Finding Acadian resources in books and online

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist
Posted March 10, 2013, at 5:02 p.m.

If you have Acadian forebears, you will want to know the name Stephen A. White, widely respected for his two-volume “Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Acadiennes,” published in 1999 as a project of the University of Moncton’s Centre d’Etudes Acadienne, or Center for Acadian Studies. The resource covers 1636-1714.

My husband’s Theriault ancestors are outlined in a 22-page section on the family of Jean Theriot and wife Perrine Rau. White carries the family through the children and grandchildren of the emigrant ancestors, including excellent source information and historical notes. The books are in French, but I found that I could follow a good bit of the genealogy with my high school French from the late 1960s. In addition, the setup of the genealogies makes it clear who the parents and the children are.

When it comes to White’s notes about various family members, I did consult my husband, a lifelong French speaker, when it came to phrases I didn’t recognize.

(You may have the surname White stored in your head with those of the Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower. Right you are, but there also are numerous White descendants whose ancestors were originally Leblanc, French for White.)

White’s two-volume set is available at the Maine State Library in Augusta, and at the Acadian Archives in the library at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

There also is a one-volume English supplement available at Maine State Library and Bangor Public Library.

White also has done a section on the 37 host families of Homecoming 94, available online at umoncton.ca/umcm-ceaac/node/55. This is a new URL since the last time I consulted it, so if you have used this resource in the past, make sure you have the updated address.

The 37 Acadian families that have summaries online are: Allain, Arsenault, Babin, Babineau, Bastarache called Basque, Belliveau, Bourdage, Boucher, Boudreau, Bourgeois, Bourque, Caissie, Collet, Cormier, Daigle, Devarennes (Gaultier de Varennes), Doiron, Gaudet, Gautreau, Girouard, Goguen, Gosselin, Hache called Gallant, Landry, Leblanc, Leger, Maillet, Martin, Melanson, Petitpas, Poirier, Richard, Robichaud, Savoie, Surette, Thibodeau and Vauture.

Generally, the term French Canadian describes those with Quebec ancestry, while Acadian refers to the French who occupied what is now Nova Scotia and parts of New Brunswick until the British deported them in Le Grand Derangement of 1755.

One of the families that will hold a reunion during World Acadian Congress 2014, scheduled for August that year, is the Daigle family. Holding their gathering in St. Agatha, the Daigles trace their ancestry back to Olivier Daigre, born about 1643, who was in Port Royal (Annapolis Royal) about 1666.

Olivier and wife Marie Gaudet, the daughter of Denis and Marine (Gauthier) Gaudet, had children Jean, Jacques, Bernard, Louis, Olivier, Jean, Marie, Anne and Pierre. Gaudet also is an Acadian name, and the family plans a reunion in New Brunswick during WAC 2014.

You may think there are a lot of Daigle descendants, and there are, but this family also was deeply affected by the deportation. For example, Anne Daigle had been married twice, to Etienne Poiteven called Parisien, and to Mathurin Tenner (Theniere).

White says in his “Dictionnaire” that Anne and many of her descendants were lost at sea on two English transports in 1758.

The title page of White’s book credits the work of Father Hector Hebert, a Jesuit, and Abbe Patrice Gallant, with preface by Father Anselme Chiasson, a Capuchin priest. Without the work of numerous priests and brothers, including Monsignor Cyprien Tanguay, Brother Eloi-Gerard Talbot, Monsignor Henri Langlois and Father Youville Labonte among them, the amount of Franco-American genealogy available would be but a fraction of what it is.

What makes White’s work doubly a treasure are his references and bibliography, including the location of original records. At the end of the 1,600-page work is a good listing of names and their alternates. Theriot, sometimes spelled Terriot and Theriault, also was called Bernard, for example.

Another well-known work is Bona Arsenault’s “Histoire et Genealogie des Acadiens,” which is available at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library in Orono, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Southern Maine and Maine State Library in Augusta.

Janet Jehn’s book of corrections and additions to Arsenault’s work is available at MSL and UMFK.

For the location of other books on Acadian resources, visit the URSUS website at ursus.maine.edu.

For information on more than 100 family reunions scheduled for Aug. 8-24, 2014, during the World Acadian Congress, visit http://cma2014.com/rencontres-de-familles-prog.

This is a different URL from the one I cited on Feb. 3, but this is the official site and is more useful.

Family Ties will feature information on the World Acadian Congress at least once a month through August 2014.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/10/living/finding-acadian-resources-in-books-and-online/ printed on September 16, 2014