Jean (Prejean) Préjean
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Jean (Prejean) Préjean (abt. 1651 - abt. 1733)

Jean "Le Breton" Préjean formerly Prejean aka Prijean, Brigeau
Born about in Bretagne, Francemap [uncertain]
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married about 1683 in Port-Royal, Acadie, Nouvelle-Francemap
Descendants descendants
Died about at about age 82 in Annapolis Royal, Acadie, Colony of Nova Scotiamap
Profile last modified | Created 9 Aug 2009
This page has been accessed 7,031 times.
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Jean (Prejean) Préjean is an Acadian.
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Jean (Prejean) Préjean migrated from France to Acadia.
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Jean PRÉJEAN, called Le Breton, is the ancestral father of all Acadian and Cajun Préjeans in North America. He was born around 1651.[1] His nickname suggests that he was from Britany, France, though his parents and origins are not known.

Jean likely arrived in Acadia after 1671 (he was not listed in the 1671 Census). Around 1683, he married Andrée Savoie, daughter of François Savoie and Catherine Lejeune. Jean was about 32 years old, and Andrée was about 16. Their marriage may have taken place in Port Royal (Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada) as Andrée lived there as early as 1671.[1]

The couple settled in Port Royal. They had 12 children between about 1684 and 1711:[1]

  1. Marie
  2. Anne
  3. Pierre l'aîné (the elder)
  4. Jean-Baptiste
  5. François
  6. Madeleine
  7. Joseph
  8. Marie-Josèphe
  9. Nicolas
  10. Charles
  11. Pierre le cadet (the younger)
  12. Honoré

The family would likely have lived in a house built of wood, clay, and straw, with a large common space, partitioned sleeping areas, and a loft. The base of the hearth would have projected onto the exterior of the house, providing some warmth for the animals.[2] By 1707, the family's homestead was located on the north side of the Dauphin River (Annapolis River) which was 26.6 km (16.5 miles) east of the fort (near today's Paradise NS, east of Fort Anne, Annapolis Royal NS) .[3]

The Préjean family is found in the Acadian censuses between 1686 and 1714.

In 1686, at Port Royal, Jean PRIJEAN [sic], aged 35, was living with his wife, Andree SAVOYE [sic], aged 21, and their first-born child, Marie, aged 2. They owned 2 guns and were living on 1 arpent of cultivable land with 1 hog.[4][5]

In 1693, at Port Royal, Jean BRIGEAU [sic], aged 42, was living with his wife, Andree, aged 26, and their four children: Marie, aged 9, Anne, aged 6, Pierre, aged 3, and Jean Baptiste, aged 1. The family owned 1 gun and was living on 14 arpents of cultivable land with 6 cattle, 8 sheep, and 5 pigs.[6]

The family farm appeared to prosper. By 1698, the size of their livestock ( 17 cattle, 19 sheep, 5 hogs) had increased, and they owned 60 fruit trees.[7]

They were mentioned again in the subsequent censuses between 1700 and 1714.[8][9][10][11]

In 1703, there is a record of Jean and Andrée selling land to their nephew Jacques Levron. [1]

According to the reports of officials throughout the 1600s,[12][13][14] the land was very fertile and there was an abundance of fresh food. In 1699, Villebon wrote:

“It is more than 60 years since Port Royal was founded and the work of clearing the land and the marshes began. The latter have, up to the present time, been very productive, yielding each year a quantity of grain, such as corn, wheat, rye, peas and oats, not only for the maintenance of families living there but for sale and transportation to other parts of the country.
Flax and hemp, also, grow extremely well, and some of the settlers of that region use only the linen, made by themselves, for domestic purposes. The wool of the sheep they raise is very good and the clothing worn by the majority of the men and women is made of it.
Port Royal is a little Normandy for apples... [Several] varieties of apple tree are found at Port Royal, and russet pears. There are other varieties of pears, and cherries… There is an abundance of vegetables for food... cabbage, beets, onions, carrots, chives, shallots, turnips, parsnip, and all sorts of salads; they grow perfectly and are not expensive. Fine green peas… Beef…The sheep are very large… suckling pig… Hens, cocks, capons, pullets, tame geese... Eggs, butter... These are the things which can be obtained from them for food. They are hunters... hare and partridge are very numerous ...there are also wild fowl."[14]

