Thanks to the Maine Acadian Culture Preservation Act, a 92-page report on the history and culture of Maine's upper St. John Valley is now available to everyone. Acadian Culture in Maine, a 1994 publication of the National Park Service can now be viewed on the Internet because of the efforts of the University of Maine at Fort Kent Acadian Archives.
The 1994 print run was limited to 1,000 copies that sold out quickly. The Park Service did not have the necessary funds for a second publication. Now the Park Service is making the book available online at no charge.
The Acadians featured in this book are those Americans of French descent connected by history to the upper St. John Valley of Maine and New Brunswick, including the descendants of early Acadian settlers of the St. John Valley.
The book details the travels of the Acadians from Gran Pre, Nova Scotia, through the Gran Derangement by the British, who scattered the Acadians up and down the East Coast. The Web site has 110 new color images that did not appear in the original book. The images include paintings by Edmundston, New Brunswick, artist Claude Picard, including one of the Gran Derangement, or the expulsion of Acadians.
The Web site creators also added teachers' references and lesson plans to teach the travails of the Acadians. The site includes a wealth of information on Acadians in Maine. The book also can be printed from the site.
"Information on the way of life of Acadians is being made available to the world," said Jason Parent, President of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. "This is a critical moment in promoting the culture of the [St. John] Valley."
I spent a fascinating evening reading this online book. Of course, it was fascinating to me because about 50% of my ancestors were French-speaking Acadians and Quebecois who lived in the St. John River Valley. I especially noted the pictures of two different churches in which many of my ancestors were christened or married or were mourned at their funerals.
If you have an interest in Acadian history, you will enjoy this online book. If you have French-speaking ancestors from the St. John River Valley, you will more than enjoy it; you will find it fascinating.
Acadian Culture in Maine can be found at http://acim.umfk.maine.edu