Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Genealogy Travel: Louisiana - Part 2 - The State Archives

In early December my husband attended a conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. While he attended lectures & meetings I took off in our rental car to search out my ancestors from the area.
I was hoping to find information on these ancestors & their families:

The first repository I visited was the

Louisiana Archives at 3851 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge.

Before leaving home I had searched their website & emailed them to get an idea of their holdings. The ‘Contact Us’ email was difficult to send because it limited the size of my email. I sent an inquiry off on Nov. 6, a month before my visit. Before I left home I received a very brief response, only telling me the hours they are open. I received a second response with more information but, ironically, it was sent to me on Friday, December 6 about noon. I was in the Archives when that was sent!

I decided to visit the archives despite not having a very good idea of their holdings. At home I had added the address to my GPS and had a printed Google map for back up. From our hotel in the warehouse district in New Orleans it took me just over an hour for the drive. Most of the drive was on I 10 West which would have been nice except the day was gray and rainy.

I signed in, put my purse and things in a free locker and was given a quick tour of the genealogy resources. I found a large table to spread out my papers & pencil and started searching the shelves. I was looking for:

·         Genealogies written about my families
·         Genealogies written about other families that included my families
·         Washington Parish information that might include my families; cemeteries, churches, etc.
·         Washington Parish History that might include my family/will teach me about the area where they lived
·         The History of Louisiana at the time my families lived there

The Archives were open from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Friday so my time was limited. I wanted to gather as much information as possible. I went to the card catalogue and then the shelves to pull the most likely resources. I turned to the indices to look for my surnames. I copied the relevant pages, clipped them together, set them aside and reached for another book. My focus was on gathering information that I could evaluate later at my leisure.

These are the books I found that best suited my search parameters:

· Fortinberry, G. K. Abstract History of the Fortinberry Family. Privately printed, 1942.
· Hines, E. H. State Line Baptist Church 1856 - 1900 and Area Cemeteries in Washington Parish, Louisiana & Marion County, Mississippi. Privately printed, 1983.
· Hughes, Ella B. The Hughes of Tangipahoa Parish. Husser, Louisiana: Privately printed, 1983.
· Jenks, Houston C. The Descendants of Noah Lard and Elizabeth Ware. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Privately printed, 1990.
· Kerns, Gloria Lambert. Washington Parish, Louisiana Records, 1810 - 1898. Baker, Louisiana: Folk FInders, 1983.
· Magee, Zuma F., and Thelma S. Bateman. Cemetery Records Louisiana. Volume I. Privately printed, 1962.
· Magee, Zuma Fendlason, and Dixie Sylvest Moss. Cemetery Records of Washington Parish, Louisiana. Volume IV. Privately printed, 1976.
· Magee, Zuma Fendlason, and Dixie Sylvest Moss. Cemetery Records Primarily of Washington Parish, Louisiana. Volume V. Privately printed, 1976.
· Thomas, Winnie Knight, Earle W. Knight, LaVada Knight Dykes, and Martha Kaye Dykes Lowrey. The Family of John 'Jackie' Knight and Zeziah Davis Knight; 1773 - 1985. Magee, Mississippi: Robert and Delores Knight Venison, 1985.
· Williams, E. Russ. Abstracts of Obituaries from the Minutes of the Magee's Creek Baptist Association (Mississippi and Louisiana), 1882 - 1924. Monroe, Louisiana: Privately printed, 1978.

I also came away with three death certificates. A librarian went to their archives website, found my family members in the death records, pulled the corresponding microfilm reels and I was able to print these:

·         Death Certificate for Eli B. Blades, #12556, 1860.
·         Death Certificate for Jeptha Martin Alford, #7237, 1948.
·         Death Certificate for Dewitt W. Alford, #500, 1942.

I managed to get out the door before it was locked behind me. My genealogy shoulder bag was heavy with photocopies. I was hungry and exhausted. The rain was back and it was a gray drive back to New Orleans. My adventures were not quite over for the day. Once back on I 10 my GPS turned off! My husband & I later discovered a wire in the cord broke so it was not getting a charge. Fortunately I remembered my exit was near the Super Dome. I just watched for the Super Dome signs. From there I drove straight towards the Convention Center and found my hotel from there. Hurray!

Watch my blog for an analysis of my findings at the Louisiana Archives.

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