Project Description



Claude Petitpas Sr. was born in France in 1624 and arrived in Port Royal, Acadia around 1640. In 1658, he married Catherine Bugaret of that colony. Claude and Catherine had twelve children, including Claude Jr. born at Port Royal in 1663.

Claude Jr. was a schooner captain and merchant who also served as a Mi’kmaq interpreter. He married a Mi’kmaw native bride, Marie Therese, around 1686 and came to know the native language well. The couple first lived at Musquodobit, the marriage producing at least seven children, including Francoise Petitpas born in 1706.

Following the passing of Claude Jr’s first wife around 1717, he moved to Port Toulouse, Isle Royale, with his family. Claude’s daughter Francois married Jacques Coste around 1727 in Port Toulouse.

Claude and his first wife Marie Therese are ancestors of the DeCoste and Fougere families of Havre Boucher through their daughter Francoise who married Jacques Coste and through Francoise’s daughter Marguerite Coste who married Joseph Fougere.

On January 7, 1721 Claude married for a second time to Francoise Lavergne, daughter of Pierre Lavergne and Anne Bernon, formerly of Port Royal. Claude and Francoise raised four more boys; Jean-Baptiste, Jacques, Louis and Joseph. These four brothers are the progenitors of most of the Petitpas ancestors in Tracadie.

Claude Petitpas died about 1731 and his widow, Francoise Lavergne married Antoine Lavandier
at Port Toulouse and subsequently gave birth to two children, Abraham (born 1834 and Marguerite born 1735). Antoine Lavandier and Francoise relocated to Chezzetcook about 1760 along with the four Petitpas brothers and returned to Isle Madame in the 1770’s.

In 1787, by Governor’s orders, 200 acres of land was surveyed in Tracadie for Louis Petitpas, 200 acres was surveyed for his nephew Jean Petitpas and 100 acres was surveyed for his nephew Michel Petitpas. Jean and Michel were sons of Joseph Petitpas who died in Tracadie about 1819. Louis died about 1788. His oldest daughter married in Chezzetcook and two younger daughters married in Cape Breton.

Jean, Michel and their half-brother Boniface Petitpas all appeared on the 1794 Poll Tax Rolls of Tracadie. A number of their daughters married into the nearby Acadian families in Harbour au Bouche.

The Petitpas surname has taken on several variations over the years with Pettipas now being most prominent. Like many other Acadian surnames, the outmigration to the Boston states in the latter part of the 19th century resulted in Petitpas being shortened and anglicized as Pitts