French Canadian Americans
|Regions with significant populations|
|New England, New York, Michigan, California and Louisiana|
|French ( Canadian and American) · English|
|Predominantly Roman Catholicism, minority of Protestantism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|French Canadians, French Americans, Canadian Americans, French people, Cajuns, Métis Americans|
French-Canadian Americans (also referred to as Franco-Canadian Americans or Canadien Americans) are Americans of French-Canadian descent. About 2.1 million U.S. residents cited this ancestry in the 2010 U.S. Census; the majority of them speak French at home.  Americans of French-Canadian descent are most heavily concentrated in New England and the Midwest. Their ancestors mostly arrived in the United States from Quebec between 1840 and 1930, though some families became established as early as the 17th and 18th centuries.
The term Canadien (French for "Canadian") may be used either in reference to nationality or ethnicity in regard to this population group. French-Canadian Americans, because of their proximity to Canada and Quebec, kept their language, culture, and religion alive much longer than any other ethnic group in the United States apart from Mexican Americans.  Many " Little Canada" neighborhoods developed in New England cities, but gradually disappeared as their residents eventually assimilated into the American mainstream. A revival of the Canadian identity has taken place in the Midwestern states, where some families of French descent have lived for many generations. These states had been considered part of Canada until 1783. A return to their roots seems to be taking place, with a greater interest in all things that are Canadian or Québécois. 
In the late 19th century, many Francophones arrived in New England from Quebec and New Brunswick to work in textile mill cities in New England. In the same period, Francophones from Quebec soon became a majority of the workers in the saw mill and logging camps in the Adirondack Mountains and their foothills. Others sought opportunities for farming and other trades such as blacksmiths in northern New York State. By the mid-20th century French-Canadian Americans comprised 30 percent of Maine's population. Some migrants became lumberjacks but most concentrated in industrialized areas and into enclaves known as " Little Canadas in cities like Lewiston, Maine". 
Driven by depleted farmlands, poverty and a lack of local economic opportunitunities, rural inhabitants of these areas sought work in the expanding mill industries. Newspapers in New England carried advertisements touting the desirability of wage labor work in the textile mills. In addition to industry's organized recruitment campaigns, the close kinship network of French-Canadians facilitated transnational communication and the awareness of economic opportunity for their friends and relatives. Individual French-Canadian families who desired dwellings developed French Canadian neighborhoods, called Petit Canadas, and sought out local financing. Most arrived through railroads such as the Grand Trunk Railroad. 
French-Canadian women saw New England as a place of opportunity and possibility where they could create economic alternatives for themselves distinct from the expectations of their farm families in Canada. By the early 20th century some saw temporary migration to the United States to work as a rite of passage and a time of self-discovery and self-reliance. Most moved permanently to the United States, using the inexpensive railroad system to visit Quebec from time to time. When these women did marry, they had fewer children with longer intervals between children than their Canadian counterparts. Some women never married, and oral accounts suggest that self-reliance and economic independence were important reasons for choosing work over marriage and motherhood. These women conformed to traditional gender ideals in order to retain their 'Canadienne' cultural identity, but they also redefined these roles in ways that provided them increased independence in their roles as wives and mothers.  
The French-Canadians became active in the Catholic Church where they tried with little success to challenge its domination by Irish clerics.  They founded such newspapers as 'Le Messager' and 'La Justice.' The first hospital in Lewiston, Maine, became a reality in 1889 when the Sisters of Charity of Montreal, the " Grey Nuns", opened the doors of the Asylum of Our Lady of Lourdes. This hospital was central to the Grey Nuns' mission of providing social services for Lewiston's predominately French-Canadian mill workers. The Grey Nuns struggled to establish their institution despite meager financial resources, language barriers, and opposition from the established medical community.  Immigration dwindled after World War I.
|Van Buren, Maine||65.%|
|Fort Kent, Maine||63.%|
|Berlin, New Hampshire||53.4%|
|Hallandale Beach, Florida||42.1%|
|Distribution of French Canadians in New England, 1860–1880 |
|Distribution of French Canadians in New England, 1900–1930 |
- Biloxi, founded by Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville
- Bourbonnais named after François Bourbonnais
- Davenport, Iowa founded by Antoine LeClaire
- Detroit, Michigan, named by French explorer Cadillac*
- Dubuque, named after Julien Dubuque
- Huron, founded by Jean-Baptiste Flemmond
- Juneau, named after Joe Juneau
- La Barge, Wyoming, named after Joseph Marie La Barge
- Laramie, Wyoming, named after Jacques La Remee
- Milwaukee, founded by Solomon Juneau
- Mobile, founded by Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville
- New Orleans, founded by Lemoyne de Bienville
- Portage Des Sioux founded by Zenon Trudeau and François Saucier.
