Friday, September 30, 2011

New/updated Louisiana records on FamilySearch has added quite a lot of new (and free!) Louisiana genealogy records in the last few months, in case you haven't noticed.  (You may have to sign up for a free account to view some records, and some collections are partially complete and/or not yet indexed, but fun to explore nonetheless.)

My dad's 1942 draft card (front), found in “Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards, 1940-1945" on

From the FamilySearch home page, you can browse by location.  Click on "USA, Canada, and Mexico" and scroll down the page to the Louisiana records.

(The collections are alphabetical by state/province--mostly.  If you're new to the site, browse around the page after exploring La. & then U.S. groups to make sure you don't overlook something useful.)

In September alone, FamilySearch has added or updated Louisiana-specific genealogy collections for:

• Civil War service records for both Confederate and Union soldiers (indexed)

• World War II and later draft cards: (Click on "browse images."  Links of broadly indexed groups will appear.)
     First Registration, 1940-1945, in progress, currently comprising surnames Davis - Linton statewide.
     Second Registration, 1948-1959, in progress, with groups posted by draft board number. The numbers correspond to an alphabetical listing by parish (1 = Acadia Parish, etc).  The highest board number currently posted includes a group of cards from Ouachita Parish.  Within each parish, names are in alphabetical groups.  You can estimate where in the group your relative may appear and enter a number in the image # box at the top of the page then click "return" or "enter"; try checking about halfway numerically, go by 100s, 50s, etc.  It takes time and patience but you may find some great info.
    Tip: Record the address info you find here as you prepare to search for your relatives in the 1940 U.S. census, available online to the public on April 2, 2012.

• New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945 (Click on browse.  There are links for two time periods, within which the lists are broadly indexed by date.  In spot-checking a couple of time period links, I'm finding 1900s records linked to 1800s headings. Oops.  Hopefully this will be worked out.)

• Orleans Parish 2nd District Judicial Court Case Files, 1846-1880 (In progress.  Indexed by year, then file number, currently from 1851 to 1873.)

There are more Louisiana-related genealogy collections; these are just the records added this past month.

You'll also find more genealogy records applicable to Louisiana relatives under "United States," such as the World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, also called the "Old Man's Draft" (it was for men of ages 45-64), which is now indexed.  In the last few days, several new groups of Confederate records have been added under "United States," as well as a number of other military collections. Can't wait to explore more.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Arthur Hernandez family

Arthur and Estelle Catherine (Legere) Hernandez family.  Photocopy of original portrait, Hall family collection. Probably taken 1902-3 in Lafayette, Louisiana.  L to R: Back row: Marie Una, Leo Alcée, Antonia. Middle: Maria on father Arthur's lap, mother Estelle holding baby Raphael Sidney. Front row: Pierre, Hypolite. (Links go to their pages, if any, on the Find a Grave website.)

The Hernandez children were my dad's first cousins, though they were about a generation older.  I wrote about Arthur and Estelle in more detail hereNot pictured are Lucia, who died in 1900 at age 6, and younger brothers Samuel and David, born in 1903 and 1905, respectively.  Our mutual cousin Ashton Legere sent my family this photocopy and identified the children; if anyone has a better copy, please contact me.  

Copyright 2011 by Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Cotton mill chimney in Arizona, La.

Chimney remaining from the post-Civil War cotton mill in the Arizona community near Homer, Louisiana.  Photo courtesy of and copyright 2011 by reader Linda [last name withheld for privacy].

One cool thing about having a genealogy blog is that you occasionally hear from new-to-you relatives with whom you can collaborate.  An unexpected delight is when a reader like Linda connects with you and you end up with a piece of your family's history.

Linda saw my blog post about James McCoy, my great-great-grandfather who moved from Delaware to post-Civil War Louisiana to work in the first cotton mill west of the Mississippi.  Her family now owns the land where the mill once stood, and she was wondering about its history.  I gave her some suggestions about where to look up land records (the Claiborne Parish Courthouse, federal General Land Office records, and Arphax Publishing's "Family Maps" volumes) and sent her links with a bit of history about the Arizona community and its cotton mill.  And in return, Linda graciously sent me this photo.  She says the chimney once had a bronze plaque on it that apparently was stolen.

