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




In July 1712, James, son of Andrew Gainier and Margaret Benard of Dublin, Ireland, was serving as a soldier with the British army when he married Cécile, daughter of Pierre Cellier and Marie-Josèphe-Aimée Lejeune of Minas, at Beaubassin.  James later called himself Jacques Guénard dit Gaudereau, signifying his entrance into Acadian society.  Jacques and Cécile had three children, a son and two daughters.  Their older daughter Marie-Rose married into the Bastien family.  Jacques and Cécile died before 13 July 1742, the date of their daughter's wedding at Beaubassin.  Son Timothée, born in Maryland and baptized at Annapolis Royal in October 1716 and again in November 1718, married Anne-Marie, daughter of Pierre Thibodeau le jeune and Anne-Marie Aucoin, probably at Annapolis Royal in c1744. 


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


Timothée Guénard, age 49, wife Anne-Josèphe Thibodeau, age 42, and their two children--Joseph, age 19, and Anastasie, age 14--reached New Orleans sometime in the spring of 1765.  After a brief stay in the city, they moved on to the western prairies and settled in the Opelousas District, where Timothée soon died.  Anne-Marie remarried twice at Opelousas, first to French Creole François-Marie Rivard in c1767, and then to French Canadian Joseph, son of Jean-Baptiste Loiseau dit Francoeur and Marie-Ursule Jutras of Montréal, in November 1786.  Her Guénard daughter, Anastasie, married Amable dit Beaulieu, son of Giles Bertrand and Thérèse La Jeunesse, a French Canadian, not an Acadian, at Opelousas in February 1766 and died there in March 1789, age 38.  Anastasie's succession record was filed at what became the Opelousas courthouse in February 1791.  Anne-Marie's Guénard son, Joseph, also married.  

Descendants of Joseph GUÉNARD (c1746-?; James/Jacques)

Joseph, son of Timothée Guénard and Anne-Marie Thibodeau, born probably at Annapolis Royal in c1746, accompanied his parents into exile in Massachusetts in 1755, to Halifax in 1763, and on to Louisiana in 1764-65.  He followed his parents to the Opelousas District, where he married Véronique, daughter of French Creoles Philippe Duplechin and his first wife Renée Boff of New Orleans and Pointe Coupée, in November 1772--the first recorded exogamous marriage by an Acadian male in Louisiana.  Wife Véronique was a resident of Opelousas at the time of their marriage.  They settled in the Opelousas District.  Véronique died at Opelousas in November 1787.  Evidently Joseph did not remarry.  Their daughter married into the Braconier and Dauzat families.  Neither of their sons created families of their own, so this line of the family, except for its blood, did not survive in the Bayou State. 


Older son Benoît, born at Opelousas in c1772, probably died young.  


Younger son Dominique, born at Opelousas in c1776, also probably died young.  


Guénard is a fairly common surname in France, so it should be no surprise that a Guénard family settled in colonial Louisiana at least a decade before their Acadian namesakes arrived.  Joseph Guénard had many sons, one of whom settled not far from his Acadian namesakes during the late colonial period: 

Descendants of Joseph GUÉNARD (?-?)

Joseph Guénard of Rennes, Brittany, France, a master glazier, married Marie Menard, Meran, Merand, Merandson, Merant, Merante, or Meron of New Orleans in the early 1750s.  Their daughter married into the Fleitas family.  Joseph and Marie had at least sons, many of whom probably died young.  One of their sons settled in the Attakapas District, south of Opelousas, but, except for its blood, the line did not survive:


Oldest son Pierre was born at New Orleans in February 1754.


Nicolas in September 1755, married Julie, daughter of Pierre Nezat of the Garonne region of France, at Attakapas in June 1788.  Their daughters married into the Duplechin and Roy (French Canadian, not Acadian) families.  Nicolas died at Attakapas in November 1797; the priest who recorded his burial said that Nicolas was 40 years old when he died, but he was 42.  His line of the family, except for its blood, died with him. 


Claude was born at New Orleans n July 1757.


François-Joseph was born at New Orleans in July 1759.


Jacques-Honoré was born at New Orleans in May 1761.


Joseph-Laurent, called Laurent, baptized at New Orleans, age unrecorded, in August 1765, married Marie-Louise, daughter of Paul Ducrois of New Orleans, at New Orleans in February 1792, and remarried to Jeanne, daughter of Jacques Nivet of New Orleans, at New Orleans in June 1797.  Their son Nicolas le jeune was born at New Orleans in December 1796, and Joseph-Julien in April 1798.  Joseph-Laurent died at New Orleans in August 1798; he was only 33 years old. 


