Acadians Who Found Refuge in Louisiana, February 1764-early 1800s




Claude-Joseph, called Joseph, son of Jean-Claude Billeray and Anne-Monique Godard, was born at Vermier-Fontaine, Diocese of Besançon, in November 1727.  Joseph married Brigitte, daughter of Michel de Forest, fils and his second wife Marie Célestin dit Bellemère, at Port-La-Joye, Île St.-Jean, in June 1752.   A French official, using the name Billerois, counted Joseph and his family at Anse-au-Matelot on the island's south shore in August 1752.  Joseph and Brigitte had at least two children on the island:  Jeanne, born in c1753, and Charles in c1755.  [See also Book Four]


[For the family's travails during the Great Upheaval, see Book Six]


Joseph Billeray's daughter, Marie-Jeanne, came to Louisiana as a 26-year-old widow in 1785.  She sailed aboard the sixth of the Seven Ships, La Ville de Archangel, with the family of 75-year-old Jacques Forest, her maternal uncle.  Her ship reached New Orleans in December, and she followed the Forests and the majority of her fellow passengers to the new Acadian community of Bayou des Écores, above Baton Rouge.


Since Marie-Jeanne was the only member of her family to emigrate to Louisiana, the Billerays were among the Acadian families who did not set down roots in the Bayou State.  

The family's name also is spelled Billera, Billeret, Billerois, Billeza.  [See also Book Ten]

Sources:  Arsenault, Généalogie, 2067, 2320-21; De La Roque, "Tour of Inspection," Canadian Archives, 2A-109-10; Hébert, D., Acadians in Exile, 554-55; <>; <>, Family No. 18; Robichaux, Acadians in St.-Malo, 58-59; White, DGFA-1, 633.

Settlement Abbreviations 
(present-day civil parishes that existed in 1861 are in parenthesis; hyperlinks on the abbreviations take you to brief histories of each settlement):




Lafourche (Lafourche, Terrebonne)


Pointe Coupée




Natchitoches (Natchitoches)

SB San Bernardo (St. Bernard)


Attakapas (St. Martin, St. Mary, Lafayette, Vermilion)


San Luìs de Natchez (Concordia)


St.-Gabriel d'Iberville (Iberville)


Bayou des Écores (East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana)


New Orleans (Orleans)


St.-Jacques de Cabanocé (St. James)


Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge)


Opelousas (St. Landry, Calcasieu)

For a chronology of Acadian Arrivals in Louisiana, 1764-early 1800s, see Appendix.

The hyperlink attached to an individual's name is connected to a list of Acadian immigrants for a particular settlement and provides a different perspective on the refugee's place in family and community. 

Name Arrived Settled Profile
Marie-Jeanne BILLERAY 01 Dec 1785 BdE born 29 Jul 1759, Pleurtuit, France; called Jeanne; daughter of Claude-Joseph BILLERAY of Vermier-Fontaine, France, & his first wife Brigitte FORET of Pigiguit; at Pleurtuit, France, 1759-65; at Kervarigeon, Belle-Île-en-Mer,1760s; married François LE SOMMER, France; sailed to LA on La Ville d'Archangel, age 27, with family of Jacques FOREST


01.  Arsenault, Généalogie, 2320, the Belle-Île-en-Mer section, profile of her father, calls her Jeanne [BILLERAY], says she was born in 1759 but gives no birthplace, says her family lived at Pleurtuit from 1759-63 & at Kervarigeon from 1767-72, calls her father Claude-Joseph BILLERAY, says he was born in c1730, son of Jean-Claude [BILLERAY] & Monique GODARD of Vermier-Fontaine, Diocese of Besançon, says he married Brigitte, daughter of Michel [FOREST] & Marie BELLEMÈRE of Pigigut, at Port-Lajoie, Île St.-Jean, on 25 Jul 1752, & remarried to Marie THOMAS at Bangor in 1771 but does not give the second wife's parents' names; Robichaux, Acadians in St.-Malo, 58-59, Family No. 73, her birth/baptismal record, calls her Marie-Jeanne BILLERAY, gives her parents' names, calls her father Claude-Joseph BILLERAY, says he was born 12 Nov 1727 "at Vermier-Fontaine, diocese of Besancon," son of Jean-Claude BILLERAY & Anne-Monique GODARD, calls her mother Brigitte FOREST, says she was born 29 Apr 1729 "at Pisiguit, Acadie," daughter of Michel FOREST & Marie BELLEMER, does not give her godparents' names, includes the birth & death records of siblings Jeanne BILLERAY, born in c1753 but gives no birthplace, died 16 May 1759 but gives no place of death, Charles BILLERAY, born in c1755 but gives no birthplace, Joseph-Jean BILLERAY, born 3 Nov 1761, Pleurtuit, & Anne-Brigitte BILLERAY, born 10 Jun 1764, Plertuit, says "Claude-Joseph BILLERAY, Brigitte FOREST, his wife and Jeanne BILLERAY, their daughter, disembarked at St.-Malo on January 23, 1759 from one of the 'Five ships,'" says that her family resided at Pleurtuit from 1759-65, & "in 1765, the entire family went to reside on Belle-Isle-en-Mer.  On February 20, 1767, the family was living in the Village of Kervarigeon, parish of Bangor on Belle-Isle-en-Mer.  The Declaration of Claude-Joseph BILLERAY of that date provides documentation where records are missing or lacking"; Hébert, D., Acadians in Exile, 554-55, Acadian Families at Belle-Île-En-Mer: 1765, calls her Marie-Jeanne BILLERAY, says she was 7 yrs. old, born in 1759, gives her parents' names, calls her father Joseph BILLERAY, says he was 38 years old in 1765, born 12 Nov 1727, Franche-Comte, married at Île St.-Jean but gives no date of marriage, & died in c1779, Belle-Île, calls her mother Brigitte FOREST, his wife, says she was 37 years old in 1765, born 29 Apr 1729, Pigiguit, & died 1771 at Belle-Île, & details the birth & death of siblings Jean-Joseph BILLERAY, 4 yrs. old in 1765, born in 1761 but no birthplace given, died 1769, Belle-Île, & Anne-Brigitte BILLERAY, 2 yrs. old in 1765, died age 18 mths. 27 Nov 1765 but gives no place of death, & adds:  "One other child was born at Belle-Île; the husband becoming a widower--remarried and has three children; members of this family are still in Belle-Île in 1792, but others have left for Louisiana in 1785 on the Ville d'Archange; family no. 76 at Kervarigeon, Bangor"; Hébert, D., Acadian Families in Exile 1785, 90-91, calls her Marie-Jeanne BILLERA, veuve de Francois LE SOMMER, age 27, on the embarkation list, does not include her on the debarkation list, calls her Marie-Jeanne BILLEZA,widow of Francois LE SOMMER, age 27, on the complete listing, & says she was in the 13th Family aboard La Ville d'Archangel with Jacques FOREST, his wife Angélique RICHET, & Jacques's nephew Étienne FOREST.

How was she kin to Jacques FOREST?  Maybe he was an uncle or great-uncle. See Robichaux, Acadians in St.-Malo, 324-25, Family No. 394. 

She evidently was a childless widow when she crossed from France in 1785.  What happened to her in LA?

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Copyright (c) 2008-17  Steven A. Cormier