Although the family appeared to prosper, their lives were likely affected by the conflict between the French and the British. Around the time that their second child Anne was born in 1687, King William's War (1689-1697) with France began. The family would have felt its effects in May 1690, when Sir William Phipps[15] captured Port Royal, destroyed the church, plundered the settlement, and forced the inhabitants to swear an oath of allegiance to the English crown. Charles La Tourasse, a former sergeant of the French garrison, was appointed to serve as English commandant and leader of a council to keep the peace and administer justice.[16] Phipps left Port-Royal within only 12 days of his arrival. Before the end of the summer, seamen from two ships looted Port-Royal and burned and looted between 28 and 35 homes and habitations including the parish church. There was another raid in 1693.[13]

Unlike some Acadians, who were convinced to move by the raid and the lure of available land in the newer villages, the Préjean family stayed in Port-Royal throughout the conflicts. An English garrison was never established, possibly because the inhabitants refused to guarantee that the Indians would not attack if one was formed.[16] Dunn describes the feelings of the residents during this unsettling time:

"Throughout this period of nominal English rule, French and English vessels anchored at Port-Royal at will, contributing to a sense of unease among the residents. New England vessels came to trade, to check on the inhabitants, and to take French prizes. When the English were not around, French privateers operated out of the port, attracting local young men as crew with the promise of plunder and outfitting the ships from local suppliers... Port-Royal residents did not always appreciate the presence of the French privateers."[13].

By 1697, the Treaty of Ryswick restored Acadia to France, and Port-Royal became its capital[13] Peace would be short lived; around the time of the birth of daughter Marie-Josèphe, Queen Anne's war started in 1702. Port Royal would be blockaded in 1704, attacked in 1707, and surrendered to the British in 1710 following a siege.

By the time their youngest son, Honoré was 2 (1713), Acadia would become British permanently. With the succession of a new English king in 1714, the inhabitants were required to swear an oath of allegiance.[17] Delegates from Port-Royal signed a conditional oath of allegiance, promising to stay true to the King of Great Britain for as long as they stayed in Nova Scotia and to remain neutral in the event of a conflict between France and Great Britain.

For the next two decades, Jean would live during a time of relative growth and prosperity. He died in his 80s during the night of the 4-5th June 1733 in Annapolis Royal and was buried there 6 June 1733.[18] Present at his burial were: Charles Préjean, his son; René Martin; François Robichaud; Claude Granger; and others.


b1605 First Nations Peoples occupy the region around the Te'wapskik (Mi'kmaq name for Dauphin/Annapolis River) for thousands of years using it as an overland route [13]
1605 French found first permanent European settlement in North America, north of St. Augustin Florida, and built the Port-Royal Habitation in Acadia [13]
1613 Virginia English Admiral burns the Port-Royal Habitation, starting a 150 year battle between the French and English in the area. The French continue to maintain a presence [13]
1629 Scots establish a settlement further upriver, near present day Fort Anne [13]
1632 Treaty Saint-Germain-en-Laye cedes Acadia to France; Razilly brings ~300 elite men [19]
1636 Arrival of the first French families to settle permanently in Acadia [20][13]
c1651 Birth of Jean Préjean in France, likely Britany
1654 British capture Port-Royal; French settlement ceases [21]
1667-70 Treaty of Breda cedes Acadia to the French; settlement resumes [22]
After 1671 Jean Préjean arrives in Acadia
c1683 Marriage to Andrée Savoie, likely in Port Royal
c1684 Birth of daughter Marie
1686 Residence, Port Royal
c1687 Birth of daughter Anne
1687 War of the League of Augsburg (King William’s War) starts between England and France [17]
c1690 Birth of son Pierre the elder
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. [15][23][16] Seamen from two ships later loot and burn between 28 and 35 homes/habitations including the parish church.[13]
c1692 Birth of son Jean-Baptiste
1693, Residence Port Royal
1693 Port-Royal raid with looting and burning [13]
c1695 Birth of son François
1697 Treaty of Ryswick restores Acadia to France; Port-Royal is its capital [13]
c1697 Birth of daughter Madeleine
1698 Residence, Port Royal
1700-1701 Residence, Port Royal
c1700 Birth of son Joseph
1702 War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War) starts between England and France [13]
1702 Birth of daughter Marie-Josèphe in Port Royal
1703 Residence, Port Royal
c1704 Birth of son Nicolas in Port Royal
1704 Blockade of Port Royal; no destruction of houses but some inhabitants taken prisoner [13]
c1706 Birth of son Charles in Port Royal
1707 Attack on Port-Royal; burning and pillaging [13]
c1708 Birth of son Pierre the younger in Port Royal
1710 Siege of Port-Royal; French surrender the Fort. Port-Royal, Acadia becomes Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia [13]
c1711 Birth of son Honoré in Port Royal
1713 Treaty of Utrecht. France cedes Acadia to England. Permanent British rule [24]
1714-15 New English King requires oaths of allegiance [17] Delegates from Port-Royal sign a conditional oath of allegiance, promising to stay true to the King of Great Britain for as long as they stayed in Nova Scotia, and to remain neutral in the event of a conflict between France and Great Britain
1720 and onward Acadians refuse to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance. This is tolerated by the British as they lack military means to enforce the oath. [24]
1713-1744 Golden Age of Acadian Growth and Prosperity” [25]
1733 Death in Port Royal (Annapolis Royal Nova Scotia)

