A Great Upheaval

Incredibly sad, and hard to believe, that some of America’s current “leaders” are proposing mass deportation and expulsion of entire ethnic populations, based on their perceived threat to our society and/or undesirability in our communities.  Even sadder is that a good number of Americans agree with this deplorable tactic.  The fact is, that we ALL emigrated from elsewhere in hopes of better lives for our families. Sometimes to escape war, poverty, famine, religious persecution..so many valid reasons to seek the promised refuge of this country.  Yet we were also undesirable.

The story of the Acadian “Great Upheaval” (or “Le Grand Dérangement”) is a tremendously tragic story of rejection, exclusion, and mass deportation that’s much too big to describe here, but it played a huge role in the Gallant Family History.  Our ancestors were once considered a threat to the British crown and a drain on the Maritime resources that the English coveted. They also feared our association with native “hostiles,” the Mi’kmaq, so we were asked to pledge allegiance to England or face expulsion. Thousands were rounded up and thrown into internment camps, sent away on ships to foreign lands, and in their abandonment, drowned or starved.

monument

Monument to commemorate the expulsion at Port La Joye, PEI

Photo credit: wikimapia.org


Here’s an excerpt of how some of my direct ancestors fared:

“The crossing to France devastated these Haché-Gallant families

Marguerite Haché-Gallant, her second husband Robert Hango dit Choisy, and their three children were lost at sea on the British transport Violet that sank in a mid-Atlantic storm in December.  Marguerite’s younger sister Marie-Madeleine, her husband Pierre Duval, and their children, also died on one of the two British transports that foundered in the North Atlantic, either the Violet or the Duke WilliamJacques-René, son of Charles Haché dit Gallant, and Jacques’s wife Anne, daughter of Claude Boudrot and Judith Belliveau, lost two of their seven childrenLouise, no age given, and N., an infant born at sea–aboard the British transport Supply that left the Gut of Canso in late November 1758 and reached St.-Malo in early March 1759, but the family’s suffering did not end on the high seas:  Jacques-René and daughter Anne died at Châteauneuf, near St.-Malo, the following May, probably from the rigors of the crossing; he was only 33 years old; Anne was 6Pierre le jeune, son of Jean-Baptiste Haché dit Gallant, and Pierre’s wife Marie, daughter of Charles Doiron and Anne Thériot, age 28, lost all four of their children–sons Pierre, age 7, Ambroise, age 3, and Michel, age 6 months, and daughter Marguerite-Louise, age 5–aboard one of the five British transports that left Canso in late November 1758 and reached St.-Malo in late January 1759; Marie survived the crossing only to die in the hospital probably at St.-Malo at the end of January.  Marie-Anne, called Anne, Haché, age 26, wife of François, fils, son of François Chiasson and Anne Doucet, lost her husband and all three of their children aboard one of the Five Ships.” ~ Acadians in Gray

Is this the fate of the unfortunate that we’ve grown so accustomed to that we can simply ignore it, or worse, wish it upon our fellow man?  This can’t be.

You can read more at these sites:

Also, read the beautiful epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

A Gallant Effort!

Paul André Gallant WINS!  He correctly named NOVA SCOTIA as Michel’s birthplace and the province in which he married Anne Cormier and fathered 12 children. Congrats, ‘lil brother!

The 1st person to correctly name the Canadian province in which Michel Haché-Gallant was purportedly born, and where he married and had 12 children with Anne Cormier, WINS a 6-month membership (worth $99) to Ancestry.com!

All you have to do is comment with the correct present day name and include a source other than this blog. Good luck!

Who Do I Think I Am?

Here’s the truth: I have an obsession with the Ancestry.com website, as well as genealogy-themed TV shows like, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Finding Your Roots.”  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an amazing author, historian, and teacher, who has provided a great deal of inspiration to me during my search.  My hat is off to you, Dr. Gates!

When I first became interested in finding my own roots, I almost immediately got an Ancestry membership and found LOTS of information there that was helpful in the construction of my family tree. There are so many other members who are also cataloging their Gallant ancestry!  Drawing on other members’ trees, the hints (or leaves) that pop up whenever a new source is found,  and access to an extensive record of direct descendants of Michel Haché-Gallant, I was able to fill in quite a few blanks; however, if someone’s historical research doesn’t include multiple sources or citations, I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to do additional research to verify the records.

