CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 4, Number 16
MORE RECORD SOURCES: For the past two weeks, I’ve discussed various record sources, but these subjects are only a small part of what is available. The bottom line is that you just have to keep trying until you feel that you have exhausted all sources. Even then, there will be more.
Of course, most researchers have done the basic sources – birth records, census records, court records, death records, marriage records, military records, war records, voter lists, wills, deeds, land records, immigration and emigration records, newspapers, periodicals, and ship manifests. However, there are still so many other ways to learn about your family lineage.
Actually going to cemeteries where your ancestors are buried can yield more notes about family lines. This is especially true in older cemeteries. In researching earlier lines, there is a pattern of movements, and these movements involve multiple family lines. Whether it is actual direct lines or just friends traveling in the same group, it is wise to check children of these different families, and you can probably find a lot of connections which will carry you back – even forward – in your research.
Pension records are also important means of finding out information on family lines. I have one book in my files that was extremely important in my research, but it wasn’t necessarily what I found in this volume. I actually saw a new source and sought out other similar books. The one that put me on the right track was Naval Pensioners of the United States, 1800-1851 by Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck.
Beginning in 1800, pensions for U.S. naval personnel were awarded on the basis of death or disability during active service. Under various acts of Congress, the number of pensions awarded between 1800 and 1851 grew from 22 in 1802 to 1,228 in 1851. Taking its cue from the ever increasing number of applicants, Bockstruck’s book presents information on some 3,000 seamen and sailors who were awarded pensions in accordance with the various acts of Congress and special acts of the Senate or House of Representatives.
Gleaned for the most part from annual Congressional reports, this work contains the names of the veteran, his widow, his children and heirs, and sometimes other family members, identifying altogether some 5,000 or more individuals, most of whom, it should be pointed out, appear in no other federal pension records, not even in the Old Wars pension index where they might otherwise be expected to be found. As a point of interest, the majority of naval pensioners were from the states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York. My personal interest was in Pennsylvania.
The text is arranged alphabetically by the name of the pensioner followed by his state of residence and naval rank. The amount of the pension, either per month or per annum, follows along with the years in which there are entries for the pensioner in the reports to Congress. Additional data such as the nature of the disability, date of death, name of vessel on which the pensioner served, and biographical details follow. The fact that this list of pensioners is unique marks this as a major contribution to the existing literature.
From this research experience, I started doing research for friends using this book as a guide to others similar to it in content. There are numerous genealogical records to be found in all kinds of military records. Like any other source material, one lead takes you into another, and it continues.
Once you have military records in your files, you may want to start searching out publications that are compiled by colonial governments or some of the patriotic organizations. There are many publications available from groups like the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the Confederacy, etc.
These don’t have to necessarily be patriotic lineages through organization like this. At one time, I recall doing a review of a book about descendants of colonial governors, and several books have been done about governmental figures here in our own state of Louisiana. Even a brief note in any of these books can lead you to more information about your own lineage. Many times researchers have found valuable data by checking out allied lines. One brief note in a marriage record of a son or daughter could be that hidden clue being sought by you.
Whatever the case might be, keep checking as many sources as you can. Once you have pinpointed the area, you have narrowed down the possibilities. The main thing to remember is to never give up.
QUERY: Edwin B. Washington Jr., 5810 Galloway Dr., Oxon Hill, MD 20745-2321 is researching the surnames Bates, Davis, Kenney, and Overton. Any help would be appreciated.
ACADIAN INFO: The latest issue of Acadian Genealogy Exchange Newsletter is published twice a year in May and October. The latest issue was again filled with lots of valuable research information, and this one marks the beginning of the 41st year of publication. Edited by Janet Jehn, 3265 Wayman Branch Rd., Covington, KY 41015-4601, it has continued to be one of the best publications of its kind. Subscription is only $17.00 per year.
Albert Robichaux, well known for his genealogical work, contributed a nice article on Jean-Baptiste Duon, Notary of Port-Royal, and a reference is made about the extensive data on the Robichaux family of Acadia, Massachusetts, and Maine which appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in 1989. Theriot and LeBlanc researchers will find data on these lineages, and Mitch Conover supplied a list of baptisms at Grand Pre from 1707 to 1748.
This is just a portion of the material in this issue. It is just one of those publications that you can depend on. Jehn can always be counted on for excellence in her work.
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 can be any length, and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. All genealogical/historical/preservation books are reviewed in this column format, but a review copy is necessary for this service. Another service is offered here too. 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. It is a way to get out-of-print books back into the system and definitely is a great assistance to genealogists who may need this information.
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