Acadian History - Acadian Genealogy - Acadia-Cajun Historical Resources (2023)

Foundation of Acadia

Founded in 1604, the French colony of Acadia was ceded to Great Britain in 1713. When the Anglo-French struggle for North America was finally resolved, the Acadians were among the most visible and tragic casualties. Between 1755 and 1763 most Acadians were deported to the American colonies, Great Britain and France. In exile, the Acadians showed remarkable tenacity in trying to return to Nova Scotia or seek new homelands.

The Akkadian population grew from around 400 in 1670 to nearly 900 in 1686, and settlements stretched from Port-Royal across the Bay of Fundy to the Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay and around Cape Chignecto to Beaubassin. The unique agricultural economy was based on the cultivation of tidal marshes, which were reclaimed by an extensive dyke system. In 1690, a Massachusetts expedition led by William Phipps took Port-Royal in retaliation for attacks on New England by French troops from Canada. The Acadians found themselves in the middle of a colonial power struggle in which they showed little interest. After surviving a naval blockade in 1704 and two attacks in 1707, Port-Royal fell for the last time on 13 October 1710. A British garrison was established and the city renamed Annapolis Royal.

Click here for details on the Acadian-Cajun Family Genealogy CD-ROMs.

Many of the factors that contributed to distance were evident in the early years of Acadia, most notably geography. Acadia was the eastern outpost and flank of the French and British empires in continental North America. When Samuel Argall destroyed the colony of Port-Royal in 1613, it marked the beginning of Anglo-French rivalry in the region. As the century progressed, New England became increasingly interested in Acadia, attracted by the trading opportunities and rich fishing grounds on its shores. After a New England naval force destroyed the Acadian settlements in 1654, the colony remained under nominal British control until returned to France in 1667.

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht made Acadia a British possession called Nova Scotia. France continued its presence in the region by maintaining Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island) and Isle Saint Jean (Prince Edward Island). The treaty gave the Akkadians the option of moving as British subjects or remaining on their land. At first the French tried to lure them to Isle Royale, but most Acadians were reluctant to leave their fertile lands. Furthermore, the British discouraged emigration by prohibiting Acadians from building ships or selling their property and livestock. They realized that the Akkadians could serve as a shield against the Micmac Indians and as a source of work and livelihood for the royal garrison of Annapolis. After initially encouraging emigration, the French decided that it was also in their interest to leave the Acadians where they were, as they could be useful allies in the event of war.

Akkadians refused to take an oath of loyalty to the British Crown unless the oath was qualified by recognition of their freedom of religion, neutrality in the event of war and the right to emigrate. Governor Richard Philipps took qualified oaths in 1729-30 formally recognizing Akkadian neutrality.

After Utrecht, the Akkadians experienced three decades of peace. The population increased from 2,900 in 1714 to 8,000 in 1739. The British presence was limited to garrisons at Annapolis Royal and at Canso, the New England inshore fishing base. Life continued as normal, except for trade between the Acadians and the new walled city of Louisbourg on Isle Royale.

Acadian History - Acadian Genealogy - Acadia-Cajun Historical Resources (1)

growing tensions

In the 1740s, the traditional caution of New England Acadians was reinforced by militant Protestantism and the commercial fishing competition of Louisbourg. In 1745, during the War of the Austrian Succession, a New England force defeated the French at Louisbourg and deported the inhabitants to France. France responded by sending a naval fleet under the Duke of Anville to recapture Acadia and Louisbourg in 1746. However, d'Anville's fleet was decimated by storms and disease during the Atlantic crossing, and the attempt was abandoned.

There was shock and anger in New England in 1748 when the British returned Louisbourg to France through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. After the treaty, both Britain and France took steps to strengthen their positions in the region. To maintain the land communications network between Canada and Isle Royale and keep the British a safe distance from Canada, the French began to consolidate their claim to the disputed part of Nova Scotia north of the Missaguash River, ie. Gift New Brunswick. In 1749, Charles Deschamps de Boishébert was sent from Canada to fortify the mouth of the Saint John River, a key element of the communications network. Chevalier Louis de la Corne was then sent to the Chignecto Isthmus where he built Forts Beauséjour and Gaspéreau in 1751. The Chignecto-Acadians were then pressured to migrate north to Missaguash to strengthen France's claim on New Brunswick.

