Some French names in the 1830 US Census of the Madawaska Settlement

One of the biggest challenges of using the 1830 US Census to find people in the Madawaska Settlement is the spelling of the names. Since many of the people were not literate, the census taker often had to guess at the spelling; this was just as true of English names as it was of French.

Another complication is that the pronunciation of French in northern Aroostook county (as well as in neighboring parts of Québec and New Brunswick) has its own specificities; thus, Sirois is pronounced roughly like Searway, rather than the Parisian French Searwah. So imagine an English-speaker hearing a French name, in the accent not of Paris but of Madawaska, and trying to figure out how to write it. That's what we're seeing in the 1830 census. Needless to say, many of the names are very difficult to recognize.

Another thing to keep in mind is that in 1830 there was no single, standardized way to spell many names, so even if people could read and write they may have spelled their name differently from others with the same name. This explains much of the variation and the difference between today's spelling and that used in 1830 (Michaud vs. Misheau is one example).

This is only a guide to deciphering the names. For those names for which I have definite information, I have included the correct spellings of the names in the "Remarks" section on the census transcription pages. This page is meant to be a guide, that is, to suggest possible ways that some common names were spelled; and to suggest possible correct spellings for some of the more common names found in the census to help point you in a direction for further research. Before you assume that the equivalents given here are correct for a specific individual, you should find other evidence for that spelling of his/her name.

If you have any other examples, or know specific names in the census, please . Thanks.

I have included English names if the identity of the individual seems likely based on earlier and later censuses and surveys

Please note: This is only a guide. You should always check other sources to confirm the actual spelling of names.

Last names

 1830 census version ---> "real names"

Albear = Albert, Hébert

Bell = Lebel

Bopray = Beaupré

Bullia = Beaulieu, Boulier

Bushee = Boucher

Catin, Caten = Keaton

Cere = Cyr

Chissee = Chassé

Fary = Farrell

Gorney = Gagné

Gurno = Corneau/Gorneau

Loveway = Lavoie

Macra = McRae

Markee = Marquis

McParson = McPhearson

Misheau = Michaud

Missude = Michaud

Mora = Morin or Moreau

Neddow = Nadeau

Orient = Ayotte

Parron = Parant

Pecure = Picard

Pelkey = Pelletier

Peltier = Pelletier

Remo = Raymond

Rongute = Ringuette

Seroy = Sirois

Sophisan, Sopisow = Sansfaçon

Terrio = Thériault

Torday = Tardif

Tye = Tighe

Use =? Hughes

Wollet = Ouellet

Yon = Dionne

 "Real names" ---> 1830 Census version

Albert = Albear

Ayotte = Orient

Beaulieu = Bullia

Beaupré = Bopray

Boucher = Bushee

Boulier = Bullia

Chassé = Chissee

Corneau, Corno = Gurno

Cyr = Cere

Dionne = Yon

Farrell = Fary

Gagné = Gorney

Gorneau = Gurno

Hébert = Albear

Hughes = Use

Keaton = Catin, Caten

Lavoie = Loveway

Marquis = Markee

McPhearson = McParson

McRae = Macra

Michaud = Missude, Misude, Misheau

Nadeau = Neddow

Ouellet = Wollet

Parant = Parron

Pelletier = Pelkey, Pulkey, Peltier

Picard = Picard

Raymond = Remo

Ringuette = Rongute

Sansfaçon = Sophisan, Sopisow

Sirois = Seroy

Tardif = Torday

Thériault = Terio

Tighe = Tye


First names:

1830 version --> "real name"

Alexr. = abbreviation for Alexandre

Bartis = Baptiste

Bellana = Bénoni

Benjn. = abbreviation for Benjamin

Clemo = Clement

Elway = Eloi

Feamer = Phirmain

Grigware = Gregoire

Jeremiah, Jereh. = Germain

John = Jean

Loeis, Loei = Louis

Lara = Laurent

Lawrence = Laurent, Hilarion

Michell = Michel, Michael

Peter = Pierre

Reoff = Raphael

Vassal = Vincent

Wid. = abbreviation for "Widow"

Return to 1830 census page

Last revised 15 Jan 2004
©2004 C. Gagnon