A photo of the entire building as it once existed is posted on the Louisiana GenWeb Archives site here.  There is an Arizona Museum in the area; a Google book search turned up a older guidebook entry that states it is open by appointment only.  On my genealogy to-do list (with a long list of others) is to contact them for info they might have on the mill or perhaps even about my great-great grandpa James McCoy, his wife Rebecca Jane Harrell, and their family.

Text copyright 2011 Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Melasie Hollier McBride portrait

Melasie Hollier McBride (1830-1925), "photo portrait" on paper?, digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan, Nov. 2006.  Original owned by cousins in Louisiana.

This is the only portrait known to me of my great-great-grandmother, Melasie Hollier McBride, daughter of Isidore Hollier and Arthémise Trahan

She was born 11 Dec. 1830, probably in Opelousas, Louisiana, where she was christened in St. Landry Catholic Church on 16 Feb. 1831.  She married William McBride in the same church on 20 Jan. 1852, bore him 10 children, and lived to the ripe old age of 94, surviving her husband by 50 years.  A cousin wrote my family in 1990 that Melasie “lost her property during the flood of 1882. At present there is oil on the property; it was sold for delinquent tax payments. She had no income, all was lost in the flood.” She no doubt relied a lot on the kindness of her family, as she never remarried.  She died 19 Aug 1925, probably in the Ossun community near Scott, Louisiana, where she lived with her daughter Octavie's family (my great-grandparents) at the end of her life.

Melasie's children and some of her grandchildren are enumerated here, and I describe the happy  accident of finding her grave while looking for another here.

Sources include Southwest Louisiana Records, "Louisiana Deaths" at "Wm McBride [sic]", correspondence from Paul Ashton Legere, and Melasie's headstone at Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery in Scott, La.  If you find her in the 1870, 1900 or 1920 census, please let me know; I'm still looking!

Photo/text copyright 2011, Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved.

Friday, June 10, 2011

This is the Face of Genealogy

In which I start off responding to a GeneaBlogger meme/call to action and wind up telling you why I heart genealogy ...

This is my dad, George Hall.  When I was a child, he told me stories of his own childhood during the Great Depression that made it all sound like a Great Adventure, despite being one of seven children with a father who wasn't exactly in the running for "Father of the Year," as I found out later.  My grandfather's refusal to speak about his past, and my amazement to find that my dad didn't know his own grandparents' names, are what set me off on my own adventures in genealogy more than 30 years ago.  I am sure his storytelling ability influenced both my interest in writing and in family history.

This is my mom, holding me, and standing next to my "Paw Paw" Stevenson.  When I wanted to find out more about my mysterious grandpa Robert Hall, my mom was the one who taught me the basics of genealogy and she's still the first person I call with new finds.  Off and on over the years, we found out more about Grandpa Hall, though there are still plenty of questions to answer.

For this GeneaBlogger meme, I thought I'd post photos of my parents and me, because the "Face of Genealogy" isn't just wonderful old ancestral portraits -- it's YOU, it's ME, it's whatever you want it to be.  It can be collecting lots of names and dates if that's what you like, and yes, it might be the stereotypical white-haired little old lady with glasses in a musty library (me someday, probably), but it can also be a kid interviewing grandparents about their lives, or a military history fan collecting records and artifacts about his or her ancestors' service.  It can be a family trip to walk in the steps of your ancestors in their hometowns, or it can also be virtual Google Earth tours of ancestral hometowns that you can save to DVD or e-mail to cousins.  There are many "faces" to this hobby, and it's not just about those long gone.

This is me, on my honeymoon in New Orleans, standing approximately where my Carrière ancestors lived in the 1720s.  For me, genealogy has been solving many little mysteries of who/when/where like a crossword puzzle addict, chasing my "mystery grandpa" through the records, collecting and identifying family photos, finding new cousins and making new friends, sharing with family, brushing up my college French, learning more about the history my ancestors lived through, and dreaming of visiting ancestral homelands in Acadia, the UK, Ireland, and Europe.  Perhaps most importantly, to me, it's preserving stories of my family and the lives they led for those to come.

I've looked up Dutch genealogy words, read about Cajun history, photographed cemeteries, learned new tech skills, joined a Hall DNA surname study, found family history gems in my dad's World War II personnel file, and delighted in visiting where my ancestors lived in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans (and that's just in the last couple of years).  It's a varied and fun and wonderful adventure, this hobby, and I invite you to find your own "face" of genealogy.

Text/photos copyright 2011 by Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: William & Elizabeth (Faress) Cotter, Ringgold, La.

