genealogy guide


Amateur's guide

to Acadian genealogy.

Version April 2008, Roger Hétu, Grand-Pré


I.The family information.

To a genealogist, "first things first" means to compile all written and oral information that can be obtained from his own family. Usually we know our parents and grandparents. These are our first six ancestors. We should now find out their dates and places of birth, marriages and death if deceased.

Our living grandparents can give information on their parents and grandparents. There! Without setting foot in a library we have already gathered information on nearly thirty ancestors.

If our parents and grandparents are deceased then we should consult our uncles, aunts, great-uncles, great-aunts and cousins. They share our ancestors. If we are lucky one of them has already collected genealogical information. 

 So the family is the first source of genealogical and bibliographical information on nearly thirty ancestors or five generations.

There is an estimated ten to twelve generations between us and our Acadian ancestors who came to the New World in the 1630's. Information on the first settler and three to four generations thereafter is easily found in published reference books. Therefore the genealogy challenge will be the four generation gap between what your family knows and what the reference books have.

II.Genealogical Societies and family associations.

 You now have in your file about thirty ancestors. The next step would be to join a local genealogical society. You will then have access to primary sources (original and/or microfilmed records) and secondary sources (printed or digital transcriptions). Most importantly you will, by your membership, participate in the creation, conservation and publication of these documents. Furthermore the genealogical society will teach you the right way to record your ancestral information, to use resources and the tools available. You will find addresses of genealogical societies on genealogy portals (described below). Many family associations have planned their reunion in New Brunswick in 2009. Check them out on the Congres Mondial Acadien 2009 portal at .  Consult also the family association list on the  "Centre de la Généalogie Francophone d'Amérique" portal at

III.How to organize your ancestors information.

Most genealogical societies offer beginner courses on genealogical research.   You will learn the importance of identifying and qualifying the source.  There are usually 3 categories of sources:

Primary source: The original record, usually handwritten in a register or a microfilmed copy of the same. The quality of the primary source depends on their clarity. Physical deterioration of the original, the language, and the strange handwriting are responsible for hypothetical interpretation that may lead to errors.

Secondary source: This is a primary source transcription. The alphabetized repertoire published by a genealogical society and the research centre dictionary are much easier to read and search. The quality of a secondary source depends on the reputation of the author and the correction publications that have followed.

Other sources: The information from a newspaper clip, other’s database, exchanges with a correspondent, family tradition, etc.

No matter what the source, there is always room for errors. The priest himself sometimes wrote incorrect entries in the church register. Academic research centres subsequently publish corrections to their publications. It is of the utmost importance to assign to each bit of information their origin, the category of the source, and their quality

IV.Basic tools to help organize your genealogy:

Pedigree chart.

Free downloadable charts at:


New information form.

Free downloadable forms at

Ahnentafel (Stradonitz) Numbering System

Genealogy software.

The genealogy software is usually a database program structured to compile and search our ancestor's information. Make sure to choose genealogy software that can import and export GEDCOM files. GEDCOM is a format that lets you share and send information to others no matter which computer or software they have. Ask your local genealogical society which software most of their members use. Having the same software makes it easier to get help when needed.

Some genealogy software are freeware. PAF is an example:

Others are shareware like BK: .

Genealogy software, costing between 50 and 150$  can be bought from software stores.

V. General reference books on Acadian genealogy.

A) The most important work is Le Dictionnaire Généalogique des Familles Acadiennes by Stephen White.  The first part, published in two volumes, is the reconstruction of the Acadian families of 1636 to 1714. This book is published by the  "Centre d'Études Acadiennes de l'université Moncton", NB. (Out of print since 2006)  

An English Supplement to the Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes providing a translation of the major texts is also available at

You will find these books in most genealogy libraries.

The second part , in the works, will cover the years 1715 to 1780.

 B) Histoire et Généalogie des Acadiens, Bona Arsenault. Six volumes.
Reconstruction of Acadian families by places: Tome 2: Port-Royal; Tome 3: Beaubassin, Grand-Pré; Tome 4: Pisiguit, Cobequid, Chipoudy et Petitcoudiac, Cap-de-Sable et Pobomcoup, Rivière St-Jean, Ristigouche; Tome 5: Plaisance, Louisbourg, Île Royale, Île St-Jean; Tome 6: St-Pierre, Miquelon, Îles de la Madeleine, Bordeaux , Belle-Île-en-Mer, Louisiane. Available in most genealogy libraries. Many corrections were published by Janet Jehn.

