FAMILY TIES

Genealogy group publishes book on 1790 Upper Saint John Valley families

Posted Aug. 09, 2014, at 12:22 p.m.
Roxanne Moore Saucier
Michael C. York | BDN
Roxanne Moore Saucier

Just in time for the 2014 World Acadian Congress comes “The Families of the Upper Saint John Valley in 1790,” a wonderful book that documents 68 families on both sides of the river.

What a terrific project for the Aroostook County Genealogical Society, which published the fully indexed 240-page book. Each chapter includes the head of household, spouse(s) and parents of each, their children and spouses. Other information includes the head of household’s occupation, applicable crown land grants and acreage received.

As a resource work, it also gives citations to research lines back to Acadia, Quebec and beyond, facilitating research using other genealogical works/sources. It is a companion to the original 1790 United States Federal Census for the Province of Maine.

The book was compiled and edited by Brenda Jackson Bourgoine, Ann M. Cushman, Dennis J. Prue and Allen J. Voisine.

When I give talks about Franco-American research or about census records, I make reference to the 1850 U.S. Census for the St. John Valley, because the river wasn’t designated as the border between the U.S. and Canada until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.

Even though the book was inspired by the Maine Genealogical Society’s “Maine Families in 1790” series, those who worked on it didn’t have a 1790 Census on our side of the river to work from. A Canadian census for 1790 was done, I should mention, and the U.S. censuses for 1830 and 1840 also provide some information on those who lived in the area.

We are well aware that many Acadians, having been moved out of Nova Scotia by the British in Le Grand Derangement of 1755, settled the Madawaska region beginning in 1785. So we see surnames such Cormier, Hebert, Cyr, Daigle, Theriault and Thibodeau represented in the book.

But we also see French-Canadian names, representing some families who came from Quebec, such as Saucier, Roy, Gagne, Albert, Levasseur and Bourgoin, even though Quebec-born settlers came to the valley mainly in the 1800s.

“The Families of the Upper Saint John Valley in 1790” will be sold at advertised locations during the World Acadian Congress through Aug. 24, or you may order by visiting www.ac-gs.org.

You also may order by mail from the Aroostook County Genealogical Society, PO Box 142, Caribou, ME 04736. The cost in U.S. funds is $34, tax included, plus $6 shipping and handling. The cost in Canadian funds is $38 plus tax plus $11 shipping and handling.

You may know that St. Basile was the first Roman Catholic parish in the upper Saint John Valley, covering the area. A fine resource on this is Appendix F-1, “Families Mentioned in the St. Basile Parish Register Before 1801,” which you will find in the book “The Land in Between: The Upper Saint John Valley, Prehistory to World War I,” by Beatrice Craig and Maxime Dagenais, with Lisa Ornstein and Guy Dubay.

This volume is a 2009 publication of Tilbury House, and I will write more about it another time. It is available in several Maine libraries.

There is still time to plan to attend 2014 World Acadian Congress through Aug. 24 in northern Maine and nearby parts of Quebec and New Brunswick.

Acadian Day will be celebrated on Friday, Aug. 15, in Madawaska. Activities will include an outdoor Mass, for which Pope Francis has sent a letter, and the popular Tintamarre Parade later in the day.

For more information on World Acadian Congress activities, including more than 100 family reunions scheduled on one or more days, visit www.cma2014.com.

The Brewer Historical Society will hold a potluck supper at 5 p.m.Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Clewley Museum, 199 State St., Brewer. If it rains or snows, David Hanna writes, the event will move to First United Methodist Church at 40 South Main St.

For i nformation 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.

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