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A Hidden Acadian in the Georgia Piedmont?

Thanks to Mapannapolis, Floramont has seen a steady stream of visitors from Canada, Québec, and all over the United States. I have a hunch that many of us are tied by Acadian threads, and I wholeheartedly welcome you to this Southern gal's corner of the globe!

Sunny Path between Oak Trees

As a result, I just have to ask you the same question I would ask you in-person: Do you know any "hidden" Acadians in your midst, particularly by the name of Goodroe? While I am not aware of any Goodroe members in my particular Acadian branches, my husband has some mighty mysterious DNA trails linking to people with seemingly 100% Acadian family trees, and I am betting it is due to a Mr. Thomas Goodroe finding himself in the Georgia Piedmont during the 1800's. Or was he previously Thomas Goudreau/Gaudreau/Gautreaux? While this journal likes to meander through landscapes and gardens, let's sit a spell on the porch and ponder this (potentially Acadian) mystery man, shall we?


My husband is descended from this lady who is said to have lived over a century. Her given name was Emeline Goodroe from the state of Georgia. Her father was Thomas Goodroe.

Emeline Goodroe Jenkins sitting on porch chair, 1800's

We know that Thomas passed away in Upson County, Georgia in June of 1865. He was a member of the Thomaston Baptist Church in that county. Here's what we don't know for sure: The name of his parents or his birth date. Some descendants indicate conflicting family trees showing possibilities, but they either lack documentation (or if it exists, then it has not been widely shared). There are circumstantial records showing possible ties to New Hampshire, but nothing truly definitive at this point (based on my cursory research, anyway).


Emeline and her siblings gave varying accounts of their father's birth state. Sometimes they mentioned North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. How did so many conflicting stories occur? Is it a coincidence that each state was a landing spot for Acadians during the Great Upheaval of 1755? You know what most genealogists would say: Look at the DNA.


Interestingly, when searching for the name Gaudreau/Gautreaux and its variations, my husband's DNA is linked to many people from Louisiana with online family trees showing 100% Acadian ancestry, but he has heard zero stories indicating such ancestry. Then, when I look at his cousins who descend from Thomas Goodroe, guess what? They share DNA with many of the same Louisiana DNA testers, yet there is nothing in their online family trees indicating Acadian ancestors from that state. I am familiar with the concept of endogamy and the chances of deceptively stronger family ties showing in DNA results, but I have documented Acadian ancestors, and yet I have fewer Lousiana matches than my husband. He even has matches to people whose families have remained in places like Ontario, yet most of his ancestors are known to be from the southern United States. They have the French versions of the surname in their family trees, but somehow, they share DNA with this Goodroe bunch originating in Georgia!


There are other interesting coincidences which may not indicate anything. For example, one of Emeline's relatives married a winemaker from France. By the late 1800's, there were fewer immigrants to Georgia from places like France. How did that French winemaking family come across a Goodroe girl in rural Georgia? Then there is the anecdotal evidence with loose ties to actual records, but again, nothing indicating a certain link with Emeline Goodoe's father, just speculation and the mysterious DNA links. Most of the Acadian DNA testers, who seem to link with Thomas Goodroe, ultimately link to François Gautrot and Edmée Lejeune, known to be some of the first settlers in Acadia.


If Thomas Goodroe had Acadian ancestry, then it's entirely possible that his family chose to forge ahead in a new country. There is one way to potentially confirm his identity, and that's the Y-DNA test for his male descendants who share the Goodroe surname. I am unaware of any of them taking a test at this time, and I certainly understand if people do not wish to take such a personal test. If Thomas Goodroe and his predecessors chose not to dwell on the past, regardless of whatever happened, then we should respect that. Or, perhaps they shared stories that simply were not passed down to current generations, whether they were Acadian or not. Meanwhile, the words of Aurore Bilodeau keep ringing through my head:


Dans le monde entier, l'Acadie cherche ses enfants.

Acadia seeks her children throughout the world.


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