Research Notes

  • Certain websites indicate that he was the son of Jean Lebreton and Perrine Villereau, born on 2 Aug 1651 in Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France. No records in Acadie mention the names of Jean's parents. More clues are needed to determine if the child born to this couple is the same one who settled in Acadie.
A "public member story" attributed to "aliceannaa1" Original posting location unknown, imported via GEDCOM "Jamie 2010_2010-04-10.ged." Note said, "Added by ldonahue49 on 6 Jun 2008. Originally submitted by aliceannaa1 to Domingue Family Tree on 12 Feb 2008."
Subsequent generations of Pioneer Jean & Andrée resided in Port Royal (Annapolis Royal): Joseph C. and his family, and Joseph II (m. Marguerite Durel) & his family). The Prejeans relocated to what they thought was French territory when the British invaded Port Royal. Afterwards, they became prisoners. After the Treaty of Paris in 1765, eight Prejean families secretly chartered British vessels and fled to Santo Domingo, leaving in late November or early December 1765. Some Prejeans who came to Louisiana arrived in the autumn of 1765 and were given land grants at St. James on the west side of the Mississippi.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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. pp.1351-1352 & 1457.
  2. Daigle, Jean. "Un pays qui n'est pas fait." The Atlantic Region To Confederation: A History. The Canada 150 Collection. Phillip Buckner, John Reid Editors, University of Toronto Press, 1994, p. 61-77. p. 65 (Native and French relations); p. 70 (seigneury); p. 75 (health); p. 75-76 (population growth, housing).
  3. 1707 homestead location of Jean Prejean in Au Coeur de l'Acadie Acadian Settlement on the Annapolis River 1707 Map Parks Canada, accessed at
  4. Statistics Canada 1 arpent= 0.845 acres
  5. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1686 Acadian Census, at Port-Royal, Acadie 1686 Census Transcribed. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the National Archives of Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752,” Images 15-60;
    at Port Royal: Jean PRIJEAN 35, Andree SAVOYE 21; child: Marie 2; 2 guns, 1 arpent, 1 hog. In the original 1686 census at Port Royal, Prejean was listed as Prijean and Savoie was listed as Savoye.
  6. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1693 Acadian Census at Port-Royal, Acadie 1693 Census Transcribed. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the Library and Archives Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752,” Images 62-108;
    at Port Royal: Jean BRIGEAU 42, Andree (wife) 26, Marie 9, Anne 6, Pierre 3, Jean Baptiste 1; 6 cattle, 8 sheep, 5 pigs, 14 arpents, 1 gun. In the original 1693 census at Port Royal, Prejean was listed as Brigeau and Jean Baptiste was listed as Jean Baptist but transcribed as Jean Baptiste.
  7. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1698 Acadian Census at Port-Royal, Acadie1698 Census Transcribed. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the National Archives of Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752”, Images 110-150
    Jean PREJAN 47; Andree SAVOIE (wife) 31; Marie 14; Anne 11, Pierre 9; Jean 7; Francois 3; Madeleine 1; 17 cattle, 19 sheep, 5 hogs, 8 arpents, 60 fruit trees.
  8. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1700 Acadian Census at Port-Royal, Acadie 1700 Census Transcribed. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the National Archives of Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752”, Images 151-173.
    Jean BRIGEAU 49; Andree (wife) 33; Pierre 10; Jean-Baptiste 8; Marie 16; Anne 14; 7 cattle 6 sheep, 14 arpents, 1 gun.
  9. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1701 Acadian Census at Port-Royal, Acadie 1701 Census Transcription. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the National Archives of Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752,” Images 174-211;
    Jean PREJAN 52, Andree SAVOYE (wife) 35; Pierre 12, Jean 10, Francois 8, Joseph 5, Marie 17 Anne 14, Magdeleine 3; 1 gun 16 cattle, 10 sheep, 12 hogs, 3 arpents.
