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Second Great Exodus

Over 12,000 Acadians left Nova Scotia in a mass evacuation referred to as either The Great Upheaval, The Deportation, or The Acadian Expulsion.


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September 5th marked 250 years since Lieutenant-Colonel John Winslow told the Acadians in the colony of Nova Scotia that if they did not sign a pledge of loyalty to the King of England, they would have to leave the British Colony. Over 12,000 of them left for Louisiana, the New England States, Quebec, and France. This evacuation has been called either The Great Upheaval, The Deportation, or The Acadian Expulsion.

The same thing happened last year when hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast and New Orleans with a force that left many people of Acadian descent homeless again. The population in New Orleans is one-half of what it was in 2005, and many of the genealogical records were destroyed or lost because of the storms.

For example, the Acadian Museum in Erath, Louisiana was hit quite hard last year, and you can see the damage done by Rita at

Warren Perrin, operator of the Acadian Museum, said that over 2,000 objects have been lost, including files, photos, family histories, and various structures that were used to house, store, and display the items.

Stanley LeBlanc—who has a website about Cajun, Acadian and Louisiana genealogy, history, and culture at— has volunteered to reconstruct the family histories that were destroyed at the Acadian Museum.

The problem is that so many of these people have moved away that it may not be known where they are, and it may never be known. But, "the reconstruction is underway and is being done", according to LeBlanc, stating that Perrin is making sure that word gets out to everyone in the media, and on websites.

There is an online form available at which asks for your family history for reconstruction purposes, or you can send the information to Family Genealogies, Acadian Museum, P.O. Box 53597, Lafayette, LA 70508.

On Sunday, September 3rd at 3 p.m., at the Grande-Pré National Historic Site, the expulsion notice was read once again at the Saint-Charles-des-Mines Church exactly as it was those many years ago.

A few minutes later, a life-sized sculpture of a typical Acadian Family was dedicated. The sculpture, which will join the famous Evangeline, is a man and a woman in period dress, the young woman holding a baby. On one side of the sculpture is a young boy and on the other side is a young girl, separated from their parents, with their arms outstretched. This symbolizes the separation brought by the Deportation. The diaspora of the French today is that their descendants are feeling the same separation, as former Gulf residents find housing and jobs in other parts of the United States, and are leaving their family history behind.

"It is their hope that this artwork will become a powerful icon to symbolize the tearing apart of Acadian families during the Great Upheaval," says the website.

Source Information: Canadian Connections, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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