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


  • Our Lady of the Visitation: Lost

Tintamarre (1723)

  • St. Anne: Lost


  • Church: Lost


  • Church: Lost


  • 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!

Acadiana Genealogy, Uncategorized

A Christmas-time drowning


The Weekly Times-Democrat on 29 Dec. 1893

Jennings, La., Dec. 22 – Passengers on the trip of the steamer Olive from Mermenteau to Grand Cheniere, Dec. 20, bring news of a very sad accident that occurred in Grand Lake, 30 miles south of here, during the heavy windstorm of Friday night, Dec. 15.

When the Olive reached a point in Grand Lake one half mile east of Grass Point, the crew and passengers were horrified to find floating in the water the dead body of a woman, who proved to be Mrs. D. Thibodaux, of Mermenteau, who had left home some days previous on a visit to friends at Cheniere Pardieu, 40 miles south of her home. The party consisted of herself and husband, a Mr. Miller, Widow Thibodaux and her three little girls, who had made the trip in a skiff, as has been the custom among the old residents of the river and lake country.

The same day the corpse of Mrs. Thibodaux was found in the lake, a hunter, A. Nunez, came across her husband, D. Thibodaux, on the east shore of Grand Lake, about three and a half miles from where his wife’s body was recovered. Mr. Thibodaux was half starved, his feet terribly swollen from exposure and he was in a half dead condition, having been four days and nights alone on the bleak lake shore without food or shelter, and exposed to several days of cold, windy, frosty weather. His sufferings had been greatly increased by his continued wanderings in vain search for some trace of the rest of his party.

He was taken on board of A. Nunez’ boat, and after receiving all possible care was able to give an account of the terrible ordeal through which himself and companions had passed.

The party had left Cheniere Pardieu on the return trip to Mermentau the morning of the 15th in their skiff, and went along without hindrance until the wind rose about 2 p.m. to a high gale, and they were compelled to land near the south end of Grand Lake to await calmer weather. About sundown, the wind calmed and they pushed out into the lake. All went well until about 10 p.m. when the wind suddenly rose from the west and blew a gale. The skiff was running about half a mile from the west shore and the lake became very turbulent in a few minutes, so that the skiff became unmanageable. In spite of every effort to keep the boat clear with her head to the wind she soon began filling with water. Not long after the boat filled and swamped, throwing all the party but Mr. Miller in the water. Thibodaux caught his wife and attempted to swim toward shore supporting her. Soon he became worn out with exertion and beating of the waves and lost hold of his wife, who could not have survived many minutes in the rough sea. It is remarkable how Thibodaux managed to weather the stormy lake, but in some way he managed to swim and float until he touched the east shore.

The searching party this week found Miller in the skiff on shore, frozen to death or drowned, it cannot be told which. Up to date the bodies of Widow Thibodaux and children have not been found.

Acadiana Genealogy, Cemeteries

Grand Coteau cemetery

My husband’s family hails from the Grand Coteau area. It’s a beautiful town with an absolutely gorgeous church and homes. We visited the graveyard to see the stones for my husband’s grandfather and assorted relatives.

Here’s my modest list of just a fraction of the graves:

Adolph Guilbeau, March 8, 1900-Jan. 3, 1984

Laura B. Guilbeau, May 20, 1900-Dec. 11, 1974

Onesiphore Broussard, died Jan. 31, 1881, age 40

Nita Guilbeau Dugas, Jan. 14, 1881-Oct. 14, 1978

Zenon J. Dugas, July 24, 1888-Nov. 17, 1928

Lionel Guilbeau, Aug. 7, 1891-July 1, 1946

Dr. Ben Joseph Guilbeau, Sept. 3, 1860-Aug. 4, 1935

Natolia Castille Guilbeau, April 16, 1891-March 18, 1994

Saul Guilbeau, June 25, 1873-April 13, 1916

Dr. Felix C. Guilbeau, Aug. 29, 1877-July 13, 1931

Edmond C. Guilbeau, died Aug. 14, 1931

Ernest Guilbeaux, June 19, 1860-Feb. 17, 1925

Marie Thelma Durden, 1928-1962

Mrs. Oge Guilbeau, 1898-1996 (mother of Marie Thelma Durden)

Corinne Guilbeau Huter, Feb. 24, 1931-Oct. 24, 1965

Marie Pollingue Guilbeau, July 17, 1868-Feb. 7, 1939

Isabel Guilbeau, Oct. 1, 1898-May 14, 1955

Willie L. Sibille, Dec. 3, 1891-Feb. 17, 1963

Lilburn Guilbeau (wife of Willie Sibille), March 14, 1896-Sept. 28, 1952

Harry Adrian Barrilleaux, April 6, 1897-June 21, 1969

Lorena Blanco Barrilleaux, Dec. 3, 1899-Dec. 11, 1987

Havard Guilbeau, April 20, 1918-May 15, 1996

Mrs. Oscar Guilbeau, July 20, 1885-Dec. 4, 1966

Elie Guilbeau, may 20, 1894-Feb. 12, 1970

Blanche S. Guilbeau, Sept. 28, 1896-1979

Earl J. Savoie, Oct. 30, 1913-May 27, 1976

Wilhelmina G. Savoie, Oct. 31, 1913-Oct. 19, 1988