PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — If you have Acadian heritage in your family tree, you may find some of your ancestors in a book produced by Aroostook County genealogists.
“The Families of the Upper St. John Valley in 1790” contains information regarding 68 families that were not included in the United States’ first census in 1790, compiled and published in 2014 by members of the Aroostook County Genealogical Society.
Society Treasurer Edwin “J” Bullard said last week that little information existed from those early days on the first Acadian families who settled in Maine’s northernmost regions. The local genealogists embraced the mission to unearth and publish those details, so descendants of those families could discover their origins.
“They [the census] only did the coast. They said natives and other residents didn’t count,” Bullard said. “I just felt that the Acadians were mishandled, and they survived under very trying circumstances.”
The resulting 172-plus-page softcover book documents families on both sides of the St. John River, and includes information from all of the known original Acadian families.
Some land deed reproductions along with basic details — like marriages and deaths — are included.
Aroostook genealogist Dennis Prue of Ashland submitted much of the information, with additions from Brenda Jackson Bourgoine of Allagash, Ann M. Cushman of Presque Isle and Allen J. Voisine of Fort Kent.
They scoured Canadian land records — the only records with relevant information — and compiled three to four generations’ worth of facts on the families who inhabited Maine’s northern French regions, Bullard said.
The book has sold 400 copies since its publication and the society wants to get its remaining copies into the hands of Acadian descendants.
“From this small community, literally thousands of descendants are scattered to the four corners of North America. Each chapter includes the head of household, their spouse(s) and their respective parents, their children and who they married,” the society’s website states.
Other identifying information may include occupations of heads of households, as well as the acreage and specifics of land grants to the families from the British government.
“It is a treasure,” Bullard said. “Some of them, they’ve got four generations [of history]. This would make a treasured gift for some non-local relatives.”
Among the families the book traces are Mercure, Savoie, Saucier, Dube, Albert, Auclair, Pothier, Soucy, Cormier, Violet, Levron, Hebert, Costain, Theriault, Guimond, Thibodeau, Roy, Martin, Ayotte, Gagne, Beaulieu, Mazzerolle, Tardif, Consigny, Daigle, Bourgoin, Levasseur, Duperre, Fournier, Antoirich and Cyr.
The Aroostook County Genealogical Society has been active for 18 years, and meets at 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month, except December and May, at the Caribou Public Library. Guests are welcome.
For information, contact the society via its website, ac-gs.org/; Ann Cushman at the Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle or Bourgoine at the Caribou Public Library.