Click the flag to hear the Acadian anthem

Click the flag to hear the Acadian anthem
Fier d'être acadien - Proud to be acadian

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beginning French Canadian Genealogy Class

By: Dennis Boudreau

When: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 - 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Class description:

Whether you're just starting out, need a refresher course in the basics of doing your family tree, or still have unanswered questions, the American-French Genealogical Society, 78 Earle Street, Woonsocket, RI is offering a course on Beginning French Canadian Genealogy in two parts on Saturday morning, October 20, 2012. The class, starting at 9 AM and running until about noon will be given by AFGS past President Dennis Boudreau, who has over 30 years as a professional genealogist, writer and researcher.

The course will cover all the basics from starting at home, organizing one's data, using the AFGS library's collections (with a quick tour), Internet resources, reading the religious/civil registers and census records, and migration patterns from Canada to the United States. It will also give an overview of sobriquets (Canadian surnames and nicknames), and using DNA findings. It will offer a quick how-to guide to unraveling blood and in-law dispensations found in marriage records, and how to recognize Native people in your ancestry, should they be present. And finally, the course will touch on the Acadians, since many Québec families claim several of these French Neutrals from the Canadian Maritimes in their ancestries. Additionally, Dennis will cover how to start compiling one's family history, collecting photographs, and properly documenting research findings.

Following the lecture, Mr. Boudreau, as well as other AFGS staff volunteers, will be available to help participants get started on their family tree using the library's vast resources.

Please register at the library, or E-mail your registration to sign up for this valuable 3-hour course. You may also E-mail any questions you may have concerning this workshop. AFGS members and guests may attend at no charge; a fee of $5 will be charged to guests (non AFGS Members) who stay to use the library following the lecture.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Breathing New Life Into Cajun Music

Living in New England, we are fortunate to have a few venues offering live music events throughout the summer. The Lowell Folk Festival in late July is an affordable (free), family-friendly weekend of great musicians from around the world performing on multiple stages throughout the downtown location. There are food tents to satisfy everyone's taste, games for the kids, and refurbished locomotives offering train rides. Most of the performance tents have seating available for patrons, but some choose to bring a blanket or chair.

One of the highlights for me this year was the young Cajun band Feufollet (pronounced FOO-FILLAY) from Lafayette, Louisiana. I heard two of the five shows they played over the 3-day festival. The seats were all filled before the first show, so I sat on the ground in front of the stage. The empty dance floor behind me did not remain that way for long. When the band kicked off the set with an upbeat Cajun instrumental, young and old alike jumped to the dance floor.

View from my seat

Click here for a short cell phone video of this performance

I never know what the crowd reaction will be when a group who sings in French performs here. Thankfully, I have yet to see an audience be unreceptive. Although most do not understand the lyrics, they enjoy the rhythm, energy and humor of Acadian, French Canadian and Cajun music. A young woman dancing with her Mom saw me singing along with the band. She asked how I knew the words. I told her I bought Feufollet's latest album, En Couleurs, over a year ago. In 2011, En Couleurs was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Cajun or Zydeco category. That's quite an accomplishment for a group whose average age is about 25.

After the first set, the band met with people at the merchandise tent. They were all smiles, making jokes and asking how the crowd enjoyed the show. Each took time to speak with people while they signed CDs.

Their laid back performance style is not just for appearance. It's who they are, polished musicians comfortable in their ability to alter old Cajun standards and make them their own. Unlike some Cajun groups today, Feufollet is not a karaoke machine. Growing up in the heart of Acadiana, they are able to interpret the older music because they understand where it came from. They also write their own original Cajun tunes, play Creole and Zydeco songs, and change instruments regularly during the set.

My view of the 2nd tent

Click hear for a short video of this performance
For another article and a more professional video of Feufollet playing one of their favorite places in Lafayette, click here to visit Valcour Records.

Today's Pop music is mostly digitized, remastered, re-recorded fluff for the iPad generation. If you like real musicians playing actual instruments LIVE, than check out bands like Feufollet, The Pine Leaf Boys, and Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys when they play around New England. You will not be disappointed... and don't forget your dancing shoes.


Friday, July 13, 2012

We Are Cajun. (On est Cadien'.) A Documentary Film

Once in a while, I am inclined to get behind a worthy cause. I believe in this film being made and have donated. The short introduction offers many reasons why the documentary should be made. Those unfamiliar with the Cajun culture and history will be amazed. The television program "Swamp People" is a very small portion of the unique, blended society of modern Cajuns today.

Click here to go to the Kickstarter campaign page

If Allen Clements can raise the necessary funds, his documentary will raise awareness and create interest in all things Cajun. After all, it's not just a culinary tradition, it's a way of life. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

For more information about the project, visit this facebook page:

The Results:
There was a lot of interest in the concept of the documentary, but the Kickstarter Campaign was less than the required amount. 116 backers pledged $4,784. To read Mr. Clements thoughts and press interviews about this project going forward, click here: Press Success for We Are Cajun


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Foremost Acadian Genealogist

The Dictionnaire généalogique des familles acadiennes is very familiar to people who have spent time researching their Acadian ancestors. The author of the 2-volume set is University of Moncton genealogist Stephen A. White.

Use this Link for his biography written by a friend of ours.

We are pleased to announce he will be our guest at the
American-French Genealogical Society.

March 25, 2012 from 2 – 4 pm.

He will be speaking about two topics which should interest our members:
“The Acadians in Canada During the 18th Century” and
“The Acadian Exiles Who Remained in Massachusetts and Connecticut

This event is sponsored, in part, by a generous gift given to our Society by the (former) Acadian Cultural Society.

A donation of $10 to the AFGS Building Fund is appreciated.