Jean-Louis was born at New Orleans in June 1767. 


André was born at New Orleans in June 1770.


Youngest son Charles-Joseph was baptized at New Orleans, age unrecorded, in April 1774. 


Maximilien, son of Bave Guénard, was baptized at San Bernardo, an Isleños community south of New Orleans, age 11 months, in April 1796.  One wonders if Maximilien and his family were, like the majority of the residents of their community, also Canary Islanders. 


A French-Creole Guénard, perhaps a descendant of Joseph of New Orleans, settled in West Baton Rouge Parish during the late antebellum period:

Joseph Hortaire, son of Joseph Guénard and Zenolie Joly of New Orleans, married Apolline Doralie, daughter of Acadian Pierre Moïse Foret, at the Brusly church, West Baton Rouge Parish, in July 1851. 


Guénards settled fairly late in Acadia, but they were among the earliest Acadians to find refuge in Louisiana.  One family came to the colony from Halifax via Cap-Français, St.-Domingue, in 1765 and settled in the Opelousas District.  The father, Timothée, died soon after coming to the colony, if he made it there at all, so it was up to his only son, Joseph, and Joseph's French-Creole wife, to carry on the line.  They had at least two sons, but neither son produced a family of his own.  Joseph's daughter married twice, however, to a French Canadian and a French Creole, and Joseph's sister had married a French Canadian, so the blood of the Acadian Guénards survived in the Bayou State.  However, the Guénards of South Louisiana today are descendants of French Creoles or Foreign French, not Acadians. 

The family's name also is spelled Gaignaire, Genar.  [See also Book Ten]

Sources:  BRDR, vols. 2, 7; De Ville, Southwest LA Families, 1777, 20; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, vols. 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, 3, 4; NOAR, vols. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; White, DGFA-1, 775.  

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
Anastasie GUÉNARD 01 1765 Atk?, Op born c1750, probably Annapolis Royal; daughter of Timothée GUÉNARD & Anne-Marie THIBODEAUX; sister of Joseph; on list of Acadians at Marlborough, MA, 1761, called Ta___, age 15[sic], with parents & siblings?; arrived LA 1765, age 14; married, age 15, Amable dit Beaulieu, son of Giles BERTRAND & Therese LA JEUNESSE of Canada, 9 Feb 1766, Opelousas; in Opelousas census, 1766, unnamed, the woman in the household of Amable BERTRAND; in Opelousas census, 1771, unnamed, age 21, with husband Amable BERTRAND age 31, 2 sons ages 2 [Pierre] & 3 [Amable], 1 daughter age 1 (year or month?[sic]) [Cloris], 0 slaves, 7 cattle, 9 horses, 6 arpents without title; in Opelousas census, 1777, called Anastasie GUINARD, age 24, with husband age 38 who was head of family number 36, sons Amable age 10, Pierre age 8, daughter Cloris age 6, 0 slaves, 20 cattle, 6 horses, 10 hogs, 0 sheep; in Opelousas census, 1788, Plaisance, unnamed, with husband Amable BEAULIEU, 2 others, 0 slaves, 24 cattle, 9 horses, 12 arpents; died Opelousas 12 Mar 1789, age 38, buried next day
Joseph GUÉNARD 02 1765 Atk?, Op born c1746, probably Annapolis Royal; son of Timothée GUÉNARD & Anne-Marie THIBODEAUX; brother of Anastasie; on list of Acadians at Marlborough, MA, 1761, age 12[sic], with parents & siblings; arrived LA 1765, age 19; in Opelousas census, 1766, COURTABLEAU's Company militia, with no one else in his household, next to his mother, Widow Maria THIBAUDAU; married, age 26, Véronique of Pointe Coupée but resident of Opelousas, daughter of Philippe DUPLECHIN & his first wife Renée BOFF of New Orleans & Pointe Coupée, 25 Nov 1772, Pointe Coupée; settled Opelousas District; in Opelousas census, 1777, called Joseph GUINARD, age 31, head of family number 39, with wife Véronique age 20, sons Benois age 6, Dominique age 1, 0 slaves, 15 cattle, 5 horses, 10 hogs, 0 sheep; in Opelousas census, 1785, called GUÉNARD, with 4 unnamed free individuals, 0 slaves; in Opelousas census, 1788, Plaisance, called GUÉNARD, with 2 unnamed males, no woman, 1 unnamed girl, 0 slaves, 35 cattle, 10 horses, no arpents listed; on Opelousas militia list, Jul 1789, fusilier, called Joseph GUÉNARD
*Timothée GUENARD 03 1765 Atk?, Op? born c1716, MD; called Mothé; son of Jacques GUÉNARD (James GAINER) dit Gaudereau of Dublin, Ireland, & Cécile CELLIER of Minas; baptism recorded 25 Oct 1716 & 1 Nov 1718, Annapolis Royal; married, age 28, Anne-Marie, daughter of Pierre THIBODEAUX le jeune & Anne-Marie AUCOIN, c1744; deported to MA 1755, age 39; on list of Acadians at Marlborough, MA, 1761, called Timthy SYMNO, age 40[sic], with wife Nanny age 38, sons Joseph age 12, Peter age 10, Oliver age 8, Ollex age 4, Paul age 6 mos., daughter Philemn. age 6, child Ta__ [daughter Anastasie?] age 15; arrived LA 1765, age 49?; died before Feb 1766, age 50


