The Landry Lines in North America

                                                         By Ben R. Londeree


Most Landrys in North America descended from one of three progenitors according to yDNA analyses.[1]  The progenitors were: Guillaume Landry, Rene l’aine (The Elder) Landry, and Rene le jeune (The Younger) Landry.  The yDNA analyses also showed that the two Renes were related closely.  Stephen White used Catholic Church dispensations for the marriage of two descendants of the two Renes to conclude that if there was a common ancestor of the two Renes, he was not a father or grandfather.2  Therefore, most Landrys in North America have descended from two genetic lines whose progenitors came to North America in the 1600s.

There probably were other lines as well.  Male descendants of these lines haven’t submitted yDNA samples for various reasons.  One possibility is that there were no male descendants of the line.  Another possibility is that they arrived in North America more recently and haven’t produced many sons, e.g. Jean Jacques Landry from Switzerland.  Two of his sons were born in Switzerland and married in St. Martinville, Louisiana in 1822.  A number of Landrys arrived in the United States from the British Isles in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Guillaume Landry was born in 1623 at a location that now goes by the name of La Ventrouze, Tourouvre, Mortagne, France. His parents were Mathurin Landry and Damien Desavis.  Mathurin spent some time around 1643 in Trois Rivieres, Quebec in the employ of the Jesuits.  He returned to France later that year.  Guillaume imigrated to l’Ile d’Orleans, Quebec prior to 1656.  He married Gabrielle Desavis in 1659 in Quebec City.   Guillaume and Gabrielle had three children but only two survived into adulthood and had families: Marguerite and Claude.  Their children and most of their grandchildren were born on l’Ile d’Orleans.  Later generations lived primarily in the Quebec counties on the south side of the St. Lawrence Rivier.  Claudes’ son, Louis Hyacinth, married and his children were born in Contrecoeur and Berthierville, Quebec.

The birth location of Rene l’aine Landry generally is thought to be La Chaussee, Vienne, France but there is no definitive proof. His parents are unknown.  He married Perrine Bourg about 1645 in Port Royal (near to the current Annapolis, Nova Scotia).  They had five children in Port Royal: Marie Henriette, Marie Marguerite, Madeleine, Pierre, and Claude.  Based on censuses and burial records, Rene, Perrine, and their children lived their entire lives in Port Royal.  Rene and Perrine’s grandchildren were born in Port Royal.  Some of the grandchildren died in Port Royal, but some died in other locations as a result of the expulsion of Acadians by the British.


Rene le jeune Landry is thought to have been born in Martiaze or Loudon, Vienne, France but a baptism record has not been found.  His parents are unknown.  The 1678 census of Port Royal listed Marie Sale widow of Jean Claude not far from Rene and in 1686 next door to Rene.  Some authors have claimed that Jean Claude was a Landry and Rene’s father.  Stephen White, a highly respected Acadian researcher, concluded that Jean Claude was NOT a Landry and Rene’s  parents were NOT Jean Claude Landry and Marie Sale.[2]  Rene imigrated to Port Royal about 1659.  He married Marie Bernard about 1659 either in France or Port Royal.  They had 15 children: Antoine, Claude, Marie Cecile, Jean, Rene, Marie, Marguerite, Germain, Jeanne, Abraham, Pierre, Catherine, Anne, Charles, and Elisabeth.  The children were born in Port Royal, but as adults most moved to Grand Pre and other locations near to Minas Basin where they married and raised their families.  Rene and Marie died in Port Royal.  Their children probably died in the Minas Basin region, although Charles died in Port Royal.  Rene and Marie’s grandchildren died elsewhere as a result of the expulsion of Acadians by the British.

Above I have mentioned the expulsion of Acadians from Nova Scotia by the British.  It began in 1755 but was preceded by years of contention between the Acadians and the British after France ceded present day Nova Scotia to the British in 1710.  England wanted the Acadians to pledge their allegiance to the King of England.  Most but not all of the Acadians, who had come from France, had been neutral during the previous wars between France and England and refused to sign their allegiance to the King of England.  A second factor was that the Acadians had some of the most fertile land in Nova Scotia and the English were covetous.  A third factor was that some of the Acadians provided support to France during the ongoing war with the British.  It all came to a head when Governor Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered the Acadians deported.  In the beginning Acadians were rounded up and shipped to the other British colonies along the Atlantic coast.  One of the goals was to conquer and divide.  Some Acadians had escaped to Cape Breton, the northern part of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ile Royale (Prince Edward Island), Quebec, and various Atlantic islands. The British armies continued to round up the Acadians in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ile Royale, imprisoned some of them, and shipped some of them to England and France.  Some authors have claimed that 50% of the Acadians died during the period from 1755-1764 due to shipwrecks, malnutrition, and disease.  After the war, Acadians were sent to France and others went to Quebec and Louisiana.  In 1785, the Spanish King offered to take many Acadians in France to populate Louisiana.  About 1,500 Acadians accepted the offer.  In 1920-1921, by far more Landrys lived in Louisiana than any other state or province in the USA and Canada.




[2] White, Stephen A., English Supplement to the Dictionnaire Genealogique des Families Acadienes. Centr d'Etudes Acadienes, Universite de Moncton, Moncton, NB, Canada, pp. 194-5.