At some point, my tree will be completed, but there’s still work to do! In an effort to learn as many facts as possible, I’ve dug into Ancestry Academy and become a member of the Prince Edward Island Genealogical Society, as well as PEI Ancestry.com


After 2 or 3 years of off and on research, I had my DNA tested just to see what might be revealed there.  Here’s a graphic showing the results of my estimated ethnicity:

dna-graph

The DNA analysis didn’t reveal any surprises, but my research on Ancestry did, and that was that there have been a number of adoptions in my family’s history that make it impossible to discover true lineage. And that’s a pretty wonderful discovery in and of itself! More on that later…

Update:
Recently, Ancestry added the “Genetics Communities” feature, which shows (in my case) population concentrations of ancestors, as well as AncestryDNA members with whom I most likely share DNA. The only surprise was the intense cluster (shown in red) of relatives in Massachusettes.  On my way to Boston soon, so hopefully I’ll feel right at home.

DNA

Origins

According to Acadian genealogists and historians associated with the Prince Edward Island (PEI) genealogy website, The Island Register, little is known for certain about Michel Haché-Gallant’s birth and ancestry. The Honorable Bona Arsenault (a noteworthy Canadian historian and genealogist) and his colleague, Father Patrice Gallant (an expert on Gallant genealogy), extensively studied Michel’s origins and reached the same conclusion. Their analysis and interpretation of historical evidence is speculative, though, as the “documents examined could not give absolute proof” of Michel’s birthplace or parentage. The circumstantial facts discovered by Arsenault and Fr. Gallant in the archives of the Court of Justice in Quebec and in the life history of Nicholas Denys, revealed that Michel Larché, known in history by the name Michel Haché-Gallant, was born in about 1660 at St. Pierre, Acadia (present day St. Peters, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia). Michel is believed by authorities in Acadian history to be the son of Pierre Larché, who was born around 1640 in the French town of Montidier, bishop’s residence of Beauvais.

Michel’s baptismal documents, which still exist in the Quebec public records, state that he was baptized on April 24, 1668, when he was eight years old. There is also documentation stating that his father was a Frenchman and his mother was an Esquimo (but more likely was Mi’kmaq as there were no Eskimo in the Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, region of Canada).

Michel was married in 1690 to Anne Marie Claire Cormier, born about 1674 in Port Royal, Annapolis, Nova ScotiaAnne was the daughter of the “Militia Captain of the Beaubassin Coast,” Thomas Cormier and Marie-Madeleine Girouard. Michel and Anne’s marriage certificate has been lost; however, censuses and religious records from the era permit a reconstruction of Haché-Gallant family.

By 1720, England had completely colonized Acadia and the entire territory fell under British rule. Rather than swear allegiance to England and become a British subject, Michel Haché-Gallant left Beaubassin (present day Nova Scotia)  and established Port La Joye, Ile St. Jean (Prince Edward Island). Michel used his sloop to ferry many French Acadian settlers from Fort Louisbourg to the island.

Immediately upon his arrival at Port La Joye (near present day Charlottetown), Gallant was appointed the Harbour Captain. His family was one of the most respected in the port, as he was well educated and held an important post.

Haven’t spent most of his life in Beaubassin, Michel Haché-Gallant was in his late 50s when he eventually arrived at Port La Joye. By then, he and Anne Cormier had been married for 30 years and had 12 children. He brought Anne and four of the children with him to Ile Saint-Jean (PEI). Other children also emigrated over the next eight years, and they established their own families in the colony.

Gallant’s property occupied a long, narrow strip along the east bank of the small stream beside the garrison at Port La Joye (Fort Amherst). A 1734 sketch of Port La Joye shows three buildings on his land. Two of these buildings were dwellings, with pitched roofs, a central chimney, and doors facing the road to the garrison. The third building looked like a storehouse, with a hipped roof, a large central door, but without windows.

Since then, 200 years of farming have removed all traces of Port La Joye. It took an archaeological dig in 1987 to rediscover the site of Michel Gallant-Haché’s home.

On April 10, 1737, while attempting to rescue a stranded traveler, Michel Haché-Gallant fell through rotting ice on the North River and drowned. His body was not recovered until July 17th of that year. The following quotation is taken from his burial certificate in the La Joye Harbour Register:

“On the 17 July 1737, I the undersigned have buried in this harbour cemetery the corpse of Michel Haché‚ said Galan, residing in this harbour whom has sunk at the mouth of the river “du Nord” this year on the 10th day of April and whom has not been found until this day.

Signed: Brother Angéligue Collin”

There is a monument to Michel Haché-Gallant and Anne Cormier at Rocky Point, near Fort Amherst, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Le Métis de Beaubassin,” is a romantic (not to be confused with romance) novel about Michel Haché-Gallant written in French by Melvin Gallant, who is best known for his cultural involvement in the Acadian community, including having been founding president of Éditions d’Acadie.  Read more here.

lemetis

Photo credit: MelvinGallant.com