The first inhabitants of the Bouctouche area were the Mi’kmaq and they gave this place the name “Tjipogtotjg” or “Chebooktoosk,” and it means “little river of fire” (learn more at CBU). There are other spelling variations. At the end of the 18th century, Bouctouche received its first permanent settlers of European origin, the people known as Acadians.
How does the Meunier family fit in with the early settlers of Bouctouche? There seems to be hints to suggest the Meunier family may have been one of the families following the community “founding fathers,” Francois and Charlitte LeBlanc, when they settled in the area after 1785, or, perhaps, the Meuniers may have been a family already there. There were some Acadians settlements within the province that were less impacted by the English takeover and Le Grand Dérangement in the mid 18th century. Some Acadians fled into the forests. After 1763, some Acadians who were exiled began returning home, and in the 1780s they began to obtain land grants. According to Michaud’s work, the LeBlancs encouraged many families from Memramcook to join them in Bouctouche. Other settlers came down from Miramichi and Bay des Ouines. Some of the families who were in the area before the arrival of the LeBlancs lead nomadic lifestyles, which is a lifestyle seen with the Jean Meunier family. This era of our family history is murky.
The oldest known child of Jean Meunier and Magdeleine Hébert is a son named Jean Baptiste. He was baptized at nine months old in 1788 with a sponsor being Louis Allain. Louis Allain is listed on the town of Bouctouche Genealogy page as being one of the early arrivals. If we look at this baptismal event in context with others found on the same or adjoining parish registry pages, it appears the priest was visiting where the families were together. Take a read of the family names in the sacraments and compare them to the known early settling families. Another reason that I think supports the idea the Meuniers may have been in Bouctouche pre-1800 is because a waterway running through the Reservation is called “Miller’s Brook.” This brook is seen on the early map I had previously mentioned where French names, people and places, were Anglicized. When did the brook get its name, “Miller’s Brook?” There were no other known Meunier or Miller families in this area. None. It seems most logical the brook’s name was assigned before the the land was granted to the Mi’kmaq in 1810. So, the origin of the brook name needs to be explored.
The town of Bouctouche website offers its visitors a brief history of the community. The site is expressed in French, and most pages offer an English option. One exception is the Genealogy page. If you are of Acadian heritage, and are working on your genealogy, and lack fluency of the language, using an online translator, such as Google Translate is a must. Another option for making translations is a using web browser, such as Google Chrome, with a tool that will auto-translate any visited website. Of course, no translator tool is perfect. Some words and phrases will require human intervention.
Here is an English text version, generated by Google Translate, of the Genealogy page and it is followed by a source citation and corresponding link:
Most of the texts presented were extracted from the archives of the parish of Bouctouche and give some information about the descendants of the first families to settle in the region.
Dr. Marguerite Michaud’s studies have brought this information to the attention of the public. This will include more in-depth genealogical research and names and nicknames of ancient consonants, including examples of the traditional way of identifying in Acadia, naming its ancestors.
First baptism recorded in the registers of the parish of Bouctouche
On November 19, 1800, by our undersigned missionary priest, was baptized on condition Marguerite LeBlanc born on August 10, 1799 of the legitimate marriage of Charles LeBlanc, husbandman and Marie Bro. The godfather was Pierre Girouard and the godmother Marie Allain who declared they did not know how to sign. Signed Ant. Bédard, missionary priest.
First burial recorded in the parish
On November 22, 1800, by our missionary priest, the undersigned, were buried the funeral ceremonies to the body of François Benoit who died on September 5th. Jacques Cormier and Louis Allain were present. Signed Ant. Bédard, missionary priest.
First marriage registered with descendants of pioneer families
On November 2 thousand eight hundred and one, after the publication of two banns of marriage made to parish masses (the dispensation of the third having been granted) between Joseph Stanislas Colet major son of Julien Colet and Rosalie Terrio and Françoise Cormier minor daughter of Jacques Cormier and Osite Poitier, without any canonical or civil impediment having come to our knowledge, we, the undersigned priest, joined them in lawful marriage and gave them the nuptial benediction according to the custom and ceremonies of our Mother the holy church, in the presence of Jacques Cormier, and Joseph Girouard, Hubert Cormier and Benjamin Allain who declared they could not sign. Signed Ant. Bédard, missionary priest.