 W. H. [William Hadden] Cotter headstone, Providence Cemetery, Ringgold, La.  Photo courtesy of Maxine Morgan.

William Hadden Cotter and Elizabeth Ann Faress Cotter (a.k.a. Queen Ann Elizabeth Fariss or Farris) are my great-great-grandparents.  William was from Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia, and "Lizzie" was from Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.  They both died near Ringgold, Bienville Parish, Louisiana.  You can see their portraits here or read more about my Cotter line here.  

Elizabeth Ann Faress Cotter headstone, Providence Cemetery, Ringgold, La.  Photo courtesy of Maxine Morgan.

I connected with Maxine Morgan (no relation to my husband's family that I know of) via, where we discovered her husband and I have Cotters in common.  Maxine, who has contributed quite a few Bienville Parish records to and USGenWeb, among other sites, graciously sent me these photos and gave me permission to post them here.  Thanks, Maxine!

Text copyright 2011 by Liz Hall Morgan; photos copyright 2011 by Maxine Morgan, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Arthur & Catherine Estelle (Legere) Hernandez

Arthur and Catherine Estelle (Legere) Hernandez headstones, St. Peter Catholic Church Cemetery, Carencro, Lafayette Parish, La., November 19, 2007, digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan.

Catherine Estelle (or Estelle Catherine) Legere or Légère ("Estelle Catharine" in Southwest Louisiana Records and Estelle in census records, but "Catherine" according to her death certificate and her great-granddaughter) was my great-aunt, the daughter of my great-grandfather Constant Legere ("Leger" in some records) and his first wife (of four), Estelle Babineau(x).  She was born 12 Dec. 1867, probably in Lafayette Parish, La.  Extracted death certificate info says she was born in Carencro (in Lafayette Parish), and her birth was recorded in Grand Coteau, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church (then the nearest Catholic church to the family, in St. Landry Parish).  I think the Ossun community near Carencro, where her parents lived, is a safe bet for her birthplace, but that's just my opinion.

At age 15, she married Jean Euclide Brasseaux on 27 Dec. 1882 in St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Carencro, but he died not long after their marriage (anyone have a date?) and they had no children that I know of.   I recall noticing Brasseaux graves in a section near (catecorner from?) the Hernandezes, but I did not check for him on that visit.

Catherine married Arthur Hernandez on 2 Dec. 1884 in the same church.  Arthur was the son of Sebastian Hernandez (of Canary Islands descent) and Euphrosine Sonnier (a Cajun).  He was born 15 Jan. 1865, in Lafayette, La., according to extracted death certificate info, where his birth is recorded in St. John Catholic Church (now Cathedral) records.  Arthur and Catherine farmed in Lafayette Parish and also reared 10 children there.  My dad remembered some of his Hernandez cousins, who were a generation older than he and his siblings.

Catherine died 4 Oct. 1930 in Carencro, and Arthur died 4 Feb. 1949 in Rayne, in Acadia Parish.  Their children included a teacher and a doctor.  More on my Hernandez cousins in a future post.

My sources include Southwest Louisiana Records by Rev. Donald Hebert; U.S. Census records and La. Death Index at; and La. Deaths at www.familysearch.orgQuestions/corrections/additions welcome at hallroots [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.

Text/photo copyright 2011 by Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2010 through the rearview & a blogiversary

Tiramisu's the traditional 1st (wedding) anniversary dessert, right?  Divina Cucina, Montrose, CA, 2010.
Happy New Year & Happy Blogiversary to me!

Thought I'd check back in after taking time off during the holidays.  It's my second blogiversary, though I only have blogged with any regularity for the last year.  I'm still here, still doing genealogy, still mentally composing blog posts while driving (making the title apropos), washing dishes (often while listening to a genealogy podcast), or doing other non-genealogical pursuits.  But since my brain doesn't have Wi-Fi, I thought it might help if I got back to the keyboard.  So here are some memorable moments from the past year, (mostly) genealogically speaking:

• Receiving the inaugural Rose Blogger award from a researcher I admire, Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, in January, was a big highlight of my entire year, and wonderful encouragement for a fledgling blogger.  Other blogger-to-blogger awards were fun boosts & appreciated reminders that I am actually read and even occasionally pondered.  Cool!