(Video) The ORIGINS of Louisiana's Acadians

The British responded in 1749 by founding a new capital at Halifax to counterbalance Louisbourg. Governor Edward Cornwallis was also expected to push for British settlement north of Missaguash, but plans to settle foreign Protestants on the isthmus were abandoned in the face of France's superior military might. However, Major Charles Lawrence was able to build Fort Lawrence on the south bank of the Missaguash in 1750; Foreign Protestants eventually settled in the strategically remote south coast community of Lunenburg.

As both sides increased their efforts to control Nova Scotia, the Acadians realized that changes were afoot. To avoid problems, some began to migrate to Saint Jean Island. Cornwallis tried to force them to take an unconditional oath, but relented when they threatened to leave Nova Scotia en masse. His successor, Peregrine Hopson, did not press the issue further and it appeared that Akkadian neutrality would continue to be respected. However, when Hopson returned to England in poor health, his acting successor, Charles Lawrence (appointed Lieutenant Governor in 1754), proposed drastic measures to resolve the Akkadian problem. Lawrence, a career soldier, took a strictly military view of the Akkadian problem, mainly due to the outbreak of hostilities between Britain and France in the Ohio Valley. In August 1754, he informed his superiors in London, the Board of Trade and Plantations, that if the Acadians refused to take the oath, it would be better to remove them from Nova Scotia and replace them with British subjects.

Lawrence had an important ally in William Shirley, governor of Massachusetts. Both men saw Fort Beauséjour as key to the French presence in Nova Scotia. On May 19, 1755, 2,000 provincial troops departed Boston after General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America, approved the expedition. Reinforced by 250 British regulars, they began to attack Beauséjour on 14 May. in June. The French surrendered two days later.


The capture of Fort Beauséjour freed Lawrence to deal with the Akkadians. On July 3, he and his council, which had many New England members, met in Halifax to consider a petition by the Minas area Acadians against Captain Alexander Murray's confiscation of their ships and weapons at Fort Edward. near Pisquid. Lawrence urged the Akkadian delegates to take an unconditional oath, which they refused when they appeared before the council again the next day. Delegates were arrested and new summons from Minas and Anápolis Real. At meetings with the council on July 25 and 28, they also refused to take the oath without reservation. Lawrence, whose resolve was strengthened by the news of Braddock's defeat in the Ohio Valley, ordered them arrested and, with the council's approval, decided to distribute the Acadians among the American colonies.

Lawrence assigned responsibility for the deportation to Colonel Robert Monckton (Chignecto and Chepody), Lt. Colonel John Winslow (Minas, Pisiquid and Cobequid) and Major John Handfield (Annapolis Royal). At Chignecto, Monckton made Fort Cumberland (formerly Fort Beauséjour) his base of operations. On 11 August, 400 adult male Akkadians appeared there by summons and were captured. On the 28th, Captain Frye sailed from the fort to Chepody, Memramcook and Petitcodiac, stopping along the way to destroy Akkadian property and crops. While burning a town on September 4, Frye's men were ambushed and forced to retreat to Fort Cumberland. They managed to take 23 prisoners, burned over 200 buildings and destroyed acres of wheat and flax. Another group, led by Captain Gilbert, wreaked similar havoc on Baie Verte. Embarkation began in early September, and on October 13, approximately 1,100 Acadians departed in vans bound for South Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

John Winslow arrived at Grand-Pré on 19 August and settled in the church. In response to his summons, over 400 Akkadian men and boys appeared before him on 5 September. Winslow informed them of the purpose of their mission and declared them prisoners. Winslow was concerned that the prisoners far outnumbered his troops, and upon learning of the attack on Frye's group, he gathered 230 men and placed them on five transports anchored in Mine Basin. Shipping began October 8, and by November 1, over 1,500 Acadians had shipped to Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. A second group of 600 people left Grand-Pré on 13 December, while at Pisiquid Murray orchestrated the departure of over 1,000 in late October.

Things slowed down at Annapolis Royal because Handfield did not have enough men for the job. The deportation finally began in December after reinforcements arrived from the Grand-Pré. More than 1,600 Acadians were taken to North and South Carolina, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The deportation of over 6,000 Akkadians in the fall of 1755 was just the beginning. Many of those who escaped in 1755 (including all of Cobequid) made their way to Saint Jean Island or went into hiding in northern New Brunswick, where Boishébert organized a series of guerrilla activities. A large group of 1,500 left Acadia for Canada. After the capture of Louisbourg in 1758, approximately 3,500 Acadians were deported to France from Isle Saint Jean, a dependency of Isle Royale. Two of the vans sank en route, claiming 700 lives. About 600 Acadians from Saint Jean Island fled north to New Brunswick by boat, bringing the number of refugees to over 1,500.

