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Pierre Arseneau

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Pierre Arseneau aka Arsenault, Arceneaux
Born about in Francemap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married about [location unknown]
Husband of — married about [location unknown]
Died before in Beaubassin, Acadie, Nova Scotia, Canadamap [uncertain]
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Categories: French Immigrants to Acadia | Acadians.

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(English version below)

Pierre Arsenau est né vers 1646[1] ou 1650[2] en France.[1]. Selon Stephen A. White, son lieu d'origine n'est pas connu.[2][1] Son arrivé a Port-Royal semble être après le recensement de 1671. Il était un pilote côtier.[3]

Vers 1672, Pierre collabora avec Jacques Bourgeois pour fonder la colonie Bourgeois, qui devint Beaubassin.[4]

Pierre s'est marié deux fois.[3] Il épousa Marguerite Dugas, fille de Abraham Dugas et de Marguerite Doucet, vers 1675. Le couple a eu deux fils: Pierre (n. vers 1676) et Abraham (n. vers 1678).[2]

Vers 1685, Pierre a convolé avec Marie Guérin, fille de François Guérin et d'Anne Blanchard, qui lui a donné six autres fils (Charles, Jacques, François, Claude (dit Ambroise), Augustin, et Abraham ) et une fille (Anne).[2]

Pierre est mort avant 1714.[2]


(version française ci-dessus)

One of the largest Acadian families stems from one pioneer.[5] Pierre Arsenau was born around 1646[1] or 1650[2] in France [1]. According to Stephen A. White, his origins are not known.[2][1] He likely arrived at Port-Royal Acadia (Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada) after the Census of 1671. He was a coastal pilot.[3]

Around 1672, Pierre collaborated with Jacques Bourgeois to found the colony Bourgeois, which became Beaubassin (Amherst, NS).[4]

Pierre had two wives.[3] He married Marguerite Dugas, daughter of Abraham Dugas and Marguerite Doucet, around 1675. The couple had two sons: Pierre (b. c1676) and Abraham (b. c1678).[2]

Around 1685, Pierre married Marie Guérin, daughter of François Guérin and Anne Blanchard, who gave birth to 6 more sons (Charles, Jacques, François, Claude (dit Ambroise), Augustin, and Abraham ) and a daughter (Anne).[2]

During the time Pierre and Marie were raising their family, England and France were at war twice: 1687-1697 War of the League of Augsburg (King William’s War); and, 1702-1713 War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War).[6][7] During that time, the family would have witnessed the effects of two English raids at Beaubassin by Benjamin Church.

In 1696, Church's raid lasted 9 days. Once the English ships were seen, the inhabitants fled, carrying their more valuable possessions. Church recorded that the settlers’ ”cattle sheep, hogs, and dogs” were left ”lying dead about their houses, chopped and hacked with hatches". The church and some of the houses were also burnt.[6]

The second raid took place in 1702:

"The Acadians were in arms and an indecisive skirmish ensued. After the Acadians retreated into the woods, Church and his men found that the inhabitants had removed as much of their household and farm goods as possible. Church set the buildings on fire... and killed about 100 cattle before leaving to return to Boston" [6]

Pierre died before 1714.[2]


c1650 birth
c1675 marriage to Marguerite Dugas
c1676 birth, son Pierre
c1678 birth, son Abraham
c1685 marriage to Maire Guérin
1686 residence, Port-Royal
c1687 moves to Beaubassin[4]
1687 War of the League of Augsburg (King William’s War) starts between England and France[6]
c1690 birth, son Charles
c1692 birth, son Jacques
1690 Phipps captures and sacks Port-Royal, coerces inhabitants' oaths of allegiance to English Crown, sets up local Peacekeeping Council and leaves within 12 days.[8][9][10] Seaman from two ships later loot and burn between 28 and 35 homes/habitations including the parish church.[7]
1693 residence, Beaubassin
c1694 birth, son François
1696 Benjamin Church raids Beaubassin. Once the English ships were seen, the inhabitants fled, carrying their more valuable possessions. The church was burned and animals were slaughtered. [6]
1697 Treaty of Ryswick restores Acadia to France; Port-Royal is its capital[7]Dunn, Brenda. A History of Port Royal / Annapolis Royal 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, p 44-45</ref>
c1697 birth, daughter Anne
1698 residence, Beaubassin
c1699 birth, son Claude (dit Ambroise)
c1700 residence, Beaubassin
c1701 birth, son Augustin
c1702 birth, son Abraham (dit le Petit Abram)
1702 War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War) starts between England and France[7]
1704: Church raids Beaubassin again. The church was burned and animals were slaughtered. [6]
c1710 death at Beaubassin[4]


Birth and yDNA: Savard has his birth at about 1646[1] presumably because it is consistent with the 1671 Census where he is 40 years of age. Stephen White uses 1650[2] presumably because it is consistent with the later census of 1693, 1698, and 1700. We have put the date as 1646 to conform with Savard and to avoid confusion when searching the FTDNA site, which lists y-DNA results of Pierre Arsenault b. 1646 here.

Parents: Pierre's parents are unknown. Some believe Abraham and Marguerite Doucet are his parents, but evidence supporting this has not been found.

2nd Marriage. Minor discrepancy. Stephen White's DGFA p 23 lists marriage 'before 1686' (presumably because they are together in the 1686 census), but, his 37 familles paper lists it as 'around 1685'.


  • 1686 Acadian Census at Port-Royal: Pierre ARSENAULT 40, Marie GUERIN 24; children: Pierre 10, Abraham 8.
  • 1693 Acadian Census at Beaubassin: Pierre ARSENAULT 43, Marie GUERIN his wife 30, Pierre 16, Abraham 14, Charles 3, Jacques 1; 14 cattle, 10 sheep, 5 hogs, 8 arpents, 2 guns.
  • 1698 Acadian census at Beaubassin: Pierre ARSENAU 48; Marie GUERIN (wife) 36; Abraham 20; Charles 9; Jacques 7; Francois 4; Anne 1; 12 cattle, 6 sheep, 5 hogs, 21 arpents, 2 guns.
  • 1700 Acadian census at Beaubassin: Piere AARSONNEAU [Arseneau] 50; Marie GUERIN (wife) 38; Abraham 22; Charles 11; Jacques 8; François 6; Claude 1; 16 cattle, 13 sheep, 12 hogs, 24 arpents, 4 guns.
  • 1701 Acadian census at Beaubassin: Pierre ARSENEAU, his wife, 6 boys, 12 arpents, 20 cattle, 15 sheep, 12 hogs, 5 guns.
  • 1707 Acadian census at Beaubassin: Pierre ARSENAULT and Marie GUERIN 2 boys 14 or older, 4 younger boys; 8 arpents, 16 cattle, 16 sheep, 12 hogs.
  • 1714 Acadian census at Beaubassin: The Widow ARSENEAU; Children: Jacques, Francois, Claude, Abraham, Augustin.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Savard, Denis. "Dictionnaire généalogique des familles Arsenault ", Sainte-Foy, Québec : Editions MultiMondes, 2000, p628.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 White, Stephen A., Patrice Gallant, and Hector-J Hébert. Dictionnaire Généalogique Des Familles Acadiennes. Moncton, N.-B.: Centre D'études Acadiennes, Université De Moncton, 1999, Print, p23-24.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 White, Stephen A. La généalogie des trente-sept familles hôtesses des "Retrouvailles 94", Les Cahiers de la Société historique acadienne, vol. 25, nos 2 et 3 (1994). (Arsenault)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Arsenault, Bona. "Histoire et généalogie des Acadiens", Le Conseil de la vie française en Amerique, Québec, 1965, p525.
  5. Massignon, Geneviève. "Les parlers français d'Acadie, enquête linguistique", Librairie Klincksieck, Paris, 1962, 2 tomes, p42.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Griffiths, Naomi E.S., From migrant to Acadian : a North-American border people, 1604-1755, Montreal (Québec), McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005, p147-151 (King William’s War); p 164 (1696 Church raid of Beaubassin); p 208 (1704 Church’s Raid on Beaubassin)); p 267-268 (oaths of allegiance)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Dunn, Brenda. A History of Port Royal / Annapolis Royal 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, p44-45 (1697 Treaty of Ryswick); p52-53(1702 Queen Anne’s War); p82-85(1710 Siege of PR).
  8. C.P.Stacey, “PHIPS, SIR WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003, accessed November 20, 2013
  9. Biography of William Phipps
  10. C.Bruce Fergusson,“LA TOURASSE, CHARLES,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003, accessed November 20, 2013

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