CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 3, Number 17
HISTORICAL IMAGES: It is just one of any family historianís goal in research and that is to uncover as many old pictures as possible to illustrate the past for future generations to enjoy. Emilia Gay Griffith Means and Liz Chrysler have done a masterful job in their new book Images of America DeSoto Parish. No book of this type is ever complete because only those known pictures of an area or family can be displayed that are known to the compilers.
However, the documentation and descriptions given to each photograph is exceptional in this book. As a former resident and having spent so much of my early years in DeSoto Parish, I found this book to be very important to me as it opened my eyes to things past that I had never seen before. The picture of the Minna docked near the railroad bridge brought back memories of when the Sabine River would be so low in the hot summer months that you could see the boat that had sunk there on the Louisiana side. (Texas is on the opposite side of the river.) Of course, the waters that have backed up with the building of the dam downstream have blocked this from view forever.
Seeing my friend Foster Schulerís home in Keatchi brought back memories of how we competed in parish livestock and horticulture contests. I was in Future Farmers of America, and he was in the 4-H. We didnít attend school together, but while I worked at the old Castle Theater in Logansport, I would see him since his family always came to town for shopping.
DeSoto and Caddo parishes were located on major wagon roads heading west. Many settlers came to this area from Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas to find new homes, and the area prospered as letters were sent back to relatives telling of the rich lands to be had in this part of Louisiana. This area has a long and rich history, and DeSoto Parish encompassed a small part of the Caddo Nation, a tribal confederacy with roots that extended across northern Louisiana and eastern Texas. There were other tribes here too. The Natchitoches and Yatassee inhabited the lands here. The Caddo Indians and the French and Spanish settlers forged a new contest in the land that would become DeSoto Parish.
There is here in this part of Louisiana one of the richest and most historical parts of the state. Overshadowed by Natchitoches and New Orleans, knowledge of the other parts of the state seem to pale in comparison. However, it is all connected, and this beautiful book brings forth how important DeSoto Parish is to the overall history of the state. It is told with pictures, and I donít mean taglines on a picture. I mean details on each picture. From homes to individuals to churches and other structures, the authors have done an excellent job in telling a portion of the history of this area.
Having checked out each page with interest, I found that I wanted even more and would certainly hope that they might even consider another book in the future. This is really a nice addition to any collection of Louisiana materials, and it should be on all Louisiana library shelves and in individual homes. There is nothing better about genealogy and history than to display with pride the findings of earlier times.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia Publishing is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all. This book is $21.99, and you can check out its availability by contacting them at www.arcadiapublishing.com or asking for it in any major bookstore.
I love this book, but then I love DeSoto Parish too. It is my former home and where I return periodically. So many memories came back to me as I perused this book.
CHURCH RECORDS: Catholic Missions in Canada: 1721 is based on the official report of Attorney-General Mathieu-Benoit Collet and edited by Abbe Ivanhoe Caron. The index to this work was done by Ruth Ortego Berthelot. The foundation of the Parochial organization in the province of Quebec was laid out by Monsignor de Laval when he arrived in Quebec.
In 1678, Monsignor de Laval instituted a certain number of parishes or missions and put priests at the most expedient locations. This work was continued by Monsignor de Saint-Vallier, and eventually a massive amount of reports made their way to the archives in Quebec.
This is another of the books from Winston De Ville, and like others, the publication is in French. The importance, however, is in the number of individuals in the history compiled in these records. It is one of those hidden gems when it comes to genealogical research. If you donít desire a copy in your personal library, it would be wise to check out a copy in a major genealogical collection. Books of this type often contain clues to family histories that you might not expect. It is an important reference book for this period of time.
The first two decades of modern history (1699-1730) in the Province of Louisiana Ė the entire Mississippi Valley and the Gulf Coast Ė were periods of rapid settlement. Many of those first settlers were second or third generation Canadians. This book is a virtual census of Canadian families at the very time their sons and fathers were leaving home to follow the Mississippi River to the French Illinois country, Arkansas, Natchitoches, recently-founded New Orleans, Mobile, and unnamed wilderness regions beyond.
Ancestral names are easily located with the index. It contains names of individuals, and hundreds of well-known family names of colonial Louisiana are prominent here. This reprint is available from Claitorís Publishing for $33.50.
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Claitorís Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service.
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