Monday, April 21, 2014
Acadians have another international Congres Mondial Acadien, coming up in August 2014, in
A fascinating story about a former reunion, resulting in an archeology dig and a land trust agreement, came to me from Dick Thibodeau, a
What began in 1982, as a Franco-American man’s venture to learn about the Thibodeau genealogy, eventually evolved into an archeology project on land once owned by victims of Le Grand Derangement (the 1755 deportation of Acadians from
It started when Dick Thibodeau, a native of
Thibodeau was determined to uncover as much as he could about his ancestors. His research finally led him and his wife Therese to find the location where his family’s North American legacy began, in Poplar Grove, Nova Scotia, on a parcel of land called Willow Brook Farm.
Although Willow Brook Farm is the name of the land today, a faded old map dated 1756, identifies “Thibodeau Village” as being the land’s former name.
Colonial era wars between
Acadian land was ultimately offered to “Planters”, the selective
Then, in 1985, Thibodeau’s research put him in personal contact with the Shaw family. They were very gracious about his visit to their property, when he first stopped by to stand on the ground his ancestors once owned, he says. He and his wife also had a rare opportunity to meet Felix Thibodeau, a direct descendent of the original family.
Fast forward to 2004, at the Acadian World Acadian Congress (Congres Mondial Acadien), an international gathering of Acadians, held at that time, in
Sara Beanlands, a niece of the current property owners, and an archeologist, took an interest in bringing the Thibodeau ancestors together for an archeology dig on the property, once labeled
Thibodeau says about two dozen people from his extended family participated in the dig. “I was awed to be among all other family members for this once in a lifetime chance to work with archeologists. It was an emotional experience to touch remnants of artifacts we discovered that once belonged to my ancestors,” said Thibodeau.
A future blog will report on the Thibodeau genealogy by retired Sister Yvonne Thibodeau.
A link to the Congres Mondial 2004, Thibodeau family archeological dig story by Ron Thibodeaux, is at the site http://www.northeastarch.com/aug23-2004.html
More information is also available by contacting Dick Thibodeau at DThib@aol.com.
Congres Mondial Acadien website is http://www.cma2014.com/en
Juliana L’Heureux is a freelance writer whose articles about Maine’s Franco-American history and culture have appeared in Portland newspapers for 25 years. She serves on the Maine Franco-American Leadership Council.
Juliana and her husband Richard live in Topsham ME. Feel free to contact her at Juliana@mainewriter.com.