Children of François LeBlanc and Hélène Breau:
1798 Marie at Pierre in Gervais Girouard
1800 Marie-Blanche at Pierre Allain
1803 Urban to Pierre Allain
1804 Victory to André at Isidore Bastarache
1806 Jeannette at André in Isidore Bastarache
1808 Marie to André to Isidore Bastarache
1811 Léon to Jean-Baptiste Allain
1814 Genevieve to Placide to Joseph Bastarache
1815 Victory at Thaddeus at Isidore Bastarache
1820 Henriette at Isidore Bastarache
1823 Prudence to Marc Maillet
Children of Charles LeBlanc (based on genealogical notes):
Jean (great-grandfather of Dr Marguerite Michaud), Thaddeus, Moses, Louis, Marie.
Ambroise. One nun and seven unmarried daughters, the last one, Babée, died at Ste-Marie at the age of 102 years. Her mother is Brigitte Bastarache, daughter of Joseph. Girls Euphémie, Justine, Cécile (died at 101), Eulalie, Philomène (religious), Louise, Céleste, Babée
Maxime, Olivier, Georges, Fabien, Cyrille, Genevieve, Henriette
Gabriel, Clovis, Germain and Clothilde
Francois, Cyrille, Basile, Jean, Victor, Maxime, Mélème
The wives of Elie Allain (Clothilde), Jos Roy, (Pelagie), Olivier Collette, (Ursule), Athanase to Isidore Bastarache, (Polonia)
Extracts of baptism taken from the Archives of the parish of Caraquet 1795
Born on June 20 of the legitimate marriage of Charles LeBlanc and Marie Breau; The godfather was François Arseneau and godmother Anne Bastarache, who as well as the father and mother present said they did not know how to sign.
Born the four of the same legitimate marriage of Joseph Bastarache and Marie Girouard. The sponsor was François LeBlanc and the godmother Rosalie LeBlanc who declared that the father and mother present did not know how to sign.
Born on the eighth of May one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four of the legitimate marriage of Charles LeBlanc and Marie Breau; The sponsor was Raphaël Poirier de Gédaïc and the godmother Hélène Breau who as well as the father and mother present said they did not know how to sign.
Done at Bouctouche the day and the year aforesaid, J. Castanet, missionary of the Baye des Chaleurs.
The children of Isidore (to Pierre) Bastarache and Rosalie LeBlanc:
Married to Anne (in Joseph) LeBlanc
Married to Apolonie (Charles) LeBlanc
Married first to Marguerite Allain, and married second to Geneviève Thibodeau
Married to Marie (Pierre) Saulnier, on September 11, 1820
Married to Paul (Joseph) LeBlanc
Married to François (Pierre) Saulnier
Married to Michel (J-Bte) Allain
Married to Tanis (Julien) Collet
The family of Joseph (to Pierre) Bastarache and Anne Girouard called Bistet includes the following children:
Wife of Eloi (Joseph) LeBlanc
Husband of Blanche (Benj.) Allain
Wife of Bélonie (Benj.) Allain
Wife of Joseph (Paul) Mazerolle, baie de Winds
Wife of Béloni (Jean) Savoie
Husband of Marguerite (Louis) Allain
Wife of Oliver (Charles) LeBlanc
Husband of Marie Allain
Wife of Jérome Meunier, Bouctouche
Wife of Simon (Charles) LeBlanc
Husband of Marie (Michel) Cormier, Bouctouche
The Girouard family was originally from Paris and came to Port-Royal in 1642. The first of the name, François-Jacques Girouard is the family’s stock in Acadia. One of his sons is of particular interest to us. Paul-Gervais was born in 1744 in Connecticut and found himself in Halifax in 1768; He was then married to Geneviève Therriault. From Halifax, the future colonist of Bouctouche went to Menoudie, where he spent many years; He then came to Petitcoudiac, whence he went to Bouctouche between 1792 and 1795.
He had twelve children, including four sons, all of whom made a stump. Six of his children married Cormier, children of James and Osithe Pothier. (This Jacques lived on the point where the first church of Bouctouche was built, the point at Jacquot.)
One of the Girouards, says Gistet, had a rather extraordinary experience. On July 28, 1755, Governor Lawrence of Halifax decided definitively to expel the Acadians; On August 11 he summoned the peaceful inhabitants to Fort Beauséjour and 250 men were put in prison. Women and children had difficulty visiting them; They went several together and brought food and sometimes women’s clothes that the prisoners used to escape. 86 prisoners made a hole in the walls of the dungeon, and escaped through the opening so small that an Englishman, trying to ascertain the fact, slipped into it and perished. Among these escapees, we count the old Girouard, said Bistet, and Michel Bastarache (known as O’Bask), husband of Marguerite Gaudet.
