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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in April 2013. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1  by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


The area that exists within the present boundaries of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Maine, was known as Acadia. In 1598 the French placed colonists on Sable Island and in 1604 an expedition spent the winter on Dochet’s Island, Maine.

This settlement was then moved to Port Royal in 1605 and for 100 years England and France fought for this territory until it was ceded to Britain in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht and became Nova Scotia. France retained Ile-Royale (Cape Breton), Ile-Saint-Jean (Prince Edward Island) and the area north of the Isthmus of Chignecto (New Brunswick) until the cession of New France to Great Britain in 1763.

Meanwhile, after 1713, the British in Nova Scotia considered the French-speaking population of Acadia to be potentially menacing people. The French-speaking Acadians would not take the oath of allegiance to the Crown and when the Seven Years War broke out, they became even more threatening to the British. In 1755 and 1758 the French-speaking Acadians were expelled to Massachusetts, Virginia, France and Louisiana. In the latter location, their descendants are known as Cajuns. The war ended in 1763 and many people returned to their homes.

Knowing the history of the maritime provinces will provide an indication of where your ancestors migrated and help in your search for their records. A knowledge of the history and geography of your province of interest is the foundation you need to begin your genealogical quest. You will find the background for each province fits into the overall development path of Canada and that your ancestors played a major role in its establishment and growth.

Locations of Acadian Vital Statistics Records

To locate the whereabouts of the vital statistics records that were created in ‘Acadia’, consult with the appropriate archives or government office of the present day province.

  • Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Maine


American-French Genealogical Society has links to many Internet sites with information about Acadia.

Publications about Acadians

Mr. Bona Arsenault has compiled a great deal of information regarding Acadian research. This six volume dictionary is called Histoire et généalogie des Acadiens. His work is very clear and easy to use. FHL book 971.5 F2aa

Other important publications by Stephen White are Patronymes Acadiens (FHL book 971.6 D4w) and his English supplement to Dictionnaire genealogique des familles acadiennes (FHL book 971.5 D2w pt. 1 supp.).

The Centre for Acadian Studies (Centre d'études acadiennes) at the Université de Moncton has many academic resources and publications.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Vital Statistic Records - Part 1 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.