01.  Wall of Names, 18, calls her Anastasie GUÉNARD; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A: 58, 367-68 (LSAR: Opel.: 1766-3), her marriage record, calls her Stasie (Anastasie) GUÉNARD, calls her husband Amable "BEAULIEU" (BERTRAND), gives her & his parents' names, calls her father Mothe, but gives no witnesses to her marriage.  See also Voorhies, J., Some Late Eighteenth-Century Louisianians, 126, 327; De Ville, Opelousas Post Census, 1771, 14; De Ville, Southwest LA Families, 1777, 19. 

She is probably the child named Ta___, age 15, in the 1761 English report in MA.  See Jehn, Acadian Exiles in the Colonies, 90, 96.

Her husband was not an Acadian BERTRAND but a French Canadian. 

02.  Wall of Names, 18, calls him Joseph GUÉNARD; BRDR, 2:344 (PCP-2, part 2, 135; PCP-4, 95), his marriage record, calls him Joseph GUENARD of Acadia, calls his wife Véronique DUPLECHEN "of Pointe Coupée, res. Opelousas," gives his & her parents' names, says his father & her mother were deceased at the time of the wedding, & that the witnesses to his marriage were Philipppe DUPLECHEN [her father] & Joseph RABALAIS.  

Although his marriage was recorded at Pointe-Coupée, having been performed by a priest from there, it likely took place at Opelousas, which had no church of its own until 1776.  Before then, Pointe-Coupée priests administered the sacraments to the distant prairie community.  His marriage was the first recorded exogamous union by an Acadian male in LA.  See Appendix

The birth/baptismal record of daughter Ursule DeFrene, dated 6 Apr 1777, in Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1:A:368 (Opel. Ch.: Folio OA, p.6), calls him Joseph GENAR DeFrene.  Was this his dit?

His wife died at Opelousas in Nov 1787, age 40.  See Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1:A:287 (Opel. Ch.: v.1, p.3).  That's why he had no woman in his household in 1788.  Evidently he did not remarry.  

03.  Not in Wall of Names, which, on p. 18, calls his wife Anne-Marie THIBODEAU veuve Timothée GUÉNARD; White, DGFA-1, 775, calls him Timothée GUÉNARD, gives his parents' names, their marriage information, says he was born in MD, that his baptism was recorded twice at Port-Royal, & gives his marriage information, including the name of his wife & her parents.  See also Jehn, Acadian Exiles in the Colonies, 90, 96.  

The 1761 English report in MA seems to underestimate his age.  Why did the MA recorder call him SYMNO?  The only thing close to that is his father's dit, Gaudereau.  

How did Acadians exiled in MA end up with the Acadians at Halifax who went to LA via St.-Domingue in 1764-65?  Did Timothée & his family move from MA back to Nova Scotia when the war ended in 1763 & then followed the Halifax Acadians to LA?  Were they compelled to do this by the presence of THIBODEAUX family members at Halifax?

White, p. 775, says Timothée died av, or before, 9 Feb 1766, which was the day of his daughter Anastasie's wedding in Opelousas.  The record for this wedding in Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A:367-68 (LSAR: Opel.: 1766-3), calls him Mothé, a diminutive for Timothée, & does not say that he was deceased at the time the wedding was recorded, as is often found in church records.  The Opelousas census in which his wife Anne-Marie is called a widow was taken in Apr 1766.  Are the church & census records saying that Timothée died between Feb & Apr 1766?  If so, he belongs on this list.  So why does White say he died av 9 fevr 1766?  How long before?  By not including him with his wife & children on their listing, the compilers of Wall of Names seem to be following White & are convinced that Timothée did not make it to LA.  I am not convinced. 

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Copyright (c) 2007-16  Steven A. Cormier