Wednesday, June 8, 2011

French Name Only

My great-great-grandfather,Theodore, arrived in New York Harbour around 1847. He worked his way across the Atlantic as a purser on a ship. 

He left Paris, France with the intention of joining the U.S. Army once he got to the States. And that he did. He fought in the Mexican-American War for a year. Then left the army and headed to Nova Scotia.

                             Flags of Nova Scotia and Canada.

He got here around 1850 and was about 25 years old. Since he was from France and french-speaking he would be considered an Acadian once he settled here. But because of his 'later' arrival from his earlier compatriots, he is a 'late' Acadian. He was not here when thousands of Acadians were expelled from here by the English and sent to Louisiana.

                            Acadian flag and Beaubassin monument.

So growing up with the French surname 'Cuvelier' which was not pronounced as it would have been in France but in an English way, I was always intrigued with my French heritage. 

And since my great-great-grandfather chose to join the English culture as soon as he got here, the language and culture from whence he came very quickly disappeared.

So whenever I see anything that has to do with the Acadians and their history I am 'all eyes and ears'.

                            Acadian village.

This occurred last Thursday on our way to New Brunswick to attend a friend's father's funeral. We stopped at the border between the two provinces to give Sophie time to 'run'. It was here that I noticed the commemorative monument.

At the border.

A lot of the names on this monument are very familiar surnames in the Maritime Provinces. The Acadians have been and continue to be an important part of the culture in these provinces and I am proud to a very, very small part of it.

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