C) Le grand arrangement des Acadiens au Québec, Adrien Bergeron.  Eight volumes. Genealogy of Quebec Acadian families. Available in most Quebec genealogy libraries. (However this unfinished masterpiece was not then summited to a rigourous verification now available with computer technology. Hence it contents many errors)

D) Le PRDH . Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique de L'Université de Montréal. All the records of Old Quebec from 1621 to 1799.. Particularly interesting for the Quebec Acadian families from 1755 to 1799. Available in most Quebec genealogy libraries. Also available for a reasonable fee, on-line.

E) Fiche acadiennes du Fonds Drouin, par Jean-Pierre-Yves Pepin. Accumulated information of the Institut Drouin (a professional genealogy venture) used to write the customer's genealogy. Often available where the Drouin microfilms are available.

F) Microfilms Drouin. More than  2000 microfilms of Quebec records from the beginning to 1940. It covers Acadia, Ontario and some USA registers.  Available in these libraries (at least): CAM-ANQ, BANQ and SGCF in Montréal, SGQ in Québec city, CGL in Longueuil, SGL in Joliette, AFGS  in Woonsocket, RI and NEHGS in Boston, MA. Some research centres have a computerized version to facilitate the searches.

Also available on-line for a fee at

G) Microfilms des Mormons. Catholic records from the beginning to 1876.  Available in most LDS Family history centres. Also available in major research centres and genealogy libraries.

H) Acadian Descendants, Janet Jehn. 15 volumes of Acadian family genealogies.

I) Census, registers, transcriptions of Acadian parishes available in local research centres. Such as, The  compilations of Baie Ste-Marie by Leonard Smith. The compilations of South Louisiana Records, Southwest Louisiana Records by Donald Hébert; The Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records. Also available in some LDS family history centres.

VI. Research centres.

A)    New-Brunswick:

Centre d'études acadiennes de l'Université de Moncton.

Provincial archives of New-Brunswick

B) Nova Scotia

Le Musée acadien et archives (Pubnico-West)
Les archives "Père Clarence D'Entremont"
Leander d'Entremont Coll. : 27 books in pdf format
( Port Royal Register, Sigogne & Bailly registers, Family genealogies & histories from Grand-Pré, Port-Royal, Baie-Ste-Marie and Pubnico area )

Genealogies, parish registers  ("Par-en-bas"), microfilms
Dictionnaire of Stephen White and of Bona Arsenault

Argyle Township Court House & Archives (Argyle)

Yarmouth and Digby Co catholic register transcriptions.
Transcription of Yarmouth registers.
Funeral home records.
Family Genealogies.
Nova Scotia marriage register 1864-1918
Township book

Centre acadien de l'Université Ste-Anne. (Church Point)

Census, registers, microfilms.
Computerized NS southwest 74 Acadian family genealogies.
               You can request a family line (for a fee)
Index and microfilms journal Le Courrier (1937-1994)
Dictionnaire de Stephen White et de Bona Arsenault.

Kings Historical Society (Kings County Museum, Kentville)

Microfilms  of Acadian marriages, birth and census.
Computerized Acadian transcriptions. (also sold on a CD-ROM)
Microfilms of marriages, births, and deaths. Annapolis Co. 1864-1876, Kings Co. 1876-1909, Digby Co.1864-1877 (includes Baie Ste-Marie)
The Darres & MacCormick genealogy and obituary collection

West Hants Historical Society (Windsor)

18th century maps of  Pisiguid showing the Acadian inhabitant names.
Acadian genealogies.
Fort Edward prisoners information.
Desbarres and Castle Frederick information.

The Pomquet Historical Society

Centre Les Trois Pignons, Société St-Pierre (Chéticamp)

One thousand files on Acadian family genealogies.

PANS (Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management). (Halifax)

C) Île-du-Prince-Edouard

Le centre de recherches acadiennes

D) Québec

BANQ. Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec

SGCF in Montréal

SGQ in Québec

SGL in Joliette

SGL in Longueuil

E) Canada

Library and Archives Canada

Family History Centres (LDS)


University of Louisiana, Lafayette

American French Genealogical Society, 78 Earle St. Woonsocket, RI

The American Canadian Genealogical Society, 4 Elm Street, Manchester, NH

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 101 Newbury Street, Boston MA.

Family History Centres (LDS)


VII. Searching on-line  Internet:

The five basic methods to search genealogy on the internet are: web site search engines; on-line databases; message boards and mailing lists; personal emails; portal web sites.

