Friday, February 18, 2011

Louisiana Roots: Some Great Local Sources for Genealogy

When you bring your family tree chart to the library to fill in the blanks, one way to begin is to consult records which may contain records of an important event in a known ancestor’s life, such as a birth, marriage or death. Then work backward in time to find connected events. For instance, if you find a record of a direct ancestor’s birth which includes the names of his/her parents, in earlier records you may find those parents’ marriage record, which may contain the name of their parents.

If your family is from the Terrebonne or Lafourche Parish area, the series South Louisiana Records may become your new best friend. These volumes, nicknamed the “Father Hebert books” for their compiler, contain records from local churches and courthouses for the years 1794 through 1920. Another series, South Louisiana Vital Family Records compiled by the Terrebonne Genealogical Society, contain Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish courthouse records from 1902-1941.

Southwest Louisiana Records (which are also sometimes called Father Hebert Books) cover Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion Parishes (1756-1915.) Ecclesiastic records for the Archdiocese of New Orleans (1718-1831) and the Diocese of Baton Rouge (1707-1900) are in the genealogy collection as well.

Once again, find a record of a life event (birth, marriage, death) of an ancestor in one of these books and work backward from that point. With a little work and some luck, you’ll be able to fill in many unknowns in your family tree!

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