Select Landry Surname Genealogy

Landry as a name is Germanic in meaning – from land meaning “land” or “fatherland” and ric meaning “powerful” or “rich”.  But it was to be found in France from very early times.  Saint Landry was recorded as the Bishop of Seez as early as 450 AD and that were two more saints later on with the same name.

For this reason Landry became popular as a male given name in France in medieval times.  Landry also emerged as a surname - although it has not been that common in France

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French history records some French Landrys, but not that many.  The Landrys today in France amount to less than 5,000.  The name did appear in villages around Loudon in Poitou in the mid-17th century.  This area was the place of origin for a significant number of the Acadians, one of the early founding people of New France in Canada.

Canada.  The forefather of the Landrys in Acadia - René l’aine or René le jeune?

Many investigators have named René Landry the elder (René l’aine), a native of La Chaussée near Loudun.  He arrived in Acadia around 1640 and married Perrine Bourg there.  But a stronger case has been made for René Landry the younger (René le jeune).  He came with his wife Marie Bernard around the year 1659.  Landry descents in Acadia have usually started with this René rather than with René l’aine.

After the initial arrivals into Port Royal, the Landry numbers expanded, being mainly centered after 1690 around Grand Pre and Pisguit in present-day Nova Scotia.  But they - like other Acadians - were subject to the British Expulsions in 1755.  Some 3,000 Acadians were rounded up into ships and deported – a considerable number to Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia, many to France, and many eventually to what was then French Louisiana.

New Brunswick.  A few Landrys managed to remain in New Brunswick.

“In the spring of 1756 Alexis Landry - along with other Acadians - decided to go north to the Miramichi river, hoping to escape from British raids and to make a living by hunting and fishing. They went through a terrible winter of war, famine, and pestilence.  More than 350 Acadians perished, including five of Alexis’s own children.  It seems that in the spring of 1757 Alexis was able to make his way to Caraquet on the Baie de Chaleurs with a few other Acadian families.”

Landry’s family was among those that were granted lands there on the northeast coast by the New Brunswick Government in 1784.

The village of Memramcook on the southeast coast survived the English deportations and subsequently became an important center for Acadian culture.  René and Madeleine Landry arrived there in the 1760’s and Landrys were prominent in the community from that time.  Amand Landry and his son Pierre-Amand represented Westmorland county in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick for a long period of time – from the 1840’s to the 1880’s.
  In 1916 Pierre-Amand Landry became the first Acadian to be knighted.

nearby has the Julien Landry house, a wood-frame house that was built around 1875 and is typical of an Acadian famer’s house of that time.  His son Patrick built a flour mill and a sawmill there; while his grandson Joseph started a lobster processing plant in 1948 and later became a Canadian Senator.

Quebec.  Some of the exiled Landrys in Massachusetts were able to return to French Quebec around the year 1767.  Five Landry families from there ended up along the Yamachiche river in Quebec; while Germain Landry and his family had settled nearby at l'Assomption.  Their line ran to Bernard Landry, born in 1937, who became Premier of Quebec in 2001.

A sizeable number of exiled Landrys had reached Louisiana during the 1760’s.  Olivier Landry arrived via Georgia in 1764.

It seems that the bulk of these early Landrys came from Maryland where a large number had initially been exiled.  At least nine families arrived from there in 1767 and five more the following year.  All of them eventually settled in present-day Ascension and Iberville parishes.

Of particular genealogical interest here has been Firmin Landry, whose ancestry would seem to connect him back to René Landry le jeune.  He had migrated by 1670 into the Teche country of the Attakapas.  Many of his descendants remained in the Teche area.

One of the most distinguished lines stemming from the Maryland exiles was that of Joseph Landry:
  • his son Joseph was named commandant of the Acadians of Ascension parish.  He developed a large indigo plantation at New Hope above Donaldsonville and his six sons all became sugar planters there in antebellum days.  
  • one of these sons Jean-Trasimond was elected Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana in 1845 and by 1860 had become the leading slaveholder in the state.
The Civil War and its aftermath saw the financial ruin of wealthy families such as the Landrys.  Many of their descendants have remained in Ascension and adjacent parishes.  Pierre C. Landry, born a slave in Ascension parish in 1841, managed to better himself.  He became a Methodist minister, a local mayor, and served as a Louisiana state senator in 1874.

The ancestry of Tom Landry, the football coach of the Dallas Cowboys, is Acadian, but not via Louisiana.  His line ran through Quebec, Manitoba, Illinois, and finally to Mission, Texas where Tom was born in 1924.

Select Landry Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Landry Names

René Landry the younger (René le jeune) seems to have been the forefather of the Acadian Landrys in Canada and Louisiana.
Pierre C. Landry
was the first African American to be a mayor in America, having been elected to that position in Donaldsonville, Louisiana in 1868.
Tom Landry
was a much-acclaimed American football coach.  He coached the Dallas Cowboys for twenty-nine years.  He led the Cowboys to a record five Super Bowl appearances in the nine years between 1970 and 1978.
Bernard Landry
, leader of the Parti Quebecois, served as the Premier of Quebec from 2001 to 2003.

Select Landrys Today
  • 15,000 in America (most numerous in Louisiana) 
  • 43,000 elsewhere (almost all in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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