News release

Province Donates Early Acadian Parish Register to Centre Acadien

TOURISM/CULTURE--Province Donates Early Acadian Parish Register to Centre Acadien


The province has donated the oldest surviving register of the Parish of St-Jean-Baptiste at Port-Royal to the Centre acadien, Université Sainte-Anne-Collège de l'Acadie, in Pointe-de- l'Église.

Three-hundred-seventy pages in length, the register has records of births, marriages and burials from 1702 to 1728 in what is now the Parish of Saint Louis, Annapolis Royal. It includes baptisms of many First Nations people.

"This unique artifact of Acadian heritage is a significant contribution by the province in recognition of the celebrations planned around the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2004," said Rodney MacDonald, Minister of Tourism and Culture. "This register is an important piece of Nova Scotia's history."

It was in the parish of St-Jean-Baptiste that Roman Catholicism was first permanently established in what is now Canada. In 1605, a chapel was built on the site of the Habitation at Port-Royal. In 1610, Membertou, a Mi'kmaq chief, became the first person of the First Nations to be baptized. Sometime around 1613, the parish was formally established and in about 1632 a monastery, church and school were built at Lequille and the parish was given its traditional name.

Around 1654 the church was relocated to what is now Annapolis Royal. This and a subsequent church were destroyed during sieges of the town. After 1713, when Acadie was ceded to the British, various other buildings were used for worship.

"The church has always been an integral part of Acadian history and culture," said Neil LeBlanc, Minister responsible for Acadian Affairs. "Artifacts such as these allow us to preserve our past for the benefit of future generations."

This Acadian parish register survived the loss of church buildings and even the extinction of the parish. Brought to Halifax after the Grand Dérangement of 1755, it became part of the Nova Scotia government's archives in 1857.

Prior to its donation to the Centre Acadien, the register formed part of the holdings of Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management.

Both this register and its companion volume, covering the years 1727 to 1755, have been digitized and indexed and are available as an online database from Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management on the Web site at: www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/cap/acadian .


FOR BROADCAST USE

The government of Nova Scotia is donating a 300-year-old

parish register to Université Sainte-Anne-Collège de l'Acadie.

The register has records of births, marriages and burials

from 1702 to 1728 in what is now the Parish of Saint Louis,

Annapolis Royal. It includes baptisms of many First Nations

people.

Minister of Tourism and Culture Rodney MacDonald says the

donation is in recognition of the celebrations planned around the

Congrès Mondial Acadien 2004.

Neil LeBlanc, Minister responsible for Acadian Affairs, says

the Parish of Saint Louis has always been an integral part of

Acadian history and culture in Nova Scotia.

Both this register and its companion volume, covering the

years 1727 to 1755, are available online from Nova Scotia

Archives and Records Management.

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Contact:

Barry Cahill
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management 902-424-6085 E-mail:
tdt            July 2, 2003        12:52 P.M.