The founder of the Brault family was called Vincent; He came to settle in Port-Royal about 1650 at the age of 19 years. He married Marie Bourc (Bourque) who came from France with his father and mother in 1642. In 1755, Pierre Breault, husband of Anne LeBlanc (see difference in spelling of the Archives), is established at the River Ducks where He is expelled. The documents of the Session, collected by Placide Gaudet, give some personal details about this exiled Pierre-his sad situation, his poverty, his miseries. Two of their children, aged 49, a widower of Elisabeth Thibodeau and Aman, married to Madeleine Dupuis, seem to have been the pioneers of Breau’s name in our region.
Some points of interest on the Bastarache
Jean, husband of Huguette Vincent, strain of this family in Acadia, died in 1733. He was nicknamed Basque and also Au Basque because he came from the Basque country (France). Their descendants Pierre and Michel, with a dozen other Acadians by name, had been deported to South Carolina. With the permission of the American authorities, they undertook to return to their dear Acadia in 1756. The journey was made on foot through the woods. On their return, they were taken prisoner by the Indians and would certainly have perished without the intervention of a French caterer. In the Archives, we read “Michel O’Bask, his brother Pierre, twelve other Acadian deportees walked through the woods from South Carolina, others say from New Orleans, to the head of the St. -Laurent and proceeded by canoe to Cumberland, where their wives, their families and their native land were located. “(Cumberland means the counties of Westmorland and Cumberland, Nova Scotia).
This Pierre Bastarache is the father of our founders Isidore and Joseph; It was with them that he came to die at Bouctouche. The sons of Joseph came to the bottom of the Bay, Adolphe to Fabien, Moses O’Bask, Adelard and Albert are all descendants of this branch. As for Isidore, tradition tells us that not having been able to sign his lot, his children took concession elsewhere and the paternal land passed to Peter Smith of Massachusetts.
It was about 1830 that the Irish and English families came to the parish and occupied the land cleared by the ancestors; We find the Barnes, the Ryans, the Smiths, the Douglas, Horatio Smith, who built a shop, Gladstone, who built a second one. Michel O’Bask, son of Isidore, took possession of the farm now occupied by Camille at Daniel, and Joseph was at the end of the railway at Eddy’s place at Octave. Notes collected from Calixe to Édouard to Laurent to François LeBlanc (who lives at the bottom of the Bay) Mr. LeBlanc remembers very well the boys of Francis the founder: Simon, Pierre and Jean and the children of Charlitte, Simon and Clothilde, grandmother of Father Désiré Allain, parish priest of Bouctouche.
A Note About the Richard: We are told that Joseph, married to Henriette, daughter of Isidore Bastarache, would have liked to follow the first families; He tried to clear the “mocoque” but without success. This lot is currently in garage Nowlan. This Joseph Richard retired to Cocagne where he took stock.
To corroborate the genealogical notes, Monsieur Calixte tells us that Hélène Breau (Bro), Francis’s wife, was so strong that she would have carried on her back through the woods a pot large enough to hold a “quart of water.
In addition, he tells us the current locations of the first settlers: Simon Desroches (Aquila Berthe), Jean Desroches (Justin Bastarache), Julien Collet (Nuns’ farm), Jacques Cormier (pointe de l’Église), André to François LeBlanc (Hervé Michaud, MP).
Other families followed the founders. According to history, Bouctouche received, in 1790, new recruits:
Louis Girouard, known as Bistet, married to Osithe Pothier;
Paul-Gervais Girouard married to Madeleine Thériau;
Joseph LeBlanc Charles’s brother, married to Elizabeth Landry;
Jean Desroches married to Esther, daughter of Pierre Bastarache and Marguerite Gaudet;
Julien Collet, married to Rosalie Thériault;
Louis Allain, married to Marie Richard;
Pierre Allain, married to Henriette at Paul Babin;
Benjamin Allain, married to Isabelle LeBlanc;
Jean-Baptiste Allain, married to Marie LeBlanc;
Jean Savoie, married to Marie Allain, sister of precedents;
François Richard, said Jani, married to Judith Allain.
The descendants of these families, with the Savoy, Allain, Jaillet and Collet, form the majority of the former families of Bouctouche.
SOURCE: “Genealogie.” Ville De Bouctouche. Town of Bouctouche, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2016 <http://www.villedebouctouche.ca/visiteurs/genealogie>.
[last accessed on December 15, 2016]