The new border deeply divided the families of Madawaska. The story is told by a compilation of lots granted or confirmed by Maine between 1843 and 1844, and by New Brunswick between 1845 and 1847. Not only do we find branches of the same large families on both sides of the St. John River, but also many people had to deal with owning lots on both sides of the river, in two different countries. Find your surname in these tables and continue your research by using the tools available to you in this room and on the web.
When the property deeds arrive with a boundary in between the family members
In the wake of the Treaty, many family names can be found on both sides of the St. John River. The five main surnames alone, all Acadian – the Cyrs, the Martins, the Thibodeaux, the Violettes, and the Daigles – occupied more than 300 properties in Maine and in New Brunswick. This table and the next were made possible by standardizing the spelling of the names and surnames – something that varied considerably under the penmanship of the British and American Commissioners.
The St. John River: “natural” border or “Main Street”?
This second table lists the families who were represented on only one side of the river after the settlement of the boundary. Most of those Madawaska residents occupied only one lot and their surnames are of various origins. For those families, as with their neighbours with deeper roots whose houses faced each other from both sides of the river, the St. John represented the natural means of communication rather than the artificial division of the landscape.
Sources of the data
Information on landowners and the size of their lots on the New Brunswick side come from the cadastral maps and the Madawaska Grant Book. Information on the lots on the Maine side comes from the Joint Report of the Commissioners to locate grants and determine the extent of possessory claims under the late treaty with Great Britain, Upper St. John River Valley & Aroostook River Valley, Aroostook County, Maine, August 1844, and in particular from the transcription done by C. Gagnon and published on the following website: http://www.upperstjohn.com/1844/index.htm