  10. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1703 Acadian Census at Port-Royal, Acadie 1703 Census Transcription. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the National Archives of Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752”, Images 212-220.
    Jean PRIJAN, his wife, 4 boys, 3 girls, 1 arms hearer.
  11. Tim Hebert; Transcription of the 1714 Acadian Census at Port-Royal, Acadie 1714 Census Transcription. The original census can be found at Acadian Census microfilm C-2572 of the National Archives of Canada “Acadie Recensements 1671 – 1752”, Images 239-261.
    LE BRETON and wife, 8 sons, 2 daughters.
  12. Clark, Andrew Hill, Acadia: The Geography of Early Nova Scotia to 1760. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968, p. 85-6 (1606/7 Lescarbot's description of productive farming and husbandry on the shores of present-day Annapolis Basin; p. 87 (arpent of land); p. 88-89 (role of women in the success of agriculture).
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 Brenda Dunn, A History of Port Royal / Annapolis Royal 1605-1800. Nimbus Publishing, p vii, ix,1-12 (early European settlement); p. 13 (1629 Food abundance Scottish settlement); p. 32 (Church and School 1686); p. 40, 43 (1693 PR raid); p. 44-45 (1697 Treaty of Ryswick); p. 52-53 (1702 Queen Anne’s War); p. 61-62 (Blockade of PR); p. 71-73 (1707 Attack on PR); p. 82-85 (1710 Siege of PR).
  14. 14.0 14.1 John Clarence Webster, Acadia at the end of the Seventeenth Century. Letters, Journals, and Memoirs of Joseph Robineau de Villebon, Commandant in Acadia 1690-1700. Saint John NB: The New Brunswick Museum, 1934, p. 128 (Port Royal 1699 agricultural produce; clothing wool and linen)
  15. 15.0 15.1 C.P.Stacey, “PHIPS, SIR WILLIAM,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003, accessed November 20, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 C.Bruce Fergusson,“LA TOURASSE, CHARLES,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003, accessed November 20, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Griffiths, Naomi E.S., From migrant to Acadian : a North-American border people, 1604-1755, Montreal (Québec), McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005, p. 147-151 (King William’s War); p. 267-268 (oaths of allegiance)
  18. Nova Scotia Archives, "An Acadian Parish Remembered - The Registers of St. Jean-Baptiste, Annapolis Royal, 1702-1755," register RG 1 volume 26a page 109; online database with images, Jean Préjan burial 6 June 1733, accessed September 2020.
  19. George MacBeath, Biography – RAZILLY, ISAAC DE – Volume I (1000-1700) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed November 20
  20. Geneviève Massignon, Les parlers français d'Acadie, enquête linguistique (Paris: Librairie Klincksieck, 1962) , 2 tomes.|p=p32 first French families in Acadia.
  21. William I. Roberts, 3rd, “SEDGWICK, ROBERT,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed November 20, 2013
  22. In collaboration, “MORILLON DU BOURG,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed November 20, 2013
  23. Wikipedia contributors, "William Phips," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed September 18, 2020).
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Neutrality, 1755 Histoire et Les Histoires, University of Moncton, accessed at
  25. Griffiths, Naomie E.S. The Contexts of Acadian History 1686-1784. Published for the Center for Canadian Studies Mount Allison University, Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1992, p. 61 (golden age);

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Comments: 4

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Source cited. Thank you Jacqueline for your eagle eye!
posted by Annette Cormier
Would a PM please define the cited source MASSIGNON.
posted by Jacqueline Girouard
He is most likely on the 1714 census as "Le BRETON and his wife, 8 sons, 2 daughters." Stephen A. White does call him Jean Prejean dit Le Breton. It does fit the characteristics of his family (many sons, few daughters)
posted by Donna (Friebel) Storz
I removed the parents of Jean Prejean pending further evidence.
posted by Annette Cormier

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