GenSpotters’ Book Review: Une petite Cadie en Martinique by André-Carl Vachon

,

We thought that much had already been written about the tragic event that was the Deportation of Acadians. Many statistics have been put forward as to the number of individuals affected by this tragedy. Historians have often reviewed these figures or have come up with new estimates without mentioning which primary sources were relied upon. During the Grand Dérangement, a number of individuals were deported by the British to the West Indies, more precisely to Martinique. Up until now, only one historian had documented this fact. André-Carl Vachon's essay is filling that gap.

This essay consists of five chapters, the first one briefly relating Acadia's history up to the Deportation. In the next two chapters, the author makes a distinction between the Acadians who were sent to Martinique from New England at the end of the Seven Years’ War from those who came from France. Without a doubt, the first group was deported. As for the second group, people heading out of France were not all Acadians. The author clearly establishes the difference between these two groups by using passenger lists. The information presented in a table gives the following: evidence concerning their Acadian origins, their repatriation request to return to a French territory, the first mention of their presence in Martinique, and the place of settlement after they left Martinique. The identification of the population of Acadian origins required comprehensive research.

The author then turns to the Acadians who settled in the town of Champflore, in Martinique, and explains where they came from, their various occupations and, on a sadder note, how the climate had an impact on the survivors' decision to leave the island of Martinique. Vachon concludes his essay by giving some information about Acadians who went to Martinique many years after the Deportation. The author also shares his Martinican lineage with us in the appendix.

This didactic-approach essay will please any genealogist as it gives precise information on these families. Written in a clear and concise manner, it is definitely a good start for beginners unfamiliar with this often unknown episode of the Deportation, as well as a well-documented reference of the presence of approximately 205 Acadians in Martinique.

After the publication of this book, the author received the Medal of the town of Morne-Rouge, a “link and a symbol of rekindled friendship and of a renewed relationship". —Mayor Jenny Dulys-Petit.

André-Carl Vachon, Une petite Cadie en Martinique, Éditions La Grande Marée, 2017, 137 pages.