Avoyelles Parish was settled by predominantly direct French Immigrants and their descendants- long before the Acadians came to Louisiana, the ancestors of Avoyelles were settled here. The Avoyelles French settled first in Pt. Coupee and New Orleans, then made their way to Avoyelles by 1781. Names such as Bordelon, DeCuir, Laborde, Normand are unique to the Greater Avoyelles area. All of the first families were from France, either directly or by way of Quebec, except the DeCuir family which came from Macon, Hainaut, Belgium and the Scallan family who came from Ireland. Only two of the early families which came to Avoyelles, Jeansonne and Moulard, have ties to Acadia, with Jeansonne actually being an Acadian version of Johnson, a Scottish name.
The Bordelon name is very common in Louisiana today and Bordelons can be found all over the country. Everything from a U.S. Naval Ship (USS Bordelon) to a Medal of Honor recipient can be traced to the Bordelon name. The history of the Bordelon family has been written in several books over the past several years but like most amateur genealogist, I was interested specifically in my branch of the huge Bordelon tree. I started this research many years ago in college but kept hitting brick walls. With the help of computer generated census data, church, death records and countless interviews, I have solved the mystery that has plagued me for years.
Interesting to find that a few of my ancestors owned slaves, one was a Revolutionary War Patriot, and a few close cousins fought in the Civil war. Some were quite rich but most were very poor. Most married more than once and I even have a ancestry grandmother that was kicked out of France and forced to move to New Orleans because of her lawless and criminal behavior in France. Her story is most interesting!
I was amazed how much wrong information is out there. People make plenty of guesses and assumptions then post them on the internet that prove not to be accurate. Also- the census data which was very valuable- also often had wrong birthday information. Ancestry.com has assumptions and half accurate information from anyone who wants to post info. I posted my tree there but, again, there is a lot of information from others about my family that is inaccurate.
My facts are backed by proven documentation as much as possible and little or no "assumptions" were made. I can now connect all the branches of my tree and trace my ancestry all the way back to
Le Havre, France (1690s).
Wait, I thought we were Cajuns???
We are not Cajuns per say. I am a direct descendant of a French immigrant merchant seaman, which is a different from the famous "Cajuns" whose ancestry took a detour to Canada then, was forced to settle in southern Louisiana. So if you’re a Bordelon, you’re not a true "Cajun" but still French descendent of that time. We have the same background, culture and beliefs as Cajuns which still exists to this day. Avoyelles Parish is still considered the northern most area of French culture and heritage in Louisiana even though today the spotlight is usually on the Lafayette area and surrounding parishes.
Just about all genealogists agree that all the Bordelons in Louisiana descended from Gabriel Laurent Bordelon who was the first Bordelon in Louisiana. He was employed as a merchant seaman and came into America through New Orleans. My direct ancestry then moved from New Orleans through the Pointe Coupee or New Roads area then finally resided in the Marksville area.
I start this journey with my father Charles then to my grandfather Walter Ones Bordelon, who I vaguely remember because he died when I was only 10 years old, then through all the generations to Jean Batiste (1690). I am married to Kimberly Chenevert (b. 1970) and we have one son Peyton. My son Peyton (B. 2002) is the last in the line of remaining direct male descendent of Walter Bordelon’s tree.
A summary of some of the generations we will discuss is below.
As you will read, my ancerstral path started with GABRIEL LAURENT BORDELON from Le Harve, France moving to port of Rochefort, France- then (1) crossed the Atlantic- (2) came into Louisiana to (3) New Orleans then up the Mississippi River to (4) Point Coupee. A couple of generations later, his grandson (5) ZENON BORDELON started the move of my branch to Avoyelles around Marksville- where we still reside to this day. There are a lot more details in between all this but just keep this geography in mind as you look through the generations.