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Following article posted June 23, 2000, Vol. IV Number 11

Roving Reporters
   Contributed by: Tim Hebert,

Extant Acadian Church Records

There are hundreds of thousands of Acadian descendants in Canada and the United States. If your family tree has one or more branches in Acadia, a key source of information will be the church records.

The Catholic priests kept a good record of the Acadian births, marriages, and funerals. Unfortunately, many of those records have been lost or destroyed over time. Most of the church records of Acadia have already been transcribed and printed. This makes searching the surviving 200+ year old Acadian records easier than searching for modern records.

There were several parishes in the portion of Acadia on present-day Nova Scotia. The oldest parish at Port Royal (St. Jean Baptiste) was later joined by a parish just down the river (St. Laurent). Though no records have survived from St. Laurent, we do have a number of the Port Royal records. The Minas basin had parishes at Riviere aux Canards (St. Joseph), Grand Pre (St. Charles) and two at Pisiquid (Ste. Famille, L'Assomption). Some of the Grand Pre records were brought to Louisiana after the deportation. Some of the records of the parish at Beaubassin (Notre Dame du Bon Secour) have been found and transcribed. No records have survived from Cobequid (St. Pierre & St. Paul), Cap Sable (Ste. Anne), and the other parishes of old Acadie. The nearby mission locations on the isthmus have only left scattered records. The main volumes of records from the parishes mentioned above can be found in these works.
  • Acadian Church Records: V. 1 - Beaubassin (1679-1686), Chipoudy, and Petitcoudiac by Winston DeVille
  • Acadian Church Records: V. 2 - Beaubassin (1712-1748) by Milton and Norma Reider
  • Acadian Church Records: V. 3 - Port Royal (1702-1721) by Milton and Norma Reider
  • Acadian Church Records: V. 4 - Port Royal (1716-1729) by Milton and Norma Reider
  • Acadian Church Records: V. 5 - Port Royal (1730-1740) by Milton and Norma Reider
  • Catholic Church Records: V. 1 - Grand Pre (1707-1748) by The Baton Rouge Diocese
  • Selected Acadian and Louisiana Church Records by George Bodin (2 Vol.)
The Ile Royale records for Louisbourg (1713-1758) are available online, though the Acadian material is not very extensive. The population of the island was mostly French, as few Acadians settled the area before the deportations. Most Acadians who fled Acadia in 1755 went to Canada or Ile St. Jean (present-day Prince Edward Island).

On Ile St. Jean, the oldest parish of St. Jean l'Evangeliste at Port LaJoye was joined by St. Pierre du Nord in 1724. In the early 1750s, three more parishes were added at Malpec (Ste. Famille), Scotchfort (St. Louis du Nord-Est), and Pointe Prim (St. Paul). Though many of the records have been lost, records from Port LaJoye and St. Pierre du Nord have survived.

One volume of Port LaJoye records has recently been published in Acadian Church Records: Port LaJoye, Ile St. Jean, 1749-1758 by Tim Hebert, with the remainder to follow in a second volume. The St. Pierre du Nord records were brought to St. Malo, France with the Acadians. They are transcribed in Father Donald Hebert's Acadians in Exile.

Hebert's Acadians in Exile also includes Acadian church records from various exile locations around the Atlantic basin. Albert Robichaux has compiled several volumes on the Acadians in France. While the material organizes the data into family groups, there is plenty of church record information found within the works. His books include: The Acadian Exiles in Chatellerault, 1773-1785, The Acadian Exiles in Nantes, 1775-1785, The Acadian Exiles in St. Malo, 1758-1785, and Acadian Marriages in France, 1759-1776. The Reiders also have three volumes on The Acadians in France. Gerard-Marc Braud has compiled Les Acadiens en France with material on the Acadians in Nantes and Paimboeuf from 1775 to 1785.

One area that became concentrated with Acadians was south Louisiana. Most of the early south Louisiana church records have been transcribed and published. They include thousands of records of the Acadians and their descendants. Southwest Louisiana is covered by Father Hebert's Southwest Louisiana Records series. The area of south central Louisiana is covered by his South Louisiana Records series. The Baton Rouge Diocese and New Orleans Diocese records are recorded in volumes produced by the Catholic Church.

Acadian church records in Canada are mixed in with the other settlers. This encompasses a vast number of records. The church records of places such as Quebec, Montreal, etc. can be consulted. One good source of information is The Acadians of Quebec by Pierre-Maurice Hebert.

For more information on Acadian church records, visit target="_blank">Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History. For printed material that incorporates the church records, you might be interested in the Acadian books found at .

NOTE: stocks many of the books referred to in this article though not all are listed on their website yet. Email or call 1-800 361-5168 with your inquiry (905 875-2176 within the Greater Toronto area or from outside of North America) .

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