Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History         CMA Genealogical Sympmosium
Congrés Mondial Acadien, Louisiane-1999 Main Page

When I get a chance, I'll try to add more details to this page.

Sponsored by: 
Nicholls State University
The Lafourche Heritage Society
Congres Mondial Acadien
   On Aug. 4, at 7 pm, a reception was held in the Ellender Library at NSU (Thibodaux) for the symposium.  Stephen White, Father Hebert, and dozens of guests gathered for a couple of hours.  Mr. White brought his Dictionnaire and gave everyone their first glimpse at the long-awaited works.
     The following day, in Peltier Hall, the Symposium was held from 9 am to 4 pm.  The ladies of the Lafourche Heritage Society, dressed in Acadian costume, greeted everyone at the registration table.  There were 2 rooms of book sellers and a chart room in the rooms near the auditorium. 
     After introductions by Dr. John Doucet and a welcome by Dr. Alice Pecoraro, the speakers began at about 9:15.  David Cheramie, of CODOFIL, acted as interpreter for Mr. Braud.
Gerald Braud
Carl Brasseaux
John Doucet 
Stephen White 
Father Donald 
Cheramie      Braud        Brasseaux          White

NOTE: A videotape of the Symposium is available.


Gérard-Marc Braud [Bio & Speech Info]
Délégué Régionale of France-Louisiane Franco/Américanie

     The first speaker was Gerard Braud, president of Acadian organization in France, Bretagne-Acadie-Louisiane.  He spoke in French, so my review of his talk will be very brief.  Each talk was to last about 1/2 hour, but Mr. Braud spoke for about 45 minutes.  His lecture was on the Acadians who stayed in the Nantes area of France from about 1775 to 1785.  He used the overhead projector to display maps and original documents on the subject. 

     He has 2 books out ... a narrative of the Acadians in the Nantes area and a book of church records (thousands of names).   The narrative is a recent English translation by Julie Landry of Mr. Braud's original work in French.  It does have some lists of names, but is primarily a short (the main text is less than 100 pages) look at the Acadians in Nantes.  The appendices do give you some interesting information and lists.  While he is very knowledgable on the Acadians in Nantes, be careful of the short overviews he has on other areas; I found a couple of things that don't look correct.
     I paid $20 for my copy of that book.  But I waited too long and the 10 copies he brought of his other book were sold out before his speech even began.  The second book is mainly composed of lists of thousands of records of Acadians in Nantes.  It is a combined French/English version. 

Dr. Carl Brasseaux [Bio & Speech Info]
Center for Louisiana Studies
University of Southwestern Louisiana
Lafayette LA 70504-0831

     Dr. Brasseaux, of USL, spent the first half of his talk about the materials available for doing research.  Since began his talk by 'plugging' my book (see photo), let me return the favor by saying that his book "The Founding of New Acadia" is THE best book on the Acadian resettlement in Louisiana.  The book also gives you the background on the Acadians before they arrived in Louisiana.  If you had to buy one book on Acadian history, that's the one you should 

get.  Also, if you were there he mentioned that someone from USL was supposed to be there with copies of my book to sell. They never showed up.  Since several of you asked, I think you can probably order it from USL or even
    He also mentioned other things they are working on at the Center.  I was interested that they are working on transcribing the letters of the Lafourche commandant ... giving us a good look at life in that area.  For example, one letter said that on a trip down Bayou Lafourche, the trees were full of color because they were full of Carolina parakeets!
     Though he didn't speak, Dr. Brasseaux's son was also there.  Though not as much of a history buff as his dad, he is working on the folklife aspect of the Cajuns.

Dr. John Doucet [Bio & Speech Info]
Molecular Genetics Section
Department of Biological Sciences
Nicholls State University
Thibodaux,LA 70310

     The third speaker was Dr. John Doucet of NSU.  His talk was supplimented with a slide presentation.  At first, he gave an overview of the basics of genetics.  Then he spoke on those genetic diseases that specifically impacted Acadians, and why they are more frequent in that population.  He mentioned those genetic diseases that are more common in Acadians, especially Usher, which he is working on. 

     Basically, the Acadians tended to marry within the culture for a variety of reasons.  This led to the genetic problems being passed on within the Acadian-Cajun population.

Stephen White [Bio & Speech Info]
Center d'Études Acadiennes
Université de Moncton
Moncton, New Brunswick

     The fourth speaker was Stephen White, of the Centre d'études acadiennes in Canada.  He of course talked about the Dictionnaire.  He had a copy with them (none for sale though).  I was able to look through it at lunch.  He said they started mailing out the first copies from Moncton last week.

Stephen White presents the Dictionnaire
      Most of his talk was about the Dictionnaire.  ... how he inherited the work from others such as Placide Gaudet and Hector Hebert in the mid 1970s.  Since then, new information has come up so often the book has been in a constant state of revision. 
    He noted that the week before the book went to print, a major correction needed to be made ... and a minor correction came in a week after it went to print.  He stated that updates would be put out on a regular basis to keep it up to date.  Consisting of over 1700 pages, the first part is made up of 2 volumes of all of the people who married before 1714 and others who were in Acadian in that time.  The second part of the work, to cover up to 1780, is already over 13,000 pages and counting.  He gave no publication date on it.  I sent him a question about the online database, that was supposed to be online for a fee.  But he has gotten good about not committing to a date and didn't really answer when that would be available.
    He mentioned that he would be speaking at St. Martinville on the 11th about the first Acadian in Louisiana ... a Joseph de Goutin de Ville who arrived here in the mid 1740s. 