Dad & me, college graduation, Sulphur, LA, 1989
• My dad's death later that month was certainly the most difficult part of the year, but honoring his life, military service and joie de vivre through my blog has been therapeutic.  I've been mostly private about expressing grief, but I'm proud to be his daughter and I hope that shows in what I have shared about him.  A quiet "thank you" to fellow geneabloggers who wrote about their own losses this year; in sharing your grief, you reminded me I wasn't alone.

• I met a "new" (to me) cousin, who found me due to a blog post about Pie Day in Scott, Louisiana. Andre lives not far from me here in Southern California.  We had a lovely brunch on the beach and have become fast Facebook friends.  I keep threatening to hook her on genealogy, and I need to follow up on that soon with a library visit.  We're 2nd cousins twice removed through the Légère family, which sounds distant, but we're not terribly far apart in age (OK, I'm older), know some of the same relatives and have similar food cravings, being fellow "Cajun expatriates" out here on the Left Coast.
"New" cousin Andre Arceneaux & me, Hermosa Beach, CA, 2010, wondering if the curly gene is Cajun...

 • I "met" a few other cousins this year, "met" being in quotes because I haven't yet met them in person.  My term for this is "e-mail cousins." :)  They include more cousins (Guidry, Trahan, Blanchard and others) through the Legeres (I "collect" & enjoy corresponding with descendants of my great-grandpa Constant Legere and other Louisiana Legeres; e-mail me at hallroots [at] sbcglobal [dot] net if that's you), a McBride cousin, and a few Pate cousins.  It's always fun to trade info and/or get acquainted by e-mail or through Facebook w/"new" cousins.  Or to reconnect with cousins you do know.  All you lurkers out there, I don't bite.  (Well, if you're going after the last boudin link, I can't make any promises.)  It was also nice to meet "e-mail cousin" Janice in person this year, my 2nd cousin through the Pate family, with whom I'd collaborated so much I felt I already knew her.

• I published slavery-related records, to warm thanks from bloggers searching for their enslaved ancestors, and to the sound of crickets from anyone not so thrilled that I actually admitted in print that some of my ancestors were slaveholders.  Really, though, if most of your ancestors were white Southerners in the U.S., you probably have at least one slaveholder in your tree.  (And Northern ancestors weren't immune.)  It can be awkward to write about, but by sharing research I've helped at least one person connect the dots to find the likely slaveholders of her ancestors (and therefore resources for finding records of those ancestors), so I think it's worth it.  If you don't feel comfortable writing about that particular skeleton in the family closet, consider contributing the info anonymously via the sites Afrigeneas or A Friend of Friends.

• By ordering a copy of Dad's official military personnel file, I uncovered some real gems, including his handwritten application letter to the Naval Aviation cadet program, high school transcript, a photo of him at age 21 (left), and info on his life for several years after World War II.  I've neglected posting this series lately; I'm being too much of a perfectionist about posting concurrent info or photos from his military career with it, I suppose.  I have info from a few sources and the timeline is a little fuzzy to me.  I've been wanting to clarify it by transcribing the DVD of Dad telling stories of his service, but I wasn't ready to watch footage of him for a while.  I'll probably get back to it soon.

• I attended one day of the SCGS Jamboree, the annual conference held by the Southern California Genealogical Society, and had so much fun I hope I can attend the entire weekend this year.  I enjoyed seminars, exhibits, and especially the people I met, including Elyse Doerflinger, Becky Wiseman, Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Thomas MacEntee, Amy Coffin, George Morgan, Drew Smith, Joan Miller, and several others.  I also took home some goodies I'm still exploring and want to write about.

With Becky Wiseman and Elyse Doerflinger at the 2010 SCGS Jamboree

 Lagniappe:  Contributing vintage family photos for a cousin's cookbook memoir, which I'll blog about soon ... finally making Mom's peach cobbler from scratch (which came out pretty darn great, for someone who is more of a food assembler than a cook) ... visiting the original Forest Lawn for the first time in years ... celebrating our first wedding anniversary ... having fun on the Morgan siblings' (& impromptu Hall reunion) family vacation to DisneyWorld (until the E.R. detour, but thankfully my hubby is fine now) ... and getting cool genealogy Christmas gifts which I'll write about soon.  Hmm... that means I have several things already to write about (besides the backlog in my head and the ones begun in Blogger).  Better get crackin'.

Thank you all for reading and especially for commenting, "liking," and e-mailing!  Wishing us all a wonderful 2011 with piles of rubble where our brick walls used to be--

Photos/text copyright 2011 by Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved.