This site was created to serve as a platform to share and discuss source documents, family history and stories of the ancestors of the Acadian Miller and Meunier families of New Brunswick, Canada. Menu options are found to the right side of this page, from a computer, and are located at the top of the page, from a hand held device. Subscribing (following) will send updates to your Inbox.
It’s true, a genealogist never finishes a family tree as there is always another detail to be explored, a relationship to be determined, or an elusive ancestor to be found. For many years, I had wondered if my elusive ancestor, John Baptist Miller, who was born at the end of the 18th century, was related to a local man named Jean Meunier. This Jean married to Magdeleine Hébert sometime before 1787, which was the year their oldest known son, Jean Baptiste, was born. Both of these men claimed French heritage. Miller and Meunier are the same surname. They both had children or grandchildren that claim the father was born in “France.” The families lived in the same community and attended the same church. There were no other “French and Catholic” Meunier and Miller families living in the area.
There are a number of different causes for breaks in a genealogical paper trail. However, in this instance, a major consideration is the complex Acadian story. Some of the records pertaining to Acadians were lost over time, and some vanished due to the conflicts between the French and English in the 18th century. Acadians were exiled and their property destroyed. Despite the havoc, there remains today many records to aid Acadian researchers who wish to learn more about their heritage. It is not the aim of this family site to discuss Acadian history as there are plenty of online and offline resources available to readers. However, as a convenience, I have provided some links to more reputable and scholarly sources. The only online resource I would like to reference here is the University of Moncton, Acadian Studies Department. The university has a commemorative web site called, “1755: The History and the Stories.” It shares a list of family names found in 18th century Acadia and Nova Scotia. Meunier is counted among them. Is this our family?
The following map shows the widespread dispersal of Acadians:
John Baptist Miller and family:
John’s early life is obscure. His birth date is only an estimate, 1791-96. He was at least 48 years old when, in 1844, he married to Elizabeth Anne Gray, 21, at St. Michael’s parish church “with the consent of friends” in Miramichi. The marriage record tells us they were residents of Glenelg [after 1851, this part of Baie des Ouines became Hardwick]. Elizabeth is the daughter of Andrew “André” Gray, an immigrant from Scotland, and Charlotte Caissi, an Acadian. Her maternal grandparents are Jean Baptiste Caissie and Felicité Haché. John and Elizabeth farmed at Glenelg/Hardwicke, in Baie des Ouines, which is located in between Miramichi and Kouchibouguac. It doesn’t appear they ever owned land. They had at least five children: John, Bridget, John, James and A. Charlotte. Two of the children were baptized in Miramichi, while the rest were baptized in Baie des Ouines and registered in Escuminac.
John lived long enough to be counted in the first two official Canadian census schedules, 1851 and 1861. It seems he did not know his own age as he had advanced fifteen years in between the two enumerations. He was dead by springtime of 1871 as his wife was recorded as a widow that year. Elizabeth died in 1901 and was interred at Chatham, where she last kept residence.
Jean Meunier and family:
Jean’s origins are also an enigma. He may likely be descended from the Meuniers found in Acadia and Nova Scotia before the Great Exile. Jean married Magdeleine Hébert sometime in or before 1787. He died some time after 1831, probably at Bouctouche. Magdeleine was born in 1763, baptized at St. Charles, Bellechasse, in Quebec to Jean Baptiste Hébert and Osite Blanche Vincent [this branch of Vincent used dit name, Clément]. The Hebert family was living in New Brunswick at least by 1791, at Baie des Ouines, on a tract of land in the area that became Glenelg, later Hardwicke. Magdeleine died in 1802 and was buried in the Bartibogue church yard, across the river in Newcastle. Magdeleine’s paternal grandparents are Charles Hébert and Catherine Saulnier. Her maternal grandparents are Jean Vincent dit Clément and Isabelle/Élizabeth Michel. Jean and Magdeleine likely arrived in Bouctouche by the mid 1780s, as this is when a missionary priest recorded some of their children’s baptisms in the Caraquet parish records. In an 1831 church register, Jean was noted as being a resident of Bouctouche. He is not mentioned as being alive in known records after that date.
Jean and Magdeleine had several children: Jean Baptiste, Charles, Jérôme, Magdeleine, Joseph, Bénoni (who may, instead, be one of the other sons). It is most probably they were all born between the years 1787 and 1801. Their son, Jean Baptiste, was baptized in 1788 by the missionary priest of Baie des Chaleurs, in the presence of Louis Alin[sic] and Marie Hébert. Miramichi. It is not known what became of this particular son. Some Meunier children were baptized and married at Baie des Ouines, and registered in Escuminac, while others went to Acadieville, Bartibogue, Bouctouche, Grand Digue, Richibuctou Village, St Marie and Wellington.
Thank you for visiting.
Krista Jane Heatley
Volunteer DNA Project Administrator