SHEDIAC, New Brunswick — Guy Richard, of Quispamsis, New Brunswick, knew little about his father's brother, who died young. His father wouldn't speak of it.
About 30 years ago, Guy Richard decided to find out for himself what happened to the uncle he never knew. He went to the local library and found a newspaper article about a terrible car crash that claimed his uncle's life on the wedding day of his uncle's sister.
Guy Richard was bitten that day by the genealogy bug and he hasn't stopped digging since.
He was one of dozens of Richards, including a few from Louisiana and elsewhere in the United States, attending the Richard family reunion Monday as part of Congrès Mondial Acadien 2019.
Family tree charts lined the walls of the Shediac Multipurpose Center, books of family trees and histories lined the tables and computers were connected to a database of Richard family research for those looking to further their search for information.
Guy Richard held an old framed photo in his lap, explaining that, because of his interest in the family history, his uncle handed it down to him in 2017. The photo is of his grandparents, his father and his uncles and aunt on what appears to be the wedding day in the early 1900s of his aunt.
"It means a lot to me," he said. "If we speak of these people that are deceased, we honor them."
Guy Richard has only one child, a daughter who is 18. He wonders who should inherit the massive family history he has compiled over 30 years. Will his daughter or nephew cherish it as he does? Should it go to the Richard family association or an archives?
He tries to explain to his daughter the importance of knowing about the people who are a part of her and the sacrifices they made.
"I tell her you didn't just come from your mom and dad," Guy Richard said. Some of her ancestors are from Italy, Ireland and England. "It's all that that makes up who she is."
Another Paul Richard of Alberta, Canada, pointed to a Richard family tree on the wall, explaining how his family fits in. One daughter noticed the photo of a Richard ancestor who resembles her uncle. Another said Louisiana artist Zachary Richard of Lafayette resembles her grandfather.
"Coming here," he said, "there's a lot I can learn and a lot they can learn. It's nice to see the spirit of the Acadians alive and well."
Paul Richard grew up in Shediac, but his parents didn't talk about the Grand Derangement, when the Acadians were driven by the British from their homes and many expelled to other countries.
"The winners of war tell the story," he said. "Unfortunately, we weren't on the winning side."
Paul Richard, president of the reunion organizing committee and president of the Richard Association of New Brunswick, said the history of the Acadians and the Richards is interesting and is still alive. He sees children on the Richard database he compiled searching for information on their ancestors.
Even adults such as himself who have done years of research can make new discoveries, Paul Richard said. Albert County, New Brunswick, recently unveiled a monument for the Acadiens "which is something people didn't think would ever happen" because it's an English area that was originally settled by the Acadians, something not commonly known.
Dorene Richard of Shediac and Zachary Richard of Lafayette also share some ancestry. Their Richard ancestors, she said, were brothers. Some of them hid out in the woods to escape capture by the British. When it was safe, they returned to New Brunswick and re-established themselves.
Others ended up in Louisiana. Two centuries later, so did her daughter, Chantal, who earned her master's degree at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she met the man she married. They live in Maurice, Louisiana. He also is Acadian, Dorene Richard said.