Finding Allain Family Acadian History in Canada
Acadian History in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
The Allain Family in the 1698 Census
After finding the Allain family in a 1701 census in Nova Scotia, I looked further. There they were in the 1698 census for Port Royal (now spelled Port Royale).As expected, there was the husband, Louis Allain, age 44 and the wife, Marguerite Bourg, age 31.
Then, surprise! Instead of Louis who was age 10 in 1701, now there is Pierre, age 7. Surely, it is the same child, so his name must be Louis Pierre or Pierre-Louis and they chose to go with Pierre at age 7 to avoid confusion with the father's name. Also, there is Marie, age 5 who shows up in the 1701 census.
For their possessions, there are 4 guns (only 2 in 1701) and 5.5 arpents (land measure, approx. one acre) which are less than in 1701. The cattle 10 (20 in 1701), sheep 12 (30 in 1701), hogs 8 (20 in 1701), fruit trees 31, servants 1 (2 in 1701). It looked like the family prospered over the 3 years or perhaps some of the land was sold to buy the additional livestock.
Searching further on the Bourg Descendants page, I found some interesting details: Marguerite Bourg born in 1667, in Port-Royal. Married, in 1690, to Louis Allain (born c1654, of Port-Royal).
Children : Pierre Allain born c1691, Marie Allain born c1693. Margeurite Bourg died in Port-Royal on September 13, 1727. Louis Allain died June 15, 1737.
The Monument and Church in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia
An Acadian Ancestor in 1701 Nova Scotia
I came home from the genealogy club meeting all fired up about searching some Allain family history. Another Acadian in the club shared with me some research she had done. In finding her French ancestor in Nova Scotia in the 1700s, she happened upon people with my husband's last name.
Yes, there it was, in the 1701 Port Royale, Nova Scotia census,
Louis ALLAIN 46, Marguerite BOURG (wife) 30; Louis ALLAIN 10, Marie 6; employees: Abraham BRUN, Isaac BERGERAT; 2 guns, 20 cattle, 30 sheep, 20 hogs, 3 arpents.
My husband already knew of Louis Allain and how he was later evicted along with the other Acadians by the British. It's nice to see some specifics, though. It has his wife's family name. The family is comfortable enough to have two employees and quite a bit of livestock.
I was unsure what the arpents were, so I looked it up. Wikipedia said, "Historically, in North America, 1 (square) arpent (arpent carré), also known as a French acre, was 180 French feet × 180 French feet = 32,400 French square feet = about 3419 square metres = about 0.845 English acres." So the arpents indicated that he owned some acres of land.
I found a great YouTube video that showed the lifestyle of the early European settlers. It helps me imagine what Louis and Marguerite Allain's lives would have been like.
Many genealogists are satisfied to find the dates and names of ancestors. I'm not happy until I find more details about how they lived.
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I Found a Great YouTube Video Showing What Louis and Marguerite Allain's Lives Would Have Been Like.
Finding the Allains in France
After I posted about the information I found in the 1698 Nova Scotia census, additional information turned up. That's why I like to put my ancestors out on blog posts. You never know what distant cousin will see it and contact you.
Here's what Ron Patsy Allain has discovered in researching the Allains.
"I've have found the Allain's came from Brest and I have documents, a letter of 1680, to suggest that he came from LaRochell. But most of the Allains today come from the southern part of along the shore in Britanny a northwest corner of France. I have it cornered to a few villages. I'm also in contact with Allains via Facebook who are in Britanny. Just to make your day, you might have some blue blood running in your veins going prior 1066. meaning from possible Royalty I'm still checking that out. Have a super Royal Day."
You can't imagine how exciting a paragraph like that is to a genealogist. Since this Allain lives in New Brunswick, Canada, I imagine he or she is French-speaking. That would greatly facilitate finding the family roots in France. Even so, it is difficult reading very old documents and tracking through old records in the 1500s, 1400s, and further back. Amazing work.
I'm sure hoping to hear more from this dedicated genealogist and to add some more branches and leaves to the family tree.
Finding Michel Allain's Violin
We visited New Brunswick to learn more about my husband's Acadian ancestors. The Allains escaped from Grand Pre in Nova Scotia in the 1700s and found refuge in Neguac. My husband's grandfather left Neguac in the 1930s to find work in the U.S.
Meeting with second cousins in Neguac gave us background on the way of life there. We found the love of playing music had been passed down through the generations. They told us of an ancestor whose violin was in the Acadian Museum of Caraquet.
Anxious to see the violin of Michel Allain, we went to the museum. It was listed in their catalog but we looked all through the museum and did not see it. We asked at the information desk. When they heard that we were from the states and were descendants of Michele Allain, they took us to a storage area and gently unwrapped the fragile instrument.
Because of its age and condition, it was kept safely stored in a climate controlled area. It was over 200 years old.
Michele Allain's Violin
The Allains Were a Musical Family in the 1700s and Even Now
My husband's father inherited the Allain musical gene apparently. As a youth, in southern Maine, he played the guitar in a local band for dances and even played live on the radio each week. I wrote about the Acadian descendants who played in the band on this page, The Sanford Troubadours.
For an example of the kind of tunes that Michel Allain played on his fiddle. Listen to it on the YouTube video below.
What Acadian Fiddle Music Sounds Like
Books to Help Find Your Acadian Ancestors
It's not really true that all genealogy can be found online. Particularly if you are searching for French-Canadian ancestors, the online records are not going to magically fill in the gaps on your family tree.
My husband's family came from New Brunswick and we took a trip there a few years ago to find his roots. He was familiar with the history of the French-speakers being evicted from Nova Scotia with some going to Louisiana, some going back to France, and some to New Brunswick. It was a great trip and he met cousins of his father and second cousins who welcomed us, showed us family albums, and told us about family history.
Not everyone searching for their Acadian or French-Canadian ancestors will have the time for a trip to Canada. So, I'm providing a booklist here to assist you in your ancestor hunt.
Acadian and French-Canadian Genealogy Books
- Acadian-Cajun Family Trees
- Acadian Descendants
- Acadian-Cajun Genealogy: Step-by-Step
- French-Canadian Sources: A Guide for Genealogists
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography
- Genealogist's Handbook for Atlantic Canada Research
- Researching your ancestors in New Brunswick, Canada
- Finding Your Ancestors in New Brunswick
- Guide to Quebec Catholic Parishes and Published Parish Marriage Records
- Our French-Canadian Ancestors
- The French-Canadian Heritage in New England
- French Canadians in Michigan
- The French-Canadian Connection
- Research Pamphlet - French-Canadian-American Genealogy
- The books are available from Amazon or you can ask your public library to inter-library loan these for your use. Best of luck with you in your ancestor search.
© 2018 Virginia Allain