I will never forget the first time I stepped foot at Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia (once known as Acadia). Upon arrival, we began to walk toward the Memorial Church and there was such a strong presence of our ancestors. I could not believe the warm feeling of having "come home"... it felt right that I was in this place at this time in my life.
As we toured the beautiful grounds, visited the well, looked at what is left of the willows planted by our Ancestors all those years ago, I was truly overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that this was where so much of their lives had meaning. They had lived and died here, they had cultivated the land, their children had been born and baptized in this very place.
Abt 1683, André LeBlanc and Marie Dugas were married in the church of St-Charles-des-Mines, Grand-Pré. This is where they lived out their lives and where they raised ten children. This is where, somewhere on these grounds, they were buried.
At some point Claude-André made his way to Port-Toulouse on Cape Breton where he married my grandmother Madeleine Boudreau abt 1719. Some of their children were born there but most were born in Grand-Pré. We know that he lived in Port-Toulouse (now St. Peter's, Cape Breton) with his wife Madeleine Boudrot until about 1727 when he returned to Grand-Pré.
My fifth great-grandfather, their son Joseph-André aka Jos-André LeBlanc, was born at Port-Toulouse. For some reason he returned there and abt 1745 married my grandmother Marguerite Hébert. Unfortunately not much is known of their whereabouts prior to the Deportation. It seems that Joseph's movements between 1745 and 1763 are something of a mystery according to Stephen White, Acadian Genealogist. It is unknown where or when Marguerite died. She may have died at Beaubassin or she may have died in exile.
1885 photo of remnant of Ft. Cumberland
Jos.-André's second marriage was to Marie Doiron dite Bidaque abt 1759.
In 1763 their names are found on the list of prisoners at Fort Cumberland (originally Beauséjour until it fell to the British in 1755).
With them at Fort Cumberland were three children from Jos.-Andre's first marriage and three born to them while imprisoned. From the first marriage was my fourth great-grandfather Firmin who had been born abt 1746 and was thus only about 9 years old when the Deportation began at Beaubassin in 1755.
Whatever your ethnicity, I hope you visit the land of your ancestors. Believe me when I say that there is absolutely nothing like going home!
You can find lots of Acadian history and genealogy on my web site at Acadian Ancestral Home
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Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian and French-Canadian Ancestral Home