The Acadian Diaspora
by E.B. Lapointe
In 1755, some 8,000 Acadians
were expelled from their land because they would not sign a declaration of loyalty to the new British government in the colony. The declaration of loyalty also stated that the Acadians were to defend the English in the colony against their enemies, i.e. the French.
Some Acadians were allowed to go to the colonies in New England, some to the Southern Colonies of the United States — especially Louisiana (where they became known as Cajuns) — and others were allowed to go to England and France. They were allowed to return to the colony of Acadia in 1764, although many did not. Those who did found their former lands occupied by new settlers. Today, there are now today over 7 million Acadian descendants all over the world.
Nova Scotia will host the Congrès Mondial Acadien, a gathering and family reunions of Acadians, in 2004. The official website is <http://www.cma2004.com>. There, one will find that the gathering will be held in Nova Scotia from 31 July to 15 August, 2004, and will be the largest cultural gathering ever held in Nova Scotia, with 250,000 expected participants.
While at the website, click on to the genealogy section, which is full of information. The surnames of Acadian families who are preparing reunions for 2004 are listed at this website, as well as an Acadian history, genealogy section, and tips on planning a trip to Nova Scotia.
Since many of the Acadians went to Louisiana at the expulsion, and were then called Cajuns, one can explore the Cajun culture and food online at <http://www.louisianacajun.com>. While there, check out the link to <http://acadien.com/topsites/topsites.html> where there is a list of places to which the Acadians were dispersed, and they were (in alphabetical order) - Connecticut, England, Falkland Islands, France, French Guyana, Georgia, Louisiana, Martinique, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, South Carolina, St. Domingue, and St. Pierre & Miquelon.
Another website, <http://acadian-cajun.com>, offers a basic, yet comprehensive, history of the Acadians/Cajuns. There is also a list of surnames of men who were deported in 1755 from Grand-Pré, a National Historic Site and settlement in Nova Scotia.
The closing ceremonies of Congrés Mondial Acadien will be held at Grand-Pré on 15 August, 2004. Grand-Pré is noted as the place where the statute of Evangeline is located, as depicted in the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
The Canadian Parliament (in the House of Commons) passed Senate Bill 5 on 12 June, 2003, noting that the 15th of August will be National Acadian Day in Canada, on an annual basis. Although this will not be an official holiday, it will be a day when Canadians recognize the language, culture, and customs of the Acadians.
Acadian Genealogies Available for Purchase
You can now order "Acadian-Cajun Family Genealogy" CD-ROM's for the specific family you are researching, for just $26.95 each (USA Funds). Each CD-ROM includes lineage-linked genealogical information on between 1,000+ to 25,000+ individuals, along with pertinent Acadian-Cajun historical texts and a bunch of Acadian songs (with lyrics).
Click here for a list of available surnames
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"A former newspaper reporter in Canada's capital, Ottawa, I
became interested in writing about genealogy when researching my own
ancestor, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist from Boston, Massachusetts,
early in 1990. Quickly, my interest spread beyond my own family, and by 1994,
I was editing a genealogy newsletter and by 1997, I was editing the Sourcing
Canada series of books. Since then, I have gone on to write "My Ancestor Was
French Canadian" and a series of booklets on Canadian genealogy. I love to
travel the Canadian and American countryside looking for interesting people
and places to photograph and to write about." - E.B. Lapointe