Acadiana Genealogy

The lost records of Rivière aux Canards

The picture above depicts a scene from the deportation of the Acadians from Canada. You can almost smell the smoke from burning homes and feel the confusion of a crowd of people milling around, can’t you?

What amazes me about the church records of Acadian Nova Scotia is that we have any of them. Yet we do!

The Port Royal records are in Halifax. The Grand Pre records were actually scooped up by the Acadians as they were forced to leave Canada. Somehow, they survived the chaos of the deportation and landed safely in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. The Beaubassin records wound up in France.

Think about this for a minute. You’ve been evicted from your home. You and your family are about to be tossed onto ships. And you scurry to the church and grab the baptismal records. Talk about genealogy heroes and heroines!

Here’s a complete record of what we have and what we lost:

Port Royal (founded in 1613)

  • St. Laurent: Lost

Cape Sable

  • Ste. Anne: Lost

Pubnico (1651)

  • Our Lady: Lost

Beaubassin (1679)

  • Our Lady of Good Help: 1679-1686; 1712-1723; 1732-1735; 1740-1748

Pointe-de-Beausejour (1750)

  • St. Louis: Lost

Chipoudy

  • Our Lady of the Visitation: Lost

Tintamarre (1723)

  • St. Anne: Lost

Baie-Verte

  • Church: Lost

Petitcoudiac

  • Church: Lost

Memramcook

  • Church: Lost

Medotec/Pays-Bas (1686)

  • St. Anne: Lost

Grand-Pre (1687)

  • St. Charles of Les Mines: 1707-1748

Riviere-aux-Canards (1688)

Pisiguit (1698)

  • Holy Family: Lost
  • Our Lady of the Assumption: Lost

Cobeguit (1728)

  • Peter and Paul: Lost

Pentagouet (1689)

  • Holy Family: Lost

Plaisance (1663)

  • Our Lady of the Angels: Lost

Ile St. Pierre (1687)

  • St. Peter: Lost

Ile Royale (1713)

  • Our Lady of the Angels (Louisbourg): 1722-1745; 1749-1758
  • Hospital (Louisbourg): Lost
  • St. Peter (Port Toulouse): Lost
  • St. Claire (Petit Degrat): Lost
  • Our Lady of Good Help (Port d’Orleans): Lost
  • St. Anne (Port Dauphin): Lost
  • Our Lady of Good Help (La Baleine): 1714-1745; 1750-1757
  • St. Esprit (St. Esprit): 1724; 1726-1737; 1741-1745; 1749
  • Church (Port-aux-Basques): 1740

Ile St. Jean (1720)

  • St. John (Port Lajoie): 1721-1744; 1749-1758
  • St. Peter (St. Pierre-du-Nord): 1724; 1728-1730; 1732-1747; 1749; 1751-1758
  • Holy Family (Malpeque): Lost
  • St. Paul (Pointe-Prime): Lost

As you can see, a lot of records went AWOL. This leads me to my favorite story about church records.

At some point, the Riviere aux Canards records were accidentally discovered in the Paris archives and then promptly lost again.

Supposedly, a man named Cyprien Tanguay came across them in 1867 while conducting research. He looked at them and then pitched them into the Paris sewers. Kidding.

Most likely, Mgr. Tanguay was confused about what he saw while working on his Canadian genealogical dictionary. But it’s also possible that missing registers exist. They just haven’t been recognized for what they are yet.

As I binge watch, “The Good Place,” it leaves me wishing I had a Janet so I could ask for those missing records. Preferably, typewritten and translated into English. Because in the Good Place, you can get anything!

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