1) A web site search engine such as «» and «» can help you find informative web pages on a given ancestor. However a simple search usually yields hundreds if not thousands of unwanted results. So it is essential to learn how to use the "advanced search mode" of the search engine to restrict the number of results. Each search engine has its own "advanced techniques" and usually explains them on its home site.

The farther back an ancestor is on your family tree the more numerous are his descendants. Consequently, the greater is the probability that one of them put data on the web. Mind you that search engines do use different "web spider robot software". It is therefore sometimes necessary to use more than one search engine to get the desired results. To learn about other search engines see (

2) Searching an on-line database is usually the most successful method. Databases are sites that have a great quantity of structured data.  Databases have their own search engine. Some are completely free while others ask for a subscription. For example to use the PRDH genealogy database of The University of Montreal (baptisms, marriages, deaths of the Quebec population before 1800) one has to prepay a determined number of hits over an undetermined period. (

On the other hand the WorldConnect genealogy database (over 480 million entries) is free for all to use. . WorldConnect is a co-operative database to which one can contribute by uploading a Gedcom file (genealogy data). Once published on the net we get many new rewarding contacts with others researching the same ancestors.

Above is the advanced WorldConnect search engine. When I type "Melancon Charles" only, I get 1170 hits. If I add the marriage year ranging from 1720 to 1760 the search engine gives 109 hits.  If I add part of the father's name the number of results goes down to 39.  When I checked "Has Sources" only 7 hits show up. Those seven are worth looking at.

Database links are found on genealogy portal web sites


3) Surname Message boards and mailing lists, once archived, become like text databases where the elements are messages containing the keywords. The messages are usually genealogy queries and answers or arguments confirming or destroying hypothetical solutions. As an example see the ancestry message board at

Message boards links are found on genealogy portal web sites

4) The lookups service where a volunteer makes a lookup in a specified reference book or church parish records gives enormous help to anyone who lives far from city research facilities. As an example the QuebecGenWeb volunteer team offers to do lookups in 1000+ church parish records. 

On the LanaudiereGenWeb, a volunteer will do lookups in the Stephen White Dictionary.

On the Avoyelles lookups in Louisiana, you can contact Mike at

Again you will find Lookups links on most genealogy portal web sites

If cost is no obstacle then you can contact a professional researcher who will do the work for you (taking away all the fun of finding it by yourself). Their emails are sometimes printed on genealogy portals. Be sure to select a certified researcher.

5) A genealogy PORTAL is a gateway web site that will offer information on all available genealogy resources. Some genealogy portals have global range while others are restricted to a particular ethnic group or a geographic region. « » and « » are francophone genealogy portals. « » is a worldwide genealogy portal with more than two hundred thousand categorised genealogy links.

The site « » is the event portal of the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2009.

The GenWebs (Genealogy on the Web) are geographically structured genealogy portals. The purpose of the GenWeb Projects is to create a global library for genealogy research on the Web. First created in USA in 1996 ( this model was used right away in Canada with the CanadaGenWeb at
An exception to the rule: the AcadianGenWeb does not cover a specific geographical area.

Today «» show global resources and links to the continental GenWebs. The latter do the same with the national GenWebs. Then a national GenWeb like the CanadaGenweb links to the provincial Genwebs. At the end of the tree, county Genwebs, like the LanaudiereGenweb give the most information. Once on a Genweb site you may surf up to a more general GenWeb or down to a more particular one. That way the GenWeb projects cover every part of the world. All information offered is free. In fact this is a volunteer co-operative project  to which you are invited to participate.

VIII. Spelling, variations, "dit" names. 

One of the challenges in doing a genealogy search is to find how the surname was written in the records. Searching for example for a Therriault, you might have to look up Terriot, Theriau etc. Our French ancestors used often nicknames and "dit names”. Those added "distinctions" came from a military alias, a place of origin, an occupation, a physical particularity, etc. To know more about "dit" names see .

You will find alias correspondence tables at (

IX. Homonyms, L'Aîné, Le Cadet.

Another difficulty in researching Acadian ancestors come from the usage of repetitively naming siblings with the same given name. The eldest added to his given name the distinction "L'aîné" or "Le vieux" . The younger used "Le cadet" or "Le jeune". When the brothers live in different communities they omitted the added distinction, making it hard for a genealogist to know who is who. Here is an illustration of this situation:

1)       Bernard Pellerin (son of Étienne and Jeanne Savoie) married 27 November 1713 in Port-Royal to Marguerite Gaudet (daughter of Pierre and Marie Blanchard) 

2)       Bernard Le vieux Gaudet (son of Pierre and Marie A. Blanchard) married  about 1696 Jeanne Terriot (daughter of Claude and Marie Louise Gauterot).

