Acadian genealogy of the municipality of Argyle, Nova Scotia, is a tale worthy of the attention of historians, authors, relatives, and the public alike. Learn about the history behind Acadian family names.
Acadians in Nova Scotia
Our story begins with the first French settlers to Nova Scotia. In 1605 a settlement was established on what is now the Bay of Fundy that grew to become Port Royal, the largest of many communities in what would become known as Acadia, or Acadie in French.
By the early 1700s, the colony’s growing population encompassed fishing villages along the southern coast of Nova Scotia, and farming communities to the north, and into New Brunswick. Over time, Acadians developed an identity and culture distinct from their forebears, and the neighbouring populations.
Control over Acadie was repeatedly fought over and exchanged hands between England and France. In 1713, what is now mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule. Despite the conflicts between France and England, Acadians always remained neutral.
Acadians in NS Cont.
When England and France were again at war in 1744, the Acadian population far outnumbered the British, which was perceived to be a threat. The events that followed would mark the most tragic period in Acadian history.
From 1755 to 1763, the British uprooted and deported the Acadian population. Between 10,000 and 18,000 Acadians were displaced during the Great Upheaval, or Grand Dérangement. More than 6,000 were dispersed among the 13 American colonies. Up to a quarter of the population escaped into French territory – Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island), Île Royale (Cape Breton), and modern-day New Brunswick and Québec. Approximately 3,000 were deported to France when the British captured Fortress Louisbourg in 1758.
With a history defined by tragedy, courage and perseverance, Acadians have preserved their traditions and culture for over four centuries. The French language and a vital Acadian culture are part of the diversity celebrated in Nova Scotia today.
Acadians of Cap Sable
The Musee des Acadiens des Pubnicos is located in what was called, before the Expulsion, the region of Cap de Sable, later shortened to Cap Sable, centred around the present day Port La Tour area of Nova Scotia. Cap de Sable, meaning the Cape of Sand, was settled by Acadians who migrated from Port Royal in 1620.
In 1653, Charles de La Tour, then governor of French Acadia, offered a barony to a rising commander in the French army, Philippe Mius d'Entremont, with associated lands of his choosing. Philippe Mius d'Entremont selected a broad swath of land extending from modern day Clyde River to Yarmouth, and established his personal estate on land known to the Mi’kmaq as Pogomkook in 1653. Philippe Mius d'Entremont, with his wife, Madeleine Hélie, and their daughter Marguerite came to live in the area that same year. Indentured workers and families from Port Royal were the first wave of inhabitants on this estate, helping to establish a vibrant agricultural community where fishing rapidly rose to prominence. The seigneurie remained in the hands of the d’Entremont family until 1758, when the Acadians of what was then called Pobomcoup were deported by British forces as part of an ongoing campaign to remove French sympathisers from Acadia between 1755 and 1764.
Inhabitants of the Baronnie de Pobomcoup were first deported to Massachusetts at the end of April 1756, with the last Acadian and Mi'kmaq inhabitants of the outlying areas holding out until 1759.
In 1766, the Amirault, Belliveau, d'Entremont, Duon (now d'Eon) and Mius families left Salem, Massachusetts in a boat they had built, destined for Quebec in a bid to find a place to live where they could openly practice their Catholic faith, as Massachusetts had laws prohibiting Catholic congregation. On a stopover in Halifax, they were told that the British government had two years prior passed an order in council to permit Acadians to return to anywhere in Nova Scotia in small groups, provided they take an unqualified oath of allegiance, and a priest would be sent to them.
In short order, this group returned to the region where most of them had lived prior to the Expulsion. In the spring of 1767, they resettled the lands of their forebears, now known as Pubnico.
Pubnico is the oldest Acadian village still occupied by Acadians, but also the oldest European settlement in Canada still occupied by the descendants of its founder.
Acadian Family Names
With permission to return to their lands in 1763, the ancestors of our present Acadian families, possessing land grants from the British, resettled into their Acadian lands, where their descendants can still be found today.
These Acadian families include the names: Amirault, Babin, Belliveau, Boudreau, Bourque, Corporon, Cottreau, d’Entremont, d’Eon, Deveau, Doucette, Dulong, Jacquard, Landry, LeBlanc, Moulaison, Muise, Pothier, Surette, Richard, and Vacon.
Many of these families take residence in the following villages: Belleville, Bell Neck, Buttes Amirault, Butte des Comeau, Île Morris, Île des Surette, Petite Rivière, Pointe des Hubbard, Pointe du Sault, Pubnico, Quinan, Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau, Tusket, and Wedgeport.