Father Donald Hebert [Bio & Speech Info]
Assumption Church
Church Point, Louisiana

     The final speaker was Father Donald Hebert.  Though his speech was on the Acadians in Texas,, he spoke on a number of other matters relative to his books, CD, etc.
     He spoke about this upcoming book on Acadians in Texas.  They have put together a number of records of families in SE Texas.  In the mid-1800s, Mexico and Texas were offering thousands of acres of land to prospective settlers.  This induced a number of Acadians ... running out of room in SW Louisiana ... to take advantage of the offer.

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Copyright © 1997-99 Tim Hebert

Gérard-Marc Braud

Gérard-Marc Braud is a native of Saint-Hilaire de Riez, Vendée, and a resident of Nantes. He received his law diploma from the University of Nantes. He is currently President of
Bretagne-Acadie-Louisiane and a member of both Les Amiraux Acadiens de la Révolution Française and De Nantes à la Louisiane (Acadian Odyssée).

As from 1756, a good number of Acadians were deported to England and then to France. Temporarily living in numerous port cities along the Channel coastline, these Acadian families eventually settled in Nantes at the end of 1775, as the result 0f their unsuccessful settlement in Poitou starting in 1773. Using parish notifications, notarial deeds, and other documents, this presentation will feature sociological research on this large group of more than 1600 Acadians who settled in France. They were located in Nantes and Poimboeuf cities until 1785, when they eventually departed for Louisiana.

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Dr. Carl Brasseaux

Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux, a native of St. Landry Parish, received his doctorate in North American Studies from the University of Paris. He has published more 80 scholarly articles and more than 30 book-length works on the history and culture of French North America, including The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life in Louisiana, 1765-1803 (LSU Press, 1987) and Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877 (U. Miss. Press, 1992).  He serves as managing editor of Louisiana History, journal of the Louisiana Historical Association.

The Center for Louisiana Studies was established in 1973 to plan, promote, and pursue programs of acquisition, research, and interpretation designed to provide scholars, students, and the public with a better understanding 0f Louisiana's history and culture. Located in Edith Garland Dupré Library on the campus of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, the Center houses the Louisiana Colonial Records collection, the Louisiana Folklore and Folklife Collection, and the Louisiana Historical Photograph Collection, in addition to multiple research and interpretive programs. Dr. Brasseaux will discuss the genealogical resources at the Center.  These materials include primary sources from Canada, England, France, Louisiana, and Spain.  He will also discuss genealogical materials published by the Center.

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Dr. John Doucet

Dr. John P. Doucet is a native of Golden Meadow, Louisiana, a descendant of the original Lafourche Doucets who arrived in Louisiana in 1785 and settled across the bayou from Nicholls
State University.  He is a graduate of both Nicholls State University and the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans, where he received the doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1992. He is a past two-time National Institutes of Health Research Fellow in ophthamology (1993) and molecular genetics (1994-95). His research involves gene discovery in inherited diseases of peoples indigenous to Louisiana and is currently focused on finding the gene that causes Acadian Usher Syndrome.

A scientist by day, Dr. Doucet is also an award-winning playwright, the author of ten plays based on Cajun history and culture. He is the recipient of the 1998 Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship Award in Playwriting. His first play, Tant que Durera la Terre, chronicling the survival of his ancestors during the Great October Storm of 1893 at Cheniere Caminada, was awarded the Louisiana Native Voices and Visions Playwriting Award in 1996. Tant que Durera la Terre is feature of the Congrès Mondial's Festival de Théâtre.

From the moment of their arrival in the New World, the Acadians were a people set apart. Initially a reaction against rival cultures and the harsh Canadian climate, Acadians have developed a social cohesiveness strengthened by centuries of cultural uniqueness. In Louisiana, like in Canada, Acadians lived in geographic isolation compounded by barriers of language, religion, and lifestyle.  Over the centuries, the cultural identity Acadians have maintained is also manifest in their biological inheritance.  Like other isolated populations around the world, the cohesiveness of Acadians results in an increased prevalence for certain rare traits and diseases inherited from their ancestors. Once such disease, Type 1C Usher Syndrome, is not found in any other population in the world and is thus called “Acadian” Usher Syndrome. In the effort of modem medicine to determine the entire structure of the human inherited material, it is the cohesiveness of the Acadian people, together with the familial records maintained by their Catholic Church and the various recorders of their embarkments and arrivals, that is making a major contibution to the remediation of disease for ail peoples.

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Stephen White

Stephen A. White has thirty-three years experience in Acadian genealogical research. He has been the genealogist at the Center d'études Acadiennes since 1975. The first part of his Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Acadiennes is just the beginning of a multi-volume, comprehensive compilation on ail the families of old Acadia.

Many people have wondered how it has come to take so long to publish the Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Acadiennes. This presentation will show that by the breadth of the research that has gone into it, as well as by the care with which it has been documented, the Dictionnaire Généalogique strikes off in a new direction in Acadian genealogical study. The methodology of the Dictionnaire Généalogique will be explained. The various methods used to prove relationships will be outlined.  The lasting contribution of the Dictionnaire Généalogique will be suggested.

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Father Donald Hebert

Father Donald J. Hébert is a native of Mire, Louisiana. After inaugural seminary studies in Lafayette, he studied philosophy and theology at the St. John's Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas, and at the Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana.  In 1968, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Warren Boudreaux at St. John's Cathedral in Lafayette. 

Father Hébert has been involved in genealogy of Louisiana Acadian descendants for the past thirty-years.   He has researched much of the southwestern area of Louisiana, collecting and publishing vital statistics records to enable people to put together family genealogies and histories. One of his projects that is currently being prepared for publication, Louisiana Families in Southeast Texas, will be featured in his presentation. The project involved tracing the settlement of Acadians into  southeast Texas  and highlighting their contributions to that section of Texas.

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