- Provo, Utah, named for Etienne Provost
- Saint Joseph, founded by Joseph Robidoux
- Saint Paul, first settled by Pierre Parrant
- Vincennes founded by François-Marie Bissot
- "2013 ACS Ancestry estimates". Factfinder2.census.gov. 2013. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
- "Languages Used at home:" (PDF). 2010 U.S. Census. U.S. Census Bureau. October 2010.
- l’Actualité économique, Vol. 59, No 3, (september 1983): 423-453 and Yolande LAVOIE, L’Émigration des Québécois aux États-Unis de 1840 à 1930, Québec, Conseil de la langue française, 1979.
- Harvard encyclopedia of American ethnic groups,Stephan Thernstorm, Harvard College, 1980, p 392
- Mark Paul Richard, From 'Canadien' to American: The Acculturation of French-Canadian Descendants in Lewiston, Maine, 1860 to the Present, PhD dissertation, Duke U., 2002; Dissertation Abstracts International, 2002 62(10): 3540-A. DA3031009, 583p.
- Hudson, Susan (2013), The Quiet Revolutionaries: How the Grey Nuns Changed the Social Welfare, 1870–1930, Routledge
- Waldron, Florencemae (2005), "The Battle Over Female (In)Dependence: Women In New England Québécois Migrant Communities, 1870–1930", Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 26 (2): 158–205, doi: 10.1353/fro.2005.0032
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- Richard, Mark Paul (2002). "The Ethnicity of Clerical Leadership: The Dominicans in Francophone Lewiston, Maine, 1881–1986". Quebec Studies. 33: 83–101. doi: 10.3828/qs.33.1.83.
- Hudson, Susan (2001–2002), "Les Sœurs Grises of Lewiston, Maine 1878–1908: An Ethnic Religious Feminist Expression", Maine History, 40 (4): 309–332
- Stewart, Alice R. (1987), "The Franco-Americans of Maine: A Historiographical Essay", Maine Historical Society Quarterly, 26 (3): 160–179
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2000
- Ralph D. VICERO, Immigration of French Canadians to New England, 1840–1900, Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1968, p. 275; as given in Yves ROBY, Les Franco-Américains de la Nouvelle Angleterre, 1776–1930, Sillery, Septentrion, 1990, p. 47
- Leon TRUESDELL, The Canadian Born in the United States, New Haven, 1943, p. 77; as given in Yves ROBY, Les Franco-Américains de la Nouvelle-Angleterre, Sillery, Septentrion, 1990, p. 282.
- Anctil, Pierre. (1979). A Franco-American Bibliography: New England, Bedford, N. H.: National Materials Development Center, 137 p.
- Barkan, Elliott Robert. (1980) "French Canadians". in Stephan Thernstrom, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups 388-401, comprehensive survey
- Brault, Gérard-J. (1986). The French-Canadian Heritage in New England, Hanover: University Press of New England, 1986, 282 p. ISBN 0-87451-359-6 ( online excerpt)
- Brown, Michael. "Franco-American Identity at the University of Maine," Maine History 1997 36(3-4): 106-119
- Chartier, Armand, and Claire Quintal (1999). The Franco-Americans of New England. A History, Manchester and Worcester: ACA Assurance and Institut français of Assumption College, 537 p. ISBN 1-880261-05-7. 537pp; encyclopedic coverage, 1860 to 1990s.
- Doty, C. Stewart. "The Future of the Franco-American Past," American Review of Canadian Studies, Spring 2000, Vol. 30 Issue 1, pp 7–17 calls for further research on trade unionism, politics, farming and logging, links with Quebec elites, and literary figures.
