CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 1, Number 39
By Damon Veach
RESEARCH SOURCES: Genealogical and historical societies are excellent sources for learning about individual family histories. In one of my columns back in 2006, I listed all the active groups in Louisiana, and I won’t repeat the list here, but if anyone would like a copy, I can certainly e-mail a photocopy to you. Whether you are a beginner in the research field or an avid researcher with years of experience, it is always nice to know what is being done in various areas of the country to preserve genealogical and other research materials.
Most of these groups have publications, but the economy has forced a few to either discontinue or to cut back on the number of issues published each year. I only know of one that has increased – Le Comite des Archives de la Louisiane and their le Raconteur. These publications can usually be found in major genealogy collections around the state but especially in the parishes where the societies are located. They are available for researchers to use which means you don’t have to be a member to enjoy the results of the labors that went into compiling these publications. I like to personally support those organizations in the areas where my ancestors lived in order to help them in continuing their work. It is all done on a voluntary basis, and it is important to keep the groups active through this support.
Members of these groups spend countless hours compiling materials for publication, and this information is unique to the given areas. Unknown or previously unpublished materials are brought together to make these little publications so very important for researchers. Some of these records may be the only existing copies, and it is nice to see these efforts of preservation taking place.
In many cases, these groups begin with a few friends who have realized the value of keeping the older records from passing into disrepair, or at least making copies in case something happens to the originals. Many parish histories came about because of this interest, and a lot of good came from the results. Louisiana has quite a few family histories in large volumes where individuals on the committees met with and gathered the data for publication. I can only imagine what would have been lost in time if these efforts at preservation had not taken place. Not all parishes in the state were lucky enough to have this kind of work promoted, but those that did can see the results of their work being enjoyed now and preserved for future generations.
Be sure to check up on what is being done in your parish to preserve and protect early records. There is so much to do and so little time to accomplish results, but it is all worthwhile in the end.
RESEARCH GUIDES: Some research books never get too old to be of value, but some have a tendency to just keep getting better over the years as more information is made available to researchers. When I first started my research, The Everton Publishers in Utah had the two books that made everything I needed to know at the time right at my fingertips. My first two guide books for use in my research was The Handy Book for Genealogists and The How Book for Genealogists. They are still important volumes, but new and bigger and better editions are now available. From my old Fourth Edition to the newer Eleventh Edition, my research has come a long way.
Since 1947, the first ten editions of this valuable research tool have been purchased by more than a million researchers. This latest edition integrates the winning formula of the previous editions with a number of important new features. Added to this latest edition is the updated county-by-county data, including information about vital records, repositories, and jurisdictions. Another feature is the updated descriptions of the major record collections available in each state, and addresses that help researchers go straight to the source. Of course, updated Internet and mailing addresses for societies, archives, and libraries are given for all 50 states and this also includes an updated bibliography of books for each state.
This book is completely word searchable and maps can be downloaded with the optional CD (for PC/MAC).
Standard features of this book include full color maps of each state showing every county (parish). Map coordinates help researchers locate the place where a search is desired. A tracker for every place shows how boundaries have changed over the years. Some ancestors may have lived in several different places without ever moving. This feature will save hours of research time.
Migration trail maps give detailed descriptions of the paths ancestors traveled, and the histories of each state help readers understand how settlements, wars, territory, and statehood affected their creation. Maps, county histories, addresses of record repositories, web site addresses, and lists of records are completely up to date.
The Handybook for Genealogists provides the researcher with at-a-glance genealogical guidance for every county/parish in the U.S. At the heart of each state chapter is an alphabetically arranged table of places keyed to a corresponding state map. For each place, the table furnishes a map index number, the date of the creation, the name of the parent county/parish/territory from which it was created, and the address and phone number for the appropriate courthouse.
Originally this book was available only from Everton Publishers. The latest edition was published by the Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore, Maryland, and its current status is “out-of-print.” As soon as a new edition comes out, I will let you know. If you need one in the meantime, you will have to check your libraries or archives to see if they have a copy for patrons to use.
The How Book for Genealogists may be old and well used, but I hold on to mine. However, much of the information that it contains can be found in books with other titles or merged into the main handy book series. You now have genealogical address books, how-to books for just about every country in the world, guides for archives research, and so many more of this type to aid genealogists.
At one time, I had just about every guide book out there, but all have been donated to the DeSoto Parish Historical Society in Mansfield. The three I’ve shown here are still with me as I continue to do my personal research, but they will eventually be a part of the Veach-Foshee Memorial Library Collection too. Be sure to check out what is available. It will make your research so much easier.
QUERIES: All queries are welcomed for publication in this format. They can be any length but should have a Louisiana connection by heritage or residence of the researcher who may be interested in other areas of the country. Submittals should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. This is a free service.
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