The "Association des Bourgeois d'Amérique" (ABA) was founded in 1994, during the Bourgeois family gathering "Les Retrouvailles" held in the context of the first World Acadian Congress "Congress Mondial Acadien (CMA)" which took place in 9 municipalities of the county of Kent in Southeast New Brunswick from 12th to 22nd August 1994.
The founding Bourgeois' present at this first meeting were: from Quebec: Alfred Bourgeois from Laval, André Bourgeois from Saint-Hyacinthe, the Abbé André Bourgeois from Longueil, Céline Bourgeois from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and Paul-Armand Bourgeois from Montreal. From Ontario: Éric Bourgeois from Ottawa, from New Brunswick: Louis Bourgeois from Grande-Digue, Lucille Bourgeois-Leblanc from Shediac Bridge, Paul-Pierre Bourgeois from Grande-Digue, Philippe Bourgeois from Saint-Louis-de-Kent and Florence Bourgeois from Grande-Digue.
The provisional leadership was entrusted to members of the organizing team of the 1994 Bourgeois family gathering with Mr. Louis Bourgeois as president. The mandate of this provisional team was to develop and propose a draft constitution to the registered participants' of the family gathering, develop a network of contacts, and initiate a communication program.
The goals formulated by the Association were as follows: (see bulletin # 1 - January 1995)
- Encourage the establishment of ties between the Bourgeois descendants of Jacques Bourgeois and Jeanne Trahan;
- Since 1994 the association has overseen all the Bourgeois family gatherings held in the context of the World Acadian Congress (Congrès Mondial Acadien (CMA)).
- Promote and encourage BOURGEOIS family genealogical research;
- a. Mr. Paul - Pierre Bourgeois, the deceased editor of the 'le Bourgeois' bulletin, wrote a book for the first family gathering in 1994, entitled " À la recherche des Bourgeois d'Acadie (1641- 1800) " (In search of the Acadian Bourgeois') which provided a basis for understanding the Bourgeois genealogy.
- b. Mr. Perron de France, Member of our Association since its inception, put a lot of effort to definitively identify the father of Jacques Jacob Bourgeois. As a result of his research we suspect that the mother of Jacques was Marguerite Bourgeois and that his father was most likely a Grandjehan (family name).
- c. Mr. Marc Bourgeois created the website "Histoire-de-bourgeois.ca" which presents his research on the descendants of Jacques Jacob Bourgeois. The site, which has been officially available to the public since December 2008 contains more than 16,000 Bourgeois descendants of Jacob Jacques Bourgeois and Jeanne Trahan.
- Encourage the formation of Bourgeois associations according to provincial, regional or lineage parameters;
- From its inception and due to the geographic area covered, the association encouraged and supported the creation of regional organisations. Over the years organisations were formed in Louisiana, Québec, the Maritime Provinces and Alberta, with smaller family groups forming in Massachusetts and California. The formation of these regional groups facilitated and supported numerous and frequent regional activities and events which would not have been possible on a national or international scale. Many of these regional organisations have disappeared as the main champions and supporters of these organizations have aged or passed away.
- Publish a periodic newsletter to inform members of issues that might interest them as Bourgeois;
- From 1995 to 2013, the association published 31 issues of the newsletter "Le Bourgeois".
- Promote pride in our heritage.
- One of the key elements has been the recognition and protection of the Beaubassin village historical site, the first Acadian settlement outside of Port-Royal developed and settled by Jacques Jacob Bourgeois and two of his sons. Since 1994, the association has also inaugurated or participated in the inauguration of several commemorative plaques in honour of our common ancestor Jacques Jacob Bourgeois and our Acadian Heritage. The ultimate goal is the erection of a Jacques Jacob Bourgeois monument in honor of the man, his legacy, and the first Acadian colony outside of Port-Royal.