After the fall of Quebec in 1759, groups of fleeing Acadians began to surrender. Most were rounded up by the British and used as cheap labor, although around 200 were deported to France from Cape Sable and the Saint John River. The French conquest of St. John's, Newfoundland, in June 1762 sparked another wave of anti-Acadian sentiment, and about 1,300 Acadians were shipped from Halifax to Boston in August. There they were rejected by the Massachusetts Assembly and forced to return to Halifax. This was the last attempt to deport the Acadians from Nova Scotia.

Between 1755 and 1763, more than 10,000 Acadians, 75% of the total population, were deported. Through deportation, Lawrence, who died suddenly in 1760, achieved his main objective. After the fall of Quebec, the last obstacle to British settlement in Nova Scotia was removed, and in the 1760s approximately 8,000 New Englanders arrived in Nova Scotia and occupied the Acadian lands. The deportation of a conquered population was not uncommon in the context of the time. French residents of Plaisance, Newfoundland were transferred to Isle Royale in 1713 and residents of Isle Royale to France in 1745 and again in 1758. In 1746, the Duke of Anville was ordered to deport Acadians who were not loyal to the French. Crown. But the deportation of the Acadians was unusual in that many were sent not to their homeland or another French colony, but to British possessions. Furthermore, the deportation took place long after the actual conquest of Akkad.

The original group in 1755 distributed among the American colonies roughly as follows: Massachusetts-900; Connecticut-675; New York-200; PA-700; Maryland-860; Virginia-1150; North Carolina-290; South Carolina-955; Georgia-320. Virginia refused to accept their complement, and they were instead sent to England, where they remained until the end of the Seven Years' War. Akkadians were not welcome in the colonies. Anti-Catholicism was widespread, as was hatred of the French after Braddock's defeat in July 1755; colonists were reluctant to bear the financial cost of supporting the Akkadians; and in the southern colonies it was feared that the Akkadians might join the slaves in a general insurrection. Dislike of the French continued through the Seven Years' War.

(Video) The Expulsion of the Acadians

Many Akkadians died before reaching the colonies due to overcrowded and dirty transport, and their makeshift living quarters in seaports were also susceptible to disease, most notably smallpox. Eventually they were distributed among the parishes, where they came under the supervision of the poor wardens. Some families broke up during the deportation, and this continued after their arrival in the colonies, where occasionally children were taken from their parents and given to wealthy members of the community. In some colonies, Akkadians refused to work on the grounds that they were prisoners of war. This perpetuates their poverty, disease and dependence on the state.

Acadian History - Acadian Genealogy - Acadia-Cajun Historical Resources (2)

Photo courtesy ofMadelaine Pearson

the migration

Dissatisfied with their new surroundings, the Acadians began a determined quest to return to Nova Scotia or find new homelands. The governments of Georgia and South Carolina, anxious to get rid of the maintenance of the Acadians, encouraged their departure by issuing them passports. In 1756, about 250 Acadians from the two colonies set out in small boats to explore the coast of Nova Scotia. This prompted Lawrence to issue a circular urging his fellow governors to prevent the return of the Acadians. Most were captured in New York and Massachusetts, but 50 made it as far as the Saint John River in June. Many Acadians returned after the war, when the British government eased restrictions on Acadians settling in Nova Scotia. With their former property occupied, they settled in the Saint John River Valley and St. John's Bay. Mary. Those who settled in Saint Anne (Fredericton) were later forced to move to the Madawaska River and Chaleur Bay after the Loyalists arrived.

Nova Scotia was just one of several travel destinations for Akkadians in the American colonies. A group of 90 exiles left Massachusetts for Quebec in 1766 and joined the Acadians who fled Nova Scotia after 1755. They settled near Quebec City and along the Nicolet and Richelieu rivers. Another group of 116 Acadians from Massachusetts sailed to Saint Pierre and Miquelon in 1763. Many left via New York; 129 for Martinique in 1764 and 500 for Santo Domingo in 1765. Akkadian exiles in the central and southern colonies moved to the former French colony of Louisiana, whose new Spanish rulers were sympathetic to Roman Catholics.

