MSS-050-Acadian History-Part 2: Deportation

Episode 050-July 5, 2016

Header of episode 050

By George Craig (Université de Moncton) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here is a story. A tragic story. And according to our survey asking whether or not you had Acadian ancestors, it is the ancestral story of 72% of MSS listeners. It’s also a story of survival. Guest Lucie LeBlanc Consentino returns to share the tragedy of Acadian deportation.

Acadian Deportation

Lucie and I discussed the following:

We reviewed what led up to the deportation (See episodes #29 and #30).


Many British ships arrived in Halifax Harbor, portending what was to come. Some Acadians got permission to move to Île Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island today).



“We are now upon a great and noble scheme.” -Gov. Charles Lawrence. The “great and noble scheme” was to remove Acadians from their very fertile lands and dispose of them throughout the English colonies, replacing them with planters from Massachusetts.

July 28, 1755- Gov. Lawrence summoned Acadian leaders to a meeting in Halifax. He asked them to sign an oath of

Monument commemorating the use of Georges Island as a prison for deported Acadians

Monument in Halifax harbour commemorating the use of Georges Island as a prison for deported Acadians during the Grand Dérangement of the 1750s and 1760s. Georges Island is visible in the background. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. By Skeezix1000 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

allegiance to the king of England, promising to take up arms against their French cousins if need be. They declined and were imprisoned on George’s Island.

Realizing something was wrong and wanting to get back to their villages, the imprisoned Acadians offered to sign the oath of allegiance.

Throughout the Acadian villages, Acadian men and sons aged ten and up were summoned to the parish church where their guns were confiscated. Then they were locked inside the church.

Col. John Winslow read the Act of Deportation to them in French, declaring that everything they owned now belonged to the King of England.


Finally the ships arrived, and the men and their sons, as well as the rest of their families, were deported. Many families were separated as these ships headed out for the English colonies.

The colonies were not expecting the Acadians. The governor of Virginia refused to take the Acadians and re-deported them to England where they lived on the docks.





New York


South Carolina

Deportations continued over the next couple of months. The Pembroke left Port Royal with Acadians aboard heading for North Carolina, but the 232 Acadians took over the ship and sailed up the Saint John River. When the British discovered their whereabouts, the Acadians set the Pembroke on fire and escaped to Miramichi, where they found other Acadians who were starving. So the Pembroke Acadians moved on to Quebec, where they encountered smallpox. Many died.

Some Acadian ringleaders were deported south to the Georgias, and then eventually made their way back. Women and children from Chipoudi walked, then took a boat, to Île Saint-Jean. The island could not provide for them, so they moved onto Quebec where they were eventually reunited with their husbands.

Effects of the Deportation

Some children were taken from their parents and indentured.

According to the well-known Acadian genealogist Stephen White, 10,300-11,000 people were deported between 1755-1760.

Out of the 1226 Acadians sent to Virginia and then on to England, only 866 came out alive because of smallpox and other diseases. In 1763, after the Treaty of Paris, they, along with Acadians around the world, were repatriated to France. Many were brought to St. Malo, France, and they left records there. This information is found in Stephen White’s Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes.

Another well-known Acadian researcher, Paul Delaney, searched for Acadians in records at the British Archives and found information about the Acadians buried in England.

Some 2,000 Acadians were imprisoned at various forts like Fort Beausejour. They were often forced to repair the aboiteaux (dikes) and work the land for the British.

Some Acadians who were deported to England ended up on Belle-Île-en-Mer. The land on this island was not very good, and the people were not happy. But many of these people were grandchildren of the original Acadian settlers. The king asked for depositions from them, relating such information as where they came from in Acadia and who their grandparents were. Gathered in 1767, this information was crucial since so many parish registers were lost or destroyed. Combined, these depositions are known as Les Declarations de Belle-Île-en-Mer.

Deportations Continue

In 1758, the British remembered the Acadians on Île Saint-Jean. They were gathered up and placed on ships. Three of them, the Duke William, the Ruby, and the Violet, sank, losing all 1,110 Acadians on board.

The Acadians in Miramichi were captured by the British and marched to Halifax. After the Treaty of Paris, they moved to Haiti. They found it too hot, and some died there. They and other Acadians from the colonies then went to Louisiana in 1764. Many Acadians in France (about 1600 of them) heard about their Louisiana cousins (Cajuns) and joined them in 1785. No Acadian was ever deported to Louisiana.

Many Acadians had escaped to the islands of Saint Pierre et Miquelon. Deportations there began in 1758 as well as Île Saint-Jean and Île-Royale. They were deported to France and eventually came back to Saint Pierre et Miquelon where they were deported again. This went on until the early 1800s.

If you’re looking for reliable Acadian sources, check out Lucie’s To Source or Not to Source!


I’ll be taking a break for the Acadian Ancestral Tour 2016. The next podcast publication date will be August 9th. See you then.

Thanks to listener Katherine Ott for sending in a voice message.


Episode 49’s question:

Have you begun researching your ancestors in France?


  • Yes: 50%
  • No, and I don’t plan to: 0%
  • No, but I will eventually: 50%
Survey #50

Which social media platforms do you use regularly for genealogy? (You can check as many as apply.)

Choices are:

  • Facebook
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  • Others (Type in any other platforms that you use.)

Remember, these are only the ones you use for your genealogy work, not for personal use. You can take the survey here.

French-Canadian News

What's Happening Header

The American-French Genealogical Society

There are a couple of summer classes coming up at the American-French Genealogical Society. First, on July 30, Janice Burkhart will present How to Use The AFGS Library. Then on August 6, she’ll present How to Read the Various Repertoires. Classes are held at the AFGS Library, 78 Earle Street, Woonsocket, RI, and begin at 9:00 AM.

The Franco-American Centre

The Franco-American Centre of Manchester, NH will hold an Acadian Family Day on July 31, a day to celebrate Acadian Heritage. See the website for further details.

Again, the Franco-American center will hold Kids Camp de Jeunes for kids ages 6-12 years old from August 1-5. It’s a fun way for campers to learn the French language and culture.

Another French Adventure is coming up on August 6th, and remember to register at least a week in advance.

And finally, it’s another Half-way to Mardi Gras, any excuse for celebrating with Acadian music and Cajun food. This will take place on August 9th from 6-10 PM.

The French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut

The French-Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut in Tolland has several classes coming up. Beginning Genealogy Research in French Canada, covering approximately 1850-1920, will be held from 2-4:30 PM on July 28 and from 6:30-9:00 PM on August 16. They will also present Overcoming Brick Walls for Beginners from 2-4 PM on July 26 and August 18. All classes are free and held at the FCGSC Library in Tolland.

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One comment on “MSS-050-Acadian History-Part 2: Deportation

  1. Yani

    I found your podcast last week while searching for Acadia. I promptly binge listened to all your Acadian episodes, and am now binging on all the rest, and I’m loving it! I am a descendant of the Trahan family line (and a few others), and just recently learned I was considered an Acadian. Thanks to you and other sources I’ve found, I have learned a lot in a short time. Your French language tips have also been very helpful. Thank you for all you do!

    One thing I do not understand yet is the distinction between Acadian and French Canadian. I know the Acadians were the first settlers, and settled in Nova Scotia and that immediate area. But French Canadians also immigrated from France, so what makes them distinctly different from the Acadians? Thank you!

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