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.







20 comments:

  1. How very cool, thanks for sharing!

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  2. I'm a sucker for a good Frenchman.
    Your Friend, m.
    p.s. Thanks for the history lesson. I didn't know all that. m.

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  3. The Acadian Expulsion was a shameful episode of ethnic cleansing. Because of your roots, do you feel an affinity also with the Cajun culture of Louisiana that the Acadian culture morphed into?

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  4. Somewhat Debra, I do feel an affinity. I know there are LeBlancs there and my uncle is a LeBlanc from here....so there are ties for sure, but distant ones.

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  5. I live in Mississippi but am only a few minutes from New Orleans so I'm very aware of the Cajun culture in Louisiana. It's sad, but at one time in Acadian history in LA they made a very concerted effort to STOP speaking French to try to blend into the local culture. The local REDNECK culture! Fortunately, they realized their error but not before an entire generation was forced to "forget" their language and history. Mike has worked with many guys from that area and it's incredible to listen to them talk--almost unintelligible but the accent is so beautiful! Dennis Quaid tried to replicate it (as have others in movies based down here) but unless you're a native, you can't do it. Jim, your story is just another example of how similar we are!!! Oh, and by the way re costume jewelry--I think you have to be born with the "CJ" gene. My husband doesn't understand my addiction, either.

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  6. Very interesting. I didn't know you had a French heritage. I love learning! :)

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  7. My "something new" for today, I wonder if I will retain it. Very interesting.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing this at The Creative Exchange this week Jim. Truly a very interesting history, and such wonderful photographs to go with it.

    I wish you a wonderful day!

    lisa.

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  9. It's funny how our two countries came to be and how intertwined it all is.
    Thanks for this bit of history.

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  10. Very interesting; thanks for sharing! :-)

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  11. i didn't know this spelling but what we have here are CUVILLIER. must be related through "la fesse gauche"...
    :)~

    i read this with a twinge in my heart.. not the prettiest chapter in our history... like so many chapters in our history. surprising how we all [well, mostly] turned out to be decent folks.

    thanx 4 sharing!!
    :)~
    BIGHUGZ

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  12. There is a 'branch' of my family in another part of Nova Scotia who spells their name 'Cuvilier'. I have the double'l' version but mostly in Europe. As for any name there can be lots of spellings depending on a number of factors.....education, location, mistaken spelling etc.

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  13. Blimey, this is fascinating stuff - especially because you managed to get pics documenting the path behind your history!

    Just out of interest - are the Arcadians properly included in Canadian society, or is there still an element of marginalisation?

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  14. Must admit to a glaring ignorance of Canadian history and its something I must correct. Have to take Rhonda's watches to the jewellers today and they are right opposite the community library - will pop over for a visit and see what they have on their shelves.

    Thanks for that Jim!

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  15. Good question Annie. From my perspective they have had to 'fight' for legitimate recognition from the provinces and the federal government. New Brunswick has taken the lead and is bi-lingual.....I believe the only province to do so. Federally of course we are bi-lingual but mainly in recognition of the Quebecois who live in.....Quebec.
    Acadians (no 'r') are trying to maintain their language and culture here in Nova Scotia and in certain parts of the province have their own French-speaking schools and a French University....Ste. Anne.
    So yes Acadians are recognized and I guess they are marginalized somewhat because they are outnumbered by the English-speaking culture here.......much as some Quebecois feel.

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  16. Great post, Jim. I wish I knew as much about my Canadian heritage as you do about yours. You must have been excited to see the monument and the flags.

    So glad you enjoyed the walk around the pond today. :)

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  17. Very happy to have a follower from Nova Scotia (in my top five all time favourite places on earth) and happy to follow you too.

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  18. A fascinating look at your heritage with great shots!

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  19. Jim, I know I'm late in getting here to read your post, but I'm so glad that I am getting caught up--What an interesting family history you have!! It gave me a little grin to think about people being sent from their beautiful homeland to Louisiana--This time of year with the heat and humidity, I'm sure it truly felt like being in exile!

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  20. Interesting...there is so much I don't know about all of this Acadian history!
    I share your pride in our French heritage. I have lots of German blood in me, but my predominant culture is French. It comes from my French great-grandmother and her strong influence on our family. Vive la belle France!

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Hey, I really like your comments and appreciate the time you took to do so.

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