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A HISTORY OF THE ORIGINS OF THE JACQUET DIT DES LAURIERS FAMILY OF TRACADIE, NOVA SCOTIA AND BEYOND

The following article was written by Stephen A. White, genealogist, Centre d'Etudes Acadienne, Universite de Moncton, Moncton, New Brunswick, translated from French by Alex Cummings.

The Jacquets: An Acadian Family Who Didn’t Retain Their True Name
by Stephen A.White,
Published 13 Dec. 1997, in "Le Journal", Moncton, N.B.

Rather rare are the old Acadian families for whom we have good indications of their origins in Acadia [Acadia was the French name for what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the most eastern part of Maine] or New France [Canada]. More rare still are those whose origins have been confirmed by the discovery of over-seas records. Among this little group one finds the Jacquet family.

The immigrant Thomas Jacquet was born in the parish of Sainte-Marie-La-Petite in the city of Rouen, in Normandy [France], the 17 of November 1725. His father and mother were Jean Jacquet and Marie Gonfrai. From other searches in the registers of Sainte-Marie-la-Petite is revealed that Jean and Marie were married the 29 April 1721. Their marriage record gives the names of the grandparents of Thomas Jacquet. On his father’s side were Martial Jacquet and Marie Rouchault, and on his mother's side were Alexandre Gonfrai and Marie Roque.

Thomas Jacquet enlisted in the French Troop [army]. According to the custom of the time, he took an assumed name. He thus became the soldier Des Lauriers. His regiment held garrison in Canada. And this is how Thomas came to the New World.

After awhile, army work lost its attraction for Thomas Jacquet. He made [took] a change of direction in his life, the soldier Des Lauriers had decided to marry. He choose a young Canadian, Marguerite Sigouin, daughter of Jean Germain Sigouin and Marie-Louise Quay. Their marriage took place in the church at Lavaltrie [in Quebec], 19 June 1752.

Military life comprised of many moves, the same as today . The births of the Jacquet children, so called Des Lauriers, in chronological order:
Nicholas, 15 April 1753, in Trois Riveres [Quebec];
Charles-George, 9 march 1755, in the same place;
Marie-Marguerite, 24 December 1756, in Lanoraie [Quebec];
Jacques—Antoine, 17 may 1759. in Chambly [Quebec];
Jean-Baptiste, 12 July 1761 in Lanoraie [Quebec];
a second Jean-Baptiste. 18 august 1763, in l’lle-Dupas [Quebec];
Alexis, 18 January 1765. in Berthierville [Quebec];
and finally Thomas, 19 June 1771. in Arichat [Nova Scotia].

But it is not believed that all these moves were the result of military service. nd after the Fall of Quebec in 1760, in order to be able to stay in this country, Thomas retired [from the army]. For reasons that we do not know, he took his chance in Acadia. Coincidentally Benjamin Thomas [we now have a second name for him] had thought about Ile Madame but went to Arichat.

After a stay of a few years in Arichat, the Jacquets, called Des Lauriers, went and settled in Fortune Bay, on Isle Saint-Jean [now Prince Edward Island]. According to tradition, they built a schooner, with which to do business with the French of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. Then in 1787, some members of the family obtained a land grant, in the amount of 700 acres, in the Port of Tracadie, Nova Scotia. From then on, Tracadie became the main location for the family.

After their arrival in Tracadie, four of Thomas’s son had already settled down. Nicholas married Madeleine LaBlanc, daughter of Claude LeBlanc and Judith Benoit, and widow of Claude Babin. Charles-George married Francoise Sauvage dit Forgeron, daughter of Pierre Sauvage dit Forgeron and Marie-Jeanne Pinet. Jean-Baptiste was married to Anges Coste, daughter of Claude Coste and Marguerite Vigneau. Alexis had taken for his wife Agnes Pitre, daughter of Joseph Pitre and Anne-Marie Bourg. It was only some years later that Benjamin Thomas, the namesake of his father, joined his destiny with that of Felicite Gautreau, daughter of Basile Gautreau and Marie-Madeleine Girouard. Finally, much later, Jean-Baptiste, married Madeleine Landry, daughter of Baptiste Landry and Anne Pitre.

With five sons married, it did not take many generations before the off-spring of Thomas Jacquet held a place of importance among the Acadians of eastern Nova Scotia. The five brothers had twenty-five sons, which assured sufficient posterity. After awhile the descendants of this family relocated, around the parish of Pomquet and Havre Boucher, to Petit-Arichat [West Arichat today], and to Harve-a-Melasse [Port Felix today]. According to the first Canadian census in 1781, one finds nearly 350 people with the name Jacquet in the three listings [census] of Antigonish, Richmond, and Guysborough [counties]. In effect, in the first of these census was this very large Acadian family. In this period meanwhile, there was an exodus out of the Province, to Georgetown P.E.I, and to Massachusetts. Possibly a number of the members of this family settled in the American States, around the region of Weymouth [Massachussetts].

The name Jacquet evolved with the growth of the family. In the old [parish] register of Tracadie, which began in 1811, one finds written only Jacquet, but after the year 1830, there are more Des Lauriers. In an era dominated by English speaking people, when French schools diminished, the French spelling [of Des Lauriers] rapidly changed to Delorey, Delory, and Delorie. These are the variations one sees most often today, particularly in Nova Scotia and New England.

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