After the Treaty of Utrecht was signed between France and Britain in 1713, France held fishing rights along the Newfoundland coast on the Northern Peninsula with the condition that no French settlers remained there over the winter. At the beginning of the nineteenth-century, the French fishing captains began hiring gardiens, or caretakers, to protect their fishing rooms and related outbuildings from plundering by local First Nations and British populations. The gardiens were most often the first settlers in the region and are the ancestors of many people in local communities along the French Shore today. The French fished in the area until 1904 when France and Britain signed the Anglo-French Convention by which France traded its fishing interests on the shore of Newfoundland for concessions elsewhere.
For my master's thesis I will be studying the lives of Newfoundland gardiens. To accomplish this I will be conducting archaeological excavations at Genille, also know as Kearney's Cove, in Croque, Newfoundland. This site was inhabited by the gardien Patrick Kearney and his family, and by studying their homestead I hope to learn more about their daily life, diet, trade, and the importance of the land and sea to both the anglophone settlers and the French fishermen