In 1994, my twin brother and I accompanied my father and his only brother to the Acadian Congres in Shediac. Little did we realize then that they would not be with us two years later. I must preface this by saying that I was born in New Brunswick, one of eight children, but grew up in Alberta having known one LeBlanc family over the 15 years that I lived in Alberta. I knew very little about my Acadian heritage other than the fact that celebrating Christmas eve by making and eating poutines every year was part of our Acadian heritage. So, arriving in Shediac knowing very little about our roots, we would return with a proud knowledge of our Acadian heritage and a lineage that went back 11 generations to Daniel LeBlanc et Francoise Gaudet in the mid 1600s.
With this newfound fascination of my Acadian heritage, I imagined from an artist's perspective what life must have been like for the patriarch of all of the Acadian LeBlancs. At the time, I mistakenly thought that he arrived in Cap Pele, NB, from France and wanted to do a painting of him in Cap Pele getting off of a French ship. It wasn't long after, while teaching my Grade six class about the Acadians, that I discovered that Daniel LeBlanc settled on the Riviere Dauphin in present day Annapolis Royal around 1650. He married Francoise Gaudet who was widowed with a daughter, Marie, and raised a family of seven: a daughter and six sons. All of the Acadian LeBlancs descend from either the daughter Francoise who married a Blanchard or one of the five sons with the exception of Etienne who went to sea to be a navigator and was never heard from again.
Intrigued by what I had discovered, I decided to attempt a watercolor painting of Daniel and his family based on the Royal Census of 1671 in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. Not knowing what any of them looked like or their home for that matter, the painting evolves into a historical interpretation or rendering of Daniel and his family on a farm in the year of 1671.
To begin this project, which took me an entire summer, I went to Annapolis Royal early in the summer of 2004 and began by searching out the land where Daniel LeBlanc homesteaded. I wanted the background to be that of the North Mountain which was what the LeBlanc family saw in the back of their home in Belisle, approximately 9 miles upriver from Port Royal near Gesner's Creek, Nova Scotia. As my son and I actually stood on the land where Daniel's life as an Acadian began, I was overwhelmed with emotion having realized that I was truly home.
Although uprooted approximately 350 years ago, an eerie feeling of familiarity informed me that I had found the land of my forefather.
I then went to University St. Anne to research the lifestyle of the Acadians along the Riviere Dauphin in the mid 1600s and was very fortunate to cross paths with Marc Lavois, an archeology professor very knowledgeable about the homes and landscape of the time period. The home I chose for Daniel is one of three basic structures with a thatched roof and clay oven. The windows are small and likely covered in a thin sheep skin typical of that time period.
The Royal Census of 1671 tells us that Daniel had 18 cows and 26 sheep in 1671 so they are depicted behind his home and they are similar to the breeds of sheep and cattle found in the area at that time as described by Marc Lavois. I was fascinated and captivated by his knowledge of the Acadian lifestyle and am forever grateful of his generosity with both his time and knowledge.
Nevertheless, with respect to the Acadian clothing of the time period I had to go elsewhere and from Universite Ste. Anne I found my way to Grand Pré and the Acadian Village in Caraquet. At those two places I was able to discover all that I needed to know to paint Daniel's family as they may have been dressed in the 1650s. For example, I discovered that the men's pants changed after the deportation of 1755 due to the British influence as a result of the deportation. I was careful to be sure that the clothing worn was accurate for the early summer of 1671. The people I met in Grand Pré and Caraquet were very accommodating and bent over backwards to help me in whatever way they could. Louise Legacy, the clothing historian at the Acadian Village in Caraquet, NB, was extremely helpful by allowing me to see the Acadian clothing first hand and by drawing particular attention to their unique colors and designs. I remember on my way home telling my son, "The French are wonderful people aren't they Michael."
Having the knowledge of the clothing of the time period, I began to paint the family. All of his children, except for his step-daughter Marie who is married at the time with five children and living elsewhere, are illustrated to look the ages that they were in 1671. The youngest, Pierre, is in the wood pile. Three of the boys are waiting with their father for the eldest, Jacques, to return from a morning hunt before going out to the dykes to make hay. Andre, whom I descend from, is off to chase three stray cows from a neighbor's farm off of their land. The mother is on the front step of the house sewing and the daughter is seen in the garden weeding. During recent archeological digs, sewing implements have been discovered under the front step of the homes which suggests that the women may have sewn there in the light of the morning sun.
Upon finishing the painting, I decided to include a description of the painting and a brief summary of what we know about Daniel LeBlanc and his family. In truth, we know very little about Daniel's beginnings because no historical documents are available to us to tell us where he originates from in France. Some speculation has been made about where he comes from and I include that information. On the last two pages, I list each of Daniel's children and his grandchildren noting where the grandchildren died which informs us to some degree where they were deported to after 1755. This information is very effective in demonstrating to my Grade 6 students the reality of the deportation of the Acadians.
So now, two years later, I can say that I am very proud to be an Acadian. I now bring into my classroom a "real" knowledge of my Acadian heritage.
Furthermore, I am a LeBlanc who is so thankful that he had the opportunity to discover his heritage at the Acadian Congres in Shediac in 1994.
I am now able to say: "I am Daniel LeBlanc: 11th generation descendant of Daniel LeBlanc et Francoise Gaudet."
You may contact Daniel to purchase this wonderful piece of art of our first LeBlanc Ancestors by clicking on Daniel LeBlanc to contact him or telephone him at 1-902-863-9369.
The print is roughly 13" x 17.5". The image itself is approximately 10" X 15" with the print's number, artist's signature and the title, "La famille de Daniel LeBlanc et Francoise Gaudet, Port Royal, 1671" below it.
The print and write-up (ie. an explanation of the painting and information about Daniel LeBlanc and immediate family) is $49.95 Can ( $44.00 US ) plus shipping and handling to anywhere in the states which is $5.95 Can ($5.25 US ). To purchase from the states the total is $55.90 Can ($49.25 US).
You can pay by cheque or money order or I can email you the means to pay through Paypal via the Internet. Cheques can be made out to: Daniel Phillip LeBlanc Art Studio and mailed to: Daniel LeBlanc, 12 Hamlet Court, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, B2G-2L4.
The print and write-up are enclosed in a plastic bag and carefully placed in a heavy duty 3" tube approximately 17.25" long and mailed "Small Packet (Air)" to the United States.
If you decide to purchase the print, Daniel will need your full address in order to mail it to you after confirmation of the payment.
Daniel LeBlanc thanks you for your interest and looks forward to hearing from you should you decide to purchase a print of the first Acadian LeBlanc family as conceived by Daniel LeBlanc, 11th generation descendant of Daniel LeBlanc.
Please note that the Ancestral Home does not receive nor ask for monetary remuneration from books or art offered on this site. The purpose of bringing this information to you is to make as much available as possible. Any offerings presented on this site are offered gratis.