In addition to the American colonies, France itself received most of the exiles. The nearly 3,500 there in 1763 included deportees from Isle Royale, Isle Saint Jean, Cape Sable and the River Saint John, and 750 who arrived from England in the same year. One hundred of France's Acadians migrated to Saint Pierre and Miquelon in 1763, and in 1774 another group of over a hundred migrated to Chaleur Bay. Over 20 years, the French government tried unsuccessfully to establish Akkadian colonies in Brittany, Belle-Isle-en-Mer, Poitou, Corsica, French Guiana, Santo Domingo and the Falkland Islands. Ordinary French people resented the Acadians for their state pensions and land grants. The Spanish government finally came to the rescue with an offer of land in Louisiana, and in 1785 nearly 1,600 Acadians left the Spanish colony.

Ironically, while some Acadians struggled to return to Nova Scotia, many of those who remained chose to leave, preferring to no longer live under British rule. In 1764, about 600 sailed to the French West Indies, finally finding their way to Louisiana. Another group of over 200 settled in Louisiana in 1766. In 1765, 183 left Nova Scotia for St. Peter and Miquelon, joining their fellow exiles who had come earlier from Massachusetts and France.

The adventures of the Acadians of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon were just beginning. The resources of the tiny archipelago could not sustain them all, and in 1767, at the insistence of the French government, 163 returned to Nova Scotia and 586 to France. The French government reversed its decision in 1768 and 322 Acadians from France returned to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. The entire population was deported to France in 1778 after France allied with the United States during the American Revolution. About 600 returned after 1783, only to be deported again to France in 1794 due to the Napoleonic Wars. Over 600 exiles last returned in 1815 and 1816, some of them suffering five or six deportations in their lives.

In 1816, the Akkadian migrations ended. Akkadians moved after that date, but not for forced deportation. Instead, individuals and families moved in hopes of improving their economic conditions. Although migrations left the Akkadians scattered along the shores of the Atlantic, their sense of self remained intact. Today, the top five concentrations of Acadian descent are in the Canadian Maritimes, Quebec, Louisiana, New England, and France.

The above text is reproduced from The Deportation of Acadians, published by Parks Canada, 1986 and appears on the Acadian-Cajun Family Trees CD-ROM produced in 1999

18th Century Akkadian Surnames

(Video) Acadia

Reprinted from the Acadian Family Names of the 18th Century Wall Poster published by Parks Canada and La Société du Monument Lefebvre Inc.

Prior to the eviction, little physical evidence remained of Acadia. However, most of the surnames of Akkadian settlers are known from historical documents. Many of these names are still present in Akkadian seafaring communities today and dramatically illustrate the survival of a people. Acadian names also survive in areas such as Louisiana, France and Quebec, a legacy of the Acadian deportation and subsequent migrations.

This list of nearly 300 surnames was compiled from parish registers, census records, and other documents in Acadia, Nova Scotia, in the first half of the 18th century. All civilian Acadian families known to have lived in the colony between 1700 and 1755 are included. This list does not include French garrison families who served in Acadia.


Abbey of San Castin d
german mastiff
Amirault Said Tourrangeau
Angou de Choisy
The book
In the forest


Babineau dit Deslauriers
Bastarache called (The) Basque
Belliveau dijo Bideau
Belliveau these Blondin
Benoit Said Labrière
Ambroise Bergeron
Bergeron says Nantes
Bergeron de Machefer
Bertaud says Montaury
Bezier von Touin de Larivère
Blanchard said Knight
Boisseau disse Blondin
Bonnevie de Beaumont
Butcher says Desroches
Brewer said Mathieu

Caissy as Roger
Calvé diz Laforge
Celestine Chamada Bellemere
Winery called Normand
Chenet von Dubreuil
Chiasson namens La Valee
Chouteau says Manseau
Cormier diz Nightingale
Cormier Dice Thierry
Creysac called Toulouse

D'Amours de Chauffours
D'Amours de Clignancour
D'Amours de Freneuse
D'Amours de Louviere
D'Amours de Plaine
david said pope
Denys de Fronsac
Deschamps disse Bell
Deveau disse Dauphine
wooded valley
Dominiert Dijo Saint-Sauveur
Doucet disse Laverdura
Doucet dit Lirlandois
Doucet says Mayard
Dubois de Dumont
Duon disse Lyonnais


