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The History of Caraquet and Pokemouche

I thought ministers spent their Saturday afternoons getting ready for Sunday’s sermon but this was not the case as the Reverend came calling and with him were family members from away.

The son had visited with us in past years and on this trip he brought Dad a brown envelope with aerial photos of our valley.

Cliff and I were intrigued with those pictures and for days, we spent hours going over every little detail.

We decided to use the back of last month’s calendar leaf to draw a map of our area marking in the roads, buildings and brooks.

Gramp happened in and as he took a look at our project, I started to explain what we were doing but he cut me off with his question, “Do you two plan to be cartographers, when you grow up?”

As usual, we didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.

Susan Brittain Ganong certainly knew the meaning of the “word” as her brother William Francis Ganong was a professor through the year but when summer came, he returned to New Brunswick to be a cartographer, exploring rivers, forests, mountains as well as studying the languages of the Micmac and Maliseet people.

After William’s death, she took it upon herself to edit and publish in 1948 some of his original writings for the seven Outlines on North Shore Settlements that were published in the Acadiensis in 1906 to 1908 and to enlarge upon them with his suggested material from the Bulletins of the Natural History Society and others as a book titled, “The History of Caraquet and Pokemouche”.

According to Dr. Ganong, the first mention of Caraquet in historical records was in 1672 in a book published in Paris by Nicholas Denys, along with a crude map.

Possibly the first European resident was a Frenchman from Old France named Saint Jean who was mentioned in the narrative by Gamaliel Smethurst.

For the folk doing genealogy, the information provided on the thirty-four French families  - the real founders of Caraquet - who received a block of more than 14,000 acres in 1784, proves to be most interesting.

“The earliest known English residents were Harvey and Alexander Adams, who came from Scotland prior to 1817, and shipped timber to Great Britain.”

“In 1689, the French Government granted to Michel De Grez (or DeGrais) a league of land along the Pokemouche River.”

“A little later, in 1693, a much larger grant, four leagues along the river on each side and of equal depth, to include the earlier grant to De Grais, was made to Philipes Esnault. This man, surnamed the Sieur de Barbaucannes, though Seignior of Pokemouche, lived at Nepisiguit.”

The first English-speaking settler was probably Michael Finn, a native of Wexford, Ireland who came circa 1800 and married Marie Saulnier at Tracadie in 1805 at which time he gave his parents as William Finn and Jeanne Carles, residents of Ireland.

The History of Caraquet and Pokemouche” by William Francis Ganong and edited by Susan Brittain Ganong is not only packed with information, but gives references to several sources of years gone by which could provide additional facts for the researcher of families of that area.

The publication can be viewed at several libraries in New Brunswick.

By the way, the Saint John Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogy Society will meet Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lion's Den, Loch Lomond Villa. Robert Fellows, author of “Researching Your Ancestors in New Brunswick”, and “Starting a Family History Project in New Brunswick”, will be the guest speaker. This will be a excellent opportunity to learn “how to get started” on your family history project.

Query 1510
Bloomfield: Does anyone know how Bloomfield and Bloomfield Ridge in Kings County, New Brunswick received their names?  Were these places named for the Bloomfield family who settled there?  Can anyone provide information on the Bloomfield family?
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Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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