- Fecteau, Edward (1945). French Contributions to America. Methuen, Mass.: Soucy Press; Franco-American Historical Society (Société Historique Franco-Américaine). OCLC 1312704.
- Fedunkiw, Marianne P. "French-Canadian Americans." in Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2014), pp. 167–183. Online
- Fréchette, Louis (1900). The United States for French Canadians, 345 pages online free
- Gagné, Peter J. and Adrien Gabriel Morice (2000). French-Canadians of the West. A Biographical Dictionary of French-Canadians and French Métis of the Western United States and Canada, Quintin Publications, ISBN 1-58211-223-1
- Geyh, Patricia Keeney, et al. (2002). French Canadian Sources. A Guide for Genealogists, Ancestry Publishing, 320 pages ISBN 1-931279-01-2 ( online excerpt)
- Gosnell, Jonathan. "Le base ball, Assimilation, and Ethnic Identity: The National Pastime in Franco-America." Quebec Studies 66 (2018): 49-75. online
- Lacroix, Patrick (2016). "A Church of Two Steeples: Catholicism, Labor, and Ethnicity in Industrial New England, 1869–90". Catholic Historical Review. 102 (4): 746–770. doi: 10.1353/cat.2016.0206.
- Lacroix, Patrick (2017). "Americanization by Catholic Means: French Canadian Nationalism and Transnationalism, 1889-1901". Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. 16 (3): 284–301. doi: 10.1017/S1537781416000384.
- Lacroix, Patrick (2018). "À l'assaut de la corporation sole : autonomie institutionnelle et financière chez les Franco-Américains du Maine, 1900-1917". Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française. 72 (1): 31–51. doi: 10.7202/1051145ar.
- Lamarre, Jean. (2003). The French Canadians of Michigan, Wayne State University Press, 209 pages ISBN 0-8143-3158-0 ( online excerpt)
- Laflamme, J.L.K., David E. Lavigne and J. Arthur Favreau. (1908) Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "French Catholics in the United States". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Louder, Dean R., and Eric Waddell, eds. (1993). French America. Mobility, Identity, and Minority Experience Across the Continent, Louisiana State University Press, 371 pages ISBN 0-8071-1669-6
- Lindenfeld, Jacqueline. (2002). The French in the United States. An Ethnographic Study, Greenwood Publishing Group, 184 pages ISBN 0-89789-903-2 ( online excerpt)
- Monnier, Alain. "Franco-Americains et Francophones aux Etats-Unis" ("Franco-Americans and French Speakers in the United States). Population 1987 42(3): 527-542. Census study.
- Murphy, Lucy Eldersveld, Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750-1860. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Perreault, Robert B. Franco-American Life and Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire: Vivre La Difference (2010) excerpt and text search
- Potvin, Raymond H. "The Franco-American Parishes of New England: Past, Present and Future," American Catholic Studies 2003 114(2): 55-67.
- Richard, Mark Paul. (2008) Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States, on acculturation in Lewiston, Maine, 1860 to the 2000
- Richard, Mark Paul. (2016) "'Sunk into Poverty and Despair': Franco-American Clergy Letters to FDR during the Great Depression." Quebec Studies 61#1: 39-52. online
- Richard, Sacha. (2002) "American Perspectives on 'La Fievre aux Etats-Unis,' 1860–1930: A Historiographical Analysis of Recent Writings on the Franco-Americans in New England," Canadian Review of American Studies 32(1): 105-132
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- Rumily, Robert. (1958) Histoire des Franco Americains. a standard history, in French
- Stewart, Alice R. (1987) "The Franco-Americans of Maine: A Historiographical Essay," Maine Historical Society Quarterly 26(3): 160-179
- Vermette, David G. (2018) A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife
- Warren, Jean-Philippe. (2017) "The French Canadian Press in the United States." Journal of Modern Periodical Studies 7.1-2: 74-95. online
- Madore, Nelson, and Barry Rodrigue, eds. Voyages: A Maine Franco-American Reader (2009)
- Robbins, Rhea Cote. 'down the Plains,' (2013) http://www.rhetapress.com/
- Robbins, Rhea Cote. Wednesday's Child (2008)
- Robbins, Rhea Cote, ed. Canuck and Other Stories (2006)
- American-French Genealogical Society A genealogical and historical organization for French-Canadian research