"I have avenged my ancestors," said Acadian novelist Antonine Maillet in 1979 about her novel "Pélagie-la-Charrette." In this work and another novel "La Sagouine," Antonine tells the stories of the men and women disenfranchised by the 18th century Acadian expulsion.
Antonine Maillet is just one of many descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia, a colony of New France, encompassing the present-day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, as well as portions of Quebec and the U.S. state of Maine. Despite the long, troubled history of the Acadians, it is often possible to research Acadian ancestors back to Acadia, if not to France. This is due, in large part, to the efforts of Acadian genealogical pioneers such as Acadian genealogist and Canadian archivist, Placide Gaudet; clergy such as Patrice Gallant, Hector Hébert and Clément Cormier; and most recently, Stephen White, author of "Dictionnaire génealogique des familles acadiennes," who have compiled a variety of published reference works on the early Acadians and their descendants.
When researching Acadian and Cajun ancestors it is easy to get lost in a maze of people of the same name. For this reason it is important, as with all genealogy research, to begin with what you know about your own family and work backwards step by step, fully researching each generation before going back to the next. Learn more about Researching Acadian & Cajun Ancestors in North America, and then take your research online with these Online Acadian Genealogy Databases & Records.