CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 3, Number 43
INDIAN LINEAGES: Questions constantly arise about Indian heritages, and there is no better book on the subject than The Indian Tribes of North America. It was written by John R. Swanton and can be ordered from the Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211. The price is $80.50, postpaid.
This is the definitive one-volume guide to the Indian tribes of North America, and it covers all groupings such as nations, confederations, tribes, sub-tribes, clans, and bands. It is a vast and impressive digest of all Indian groups and their historical locations throughout the continent. Formatted as a dictionary, or gazetteer, and organized by state, it includes all known tribal groupings within the state and the many villages where they were located.
Using the year 1650 to determine the general location of most of the tribes, Swanton has drawn four over-sized fold-out maps, each depicting a different quadrant of North America and the location of the various tribes therein, including not only the tribes of the United States, Canada, Greenland, Mexico, and Central America, but the Caribbean islands as well. According to the author, the gazetteer and the maps are intended to inform the general reader what Indian tribes occupied the territory of the state and to add enough data to indicate the place they occupied among the tribal groups of the continent and the part they played in the early period of our history.
Accordingly, the bulk of the text includes such facts as the origin of the tribal name and a brief list of the more important synonyms; the linguistic connections of the tribe; its location; a brief sketch of its history; its population at different periods; and the extent to which its name has been perpetuated geographically. As far as possible each tribe, or group, is treated as an independent entity, but the work as a whole forms an absolutely comprehensive picture of the Indian tribes of North America, and leaves no question unanswered about any tribal grouping, big or small.
Along with the bibliography and index, and the imprimatur of its original publisher, the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, Swanton's book is an authoritative digest of the Indian tribes of North America, and it is the one book that you'll need as a desk reference in your Native American research.
FAMILY HISTORY: Louisa, A History of the Woman and the Hearts of Those She Touched is an older book that is an important addition to family history in St. Landry Parish. This one was compiled by Phyllis Pitre Lastrapes in 1990 and tells the story of the Carmon, Campbell, and Fontenot Families through conversations pertaining to Louisa Carmon Fontenot Campbell, known as Mammy Noone.
Much was gleaned about her life at family gatherings, and this led to the desire to do a complete family research. Lastrapes has done a fine job in putting this into narrative form. This book is the first of two that tells of Louisa’s life.
Every effort was made to record this history as accurately as possible. Numerous public records were used to verify this information, such as census reports, marriage records, tax lists, cemetery records, slave owner records, and many others. Many places were also visited during the research of this family data, such as the Louisiana State Archives, Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge Archives, numerous libraries, and even the courthouse in New Orleans.
The progenitors of this family were originally residents of Ville Platte which is now a part of Evangeline Parish, but it was originally under the jurisdiction of St. Landry Parish. They were settled in a community called Tete Cove and Lazaro.
In the process of this research, Lastrapes found that the surname Carmon had ten different spellings. Even the first names varied with the different translations. These numerous spellings made the research even more difficult, but it didn’t deter this compiler from her goal of presenting an accurate record of her ancestry.
Compiling genealogies of African-Americans is much easier today than in the past. Here again, Lastrapes has used her expertise to explain every generation of race distinctions from white, mulatto, griffe, and quadroon.
It is with love and respect that this story of Louisa John comes alive. She was born in 1841 during the period of slavery. It is said that she lived to be over 96 years old and died in Crowley. She is buried in Ville Platte.
This soft-cover book is filled with charts and pictures. Be sure to check out the availability of this publication. At the time of its release, Phyllis Pitre Lastrapes lived in Baton Rouge. It would be of interest to see the second book from this writer.
You may also want to check out local genealogical collections to see if there are copies of this work on file. I have made sure that a copy is now a part of the Veach-Foshee Memorial Library Collection in Mansfield, Louisiana.
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. Claitor’s 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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