fr/le.perto/2acadie1.htm
Belle isle en mer http://perso.club-internet.fr/rrfa/recherches.htm
Boulogne sur mer http://brhaffre.free.fr/index.htm
St-Pierre et Miquelon http://www.grandcolombier.com/hg.php
Eight generations of Melanson http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/7961/
Comeau Database http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~comeaunet/data.html
Acadian Roots http://www.acadian-roots.com/
Don Shankle Acadian table http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Edowneast/Acadian.html
Acadian Censuses 1671 to 1763 http://www2.umoncton.ca/cfdocs/cea/livres/doc.cfm?livre=recensements
Acadian censuses 1671 to 1820 http://www.acadian.org/census.html
Census 1752 Île St-Jean http://www.islandregister.com/1752.html
Censuses On-Line http://www.census-online.com/links/index.html
Census 1901 Canada http://www.collectionscanada.ca/02/02012202_e.html
Acadian census and registers http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~downhome/nscensus.html#ACADIAN
1901-1906-1911-1851-1852 Censuses http://automatedgenealogy.com/census/index.html
Census Canada 1881, US 1880 and LDS ancestral file
Census of "Upper St.John river/ Madawaska Settlement"
and Kamouraska, QC.
Census of l'Île St-Jean http://www.islandregister.com/pegenweb.html
Acadian Roots http://www.acadian-roots.com/
Ancstral Home Census Records http://www.acadian-home.org/census-acadia.html
Church registers & repertories
Table of the registers of the former Acadia http://www.acadian-home.org/acadian-registers.html
Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal 1702-1755 http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/cap/acadian/
Register BMS de Arichat http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/j.josse/ArichatRecords.htm
Grand-Pré Burials http://www.rootsweb.com/~nsmhs/GPCemetery/GPBurialsGenealogy2008.html
Ancestral Home http://www.acadian-home.org/
"Dit" names, alias, anglicized surname.
Rootsweb search engine http://searches.rootsweb.com/
Other engine list http://www.rootsweb.com/~canqc/ressources.htm#search
Bibliographies, anecdotes, stories.
Digital book Our Roots http://www.ourroots.ca/e/
Digital collection of Bibliothèque
Nationale du Québec
Notre mémoire en ligne http://www.canadiana.org/eco.php?doc=home
History (BluPete) http://blupete.com/History.htm
Biographies dictionary of Canada http://www.biographi.ca/index2.html
Acadians Biographies 1600-1700 http://www.blupete.com/Hist/BiosNS/1600-00/List.htm
Acadians Biographies 1700-1763 http://www.blupete.com/Hist/BiosNS/1700-63/List.htm
One hundred articles from father
Le Maître Guillaume (CEA) http://www2.umoncton.ca/cfdocs/cea/axe1/ed1.cfm
A travers les registres, C. Tanguay http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/192656.pdf (long to download)
Un pélerinage au pays d'Évangéline, H-R Casgrain http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtxt/evangeline.htm
Sulpiciens et les prêtres des missions-étrangères
en Acadie(1676-1761), H-R Casgrain
Une Seconde Acadie, H-R Casgrain http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/159151.pdf (long to download)
les Anciens Acadiens, Causerie du Grand Père Antoine; A-T Bourque
Voyage du Sieur de Diéreville en Acadie, http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/15990.pdf (long to download)
de Saint-Etienne de La Tour, gouverneur....1593-1666, A. Couillard Despré
France aux colonies, Edmé Rameau de Saint-Père
Origines des Acadiens, Pascal Poirier; http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/numtexte/98937.pdf (long to download)
Return to Acadie
A Guided Tour of Greater Grand-Pré.
Roger Hétu, July 2004, revised May 2007, April 2008
corrections, would be appreciated and might be used in subsequent editions.