The 19th century
census records for Louisiana are available in microfilm. Indices for the
state have been produced for the 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, and
1870 censuses. A soundex is available for the 1880 and 1900 censuses. Some
parishes have been printed in books or in periodicals; and some are available
in periodicals. My index for censuses occurring
in genealogical periodicals (up to the year 1990) is avaliable on-line
at this website.
Archive Census Project, started in 1997, is trying to get the census
data online. To check on which parishes are online for the various
censuses, go to the Main
Louisiana Census Project page. If you can volunteer to input
data, I'm sure they would appreciate it. They have a long way to
Rouge and New Orleans Diocese' multi-volume sets do not cover the entire
century. Check with them to find how far they've gotten. New volumes are
two series (South Louisiana Records and Southwest Louisiana
Records), covered in the previous page, do cover much of Acadianna
for the entire 19th century. Although they cover Catholic church records,
marriage information from courthouses was also recorded; so Protestant
records are also covered to some extent. It is often possible to
sit down with Father Hebert's books and trace a family all the way back
through the 19th century.
became U.S. territory in 1803, Protestant preachers entered the area and
churches were begun. Though most of the early members were not Acadian,
more and more Acadians became Protestant by the end of the century ...
though Catholicism was still the predominant denomination for Cajuns.
For Protestant church records, you would need to consult the individual
churches or the repository for records for that church. For example, the
United Methodist Church has an archives in Shreveport that contains some
of the records from its churches in the 1800's. Baptist churches,
which may be independent, may have kept their records at the church.
Please remember that Protestant records are not nearly as complete as Catholic.
are now more numerous and valuable. Documents filed in the courthouse often
list family members and relationships. There are often indices available
that make it easier to locate someone. The
courthouse is the repository for marriage records, successions, land records,
and a variety of other records.
Records: Marriage records are the courthouse records with the most
clearly relevant connection to genealogy. While the church will (or
should) keep a record of the marriages performed, a civil record of marriage
licenses was also kept. Sometimes they will have information that
the church records doesn't. And sometimes, when the church record
can't be found, the civil record is the only documentation available.
Death records were sometimes recorded in the courthouse, but it was not
the norm. The 19th century didn't usually have wills in the sense
we know them. Often, an inventory of the deceased's worldly goods was made
so that they could be sold to settle the estate.
Records: Though land sales/purchases are often recorded within
the acts, sometimes there are separate books on land transactions and even
These contain a variety of documents. Although not meant to be genealogically
significant, you can often find a mention like "Pierre Breaux, son of Jean
...". Sometimes there may be a good deal of information on relatives.
in New Orleans throughout the 19th century. Ship lists are available in
microfilm. You can find them at the State Library, the State Archives,
and the New Orleans Public Library. The National Archives also has some.
Check to see if an index is available for the location/time in which you
are interested ... it will make things much easier.
Since the number
of people in the state is growing larger, books now cover smaller areas
and time periods. You need to look at the specific area in which you are
interested to find information. In some areas, a history has been done
of the town or parish. Depending upon the source, there might be
genealogical information on the early settlers. There are a number
of 'Family' books that cover a person, a couple, or everyone of a certain
surname. Please consult the Book List for the titles.