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Going Home

By: Shirley LeBlanc

Who are we?
Where do we come from?
How did we get here?
Who or what is an Acadian?

That was my curiosity, desire and compassion to learn. My adventure began in the Lafayette Public Library on a Saturday morning in the Spring of 1997. I met a representative of the Lafayette Genealogy Society who was very patient and most helpful in directing me in finding my ancestors of the past. Since that day I have been hooked and my husband , John Allen, has also become so involved with my desire and hunger for knowledge and appreciation of our ancestors the " original Acadians". Our research and digging into the records, talking to family members for stories and photographs had brought us to the point of" Going Home" spiritually.

On July 16, 1997 we left Lafayette , LA and drove to Montreal, Quebec City, then through New Brunswick , Canada. Finally we reached Nova Scotia {during our ancestor’s time it was known as Acadia}. We visited Halifax before arriving at our destination of Grand Pre’.

What a surprise and honestly a shock to both of us in our deep feelings and thoughts of the dangers, hardships and desperate times of our grandparents. Try to imagine the date of September 5, 1755 when your father, spouse and sons have been ordered to appear at St. Charles Church to hear John Winslow read a proclamation from his Excellency Governor Laurence, The Kings Commission. In short The Proclamation stated that all our Acadian ancestors were being expelled from Acadia. They were allowed only to take clothing, money and household goods that they could carry ,all cattle, horned cattle, horses, hogs and poultry were being forfeited to the British. Approximately 10,000 Acadians were expelled to various parts of the world. Nearly 3,000 Acadians who suffered the loss of their property, their country and for some even their lives because of their loyalty to their ideals and faith arrived in Louisiana.

On the grounds of St. Charles, at Grand Pre’, lies the remains of approximately 400 bodies. There is no way of knowing who or when they died. We do know that at one time it was an Acadian village. The statue of Longfellow’s poem "Evangeline" is so haunting as she appears to be looking back for the last time. We just never knew or realized the hardship and true dignity of these Acadians, our ancestors.

While visiting the settlement at Port Royal I asked one of the guides if there were any old Acadian cemeteries in the area. The guide explained that all cemeteries had been destroyed by the British soldiers and later by the Protestants. However there was one he knew of that survived the destruction of all evidence of the Acadian peoples. We found Ave Maris Stella Cemetery located in Major Point, Nova Scotia. We came upon a desolate beach containing nine graves with a small chapel surrounded by a white picket fence, it’s being maintained by a local Society . The site is in a very fitting location as it overlooks the channel so quiet and peaceful.

The same guide told me about my ancestor, Pierre Thibodea he also told me where I could find his monument located in Round Hill, Nova Scotia. The highlight of this trip for me was finding that monument for it would be the closest thing I would come to in finding an actual marked grave of one of my ancestors.

We drove on to another community called Church Point where the largest wooden church in North America {St. Mary’s Church} was completed in 1909. As the younger generation would say "AWESOME" that says it all. Across the street is the church cemetery. We walked among the grounds and saw familiar names Comeau, Dugas, Guidry, Melanson, LeBlanc and Thibodeau’s just to name a few. What a sight and a time for reflections of the past.

From Church Point we drove to Digby, Nova Scotia and took the Princess of Acadia, an ocean going ferry then to St. Jean, New Brunswick and continued our journey home.

This trip started out to be a pleasure trip with "JUST" some basic book knowledge of our ancestors and not knowing what we would find or see. Instead something wonderful happened, a feeling, an understanding, an appreciation and a complete proudness to be of these people called Acadians. .After all, we went "back home" and were truly welcomed with open arms and open hearts by all we came in contact with in particular the people of Grand Pre’ and Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

Both John and I hope that as many of our Acadian family and friends have the opportunity to visit the homeland of the Acadians for an understanding of our culture and its people.

August 2004 will be the Congres Mondial Nova Scotia - 2004, which will be our time to welcome all Acadians worldwide back home. What a wonderful time to meet ancestors, possibly hear stories and make connections with the past. Now is the time to get involved in your family reunions. All families need help financially, physically and spiritually . Contact your family group soon and become involved. What a wonderful time and opportunity to be involved.

Some Of My Favorite Links.

Famille de Thibodeaux Newsletter-Louisiana

Congrés Mondial 2004 Invitation

Cyndis List

Dit Names


Derosier & Kin

Acadian Memorial

l'Association de la Famille Thibodeau-CMA-2004

Acadian Heritage Welcome Page

Association de la Famille Thibodeaux

Thibodeau Genealogy

Warin The Bold (Lee Family)

LeBlanc Family

Bond Family

Guilbaud Family

Acadian Genealogy Homepage

Our Canadian Ancestral Homeland

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