Franco American Digital Archives website launched

The Franco American Digital Archives/Portail franco-américain is now live after several months of testing a beta version.

The online, bilingual website makes Franco American records more searchable and accessible to researchers, educators, students, genealogists, and the general public. 

It addresses the need for online access to Franco American cultural history by locating and identifying archival materials that concern French Canadian, Québécois, and Acadian diaspora communities in the US Northeast, and wherever these materials have been collected around the world.

Users can access books, letters and other correspondence, scrapbooks, family and business records, photographs and other media depicting Franco American history, culture and people.

The website makes the archival collections accessible by directing the user toward the institutions that collect and preserve them. Once a user selects an item to view, the site connects them to that item at its original source in a digital format or at a physical archive.

The project has been a five-university initiative, involving the University of Maine’s Franco American Programs, the University of Southern Maine Franco-American Collection, University of Maine at Fort Kent Acadian Archives, Assumption College’s French Institute, and Saint Anselm College Msgr. Wilfrid H. Paradis Archives and Special Collections.

Photo from from “Memoirs of Alice Michaud Cyr, 1868–1960.” Source: University of Maine.

Browse by surname
One of the most interesting features on the site is that users can browse by family name, topic, and city, neighbourhood and parish.

There is still a bit of work to be done on the website, such as make it possible to do an advanced search and add the guide and glossary. Nevertheless, there is plenty to explore while waiting for those features.

Researchers with an interest in Franco American culture and history would do well to visit the website on a regular basis to see if anything new has been added. The development team plans to seek partnerships with other institutions across the United States and Canada, including the Library of Congress, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and Harvard University so the portal could provide access to their archives.

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