Some of the following information was obtained from the official publication of Congrès Mondial Acadien-Louisiane 1999, the grand gathering of Acadian descendants that was held in South Louisiana in August 1999. Additional history of the Acadian deportation was found at the excellent web sites of Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, Acadian and French Canadian Ancestral Home, and Tim Hebert's Acadian-Cajun Genealogy and History.
The first Dugas in North America was Abraham Dugas, gunsmith, born about 1616. A native of Toulouse, France, he arrived in Acadia from France in 1640 at the age of 24. Abraham settled at Port Royal where he practiced his trade of gunsmith. He married Marguerite Doucet, the daughter of Germain Doucet, dit Laverdure, and Marie Bourgeois, at Port Royal in 1647.
Abraham was kept busy at his trade, because, by the Acadian census of 1671, every man and boy over the age of 13 owned a gun. Not only were the guns necessary for hunting; they were also used in the defense of the colony, which was almost constantly under attack by the British. Abraham Dugas also farmed and held the offices of justice of the peace and syndic (chief of police) at Port Royal. He acquired a fair amount of wealth for the time. Abraham and Marguerite had three sons and five daughters. Their children married into the Melanson, Bourgeois, Arsenault, Bourg (Bourque), Guilbaud (Guilbeaux) and LeBlanc families. The family spread across the colony, and by the second generation there were Dugas at Grand Pré, Cobéquid, Beaubassin and Cap-de-Sable. The wide geographic spread of the family insured that its members would be scattered far and wide by the deportation and its aftermath.
The first Dugas in Louisiana arrived in 1765. Several of these first families settled the region known as the Acadian Coast along the Mississippi River above New Orleans. These families included Francois Dugas and his sister, Rose (16) and four younger brothers or nephews, Charles (15), Michel (13), Athanase (12), and Théodore (12).
Francois married Marguerite Babin in 1768, and his brothers/nephews also married and raised large families. Their descendants formed the bulk of the Dugas in Ascension and St. James Parishes in the early part of the 19th century. Some became antebellum sugar planters with plantations just below Donaldsonville. Today, many of these families have relocated to the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas.
Three Dugas brothers, Charles, Jean, and Pierre settled in the Attakapas region near Bayou Teche. These three brothers were the sons of Charles Dugas and Anne Robichaud of Acadia, and the grandsons of Claude Dugas and Marguerite Bourg, also of Acadia. Claude had been the great- grandson of the Abraham Dugas and Marguerite Doucet. Charles Dugas married Marguerite Broussard, the daughter of Joseph (dit Beausoleil) Broussard. He established a farm on Bayou Teche at Fausse Pointe, near Loreauville. Pierre married Marie Thibodeau and Jean married Marguerite Dupuis. These two brothers settled on the west bank of the Bayou Vermillon in the area known as Grande Prairie. They both became prosperous cattlemen. Later, some of their descendants moved to Calcasieu Parish where they either continued the family cattle raising tradition or became rice farmers.
Twelve more Dugas families arrived in Louisiana with the 1785 migration of deported Acadians from Nantes, France. Some of these families had been deported first to England, where they were held prisoner until the end of the Seven Years War. Only about a third of the 1,596 Acadians who left France in 1785 to come to Louisiana were born in Acadia. The great majority were born in exile.
The Dugas families that arrived in 1785 were Jean-Baptiste Dugas and his wife, Marie Clossinet and two daughters; Anne-Osite Hébert, the widow of Charles Dugas, and three children; Charles Dugas and five children; Madeleine Hébert, the widow of Jean-Baptiste Dugas and seven children; Paul Dugas and two children; Pierre Dugas with his wife, Margueriet Daigle and two daughters; Jean-Pierre Dugas and his wife, Jeanne Cabon; Alexis Dugas and one daughter; Charles Dugas with his wife, Anne Naquin; Joseph Dugas and his wife, Anastasie Barrilot with nine children, Pierre Dugas and his wife, Rose LeBlanc, and two daughters; and Victoire Aillet, the widow of Thomas Dugas, along with two children.
Not all of the Acadians were deported. A good number of Acadians managed to escape the deportation. Other Acadians returned to Acadia following the deportation. A good number of these established themselves in Nova Scotia on the Baie-Ste-Marie. One escapee of the deportation was Joseph Dugas, who eventually managed to obtain a temporary residence permit from the English and worked for English settlers who had taken the Acadian farmland. Joseph married Marie-Josephe Robichaud, and they left the Port Royal area, now renamed Annapolis Royal, during the summer of 1768 for the Baie-Ste-Marie to the south and west. Fifteen days after their arrival, Marie-Josephe gave birth to a son, Joseph, who was the first Acadian born on the Baie. Today, the school for Acadians in the region is named École Joseph Dugas in honor of this family.
Other Dugas settled in Québec, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island and in the southeastern and northeastern coastal regions of New Brunswick. Many live today in the Caraquet, New Brunswick region, which is know n in part for its energetic and progressive mayor, Roberta Dugas.
Visitors to L`Habitation, the Canadian park on the site of Port Royal, can
obtain a map of the Acadian settlement, and it is possible to visit the ancient homesite
of Abraham Dugas and Marguerite Bourgeois.
My descent from Abraham Dugas and Marguerite Doucet through the
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