Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History

Acadian Genealogy

Le Grand Derangement (The Exile): 1755+

     The Acadians no longer have pure lists of Acadian church records. They are now in other nations and you will find their records mixed with everyone elses. Fortunately, much work has been done by a few people to publish the church records of the exiled Acadians. Acadians in Exile (Hebert) contains records from just about all areas of the exile. The Acadians in France, Vol. 3 (Milton & Norma Reider) contains material from the archives from the St. Servan area.
     Albert Robichaux has searched French records to compile four works that are very valuable in finding Acadian records in France. The Acadian Exiles in Nantes, 1775-1785 covers the Acadians who eventually moved to Nantes, many of which left for Louisiana in 1785.  The Acadian Exiles in Chatellerault, 1773-1785 does the same for Acadians in that area.
The Acadian Exiles in St. Malo, 1758-1785is a 3 volume work.  The Nantes, Chatellerault, and first two volumes of the St. Malo set are arranged by families, with the reference to church records in parentheses.  The third volume of the St. Malo set contains transcriptions of Acadian marriages in that area.  Acadian Marriages in France, 1759-1776 contains information on Acadian marriages for their first years back in France.
     For Acadians who remained in the American colonies, you will have to consult that state's church records. As time went by, more and more Catholic churches were begun.  Some records may also be found in Protestant churches, as some Acadians gradually changed their denomination.
     By 1785, the largest collections of Acadians were to be found in Canada and Louisiana. There were two main types of places in which we find Acadians in Canada: isolated "pockets" of Acadians and Acadians mixing with Canadians.
     In several areas of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, there were pockets of Acadians where they made up a large portion of the population.  A search of the Catholic church areas in these places will turn up a number of Acadian names.
     You also find Acadians scattered about Canada, mixing with other cultures.  You'll need to consult Canadian records for that area in which your ancestor moved.  The records will be in Catholic churches (at first), mixed in with all of the other nationalities.
     The National Archives of Canada has a publication, Checklist of Parish Registers, that lists the microfilm of church records in Canada.  You may want to borrow microfilm through interlibrary loan or purchase your own copy.
     As for the Acadians in Louisiana, you will find their records starting to appear Catholic churches in 1765.  The best resource for these records are the multi-volume sets done by Rev. Donald Hebert, the New Orleans Diocese, and the Baton Rouge diocese.  These four works cover the Catholic churches and many civil records (for Father Hebert's books) in the area of Louisiana known as the Acadiana region.
     Father Hebert has two series, South Louisiana Records and Southwest Louisiana Records.  There are 12 volumes of  South Louisiana Records, which cover Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.  There are 42 volumes of Southwest Louisiana Records, which cover the western side of Acadiana.  Father Hebert is presently working on putting the Southwest Louisiana Records records on CD-ROM.
     The New Orleans Diocese has 12 volumes in print and is working on number 13.  These records cover the churches of the New Orleans area from 1718  to 1817.  The Baton Rouge Catholic Diocese has 17 volumes in print and is working on number 18.  These records cover the churches of Donaldsonville, Plattenville, Pointe Coupee, St. Gabriel, St. James, and Baton Rouge from 1707 to 1888.  The earliest records back to 1707 are from the Grand Pre church in Acadia (found in V. 1).  The books contain basic abstracts of the records.  You can write or visit the Catholic Archives in each diocese to get a more complete transcript of the record.

Census Records                  Church Records                  Compiled Works
Copyright © 1997-09 Tim Hebert