Tuesday, August 18, 2015

L'Acadie, L'Acadie

A large number  (300,000 to be exact) of Maritimers, 
(those who live in the provinces of Prince Edward Island,
 New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) have Acadian ancestry.
I do.

What is an Acadian you may ask? Well, an Acadian is one whose ancestors
originated from France and came to the 'New World' to settle in the 1600's.

They settled all over the Maritimes when the French were in control of this region.
After a few back and forth battles between the French and the English,
the Acadians found themselves at the mercy of the English.
They were asked to swear allegiance to the throne of England.
Most didn't want to do this and promised to stay neutral as best they could.

This didn't last long....as their lands were given to the English 
and they were given very poor scrub land that was impossible to produce any crops.

So they started to rebel. They lost this effort.
And they were expelled from this region starting in 1755 by the ship load.

Most settled along the eastern seaboard of what is now the United States.
Some chose to go back to France but this failed as they had become
accustomed to life in the 'New World'.

These Acadians left France, again, and settled in Louisiana.

As I mentioned above, I have Acadian ancestry on both sides of my family.
On my mother's side it was found that a few of her Scottish ancestors
married Acadians in Prince Edward Island.
On my father's side, his great-great grandfather, Theodore Cuvelier,
arrived in New York harbour in 1850 aboard a ship from Paris.
I consulted a local geneologist and he said that my g-g-g grandfather
 would be considered a 'late Acadian', as he did eventually settle in Nova Scotia.

All this ancestral history of mine was triggered recently because
National Acadian Day  (click if you wish to learn more)
 is celebrated every year on August 15th.

We have a local Acadian community just 10 km down the road from us.
So we had lunch yesterday at the Acadian Tea Room  (click) in West Chezzetcook.
I had my favourite Acadian dish...Tortierre....
while Ron had his favourite....fish cakes made with salt cod.

I am very proud of all my ancestors but have a particular 'soft spot'
for my Acadian links.......maybe because of the struggles they had endured.

How about you? Do have a 'soft spot' for any of your ancestors?

All photos were taken at the Acadian Tea Room yesterday.


  1. My Grandmother, and Grandfather, and mother were all born in Scotland, and I have done some research on their families. They came to New Zealand in 1909, and what an upheaval that must have been for my " Nanny Phairn". Lovely to have your Acadian Tea Room, and an occasional meal to celebrate.

    1. Jean, I can only imagin the hardships that our ancestors went through to move and then settle in a new country. They were exceptional people!

  2. thank god those acadians settled in louisiana because they pump out some of the best food on the planet! have a fun acadian lunch!

    1. Louisiana is on 'my list' of places to visit....just because of this connection with Nova Scotia, Joyce. And of course to sample their FAMOUS FOOD!!

  3. Wonderful post, Jim! It is so much fun looking into our ancestral roots. I am a descendant of Greeks, so my ancestry goes back thousands of years. I wonder sometimes who my ancestors were from way, way back, and I like to imagine that I stem from some great philosopher or astronomer or mathematician, etc. One can certainly dream, no? hahahaha

    1. You may be surprised, Martha, at the results of some searching!!
      I found out that I am 45% of Mediterranean descent. Hey, we could be cousins!!!

  4. When we stayed overnight in Ron's home town of Wolfville (a beautiful place, just loved it!), we visited the nearby Grand-Pré historical site and learned more about L'Acadie. I really enjoyed seeing the famous statue of Evangeline. After that visit, we took note of all the Acadian flags we saw in the Maritimes and the stars on Acadian homes.

    1. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed Wolfville and Grand Pre, Debra. that area is so full of history and a very beautiful location as well.
      I remember falling in love with Wolfville from the first day I arrived in late June of 1973. Little did I know that I would fall in love with one of its inhabitants!!

  5. I recently confirmed that my mothers mothers French Canadian line goes back to a Fille du Roi woman. I hope someday to journey back to the region and seek out some of the places mentioned in he family history. I always assumed due to the dates of her arrival and a cousin finally confirmed.

    1. Hey Marti, good to see you.
      I hope you get the chance to do this some day. It's always good to know from where we came.

  6. I enjoyed this post so much, Jim! Have you been to the Historical Gardens in Annapolis Royal? There is a reconstruction of an Acadian home there. Also you can walk along the dykes built by the Acadians. It's very beautiful.

    I remember my grandmother MacDonald telling me that I had a French branch through the Beaus in my family tied to the earliest French settlers in the area. I asked my cousin Mary Lou who knows a lot about the history of the area recently, and she said she hadn't heard that. That's something I'd like to track down and know for sure. Meanwhile I feel a connection with the Acadians; and of course, what Nova Scotian child doesn't know the story of Evangeline?

    I am very proud of my deep, extensive Scottish roots! Have a good one!

    1. We were there a few years ago. I LOVE that area of the province. We ought to go back soon.
      Maybe your cousin Mary Lou hadn't heard that because at one time it wasn't 'the thing' to admit/accept/let it be known that one was related to the French.......for religious and political reasons. I hope you get this confirmed as I am sure you will some day.
      I am proud of my Scottish roots as well......when I hear bagpipes something takes over me beyond my control!!

    2. Good point you raised about people hesitant to admit French connections, Jim! I hadn't thought about that. And there is nothing like bagpipes, well except a Scot in a kilt that is ~ like Jamie Fraser in the Outlander series!

  7. I thought that the New Orleans French influence came from your neck of the woods Jim. Many thanks for the education - very interesting!

    1. Well, it did, Craig.....but in a more roundabout way. The Acadian's that went back to France after the expulsion orders, left from here....then since they couldn't return here after they left France, they went to Louisiana. So yes, they are from here.


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