Source said Beaulieu

The crazy ones
Garceau chamado Boutin
Garceau telephoned Richard
Garceau chamado Tranchemontagne
they laughed
Spiel Duvergé von Lamotte
Gise called Desrosiers
Gottin de Beausejour
Bellefeuille is divine
Diosa names Bellefontaine
Goddess of this boisholi
goddess is catalog
Godin disse Châtillon
Goddess this Lincoln
Godín sagt Preville
Godin says Valcour
Grandmaison (Terriot sagt Guillot sagt)
Guedry sagte Grivois
Guédry von Labine
Guédry dit Labrador
Guédry Laverdura
Guerin de Laforge
Guillot says Langevin
Guy dit Tintamarre

(Video) Where did Louisiana Acadians come from?

chopped sagt galant
Hébert called Manuel
Helys says New
Henry is Robert
he raised
do Hugo


For something
Labat, known as Le Marquis, from
O Bauven
a Cruz
La Lande on behalf of Bonappetit
The stone says La Roche
the vineyard
Lebert disse Jolycoeur
white says jasmine
La Borgne de Belisle
Le Clerc dit Laverdure
Lichtwürfel La Rozette
The boy says Briard
The Marquis called Clermont
the tourist spots
Die Beaubassin Neun
The Nine Boisneuf
Die Neunte von La Vallière Das Kind
The bone of Saint-Aubin
The prior said Dubois
The alderman said Billy
Vanier of Langevin
Lavasseur de Chamberlange
Levron is Nantois
Lord says the mountain

House called Baptiste
*** Manet
Comer Cube Saint-Germain
Merchant said Poitiers
Marres sagt Die Sonde
Martin dit Barnabé
Mazerolle namens Saint Louis
Melanson is lavender
Melanson aka La Ramée
Mercier-Würfel Caudebec
Michel says that the ruins
Migneau Cube Aubin
Mignier these Lagasse
Mius d'Azit Mius d'entremont de Plemarais
Mius d'entremont de Pobomcoup
Monmellian, also known as Saint Germain
disse Morin Boucher
Molding diz encontro
Moisés Dijo Latreille

Naquin says L'Etoile

Onel (O'Neale)
Orillon es Champagne Oudy

Share Laforest Cube
Petitot dit Saint Sceine
pinch of pine
Clown says Mark
Poitevin dijo Cadieux
Poitevin Sagt Pariser
Poitier Porlier
Poujet disse Lapierre
pop art
Prejean says Le Breton
They fight, says Destouches

Racois namens Desrosiers
Renaud says provencal
Ricardo de Sansoucy
Richard de BeaupreRichard de Boutin
Ricardo says Lafont
Robichaud says cadet
Robichaud von Niganne Robichaud von Prudent
Rodrigues said about Funds
Languedoc Red Dice
roy says freedom

Saint-Etienne de la Tour, desde
Saint-Julien de La Chaussée, desde
Saulnier says that Lacouline
Savage diz Smith
Cube Sauvage Chrystophe
Siembre Serreau de Saint-Aubin
Simon Diz Boucher
in the face

Testard says Paris
Thibault Thibodeau
Toussaint said Youth
Triel names La Perriere
Turpin chamado The Wallflower

Viger Vigneau aka Maurice
Vincent said to Clement

*** I'm gratefulOrin Manittfor providing references to support your opinion that the surname "Manet" belongs on this list! HOWEVER, as Robert Blackman noted in his email dated September 13, 2009… “Manetis is not an Akkadian name. Augustin Manet arrived in Louisbourg from France sometime in the 1720s and 1730s. He was not an Akkadian, having never lived or settled in Acadia. He was a Frenchman who settled in Louisbourg in the first half of the 18th century. And, frankly, I am inclined to agree with Mr. Blackman!

(Video) Who Are The Acadians?

The above text is taken from the poster Acadian Family Names of the 18th Century, published by Parks Canada and La Société du Monument Lefebvre Inc., and appears on the Acadian-Cajun Family Trees CD-ROM.


1. What on Earth Happened to the Acadians/Cajuns?
2. New France: Nova Scotia and the Acadian Civil War (1615-1670)
(The Other States of America History Podcast)
3. The History of the Acadians
(History Hour Podcast)
4. The Acadians who Fought against New England
(Louisiana French)
5. Story of Acadians - Ep 1
(Shaw Community Link)
6. The History of Acadia


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