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The Value of Historical Maps: Solving At Least Part of the Mystery of the Origins of the Acadians

Gregory Kennedy

One of the principal challenges of Acadian history is that we do not have conclusive proof of the origins of the first permanent colonists.  The passenger lists, parish registers, tax records, or censuses that genealogists use for other groups and regions have not been found and may not exist.  There are a few exceptions, and as early as 1959, some experts suggested that the Loudunais, a region of western France between Poitou and Touraine, was the likely origin of the twenty or so families recruited by Charles de Menou during the 1640s.  This hypothesis was hotly contested at the time and remains the subject of debate.  I have summarized this debate elsewhere[1], but I am personally convinced that the Loudunais was the most probable place of origin of this founding group (though certainly not all of the Acadians) for a variety of reasons.  Historical maps played a crucial role in convincing me of this.