The World Acadian Congress is set to bloom with the theme “Acadia of the World. A New Acadia!” Aug. 8-24 all over northern Maine, Quebec and parts of New Brunswick.
Acadians are the French immigrants who settled in the 1600s in what we know as Nova Scotia, then were deported and displaced in 1755. While many wound up along the East Coast and in Louisiana, many others moved west and then up the Saint John River, where the Acadians settled in St. David and Madawaska in 1785.
French Canadians, on the other hand, were French immigrants who came down the St. Lawrence River to what is now Quebec City, where marriages were recorded as far back as the 1630s.
Many of these Francos moved up the St. Lawrence River over time, especially to counties such as Kamouraska, then went farther into the Madawaska region in the 1800s.
My belief is that the majority of Franco-American families in the St. John Valley have both Acadian and Quebecois ancestry, so it is highly appropriate that the 120 family reunions scheduled during the Acadian festival represent both French ancestries.
Though there certainly will be plenty of French culture on display — the language, the food, the music, the tintamarre parade, the activities — not speaking French is no obstacle. If you plan to “cross” into Canada, you do need a passport or pass card, but there are countless things to enjoy just in Maine.
I will give a talk, “Researching Sauciers and Other Franco-American Families,” 10:30 a.m.-noon Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Saucier reunion, which will be held in the village of Soldier Pond at the Wallagrass Summer Festival.
Everyone is welcome to attend that program, where those attending will receive a copy of my list of Franco-American genealogy resources. The list has not been published and was distributed at only one talk a few years ago.
Activities for the festival and reunion on Route 11 are as follows: 9 a.m. registration, Wallagrass Elementary School; 8-11 a.m. canoe and kayak races; 10:30 a.m. Roxanne Moore Saucier genealogy talk; 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. barbecue; 2-4 p.m. games and activities at the school; 2-4 p.m. conversation corner on genealogy and family history; 5 p.m. weekend Mass at St. Joseph’s Church, in memory of Saucier deceased; 6 p.m. musical entertainment and parade; dusk, fireworks.
I had hoped to have a booklet on the Saucier family ready for reunion day but have delayed that due to recent surgery on my wrist for tendinitis. Also, I want those attending the reunion to have the opportunity to give me their Saucier lines for the booklet, as well as those who want to be included even if they can’t come to the reunion.
Just send along your info to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to me at the Bangor Daily News address at the bottom of this column.
For Saucier reunion information and registration, visit saucier.cma2014.com, or mail information on how many will attend to: Saucier Reunion, P.O. Box 64, Frenchville, ME 04745.
Bring a picnic to the reunion, or purchase food at the barbecue. Also, bring a folding chair or blanket to sit on. For information on any of the other reunions, visit www.cma2014.com.
Meet the Quilters of Gee’s Bend 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Penobscot Marine Museum on East Main Street in Searsport. The Gee’s Bend Quilts have been displayed all over the country and have been featured in Newsweek and Smithsonian magazine.
Quilters China Pettway, Stella Mae Pettaway, Revil Mosley and Lucy Mingo will be on hand for the opening of their exhibit, “Do It Your Way: Gee’s Bend Quilts and Quilters in Maine,” sponsored by Fiber College of Maine and the Emily and William Muir Community Fund of the Maine Community Foundation.
The exhibit of non-traditional quilts from Gee’s Bend, Alabama, will be available Aug. 2-Sept. 7 at the museum’s Main Street Gallery at 40 East Main St.
In addition, the women will teach quilting classes Sept. 3-8. Maine Fiberarts have an exhibit of the quilts now through Aug. 30. The women will participate in a dinner and discussion forum on Sept. 3 at First Congregational Church.
For tickets and information on the Sept. 3 event, visit fibercollege.org or call 548-6059. For more information on the exhibit and other activities, call Penobscot Marine Museum at 548-2529.
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 email@example.com.