The association was presided over by Mr. Louis Bourgeois, resident of Grande-Digue and one of the founders, from 1994 to the 2004 family gathering in Amherst. Ms. Monique Bourgeois a native of Montreal living in Bouctouche, NB, took the helm of the Association in September 2004. Unfortunately, she had to return to Montréal in the spring of 2007 and Mr. Louis Bourgeois had to resume the post of acting president.
In 1998, the association (ABA) considered it appropriate to join a project for the creation of a coat of arms representative of Jacques Jacob Bourgeois and his descendants initiated by the "Association des Bourgeois d'Acadie" in order that it become a project for the whole Bourgeois family. At a joint meeting, the associations reached an agreement on this point, and more important, they decided to ensure that the symbols chosen for the coat of arms would be granted to our ancestor Jacques Bourgeois, pioneer of Acadia, for himself, his family and all his descendants. They decided on the choice of symbols to be used and the motto, as well as to share the costs of the project. (See the article of " Le Bourgeois April 1998" and " October 1998 Bourgeois"). These Coats of Arms where assigned to the "Association des Bourgeois d'Acadie" who remained until recently, the official owner.
In January 2004, following a general consultation of its members, the association (ABA), officially changed its name to become the "Association des Bourgeois de Descendance Acadienne / Association of Bourgeois of Acadian Descent" (ABDA/ABAD).
In 2006, Louis and Pierre Paul Bourgeois lead a "Fédération des Associations de Famille Acadienne" (FAFA) (translation: Federations of Associations of Acadian Families) advisory committee that looked at putting together proposals for the future of the historical site of the village of Beaubassin. The 10 person committee, tabled its recommendations to the FAFA in December 2006.
In 2007, Paul Pierre Bourgeois, the Bourgeois family historian, author of "À la recherche des Bourgeois d'Acadie (1641- 1800)" and editor of the "Le Bourgeois" newsletter passed away having lost his battled with cancer. His departure was a great loss to the association, as he had been the lead on many of association files and actively participated on in all files.
During a meeting of the General Assembly held in the context of the family gathering (i.e., Les Retrouvailles) in August 2009, a new executive was elected. In October 2009, the executive of the association appointed, Alfred Bourgeois, a founding member of the ABA, a resident of Laval, QC, President of the ABAD.
Since then, there has been a concerted effort to modernize and promote the association and its objectives. Part of this effort has involved attending major Acadian festivals with a goal of promoting the Association. To this end, Alfred Bourgeois the president of the association and Marc Bourgeois the web coordinator attended the "Grand Réveille Acadian" held in Louisiana in october 2011 and the "Grand Ralliement Acadien du Québec" held in Saguenay in June 2012. Both of these events provided opportunities to meet Bourgeois cousins and network with executive of the CMA and leaders of various Acadian federations such as the FAFA (translation: Federations of Associations of Acadien Families).
In 2011, the ABAD decided to contact the leadership of the Association des Bourgeois d'Acadie which had not been active for several years to discuss a possible merger of the two organizations in order to protect the coat of arms or if appropriate, the transfer of these to the ABAD. After long discussions it was determined that a merger would not be possible and that the ABAD should proceed with its incorporation, and a formal request to the Heraldic Authority of Canada to transfer or share of the Bourgeois arms.
After 19 years of operations, the association was incorporated under Federal Charter in 2012 and received its letters of incorporation in March 2013.
Following discussions with a president of the Association des Bourgeois d'Acadie in August 2013, it was agreed that the official documents allowing the use of Bourgeois coat of arms by the Association of Bourgeois' of Acadian Descent would be signed by all parties. The documents and the official request was sent to the Heraldic Authority Canada who approved the use of the Bourgeois heraldic emblems by the ABDA in October 2013.
In March 2013, the ABAD made an application to become a member of the FAFA. The official notification of acceptance of our membership was received in October 2013.
From the 13th to the 15th of August, 2014, the association hosted the "Retrouvailles Bourgeois 2014" family gathering which was be held in St-Basile, NB, in the context of the World Acadian Congress 2014 (Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014).