After having collected those marriages we would be tempted to conclude that Marguerite and Bernard Gaudet are siblings

A bit more research shows us that the parents of Bernard  are: Pierre L'Aîné Gaudet (son of Denis and Martine Gauthier) and Marie Anne Blanchard (daughter of Jean and Radegonde Lambert). While the parents of Marguerite Gaudet are Pierre Le Jeune Gaudet (son of Denis and Martine Gauthier) and Marie Blanchard (daughter of Jean and Radegonde Lambert). So Bernard and Marguerite Gaudet are not siblings but their fathers Pierre L'Aîné and Pierre Le jeune are brothers. Marie Blanchard and (Marie) Anne Blanchard are sisters.

X. Managing the errors.

The above situation shows that you will sometimes have to go back in the genealogy tree and correct errors. Don't be embarrassed, even academic dictionaries like those of Bona Arsenault and Stephen White constantly need to be corrected. Correction publications are numerous.

The farther we are from the primary source the greater the occurrence of errors. Unfortunately, the ease and speed with which we reproduce Internet data multiplies the incorrect information making some genealogies very doubtful. Be critical, compare, double check and agree to review your past hypothesis. 


XI. Internet links.

Reference publication with a web site.

Centre d'études acadiennes de l'Université de Moncton:

PRDH de l'Université de Montréal

The Drouin Institute

Acadian Descendants, Janet Jehn.
Corrections to Bona Arsenault, Janet Jehn.


Lookups, forums, mailing lists

GenWebQuébec lookups 

GenWebLanaudière lookups 

Book we own project

Genealogy Help List Canada

Aline Cormier's Genealogy Portal

Mailing lists

Forums, Rootsweb message boards



Portal Acadian-Cajun 

Cyndi's list 

Digital collection of Canada   



NovaScotia GenWeb



Généalogie d'Argyle

Portail Cumberland (Beaubassin) 

Genweb Québec 

GenWeb Lanaudière

Newbrunswick GenWeb  


The Island Register

Acadian-Cajun Genealogy links


(Louisiana) LAGenWeb

Louisiana archives:


How to do Genealogy in Louisiana


Centre de généalogie francophone d’Amérique

Acadian & F-C Ancestral Home

Aline Cormier's Genealogy Portal
         Census records, parish records, lookups, marriages, cemeteries

Acadian Genealogy Homepage

Soyez avisés que l'origine amérindienne de certaines familles de l'Acadie est fortement controversée.
Entre autres, concernant l'origine de la famille Lejeune, Stephen White et un chercheur Mi'kmak, Erich Burton,
ont des conclusions divergeantes.

mtDNA Proven Origins

Métis Acadiens

Bras d'Or First Nation

Native American Ancestry sources


mtDNA Proven Origins

Family Tree DNA

Projet ADN Héritage Français

DNA Worldwide

Oxford Ancestors

DNA Heritage

DNA Solutions

mtDNA Founding Mothers of Acadia


Family web sites

Retrouvailles  CMA2009

CGFA list

Tim Hebert list



Databases (On-Line)


WorldConnect (480 million names)

The PRDH (Québec BMS 1621-1799) (For a fee)

Public Archives of Nova Scotia

BMS2000 (For a fee)
          Births Marriages Deaths 1620-1980

Drouin Collection
          Microfilm of original records 1620-1935
          (For a fee)
          (For a fee)

Census, Canada 1881, US 1880 and LDS ancestral file

La banque centrale

Dictionnaire généalogique de l'ancienne Acadie

37 familles Retrouvailles 94

Fichier Origine

Tanguay Dictionary

Origins of the Pioneers of Acadia (based on 1767 BIM)

Fichier Migrants

Racines Rochelaises

Racines et rameaux acadiens

Poitou Acadie Bretagne Origine française de quelques familles acadiennes


Belle isle en mer

Boulogne sur mer

St-Pierre et Miquelon


Eight generations of Melanson

Comeau Database

Acadian Roots

Don Shankle Acadian table



Acadian Censuses 1671 to 1763

Acadian censuses 1671 to 1820

Census 1671

Census 1752 Île St-Jean

Censuses On-Line

Census 1901 Canada

Acadian census and registers

1901-1906-1911-1851-1852 Censuses

Census Canada 1881, US 1880 and LDS ancestral file

Census of "Upper St.John river/ Madawaska Settlement" and Kamouraska, QC. 

