The Bourgeois Origins

The Bourgeois’ of Acadian descent can be traced back to one individual, which is Jacques Bourgeois, of contested origins, but who according to one theory was originally from Ferté-Gaucher, a French commune located in the department of Seine-et-Marne, in the Île-de-France region were he would have been born on the 7th of January 1621.

Jacques (also called Jacob) choose the medical career and is described as a military surgeon. He arrived in Port-Royal, on the 6th of July 1641, on the St-François from La Rochelle in France with Menou d’Aulney, the governor of Acadia, the lead of a fleet of four ships.

He may have learned this profession in a commandery of the Order of Malta near his home in France.

Two years later, in 1643, Jacob Bourgeois marries, in Port-Royal, Jeanne Trahan born about 1629 in Bourgueil, province of Anjou, France.. She came to Acadia in 1636, with her father Guillaume Trahan, her mother Francoise Corbineau and a sister (first name unknown). Jeanne was only 14 years old at the time of her marriage to Jacques.

This union is the progenitor of the present day Acadian Bourgeois family line.

In 1645, upon the death of Isaac Pesseley, the major of the garrison of Port-Royal, Jacob Bourgeois’ brother-in-law, German Doucet (Laverdure), the right-hand man of the governor d’ Aulney, is named major of the garrison, while Jacques Bourgeois becomes “lieutenant of the place”.

Around 1646, Mr. Menou d' Aulney grants an island called Isle aux Cochon (Isle of Pigs), located on the Dauphin River (today Annapolis River) upstream from Port Royal to Jacob Bourgeois.

In August 1654, major Sedgewick, “without orders from his superiors” and while France and England are in peace, appears in the Port-Royal bassin, at the head of an army of 500 English soldiers. He arrived from Fort Saint-Jean, where he captured Charles de Saint-Etienne de La Tour then governor of Acadia. After several days of siege, Germain Doucet capitulates. Charles de Saint-Etienne who was made a prisoner and was brought to England.

Jacob Bourgeois, the only surgeon of the area, would have been extremely occupied caring for the casualties during several weeks.

Upon their departure the English leave no military or civil presence at Port Royal and in 1667 the colony is ceded back to France, although the French do not take possession until 1670. In the interim, the Acadians governed themselves under a syndic ruled by Guillaume Trahan, Jacob’s father-in-law.

The census 1670 indicates that Jacques and Jeanne had ten children: 3 sons, Charles married (25), Germain (21) and Guillaume (16), and 7 daughters ; Jeanne married (27), Marie (19), Marguerite (13), Françoise (12), Anne (10), Marie (7) and Jeanne (4). In that census Jacques was Port Royal’s richest inhabitant.
Charles, their oldest son had married Anne Dugas (du Gast), they had one daughter, Marie. Jacques and Jeanne’s oldest daughter was married to Pierre Sire (Cyr), and they had a son, Jehan (Jean).

Jacob becomes thereafter a farmer-merchant. His boats follow the coast of the Baie Française (Bay of Fundy) to trade with the Micmac Indians and the coast of New England to trade with the English.

In 1671, following the return of Acadia to France, Jacques aided by his three sons and his son-in-law, Pierre SIRE, and his future son-in-law, Jean Boudrot, founded the settlement of the “Bourgeois colony”, on the Chignectou isthmus, later to become Beaubassin, when Vallière de Beaubassin, was granted the Seignerie de Beaubassin.

The settlement was near the border separating present day New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. Jacques and his son, Guillaume, returned to live at Port Royal after the establishment at Beaubassin, although they kept farms at the new settlement. Jacques' other two sons, Charles and Germain, stayed in Beaubassin with their families.

In 1686, Jacques and Jeanne moved back to Beaubassin to live with their son, Germain. On Oct. 15, 1687, Jacques Bourgeois signed a document, along with others, attesting to the works of the ex-governor d'Aulnay in the colony.

At the beginning of Sept. 1696, the English Colonel Benjamin Church from Boston attacks Beaubassin, left undefended by the French. Germain, Jacques's son negotiated with the English contingent from Boston. Germain obtained a promise from Church that the residents would be left in peace, but Church reneged on his promise and his soldiers set ablaze most of the homes in the region leaving Germain’s untouched. The Acadians of Beaubassin were forced to flee to the woods; however, the English respected the Acadians' capabilities as marksmen and refused to chase the Acadians out of the reach of their ship's cannons.

In the census of 1686, Jacques Bourgeois was 67 years old and Jeanne Trahan was 57ans. In the 1698 census, Jacob Bourgeois now 82 years old and Jeanne Trahan, 72 years old, are living with their son Germain Bourgeois, in Beaubassin. In the census of 1700, they are not mentioned. They must have died.

In 1702, the commandant of the fort at Port Royal referred to him in an official report as the late Jacques Bourgeois.

Of Jacob and Jeanne ten children, two connect us to the larger Bourgeois family.

The first, Charles born about 1646, married Marie Anne Dugas daughter of Abraham Dugas and Marguerite-Louise Doucet, between 1668 and 1670. They had four children.

The other Germain, born about 1650, married Marguerite Béliveau, daughter of Antoine Béliveau and Marie Andree Guyon, in 1673. They had three children. She died in 1680. Germain then married Magdeleine Dugas, in 1682, daughter of Abraham Dugas and Marguerite-Louise Doucet. She was born in 1663. They had ten children.

Jacob and Jeanne had a third son Guillaume, born around 1655. He married Marie Anne D'Aprendestiguy, dit of Martingnon, about 1686. They had one daughter Jeanne in about 1687.

It is therefore Jacques sons Charles and Germain Bourgeois who perpetuated the Bourgeois family line.

For more information regarding the Bourgeois descend see http://histoire-de-bourgeois.ca.