Census of l'Île St-Jean

Acadian Roots
      (Bathurst 1861,1871; Beresford 1871,1881; Bouctouche 1861; Palmer Rd 1878; St-Basile 1861; Shediac 1851,1861;
        Shippagan 1861; St-Norbert-NB 1871; Cocagne 1891; Notre-Dame-NB 1891; Grand Digue 1891; Kent Co 1891;

      Pointe-du-Chêne 1851; Scoudouc 1851; Barachois 1851; St-André-NB 1851)

Acadian Ancstral Home Census Records
         ( Acadia 1671-1755; Port-Toulouse 1716; Isle-Royale 1752; Restigouche 1760; Gaspesie 1761; Maryland 1763;
          Baie-des-Chaleurs 1765; Louisiana 1766, 1769; St-Servan 1766; Bonaventure 1774,1777; Carleton 1777;
          St-Pierre-et-Miquelon 1784; Cheticamp 1809; Margaree 1809; CB Mi'kmaq 1871, 1881, 1891)

Church registers & repertories

Table of the registers of the former Acadia

Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal 1702-1755

Register BMS de Arichat

Grand-Pré Burials

Acadian Roots
       (Beaubassin; Cap Pelé; Cocagne; Memramcook; Moncton; Jacquet River; Lameque; Sackville-NB; St-Charles-NB;
         Ste-Marie-NB; Tracadie-NB; Richibouctou; Van Buren-ME; Summerside; Palmer Rd-PEI; St-Charles-PEI;
         Amherst; Margaree; Arichat; Minoudie; Plymton; Pomquet; Quinan; Saulnierville; Tracadie-NS; Weymouth)


Acadian Roots
(New-Brunswick Cemeteries; PEI Cemeteries; Maccan-NS; River-Hebert-NS; Joggins-NS)

Acadian Ancestral Home
       ( NB: Adamsville-St-Timothee; Aldouane; Baie-Ste-Anne; Barachois-St-Henri; Bouctouche-St-Jn-B;
        Cap-Pelé-Ste-Thse; Charterville-N.D.-du-Calvaire; Claire-Fontaine; Cocagne; Collette-N-D-Fatima;
         Dieppe-St-Anselme; Escuminac; Grand-Digue-N-D-Visitation; Haute-Aboujagane-Sacré-Coeur;
         Irish-Town; Kent County [10] Cemeteries; Kent Junction; Melrose-St-Bartholomew;
         Memramcook-St-Thomas; Memramcook-East-N-D-Lourdes; Port-Elgin-St-Clement; Pte-Sapin;
         Pré-d'en-Haut-N-D-Annonciation; Rexton-Imm.-Conception; Richibouctou; Rogersville-St-Frs-Sales;
         Rosaireville-N-D-Rosaire; Sackville-St-Vincent-Ferrier; Scoudouc-St-Jacques; Shediac; Shemogue; Wiserner)
       (NS: Amherst-St-Charles)


"Dit" names, alias, anglicized surname.

Alias tables

Search engine

Rootsweb search engine 

Other engine list 


Bibliographies, anecdotes, stories.

Digital book Our Roots

Digital collection of Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec 

Notre mémoire en ligne

History (BluPete)

Biographies dictionary of Canada

Acadians Biographies 1600-1700

Acadians Biographies 1700-1763

One hundred articles from father Clarence D'Entremont

Le Maître Guillaume (CEA)

A travers les registres, C. Tanguay (long to download)

Un pélerinage au pays d'Évangéline, H-R Casgrain

Les Sulpiciens et les prêtres des missions-étrangères en Acadie(1676-1761), H-R Casgrain

Une Seconde Acadie, H-R Casgrain (long to download)

Chez les Anciens Acadiens, Causerie du Grand Père Antoine; A-T Bourque (long to download)

Voyage du Sieur de Diéreville en Acadie, (long to download)

Charles de Saint-Etienne de La Tour, gouverneur....1593-1666, A. Couillard Despré   (long to download)

La France aux colonies, Edmé Rameau de Saint-Père (long to download)

Origines des Acadiens, Pascal Poirier; (long to download)


Guided Tour

Return to  Acadie

Acadian ancestral land according to the surname of inhabitants
Guided tour from Port Royal and along the Dauphin, Ste-Antoine, Aux Canards, Pisiguid, Ste-Croix rivers up to the Halifax region.

A Guided Tour of Greater Grand-Pré.

Acadian tour of Kings county.


Roger Hétu, July 2004, revised May 2007, April 2008
Grand-Pré, Bassin des Mines, Acadie.

Comments, corrections,  would be  appreciated  and might be used in subsequent editions.